Gordon & Barbara in Paris

Gordon & Barbara in Paris
Here's Looking at YOU

Wednesday, November 24, 2010


BURLESQUE-- Directed by Steve Antin/ Starring Cher, Christina Aguilera, Eric Dane, with Cam Gigandet, Julianne Hough, Alan Cumming, Peter Gallagher, Kristen Bell and Stanley Tucci/ PG-13/ 2hr33min

(B) I thoroughly enjoyed it. I’d recommend it, but not to those who don’t enjoy seeing girls with great figures in skimpy outfits. If that’s the case, then this movie may not be for you. Oh, and let’s not leave out great music and dynamite vocals…especially by Christina Aguilera. I liked the simplicity of the story and the clever weaving of “musical” with “drama.” There was no downtime and they didn’t try to make two films out of one, or two films out of a musical and a movie. Cher fuels this film by adding genuine burlesque qualities that only a star of her caliber and depth could. The ads say, “Only a legend can make a legend” and that is what we have here. Need I say more? It was my kind of movie. I give this one three binoculars, easily.

(G) This film just came out today and already I’m seeing reviews that say the movie is surprisingly entertaining, but lacks a serious plot. HELLLOOOOOOOO! Look at the title for goodness sake! Look at the name stars! If you went to see this film expecting something more than any other musical you’ve ever encountered, then you need to check your expectations. Having said that BURLESQUE was far better in many ways than CHICAGO (which won a few Oscars), in my opinion, because it was not made like a stage production in film’s clothing, but rather WAS a film first that utilized the musical talents of the stars to the best advantage. As for the plot, it was at least as complex as a million romance stories that I’ve seen over the years. In that regard, I was pleasantly surprised. I have to say that Cher is terrific. She played her part perfectly and we got just enough of her singing—according the dictates of the character-- that we did not feel cheated or that this talent was being forced upon us. I also thought that it was an inspired pairing of her with Stanley Tucci. They worked particularly well together, in every scene the two of them shared. However, this movie really belongs to Christina Aguilera. I thought it was absolutely a perfect casting to have Cher as the wise old master training the talented apprentice. Christina’s character would absolutely have overshadowed any other female/singing star, as this movie almost seemed to have been created just for her.
I’m going to give it three-and-a half binoculars and predict at least two Oscar nominations for the cast and crew.


Saturday, November 6, 2010


HEREAFTER--directed by Clint Eastwood from a screenplay by Peter Morgan with Matt Damon, C├ęcile de France, and Frankie and George McLaren as Marcus and Jason. PG-13 2hr9min

(G) This movie was like starting a mountain climb at the top of the mountain. After the opening sequence (which was great) it was downhill from there. I wanted to see this one, mostly because I think that Matt Damon is one of the finest actors working today. He is as close to pure acting genius as America has offered since Brando, in my opinion. That aside, I have to also premise my remarks by saying that Barbara “told me so” on this one. She did not want to see it, and only went reluctantly because our daughter, Carla and I coerced her (Carla’s remarks may appear below, and/or on the podcast version of Bifocal Reviews).
That said, here are my impressions: As I said, the opening was riveting. It was one of the finest disaster film sequences I’ve ever witnessed. I still have no idea how it was accomplished, how much was where cgi, or where dangerous real-life stunts and animation departed. It was stunning and I was certain that I was about to witness the absolute best film of the year. In the very next sequence, I realized I was wrong. Every one of the supporting actors was miscast, so much so that I could barely take it seriously when two “well-known comedians” tried to pull off a serious “dead relative” conversation that introduced Matt Damon’s character. I kept waiting for the punch lines. No offense to Jay Mohr and Richard Kind.
The story comes off (for a variety of reasons) as disjointed and uninteresting. It was WAAAAYYY to slow and dry. Many following sequences, plot lines and story elements were completely unnecessary and obviously forced. There was really nothing “bold” about this film, after the opening…and the boldness only came in the blending of technical and human effects, not in story telling or content. I have to give this one only one and a half binoculars, and that is only for Damon and the female lead’s performances. The child star is also adequate, but there are too many other flaws.