Barbara Turner

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The Company Review


Extraordinary
Thank you, Robert Altman. Coming fast on the heels of one of the worst moviegoing years of recent memory, The Company appears like a wondrous beacon of light. (It even trumps Altman protégé Alan Rudolph's clear-eyed ode to middle class challenges, The Secret Lives of Dentists.) Altman casts his gaze upon the Joffrey Ballet of Chicago: their days and nights, their strict regime and straight-ahead pursuit of artistic expression, and the grueling physical toll of stretching their bodies to the limit. Opening with a modern dance number with performers in skin-tight costumes racing across the stage with multi-colored banners, The Company is like a direct appeal to the heart and mind, to which I can only exclaim, "Wonderful!" and "Beautiful!" It's a reminder of what cinema can do, and the poetry of the dancer's movements is corresponded to with Altman's visual panache, his use of vivid colors, his vividly imaginative framing.

It shames flashy movies like The Matrix sequels, which adopt surface style and frenetic movement but lack sheer, sumptuous vision. Altman's movie isn't just a pretty sheen ("I hate pretty!" snaps Malcolm McDowell as the head of the ballet company), it's a full audio-visual experience. For all the limbs blown apart in Matrix Revolutions it's got nothing on the Company dancers bandaging their bruised heels and toes, or the horrifying moment when a tendon snaps during a rehearsal. It's something we can respond to, relate to. It's emotion pictures, corresponding to the vibrant, emotive images of the dance.

Continue reading: The Company Review

Pollock Review


Very Good
Please, please, please, please, please read the book that formed the basis of the movie Pollock. Jackson Pollock: An American Saga won the Pulitzer Prize for a good reason: It's a 934-page masterpiece that gets into the guts of the artist now being celebrated on celluloid by Ed Harris. Published in 1989 and written by Steven Naifeh and Gregory White Smith, the tome contains everything about Pollock that was left out of Harris' up-and-down movie -- and, unfortunately, that means 99 percent of the demons, doubters, friends, and forces that inspired Pollock to drink, paint, drink, and paint again.

A good example: Pollock was suicidal, maniacal and violent throughout his 44-year life. The first sentence of Naifeh's and Smith's book -- the very first sentence -- is this quote from Pollock: "I'm going to kill myself." Explains a lot, but for some odd reason, Harris only hints at Pollock's suicidal tendencies in his long-anticipated film.

Continue reading: Pollock Review

Georgia Review


Weak
It may be a movie about family rivalry in the music world, but this ain't The Judds. With the amount of dysfunctionality in Georgia, The Jackson Five is a little more like it.

Georgia (Mare Winningham) is the older of two singing sisters, one of those talented ultra-folky types with a huge following and who sings songs with choruses like "No more haaaaaard tiiiiiiimes." Sadie (Jennifer Jason Leigh) is the pariah of the family (and is much more interesting)--a strung-out heroin addict with a voice more reminiscent of Johnny Rotten than Joan Baez and who has a penchant for hacking up cover songs. As Sadie puts it, "I sing." Well, sort of.

Continue reading: Georgia Review

Barbara Turner

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Barbara Turner Movies

The Company Movie Review

The Company Movie Review

Thank you, Robert Altman. Coming fast on the heels of one of the worst moviegoing...

Pollock Movie Review

Pollock Movie Review

Please, please, please, please, please read the book that formed the basis of the movie...

Georgia Movie Review

Georgia Movie Review

It may be a movie about family rivalry in the music world, but this ain't...

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