Mainstream Movies

Venues

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Published in U.S. 1 Newspaper on February 2, 2000. All rights

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Film: Bucky Pizzarelli

When the Paterson-born jazz guitarist Bucky Pizzarelli

performed at New Brunswick’s State Theater last year, he told U.S.

1’s Richard J. Skelly about the highs and lows of more than 50 years

in the music business. Now Pizzarelli, together with fellow Garden

State guitarist Howard Alden, is in movie theaters across the nation

— ghost musician for Woody Allen’s latest tribute to jazz,

"Sweet

and Lowdown."

Cast as a mock documentary, with a gentle pace punctuated by a

succession

of modern-day talking heads (Woody Allen, Nat Hentoff, and Ben Duncan

all play themselves), "Sweet and Lowdown" tells the story

of Emmet Ray, a hugely gifted but undisciplined American jazz

guitarist

of the 1930s. Sean Penn plays the mustachioed and wild-haired Ray,

with newcomer Samantha Morton as a mute working girl (uncannily

reminiscent

of Harpo Marx and the young Giulietta Masina) who falls in

love with him. "I love women, it’s just I don’t need them,"

is Ray’s line. He also tells anyone who’ll listen, "I’m the second

best guitarist in the world — next to that gypsy Django

Reinhardt."

Reinhardt’s "When Day Is Done" from 1937 is the first music

we hear in "Sweet and Lowdown," part of a rich mixture of

’30s recordings and more than a dozen new renditions of old tunes

performed by Alden with Pizzarelli on rhythm guitar. In Paris in the

early ’30s, Reinhardt brought a romantic, bittersweet gypsy ethos

to the American jazz with which he had fallen in love, creating an

altogether original sound and style. With warm, sensuous

cinematography

by Chinese Zhao Fei (`Raise the Red Lantern’) the movie’s period

locations

include Paterson (masquerading as Chicago), and a lovely, nostalgic

vision of the Jersey shore.

Although Pizzarelli doesn’t go quite as far back as the fictional

Emmet Ray, he told Richard Skelly (July 21, 1999) how, in the early

days, he earned just $41.25 for a studio guitar session. His playing

can be heard on all the early recordings of Dion and the Belmonts,

Frankie Avalon, and Fabian. He played on Roberta Flack’s hit, "The

First Time Ever I Saw Your Face," and on Ray Charles’ original

"Georgia On My Mind."

Now 73, Pizzarelli did not come into his own as a solo jazz performer

until the late 1960s. Skelly describes his current style as

"rhythmic,

warm, and filled with exquisite, complicated runs of fingers up and

down the fretboard." These days, he can be heard in intimate jazz

clubs that include the Cornerstone in Metuchen, Shanghai Jazz in

Livingston,

and Zinno’s in lower Manhattan. The father of four, he has two musical

sons: John, a jazz guitarist, and Martin, a bass player. All three

family members got a rave review from the New York Times for a joint

club appearance in late January.

Allen — a moviemaker you either love or hate — made his

writing

and directing debut in 1969 with "Take the Money and Run,"

and has produced mostly comic movies (and prurient headlines during

his breakup with Mia Farrow) almost annually since. In 1977 he won

Academy Awards for best director, best picture, and best original

screenplay for "Annie Hall," and in 1986, "Hannah and

Her Sisters" won best original screenplay. His most recent

features

include "Mighty Aphrodite," the winsome musical "Everyone

Says I Love You," "Deconstructing Harry," and

"Celebrity."

Yes, "Sweet and Lowdown" is a definite winner for Allen fans.

But New Jersey’s jazz aficionados will also discover here a treasure

chest of the sights, sounds, and spirit of Jersey jazz of bygone

years.

— Nicole Plett

Top Of Page
Mainstream Movies

Confirm titles with theaters.

Any Given Sunday. Director Oliver Stone pits brash youth

against experience on the football field, where Al Pacino plays a

curmudgeonly coach to a quarterback played by Jamie Foxx. AMC,

Loews, Mercer.

American Beauty. Annette Bening and Kevin Spacey in Sam

Mendes’ dark drama about two dysfunctional suburban families. AMC,

East Windsor.

Angela’s Ashes. Frank McCourt’s bestselling autobiography

about the hardships of a Catholic childhood in the slums of Ireland,

brought to the screen by Alan Parker. AMC, Loews, Mercer,

Montgomery,

Regal.

Anna & the King. Jodie Foster and Hong Kong’s Chow Yun-Fat

star in a sumptuous retelling — without song — of the `The

King & I’ epic. AMC.

Being John Malkovich. John Cusack plays a puppeteer who

accidentally enters Malkovich’s mind in this Spike Jonze original.

MarketFair.

Bicentennial Man. Clown Robin Williams plays a future

household appliance who wants to be a man. AMC, Loews, Mercer.

The Cider House Rules. Michael Caine stars in a rendition

of John Irving’s 1985 best-seller. AMC, Loews, Regal.

Cradle Will Rock. A star-studded cast includes Angus

MacFayden

as Orson Welles, Ruben Blades as Diego Rivera, with Vanessa Redgrave

and Susan Sarandon, all appearing as America’s titans of 1930s

culture.

Mercer.

Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo. A fish tank cleaner becomes

a male escort to repay a debt. AMC.

Down to You. Freddie Prinze Jr. and Julia Stiles. AMC,

Destinta, Loews, MarketFair, Regal.

The End of the Affair. Ralph Fiennes and Julianne Moore

play an adulterous couple during World War II. AMC, Loews,

Regal.

Eye of the Beholder. Intelligence officer Ewan McGregor

finds himself obsessed with Ashley Judd. AMC, Destinta, Loews,

Montgomery, Regal.

Isn’t She Great? Bette Midler in the story of `Valley

of the Dolls’ author Jacqueline Susann. AMC, Loews, Regal.

Galaxy Quest. Tim Allen plays a has-been TV star recruited

by aliens to save their planet. AMC, Destinta, Loews,

MarketFair.

Girl, Interrupted. Winona Ryder and Golden Globe winner

Angelina Jolie star in the real-life story of Susanna Kaysen’s

commitment

to a mental hospital. AMC, Destinta, Loews, MarketFair,

Montgomery, Regal.

The Green Mile. Michael Clarke Duncan and Tom Hanks star

in Stephen King’s prison story about an innocent man with miraculous

powers. AMC, Destinta, Loews, MarketFair, Regal.

The Hurricane. Denzel Washington won the Golden Globe

for his heroic performance based on the life of the New Jersey boxer

framed for a triple murder. AMC, Destinta, Garden, Loews, Mercer,

Regal.

Magnolia. A desperate day on a San Fernando Valley street

brings together some intriguing characters, starring Tom Cruise.

AMC,

Garden, Loews, Mercer.

Man on the Moon. Jim Carrey won the Golden Globe for his

portrayal of misunderstood comedian Andy Kaufman. AMC, Mercer.

Mansfield Park. A witty re-telling of Jane Austen’s comic

novel starring Frances O’Connor and Harold Pinter. Mercer.

Next Friday. Ice Cube returns in the sequel to 1995’s

`Friday.’ Cube plays a fish out of water, as his family moves from

the ghetto to the suburbs. AMC, Destinta, Loews, Mercer, Regal.

Play It to the Bone. Woody Harrelson and a gaunt Antonio

Banderas star as two washed up Vegas boxers and their last chance

to make it big. AMC, Destinta, Loews, MarketFair, Regal.

Pokemon. Gotta catch the big screen version of the cute

(if inane) cartoon — at least, that’s what your kids say. East

Windsor.

Snow Falling On Cedars. The bestselling novel of the

Northwest

brought to the screen by Scott Hicks, starring Ethan Hawke and Youki

Kudoh. AMC, MarketFair, Regal.

Stuart Little. State-of-the-art moviemaking brings E.B.

White’s beloved mouse to the big screen. AMC, Destinta, Loews,

Mercer, Montgomery, Regal.

Supernova. James Spader and Angela Bassett star in this

space thriller. AMC, Destinta, Loews, MarketFair, Regal.

Sweet and Lowdown. Woody Allen directs his latest feature

about a stellar jazz guitarist with a less than stellar private life.

Sean Penn plays the musician, but New Jersey musicians Howard Alden

and Bucky Pizzarelli provide much of the jazz.

MarketFair.

The Talented Mr. Ripley. Matt Damon and Gwyneth Paltrow

star in this thriller based on the Patricia Highsmith novel, written

and directed by Anthony Minghella (`The English Patient’). AMC,

Destinta, Loews, Mercer, Montgomery, Regal.

Topsy Turvy. Mike Leigh directs a humorous look at the

Victorian world of Gilbert and Sullivan, and their peerless command

of light opera. Montgomery.

Toy Story 2. An animated feature film with the voices

of Tom Hanks and Tim Allen. AMC, Destinta, Loews, Mercer,

MarketFair,

Regal.

Top Of Page
Venues

AMC Hamilton 24 Theaters, 325 Sloan Avenue, I-295 Exit

65A, 609-890-8307. 24-screen, stadium-seating. $7; $5 matinees; $5

twilight.

Destinta, Independence Plaza, 2465 South Broad Street,

Hamilton, 609-888-4500. Stadium-seating 12-screen. $6.75 adults; $5

matinees.

East Windsor Cinemas, Routes 130 and 571, 609-443-9295.

$3 adults; $2.50 matinees. Features Indian language films.

Garden Theater, 160 Nassau Street, 609-683-7595. $6.50

adults; $4 matinees.

Loews Theaters, Route 1 South, New Brunswick,

732-846-9200.

Stadium-seating. $8.50; $5.25 matinees.

MarketFair-UA, Route 1 South, 609-520-8700. $7.50;

$4.75 matinees.

Mercer Mall General Cinemas, Route 1, 609-452-2868.

$7.25 adults; $4.75 matinees.

Montgomery Center Theater, Routes 206 and 518,

Rocky Hill, 609-924-7444. $7; $4.25 matinees.

Regal Cinemas Town Center, 319 Route 130 North, East

Windsor, 609-371-8470. Stadium-seating, 15 screens. $8 adults; $5

matinees.

Top Of Page
Film Festival

New Jersey Film Festival is presented by the Rutgers Film

Co-op/New Jersey Media Arts Center. Screenings are Fridays through

Sunday in Scott Hall, Room 123, College Avenue campus, near the corner

of College Avenue and Hamilton Street. Thursday screenings are in

Loree Hall, Room 024, Douglass College campus, near the corner of

Nichol Avenue and George Street; with selected free events at Borders

Books, Route 18 South, East Brunswick. Films are $5, $8, & $10; all

programs begin at 7 p.m. Call 732-932-8482.

Rear Window, Alfred Hitchcock’s elegant 1954 mystery

thriller

starring James Stewart and Grace Kelly. Subtitles. $5, Thursday,

February

3. Boys Don’t Cry, Kimberly Peirce’s re-telling of the life

and murder of Brandon Teena; Hilary Swank won the Golden Globe’s 1999

best actress award for her portrayal of the young transexual, $5,

Friday to Sunday, February 4 to 6.

Dreams That Money Can Buy, an early American avant-garde

film (1947) by Hans Richter, about dreams for sale, with visuals by

Richter, Max Ernst, Fernand Leger, Man Ray, Marcel Duchamp, and

Alexander

Calder; $5, Thursday, February 10. My Best Friend, Werner

Herzog’s

1999 documentary about his relationship with cinema maniac Klaus

Kinski.

On a double bill with Herzog’s 1973 "Aguirre, Wrath of God"

that stars Kinski; $8, Friday and Saturday, February 11 and 12.


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