Reviews: The Good and The Bad

January 4, 2010 § Leave a comment

So today’s recommendation I have to pass along is to hear the new song by Burning Hearts. Straight out of FInland and on the Shelflife label, I wrote about their debut album a few months ago. Pop bliss. The song is “Night Animal” and you can download the song from the website, or buy the 7″. Anyway, let’s just say that while everyone is reflecting on 2009’s highs and lows in music, I’m looking forward to 2010.

So a couple of days ago I saw the film, Nine, and it appeared to have promise. It’s a musical; it has a million of respected actors; it’s related to Federico Fellini’s 8 1/2. Unfortunately, it kind of sucked. The songs were sort of awful, with some of the worst lyrics I’ve ever heard. Every single song was somebody shouting “Guido!” (Guido is the protagonist) and these horrible Americanized and oversimplified stereotypical visions of what it means to be Italian. Fellini is rolling in his grave. It was essentially an unnecessary and poorly executed rehash of 8 1/2. Daniel Day Lewis, as always acted well, as did Judy Dench and Marion Cotillard was probably the highlight of the film, however, the script was crap and the songs were formulaic. It went like this: we see character interact with Guido, then we flash to character’s introduction song. I appreciated some of the allusions to 8 1/2, La Dolce Vita and Amarcord, but I’d rather just go watch those instead. The exact problem with Nine is that it is overeager and is too American Hollywood in style, therefore it is unable to represent the nature of the sort of Italian Neo-Realist films it is a fan of, and fails to integrate dreamy circus sequences in with reality, which for me, is part of the charm of 8 1/2, instead these song sequences are chopped up and too disconnected. I can see that with the addition of the musical element, there was an attempt to bring the two together, but it is in poor taste. Had the film gone without the awful soundtrack and explored the characters’ relationships it would have been far and away better. Penelope Cruz is a very capable actress, having seen Volver, this is clear to me, but what the hell is she doing here? Nicole Kidman has a very minor role, playing an actress in the spirit of Anita Ekberg, but she is no Anita Ekberg that’s for sure. So, if you were debating seeing this, download it or wait to rent it, or better yet, go watch some Fellini instead.

Fellini, rolling so fast in his grave that he has created a black hole. The Large Hadron Collider crew could only be jealous.

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