Flash Movie Review: Tar
I HAVE ALWAYS WONDERED IN AMAZEMENT how composers create symphonic musical compositions. Not to take away any accolades from sonatas or cadenzas; but I cannot understand how a composer can hear all the musical instruments in their head, then put it all down on paper. My first exposure to a live, classical music concert was prior to me going into kindergarten. I remember it was a Beethoven symphony. The conductor was an older gentleman with salt and pepper colored hair. Just before he was to start, he tapped the top of his music stand with his baton, to get everyone’s attention in the orchestra. Up until that point, members of the orchestra were fiddling with their musical instruments; at least from my perspective as a young child, it appeared to me they were goofing around playing random notes. I did not know they were tuning and warming themselves up before they were to perform. With different sections of the orchestra making themselves known at different times, I did not know where to look first; it all seemed a bit magical to me. And then there is this one man, the conductor, steering the players from beginning to end. Granted when I was small, I was not clear on what exactly the conductor was doing. I was able to understand when he wanted the members to play louder or softer, but some of his arm gestures confused me. Nonetheless, sitting through that symphony sparked my interest in classical music to the point where I eventually took piano lessons. SOMETIME SOON AFTER SEEING THAT CONCERT, I was going downtown on the train. We were sitting in the car where the conductor was stationed. They would go from one side of the train car to the other, depending on which side the doors were facing the train stations. It was their job to open and close the doors. I watched them at each stop, sticking their head out the window before opening the doors with a flip of one switch. They continued in that position until they determined it was time to close the doors and come back inside. As I was watching them, I made the connection that they and the orchestra conductor both had this power to move people into action. To me, it was like they had a special power like a superhero. Just with a flip of a finger the train conductor could grant or deny access to anyone they so desired. The musical conductor, with a wave of their wand, could make someone stop or start playing their instrument. I was curious to know how that power must have felt for them and how they managed it. If what I saw in this music drama is an indication, then I will need to rethink my feelings about orchestra conductors. JUST AS A BOOK DEBUT AND live recording are about to take place, a famous conductor’s past reemerges to topple her greatest feats. With Cate Blanchett (Don’t Look Up, Thor: Ragnarok) as Lydia Tar, Noemie Merlant (Paper Flags, Portrait of a Lady on Fire) as Francesca Lentini, Nina Hoss (A Most Wanted Man, Phoenix) as Sharon Goodnow, newcomer Sophie Kauer as Olga Metkina and Mark Strong (The Catcher was a Spy, Shazam!) as Eliot Kaplan; this Oscar nominated film had as its driving force Cate’s performance. She was outstanding in the role. I thought the whole cast gelled well together, despite the weakness in the script. I encountered several confusing scenes, where I was trying to figure out who to be sorry for. From what I have been told afterwards, there are musical misconceptions in this picture. I also found scenes that were not 100% believable. There was a weird mix between stellar and weak scenes that prevented the story from flowing out like a beautiful concerto.
2 ¾ stars
Flash Movie Review: Youth
It never occurred to me but the two attributes really do sit opposing each other on the scales of justice. On one side sits youth, ah youth the golden period where one feels invincible, has less fears, can survive on little sleep and has an indestructible skin that quickly removes any cuts or bruises. Settled on the other side is wisdom; now this one can be a bit elusive for some folk. Wisdom has a better understanding of one’s emotions; years of experience has ripened wisdom, allowing a majority of one’s decisions to become rational. I am sure like me you have heard a variety of ways people talk about aging, such as “youth is wasted on the young” or “growing old is not for the weak.” In my younger years I laughed at these outlooks, now I understand. Getting together with friends and family now includes conversations about medical issues. We compare drug prices or what new drugs we are taking, how many times we get up in the middle of the night, our new physical limitations; all such things are becoming constant companions to us. I am not saying I am smart by any means, but with the wisdom I have gained in my life I sure wish I still had a youthful body holding it. Not that I want to sit and wish I were younger, but it would be nice to have youth and wisdom share more time together instead of a fleeting moment as the scales of justice pass each other while slowly traveling to opposite sides. LIFETIME friends Fred and Mick, played by Michael Caine (Harry Brown, Inception) and Harvey Keitel (The Grand Budapest Hotel, The Piano), spend every year at their favorite resort in the Swiss Alps. While Fred is a retired conductor and Mick is always working on a new screenplay, the two friends were never too old to learn something new. This film festival winning drama had a wise cast of actors. Including Rachel Weisz (Oz the Great and Powerful, The Fountain) as Lena Ballinger and Jane Fonda (Nine to Five, Georgia Rule) as Brenda Morel, the acting was terrific in this pretty looking movie. Some of the outdoor scenes were breathtaking, where I wanted to go visit the place. Luckily this was a big plus for me because I did not care for the script. I not only found myself getting bored during several scenes, but some parts of the story seemed out of place to me. The story did not flow, it staggered along. I certainly appreciated the concept and idea of aging friends, but I was not feeling any deep connection between the characters. I have to tell you I was conflicted here. The wonderful acting, scenery and story sounded great but together it did not work. I have seen enough movies in my life to know the difference between an entertaining one or not and this one did not make it for me.
2 3/4 stars