The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent

January 31, 2023 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | FILM, THUMBNAIL REVIEWS |

(Directed by Tom Gormican, 2022) It’s just silly. Hell, it’s Goofy. But as a buddy movie, it has some hilarious bits, until it goes into Full Utter Cage Kick-Ass-Action Mode (F.U.C.K.) and peters-out with a whimper. Nicolas Cage (Nicolas Cage) is in a slump. His agent has no good news, except he can clear his debts if he agrees to a guest appearance at a birthday party in Mallorca thrown by a rich fan, Javi Gutierrez. That rich fan (the very funny Pedro Pascal), is developing a script for Nic, despite the actor’s declared intention to retire. Javi’s persistence wilts…

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Paul Newman: The Extraordinary Life of an Ordinary Man

(A Memoir, 2022; edited by David Rosenthal from taped conversations, recorded from 1986 to 1991) George Segal said, “Paul Newman is the last star. He’s the link. We’re just actors.” Impossibly pretty, and self-consciously ‘cool,’ Newman was a Great Big Movie Star for about thirty years, and since filmgoers managed to look past the looks and the sass, he avoided becoming a symbol during most of that time. His best films are (or include) The Left-Handed Gun (1958), Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (1958), The Hustler (1961), Sweet Bird of Youth (1962), Hud (1963), Cool Hand Luke (1967), Butch…

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The Weir Career

January 26, 2023 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | FILM |

The films of Peter  Weir (1974 – 2010) Peter Weir’s career is an enigma. He has huge reserves of talent, and we absolve him of all sins thanks to Picnic alone, but there are pockets of emptiness in many of his films, all of which are watchable (OK, maybe not Green Card). (As Norman Gunston might have asked, “13 films in 40 years, Peter? What do you do for a living?“) With the once respected Academy of the Motion Picture Arts and Sciences limbering-up to give Peter a career-end-Oscar, we review his oeuvre. 1974 The Cars That Ate Paris: known…

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Tár

Directed by Todd Field (2022) To err is human; to forgive, Divine; to cancel, de rigueur. Lydia Tár (not her real name?) is a pianist, ethnomusicologist, composer, and the first female chief conductor of the Berlin Philharmonic. She’s as busy as a bee: at a festschrift, she plugs her new book to Adam Gopnik of the ‘New Yorker’ (they wouldn’t invite Steve Bannon, but this luvvie? No problem!) and she is preparing the forthcoming live recording of Mahler’s 5th. She’s teaching (and bullying) at Juilliard; lunching with a moneyman who wants to pick her brains; she’s hiring and firing; she’s…

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A Difficult Woman

January 18, 2023 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | LIFE, Modern Music, MUSIC |

Renée Geyer (11 September 1953 – 17 January 2023) “A white Hungarian Jew from Australia sounding like a 65-year-old black man from Alabama.” This how Geyer described herself, one of the true originals, and the first (and best) Australian woman to master Soul, Jazz, R & B songs (think “It’s a Man’s Man’s World,” “Since I Fell for You,” “Heading in the Right Direction,” “Stares and Whispers,” “Stormy Monday,” “Midnight Train to Georgia,” “Difficult Woman,” and the pop classic “Say I Love You.”) She was interpreting, and enhancing, the great world songbook long before Rod Stewart or Jimmy Barnes. Whilst…

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