Saturday, November 28, 2009


I'm a little late seeing the film UP. Every time I see a Pixar film, I keep thinking, how much longer can they keep doing it? They've been on a roll since TOY STORY and haven't faltered yet.

There's a lot of good in this film, especially the first 15 minute opening, which is basically a film unto itself. Ed Asner was brilliant casting. The story is great, although I was a little caught off guard by the new characters introduced in the second act. But they quickly grew on me. I was also very impressed with the score by Michael Giacchino. He's showing a lot of talent and range.

If there's anyone out there who still hasn't seen it, I highly recommend it.

Friday, November 20, 2009


The Colorado Symphony had a nice concert tonight of classic fare, unfortunately to a nearly empty hall. I suspect this was the result of several factors, including the holidays this week, several other shows playing tonight, and a somewhat lackluster lineup on the program.

The show opened with one of Beethoven's earlier, lesser known works, the Overture to his ballet Prometheus. It's a nice opening, but certainly not a draw.

The second piece on the program was the Four Last Songs of Richard Strauss. It's always a bad sign when the soloist apologies before the performance, giving the excuse of a head cold. Soprano soloist Christine Brewer was actually okay in tone quality, but her enunciation and German pronunciation were weak.

By far, the highlight of the evening was a rousing performance of Brahms' First Symphony, appropriately called "Beethoven's Tenth." He often mentioned that he had to follow a giant, but this is a giant work itself, and Denver is lucky to have a wonderful conductor like Jeffrey Kahane. It was a very moving performance.

We still have three more concerts before the end of the year, and I ook forward to each of them!

Saturday, November 14, 2009


LARS AND THE REAL GIRL is a great little film from 2007 that was overlooked in may ways, although it was nominated for an Oscars for screenplay by Nancy Oliver and a Golden Globe for lead actor Ryan Gosling. It did not do well at the box office. And who would have thought that a movie about a guy falling in love with a blowup sex doll would be one of the best love stories I've seen in years! It's a very sweet movie. I'm surprised it did not get a lot more word of mouth business.

The entire cast is fantastic. There are a lot of great, layered performances from everyone in the film. The script is very good as well. It's tough to believe the whole town would play along with his delusion, but the script and performances quickly make you forget that. The characters are wonderful. There's also an interesting subtext as to what determines reality. Bianca, the doll, is not real, even though the whole town pretends that she is, yet none of the other characters in the movie are any more real to us than the blowup doll. Yet we still care for her. And everyone else.

I highly recommend this weird little film.

Friday, November 13, 2009


HOW THE BEATLES ROCKED THE KREMLIN is a nice documentary from the BBC and WNET about the influence of the Beatles in the old Soviet Union. At first it sounds rather ludicrous that the Beatles might be even partially responsible for the fall of the Iron Curtain, but the filmmakers make a very good case for Western Rock music being a subversive influence on the Russian youth, much like American Jazz had been during WWII.

This is definitely worth a viewing for students of the social impact of music.