16 January 2009 | tedg
Gen Y Rat Why
Sometimes a filmed concert takes on a cinematic quality and can be considered a bona fide film. That happened for me with "Last Waltz" and "Stop making Sense."
This does as well, but for completely different reasons. Superficially it is a concert by an earnest man, an energetic performer, a manufactured personality and a moderately competent singer. He's uninteresting to my eye.
The songs are from the Frank Sinatra era, previously sung by the man and his gang. The arrangements are actually quite brilliant, both referencing the brassy Las Vegas style of the 50s and adding a fuller more modern sound. That's the basis of this whole thing, the arrangements conducted by the arranger.
Its as if that came first, the girl dancers second and the singer third. Oh, those girls. The dual existence, past and modern is more stark in their case. They have that 50s Sinatra existence of being disposable pleasure toys, but they are stronger sexually than he would have tolerated. There are some skits where they turn down Robbie's invitations for sex.
So, Ted, what makes this cinematic? Its the reference to the rat pack, which is made both implicitly and by huge images of them. In one case, Robbie sings the first half of a song and then Frank on film transported from the past finishes it. Its carefully done, all of it, to make the concert not just a concert, but something that inherits the legends and references of that crowd. Since the rat pack defined themselves cinematically, the result is a concert folded into a film world.
Its a clever idea. Too bad he just isn't up to it. In fact that song that has him first and Sinatra second makes him seem pale in comparison, despite his obvious commitment.
I'm going to give this a two because the idea is so clever and the arrangements and girls are folded.
Ted's Evaluation -- 2 of 3: Has some interesting elements.