Saturday, June 14, 2014
Having recently been uprooted to Milan Rocco and his four brothers each look for a new way in life when a prostitute comes between Rocco and one of his brothers.
Classic masterpiece melodrama of Italian neorealism of an epic dimension with superb performances and wonderful black-and-white photography, directed by Visconti with painful poignancy.
Halliwell**: "Massive portmanteau of realistic stories, a bit hard to take despite its undoubted brilliance."
Maltin***1/2: "Sweeping chronicle...Stunningly photographed..."
A man is murdered, and the eight women in his household each seem to be more eager than the others to know the truth.
A tongue-in cheek homage to Agatha Christie-styled murder mysteries, staged as a closed-room musical and with an otherwise great cast playing their roles in exaggerated hysterics, is not really something one can feel nostalgic for.
Halliwell**: "Highly artificial, witty, enjoyable pastiche of a country house murder mystery, with bravura performances from its stellar cast, representing four generations of French acting, who burst into song at unexpected moments."
Maltin**1/2: "Wonderful opportunity to watch some of France's most formidable females in an odd whodunit-melodrama-musical...Fun to a degree, especially when the actresses sing and dance, but awfully forced."
Friday, June 13, 2014
The audience at the Regensburg Leerer Beutel fully realized and appreciated it, the jazz reviewer for the local newspaper did not: this was a fantastic concert fully worthy of the great Sun Ra's legacy! The current incarnation of the Arkestra is a congenial mixture of some elderly veterans and quite young talented aspiring musicians, lead by the now 90-year-old Marshall Allen, who has been with the band for nearly 60 years. Of course, they appeared on stage with their traditional colorful 'space suits' and from the first song on it was obvious that they would bring us an otherworldy jazz experience. The program expectedly consisted mainly of Sun Ra compositions, but one of the highlights of the evening was Marshall Allen's own song "In B-Tween", in which the maestro himself performed a mesmerizing long solo. It was evident that despite his age Allen was the player with the most free imagination and an inspiartion for his fellow band members. I was fully convinced by the quality of the concert and especially enjoyed the contributions by James Stewart, Knoel Scott, Danny Ray Thompson and the truly virtuose young pianist Farid Barron, not to forget: the female singer Tara Middleton. As expected there was a lot of show and several joyful parades through the audience till the concert ended after 2 sets of 70 minutes each.
(The clip is from a concert during this during due to the fact that there currently are none from the Regensburg).