The Color of Your Dreams
For sheer Beatles geekiness, you won't be able to beat Across the Universe. I don't know why Julie Taymor decided to make a Beatles movie musical, since given the band's very defined and well-known/researched discography, the idea seems just plain bad, as the movie Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band once proved. Still, at least she takes the idea and runs with it without looking back, putting it all out there for everyone to see.
Characters are named after the songs, and the songs themselves are interpreted painfully literally, cleverly subversively, and everything in-between. It's enough to make a Beatles fan both cringe and grin, sometimes at the same time. Taymor's method works partially due to the appropriateness of subject matter -- the band's music is interwoven as the sonic texture of a tale that takes place in the turbulent times from which the music itself was born. Thus, the songs illustrate the highs and lows of a group of New York friends who find themselves at first coming together, then having their relationships strained by the presence of the Vietnam War (replace the war with AIDS, and you pretty much have Rent).
Taymor then adds her own special visual layer, so that the look becomes more surreal as the music gets more angry/introspective and the friends' lives become more troubled -- all in all, an ambitious parallel progression that I think she is able to just pull off. I'll go ahead and say it: I'm embarrassed by how much I liked this movie. Simply catching all the Beatles references alone makes me feel like a major Beatles nerd -- but I'm sure it's a feeling I'd be able to share with the zillions of die-hard fans across this rock 'n roll universe. (Capsule review)
(Released by Columbia Pictures and rated "PG-13" for some drug content, nudity, sexuality, violence and language.)
Review also posted at www.windotothemovies.com.