Sunday, June 08, 2008

Michael and Mika

Mike and I recently discovered Netflix, and love it, because it's perfect. Yes, that's right: perfect. Suddenly remember the name of that movie you'd wanted to see a couple years back? Add it to your queue, and it's in the mail. For us, they come once a week like clockwork. Best thing since MP3 players.

Our latest movie is Michael Clayton, a famous and recent movie that I knew next to nothing about. I must admit that I was disappointed. Perhaps it had been too long a day for me, but I did not find this movie to be particularly thrilling and it certainly did not have a unique plot.

The beginning monologue spoken by Tom Wilkinson's character got me interested, and his performance was the best thing about this flick. Also, the way the plot was divided in half and shown in flashback added intrigue, since I had to keep watching just to figure out what on earth was going on. If this story had been told chronologically, I might have fallen asleep.

Tilda Swinton certainly gave a good performance, though the best scenes she had were practicing interviews in the mirror while getting dressed. She really wasn't on the scene that much, and I didn't feel that I got to know her very well.

George Clooney had the most screen time, of course. Lest anyone think I'm too harsh on Clooney: I like him, and think he's smart and charming and good-looking, and I like that he's trying to make meaningful movies, but he's a movie star, not a serious actor. I was surprised that he was nominated for an Oscar, and I still am--he's done such a fabulous job in other types of movies, but I don't think he added to this one.

Bottom line: Michael Clayton is entertaining, but don't expect the earth to move.

- George Clooney
ARTHUR EDENS - Tom Wilkinson
KAREN CROWDER - Tilda Swinton
MARTY BACH - Sydney Pollack
MR GREER - Denis O'Hare
MRS GREER - Julie White
HENRY CLAYTON - Austin Williams
IVY - Jennifer Van Dyck

Why haven't I ever heard of Mika? In my quest to find super-catchy music to lift my spirits and make me more energetic, I've listened to all kinds of radio stations, but I found Mika on the internet. Evidently, he's a sensation all over Europe, but he's not getting any airtime here. A young man with a great voice and already in possession of his own style, Michael (Mica) Holbrook Penniman was born on August 18, 1983 in Beirut, Lebanon to a Lebanese mother and an American father, and grew up in London. His latest CD, titled Life in Cartoon Motion, definitely harkens back to the 1970's pop and bubblegum style, and is quite infectious, a word which in this case means, you'll want to keep singing along with him for long periods of time until you finally get tired and take a nap.

The song Grace Kelly is the first track, a wonderfully endearing song that shows off Mika's impressive vocal range. On the subject of its lack of American airplay, Mika had this to say:

"It’s very simple. I didn’t get radio support in the States with “Grace Kelly,” even though it was number one in most territories around the world, probably in the top two or three songs in the world by radio play in every single country. I heard from a [U.S.] radio station a couple of months ago, and the programmer’s excuse was, “It’s because he says he wants to be like a woman. He has the line where he says he wants to be like Grace Kelly, and we just don’t feel comfortable with this song.” And then when it got to “Love Today,” and we tried to get radio to play it they said, “Impossible -- it’s a man singing in the vocal range of the woman.” It’s kind of depressing, really. It’s just confusing. But I see the humor of it. Far more people are listening to me online than are listening on radio and, quite frankly, that’s the contact I’m quite comfortable with at the moment, because it means I can sell tickets to my live shows."

There you have it: The American Music Establishment believes that Mika is bad for our teenagers. I suppose the song Lollipop, with its unmistakable bubblegum, double entendre lyrics," suckin' too hard on your lollipop, oh, love's gonna get you down..." is simply out of the question!

Anyway, though, Mika's lots of fun, even though he can be corny and campy and employ some annoying sound effects and intrusive dialog. He's worth it. And, incidentally, the retro cover for his CD is his sister's creation.

If you get curious, go to YouTube! I think every single one of the songs on this CD is there.

Grace Kelly
My Interpretation
Love Today
Relax (Take it Easy) um, no, this is not Frankie Goes to Hollywood
Ring Ring
Any Other World
Billy Brown
Big Girl (You Are Beautiful)
Stuck in the Middle
Happy Ending

Over and out for now:)


Doug said...

I love Netflix and I agree that its perfect for me. I reall enjoy following the blockbuster I missed with a silent movie the early soviet union. I liked Michael Clayton better than it sounds like you did but I thought Tilda Swinton was worse than I've ever seen her. The trembling victim in her last scene was right out of bad community theater.

Ariel the Thief said...

I so agree with you on Clooney. He is amusing until he starts trying to act like an artist. I blame him for spoiling 2 movies of the Coen brothers. :-)

robertina said...

got your blog about MIKA through Google alert, so don't worry, this is not spam!
come and find more about Mika, the artist and the man, at
we are his fanclub, he purchased our amatorial site and made his own.
we are a good community of decent ppl!!
come and check!
i'm happy you liked his album and i read what you wrote very carefully (about the US market too).
glad you enjoyed his album.

Doug said...

Ariel, truly, I thought he was great in Intolerable Cruelties. So I'd say he ruined one Coen brothers' movie.

TLP said...

George is cute, that's for sure. Your Aunt Doris and I went to see Solaris just to see his butt. The movie was terrible, but the butt's okay. (But Doris got to cross that off her bucket list.)