Jersey Boys

NOCTURNA discs

Welcome back to This Week In Discs! If you see something you like, click on the title to buy it from Amazon. Nocturna Tim is a typical orphan, round-headed and curious about the night, but when an after-hours misstep lands him in the grip of a creature named Cat Shepherd he finds himself on a very unique adventure. His new friend becomes a guide of sort as he shares with Tim the world of Nocturna, the nighttime world the rest of us sleep through, and shows him the true faces and beings behind our tussled hair, late night noises, dew-covered trees and very dreams. It’s not all fun and games though as a dark shape is floating over the night threatening to steal the stars right out of the sky. This Spanish film is a 2007 release, but its US debut was worth the wait for fans of animated wonder and pure imagination. The story keeps one sleepy toe in the real world even as it reveals an original and beautifully-crafted one behind the curtain of the night, and the animation follows suit as the familiar gets an inventive and enticing make-over. It’s a gorgeous dream of a film with scenes of true beauty and inventive thrills, and it deserves to be seen by more eyeballs. [Blu-ray/DVD extras: Making of, featurette]

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All This And World War II

Pop nostalgia is an odd thing. It’s the connective tissue between the new movie Jersey Boys and this week’s Doc Option, the tremendously obscure 1976 film All This and World War II. Jersey Boys is based on the hit 2005 Broadway play of the same name, a dramatization of the rise and fall of The Four Seasons. All This and World War II features the music of The Beatles, the act that dethroned The Four Seasons from their perch at the top of musical popularity in the mid-’60s. But the doc also incorporates The Four Seasons and its perpetual frontman Frankie Valli into its mix. If you’re wondering what kind of a production would concoct such a situation, well, the answer is stranger than anything you’re probably expecting. All This and World War II is an 88-minute recap of World War II, consisting of newsreel footage and clips from movies and propaganda films of the period, all set to covers of Beatles songs. Ambrosia’s cover of “Magical Mystery Tour” plays as Hitler and his cronies go about their day in Berlin. “I Am the Walrus,” as played by Leo Sayer, scores the bombing of Pearl Harbor. And Japanese-Americans are rounded up and shipped off to concentration camps with Sayer intoning “Let It Be” in the background. Valli’s cover of “A Day in the Life” scores a montage of military fortifications and soldiers going about their daily work (the Four Seasons track is “We Can Work It Out”). So on and so forth. If all of this sounds incredibly crazy, well holy shit you don’t know the half of it.  […]

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Jersey Boys 1

I can understand the appeal of a jukebox musical on Broadway. In a way, it’s just a concert, albeit for cover artists, with a little bit of story thrown in for fun — like skits on a rap record. On the big screen, though, they just can’t be as enjoyable. There’s no live performance and, unless you find just the right movie theater or wait a number of years for a Drafthouse sing-a-long screening, there’s none of the same audience vibe you get with the real deal. I’m sure the stage incarnation of Jersey Boys is a really good time. The movie version, on the other hand, looks like a real bore of a biopic with an imitation soundtrack. It seems so generic that they’ve probably even thrown in a token sibling death for Frankie Valli. This evening we got our best look yet at the adaptation, directed by none other than Clint Eastwood. And by the look of this new trailer, Jersey Boys looks like a cheap TV series knocking off the period-set popularity of Mad Men. That is especially disappointing, because Eastwood and cinematographer Tom Stern have made some great historical dramas together, including Letters From Iwo Jima and Changeling, for which Stern received an Oscar nomination. In fact, Eastwood’s usual visuals team is here — costume designer Deborah Hopper, art director Patrick M. Sullivan Jr., effects supervisor Steve Riley — so why doesn’t this look like it fits with the rest? Why does it look like something made for cable? At […]

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helms-undies

What is Casting Couch? A compilation of casting news that touches on the Veronica Mars movie, Clint Eastwood’s plans for the Jersey Boys movie, and other things you may or may not find interesting. It all depends on how into casting news you are, really. Due to his work in The Hangover and The Office, we’re mostly used to seeing Ed Helms being funny and whatnot. But Joe Carnahan seems to think he’s got some dramatic chops, because word from Heat Vision is that Helms is in negotiations to join his upcoming thriller, Stretch. The movie is set to star Patrick Wilson as a gambling-addicted limo driver who’s trying to get his life back on track and Chris Pine as his current customer, who’s a sleazy criminal and is described as being “the passenger from hell.” If he signs, Helms will be playing another dude who drives limos, a nicer one, who serves as the Wilson character’s conscience.

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While it’s certainly not a requirement that the stars of musicals can actually sing, it does add a nice level of verisimilitude to the proceedings. Unfortunately for fans of the Tony Award-winning smash Broadway hit, Jersey Boys, it seems like musical ability has taken a major backseat when it comes to the casting of the play’s inevitable cinematic adaptation. CinemaBlend passes along word that the Jon Favreau-directed adaption has sent out an open casting call for the film’s four leads (those, of course, being Frankie Valli and the three other original Seasons), and each individual call lists the ability to sign and play musical instruments (as it applies to the character) as “a plus.” You got that right. Considering the wealth of talent currently performing in the play on stages around the world, it’s a bit curious that none of those actors have stepped into any of the roles, but perhaps the production really wants to capture some fresh and new faces (singing ability notwithstanding). Check out the casting call after the break. Think you  have the chops? You can submit here.

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Pardon me? In one of those weird twists of Hollywood casting (and crewing?), Variety reports that a well-regarded director (Jon Favreau) is the frontrunner to helm a beloved property (the cinematic adaptation of hit musical Jersey Boys) in a combination that just doesn’t make one goddamn lick of sense. Favs? A musical? Wha-what? While the Iron Man and Iron Man 2 helmer certainly knows how to juggle a lot of big pieces in his productions, I can’t say that I ever thought song-and-dance numbers would be one of them, and I sure as hell can’t say I am sold on this idea. The Tony and Grammy-winning hit musical Jersey Boys (originally produced by Dodger Theatricals, written by Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice, directed by Des McAnuff, with music by Four Seasons member Bob Gaudio and lyrics by Bob Crewe) was officially announced back in January, with Hugo scribe John Logan set to adapt it. The musical centers on the story of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, and their incredible rise to fame in the 1960s, and it’s one of those rare “historical” musicals that’s just as much fun for fans of the original group as it is for newbies.

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It’s not often that word of a large-scale adaptation of an existing theatrical property thrills me to my absolute core, but I am willing to forget all the weird Les Miserables Starring Country Pop Star Taylor Swift talk if this next project works out as well as it should. Word about a cinematic adaptation of the Tony and Grammy-winning hit musical Jersey Boys (originally produced by Dodger Theatricals, written by Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice, directed by Des McAnuff, with music by Four Seasons member Bob Gaudio and lyrics by Bob Crewe) has been brewing for awhile, and it’s such a welcome concept for a film that I might actually be dancing in my chair right now. The musical centers on the story of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, and their incredible rise to fame in the 1960s, and it’s one of those rare musicals that deserves all the heaping and glittery praise it has received. Dancing in the aisles? Check. Smiling from ear to ear? Drama laced in with a great story and fantastic music? Check, check, check! In case it’s not yet readily apparent, I love this musical. It’s my favorite musical. The way people feel about Les Miz? That’s how I feel about Jersey Boys. So the news that two-time Academy Award-nominated screenwriter John Logan has been picked to adapt the film has excited me so much that I’ve very nearly passed out six times while writing this.

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published: 12.23.2014
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published: 12.22.2014
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published: 12.19.2014
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