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Published in U.S. 1 Newspaper on February 9, 2000. All rights
Gilbert & Sullivan at the Movies
Topsy-Turvy describes the film of this name at least
as aptly as anything pertaining to Gilbert & Sullivan, the
British creators of a dozen immortal operettas. The promotion for
this much-hyped Mike Leigh ("Secrets & Lies") movie promises,
"Gilbert & Sullivan and so much more." And adds: "The
egos. The battles. The words. The music. The women. The scandals."
Not enough challenge simply to document the making of "The
— an operetta, of a dozen some, that has lasted, and thrived,
for more than a century — at a critical time in Savoyard history?
Not enough excitement in merely staging the operetta itself, together
with the much-loved music? Too easy to play it straight? Too tempting
to improve upon perfection?
Instead, Leigh has produced a series of disjointed vignettes, with
little closure and even less clarity. And accuracy — of
of names, of motivation — is yet another matter. Although the
film is too long (almost three hours), its ending is sudden. And with
a lame printed afterword it addresses, unsatisfactorily, one of its
central issues: Sullivan’s desire to write more "serious"
Nonetheless, "Topsy-Turvy" looks just great: Victorian
interiors, atmosphere. The acting is commendable, particularly Jim
Broadbent as the irascible and brilliant William Schwenck Gilbert,
and Allan Corduner as Arthur Seymour Sullivan, portrayed here as the
playboy of the Victorian world, although his musicianship and
are also credited. Costumes, especially in the
are wonderful, colorful, all they should be. And the scenes showing
how "Mikado" was first mounted are fascinating and too few.
Even though it’s performed much too slowly throughout, Gilbert &
music saves the film. So don’t bother with the touted Sony Classical
soundtrack. Invest in the recordings of the now-defunct and much
D’Oyly Carte Company. Finally, the rationale behind the "R"
rating, which came as quite a surprise: The apparent need to tart
up Gilbert & Sullivan by including scenes of Sullivan cavorting with
bare-breasted, dancing "French whores" (as one viewer put
it). Was that trip really necessary?
With productions always too scarce for devoted Savoyards, this film
serves at least as a reminder of the glory that was Gilbert &
And maybe it will prompt those who see it to look, and listen,
Even so, severely "modified rapture" is all the movie
— Pat Summers
Confirm titles with theaters.
against experience on the football field, where Al Pacino plays a
curmudgeonly coach to a quarterback Jamie Foxx. AMC, Loews,
Mendes’ dark drama. East Windsor.
about the hardships of a Catholic childhood in the slums of Ireland.
AMC, Loews, Mercer, Montgomery, Regal.
who wants to be a man. AMC.
of John Irving’s 1985 best-seller. AMC, Regal.
Generation-Y romance. AMC, Destinta, Loews, MarketFair,
play an adulterous couple during World War II. AMC, Loews,
finds himself obsessed with master criminal Ashley Judd. AMC,
Destinta, Loews, MarketFair, Montgomery, Regal.
star recruited by aliens to save their planet. AMC, Destinta,
East Windsor, Loews, MarketFair.
story of Susanna Kaysen’s commitment to a mental hospital. AMC,
Destinta, Loews, MarketFair, Montgomery, Regal.
in Stephen King’s prison story about an innocent man with miraculous
powers. AMC, Destinta, Loews, MarketFair.
undercover in the middle of an organized crime sting operation. Also
starring Oliver Platt and Sandra Bullock. Loews, Regal.
for his heroic performance based on the life of the New Jersey boxer
framed for a triple murder. AMC, Destinta, Loews, Mercer,
of `Valley of the Dolls’ author Jacqueline Susann. AMC, Loews,
brings together an assortment of intriguing characters, including
Tom Cruise. AMC, Loews, Mercer.
comedian Andy Kaufman of TV’s `Taxi.’ East Windsor.
novel starring Frances O’Connor and Harold Pinter. Mercer.
`Friday.’ Cube plays a fish out of water, as his family moves from
the ghetto to the suburbs. AMC, Destinta, Loews.
Banderas star as two washed up Vegas boxers and their last chance
to make it big. AMC, Destinta, Loews, MarketFair.
(if inane) cartoon. East Windsor.
thriller. James Stewart, Grace Kelly and Wendell Corey star.
Craven’s trilogy is a cut below the rest (pardon the pun), expect
the same mix of laughs and thrills with Neve Campbell, David Arquette
and Courtney Cox-Arquette. AMC, Destinta, Loews, Garden, Mercer,
changed. Nick Nolte, Jeff Bridges and Sharon Stone star in the
of the Sam Shepard play. AMC, MarketFair, Regal.
brought to the screen, starring Ethan Hawke and Youki Kudoh. East
AMC, Destinta, Loews, Mercer, Regal.
space thriller. AMC, Loews.
about a stellar jazz guitarist with a less than stellar private life.
Sean Penn plays the musician. MarketFair.
star in this thriller based on Patricia Highsmith’s novel, directed
by Anthony Minghella. AMC, Destinta, Loews, Mercer, Regal.
and Tim Allen. AMC, Loews, Mercer.
AMC Hamilton 24 Theaters, 325 Sloan Avenue, I-295 Exit
65A, 609-890-8307. Stadium-seating multiplex. $7; $5 matinees; $5
Destinta, Independence Plaza, 2465 South Broad Street,
Hamilton, 609-888-4500. Stadium-seating multiplex. $6.75; $5 matinees.
East Windsor Cinemas, Routes 130 and 571, 609-443-9295.
$3 adults; $2.50 matinees.
Garden Theater, 160 Nassau Street, 609-683-7595. $6.50
adults; $4 matinees.
Loews Theaters, Route 1 South, New Brunswick,
Stadium-seating. $8.50; $5.25 matinees.
MarketFair-UA, Routeth, 609-520-8700. $7.50; $4.75
Mercer Mall General Cinemas, Route 1, 609-452-2868.
$7.25 adults; $4.75 matinees.
Montgomery Center Theater, Routes 206 and 518,
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; $5 matinees.
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. Films are $5, $8, &
$10; all programs begin at 7 p.m. Call 732-932-8482.
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.
Japanese New Wave
films, presented by Princeton University’s East Asian Studies Program,
Mondays at 7 p.m. in the James Stewart Film Theater, 185 Nassau
relationships of convenience. On a double bill with Yasujiro Ozu’s
"Record of a Tenement Gentleman" (1947), a story of an aging
woman saddled with an abandoned child, by Yasujiro Ozu, Monday,
14. She and He, Hani Susumu directs a drama about the emotional
travails of an unhappy newlywed living in a high-rise complex, Monday,
Second Chance Cinema
at 7:30 p.m., at Kresge Auditorium, Princeton University. $55 series;
$5 single. 609-683-1101.
Brandon Teena won her the Golden Globe’s best actress award, directed
by Kimberly Peirce, Wednesday, February 16.
with Jeremy Irons, Frank Langella and Melanie Griffith, Wednesday,
12 and 13, at its Heritage Center Theater, 635 North Delmorr Avenue,
Morrisville, for its summer and fall season. Those interesting in
acting or technical positions call 215-295-3694.
"The Wizard of Oz" on Saturdays, February 12 and 19, beginning
at 1 p.m. at 1485 Livingston Avenue, North Brunswick. Girls should
prepare "Over the Rainbow," and boys "If I Only Had A
Brain." Performances begin May 5. Call 732-821-6644.
Sartre’s "No Exit" on Monday through Wednesday, February 21
to 23, from 7 to 10 p.m. at the Artists Showcase Theater, 1150 Indiana
Avenue in Trenton. Performances will run weekends between March 31
and April 16. Call 609-587-7915.
seek crew and cast for an independent feature horror film to be shot
in March at the Jersey shore. Roles are for 18 to 40 years of age,
and all ethic types. The role of a Sherpa guide (Indian or Nepalese,
could be 25 to 60-years-old) is a character of particular interest.
Crew also needed, particularly sound mixer, gaffers, make-up, hair,
special effects. Possible pay. Meals, lodging, credit, and tape
Send resumes to Shamrock/Stine Productions, PO Box 9941, Trenton
book donations for their annual benefit book sale at Whitely
Proceeds from the sale, which usually exceeds $10,000, go to
institutions around the world. Deadline for donations is Friday,
25; the sale is Wednesday through Friday, March 1 to 3. Call
particularly low-voiced women. Singing a cappella, four-part harmony,
the group performs throughout the central Jersey area. Rehearsals
are Mondays at 7:45 p.m. at the Forrestal Center. Call Judy at
planters, and vases of the spring flowers for donations that support
cancer research. Orders can be placed until March 1 at the
office for pickup or delivery during the week of March 27. Call
meeting weekly for six Tuesdays, beginning February 29, with
Barbara Snyder at the Adath Israel Synagogue, Lawrenceville. $25 fee.
Preregister with Rachel Goldberg, 609-987-8100.
annual Relay for Life, an overnight, non-competitive event where team
members walk or run relay-style around a track. Call ACS at
volunteers for a study to evaluate a new drug treatment for
Participants should be in good health, and will be given a psychiatric
evaluation and a physical examination. Contact Dr. Karen Hoffman
24-hour hotline for people with problems. A training course for
begins Tuesday, March 7, at 9:30 a.m. or 7:30 p.m. Classes are held
at Lawrenceville Presbyterian Church, 2688 Main Street, in
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