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Chicago Tribune from Chicago, Illinois • 23

Publication:
Chicago Tribunei
Location:
Chicago, Illinois
Issue Date:
Page:
23
Extracted Article Text (OCR)

rufiin riTij, -i mi n- (Diitago (Tribune Friday, June 20, 1980 Section 3 Movie; 'Brothers' a scream, Brubaker a yawn -t 'Blues' a funny, smashing medley of sights, sounds TRIBUNE MINI-REVIEW: Extraordinary "THE BLUES BROTHERS' Otraetad by John Land; wrttlan by On) Aykroyd end Lendle; photographed by Steven M. Keti; edited by George Foktey muele eupotvleed by Ira Newborn; production dMlgn by John J. Lloyd; product by Robert K. Welee; UnhwMl wlnn at the Chicago and outlying theatera. Rated TH1 CAST JoUet Jake John RekjaM I In) terrible financial trouble.

It needs $5,000 to pay its taxes. With eviction only 11 days away, Jake and Elwood decide to put together their old band and perform a benefit. Rounding up the" band takes the boys all over town and earns them a host of enemies, including the Illinois State Police, a country and western band, the Illinois branch of the American. Nazi Party, and a mysterious young woman (Carrie Fisher) who, fortunately, is an inept demolitions expert. Most of these converge on the Daley Center for a spectacular finale that is a masterpiece of comic timing.

"THE BLUES BROTHERS" was directed by John Landis, 29, who has yet to make anything less than a very successful movie. His teen-age market hits include "Shlock," "Kentucky Fried Movie," and his biggie, "Animal House." With "The Blues however, Landis must be included in the ranks of important American directors. This film is a gargantuan undertaking, and it would have been some achievement simply getting it finished. But "The Blues Brothers" is more than a hodge-podge of explosions. It's one of the most incredibly tight big pictures I've seen, countering every explosion with a quiet moment.

And it's technically superb. I saw it at a preview at the Norridge Theater, and the sound separation there was the best I've experienced in Chicago. For example, when the boys visit a pawnbroker (Ray Charles) on 47th Street, the resulting song has Charles' voice popping right on the screen while the backup sound snaps off the back wall speakers. AS FOR AYKROYD and Belushi, they're Continued on following page i By Gene Sisket Movie critic TAKE YOUR PICK: "The Blues Brothers" is the year's best film to date; one of the, all-time great comedies; the best movie ever made in Chicago. All are true, and, boy, is that ever a surprise.

In recent months the advance word on "The Blues Brothers" had been that it was a problem-filled picture, a runaway, megabuck monster fueled by the outsized egos of its principal stars, John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd, formerly of "Saturday Night Live," who apparently turned off a number of people during their stay here. Well, forget manners. "The Blues Brothers" is a flat-out winner, from its opening eerie helicopter shot of the East Chicago steel mills at dawn to its concluding 120 mile-an-hour chase, which piles up a dozen Chicago police cars at the intersection of Lake and La Salle streets. If it sounds like a mere chase picture, that's wrong. "The Blues Brothers" is at once a pure exercise in physical comedy as well as a marvelous tribute to the urban blues sound.

siJW Tribune graphic Elwood Dan Aykroyd mm Cab Calloway Brown Kathlaan Freeman Fleher Bay. Cleophua Slalar Mary Myatary woman Nail leader Cala owrtac Gibaon Franklin Charlee -Steve Lawrence Twiggy John Candy Frank Ol Chic lady Burton ktarcer Corractlona offlcar- the blues by the orphanage's kindly janitor (Cab Calloway). THE FILM OPENS with Jake's being released from the Stateville Prison in Joliet, where he had been serving a 3- to 5-year sentence for armed robbery. (The fool had held up a gas station to pay the band's room-service bill.) Elwood picks up Jake in the "Blues-mobile," a souped-up patrol car that once belonged to the Mt. Prospect Police Department.

And so begins an adventure that will take the boys from Joliet to Calumet City, to the South Side, to Harvey, to West Van Buren Street, to Chez Paul restaurant, to Maxwell Street, to 47th Street, to Park Ridge, to Wauconda, and, finally, at the end of an all-night car chase, to the Daley Center Plaza. What sets this chase in motion is nothing less than "a mission from God." Jake and Elwood learn that their old orphanage is in But that doesn't mean that there aren't a lot of explosions and collisions fantastic explosions and better stunt driving than in "The French Connection" or "Smokey and the Bandit." As for our town, which always has looked great on film, "The Blues Brothers" displays more of the diversity of our metropolitan area than any other film shot FOR THE UNINITIATED, the Blues Brothers Jake and Elwood are a couple of Chicago blues-loving characters dreamed up three years ago by Belushi and Aykroyd as a warmup act for their "Saturday Night Live" audience. The boys dress in black suits, white shirts, black ties, sunglasses, and black hats, and their specialty is dancing as if they were possessed. The response to the characters and their band was so positive during the warmup sessions that "Saturday Night Live" producer Lome Michaels twice asked them to appear as the show's guest musicians during the 1977-78 television season. Those appearances led to a 2.8 million-selling record album, and now, to a $27 million movie.

As we learn in the film, Jake (Belushi) and Elwood (Aykroyd) grew up together at an orphanage, where they were disciplined severely by the head nun, Sister Mary Stigmata (Kathleen Freeman), and educated in Among the highlights of SJummerStage '80 are the Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi as Elwood and Jake. "The Blues Brothers," lead an army or pursuers in a chase that ends ina mob scene (below) at the Daley Center Plaza in Chicago. Ml 1 if i i If 'i' ll JC "CA. "tS 1 alto i WW 'wni-fe' i iiiaaiiiaaakliia iiiniMiiaaliiniiiiril.rt ArfirMar-it-a-it-iiinillilliliiill iililinniM ,1 "irit-LirniiiiiHniiia a iiii i kmmmmm imiin ininiirMaaaainiiinini book sale in Grant Park, Marian McPartland at the First National Plaza jazz concert, performances by the Flying Karamazov Brothers, and food lots of food. Variety SummerStage The Loop takes a day off, just for fun By Howard Reich ON A TYPICALLY frantic Loop shopping day, the loading dock in the roofed alley separating the two Carson Pirie Scott Co.

stores is alive with the sights and sounds of city at work. Trucks' inch their way to the dock, and men heave crates onto the piers and into the store. The musty old dock goes through its workday much as It did when Louis Sullivan's grandiose Carson building was the latest addition to glamorous State Street. The trucks roll in off Monroe Street as shoppers scurry out one set of revolving doors and into another, the street traffic providing constant background noise and endless layers of dust and soot. It's a striking portrait of back-alley commerce in the big city.

The alley, between Wabash Avenue and State Street, is drearily dark, save for a bit of daylight where it joins Monroe Street and a few bare lightbulbs that hang from a cobwebbed ceiling. Red brick walls are vined with rusty wiring; and its floor shows faint signs' of what were once bright yellow parking stripes. Even 19th-century posters still hang here, advertising "Professor Barber's Goose Grease," "John Stephenson's Omnibuses," "Indian Skull Caps," and other souvenirs of a Chicago long gone. The men who work here stand as stocky silhouettes in an old photograph. But then they weave in and out of sight, appearing and reappearing to fetch and haul their cargo.

"Another sizzler," says one. "Too hot for work." "Never too hot for that," the boss answers. BUT WHEN THE DAY is done on Friday, the dock will get dressed up to host one of several events that will make up SummerStage '80, a day-long festival of food and entertainment that will convert the Loop's working environs into urban playgrounds. The Loopfest, which runs throughout Saturday, kicks off here at 11:30 a.m. Once the site hasbeen hosed down and scrubbed, it will be decked out with 40 cafe-style tables, a chic little concession stand serving hot dogs and soft drinks, and a flood of colored balloons.

The 60-foot-long dock will become an upbeat performance stage, with fashion shows and jazzy sounds. And on the Monroe Street entryway, directly across the street from the Palmer House, free balloons will be handed out. Several other Loop hotspots will get into the act. The State Street Mall will become a Renaissance re-creation, with parades and performances by 16th-century impersonators; Daley. Plaza will host big barn music and ballroom dancing; and First National Plaza will become an outdoor jazz den.

In the evening, Columbus' Drive will become Chicago's largest outdoor cafe, featuring 100 tables, plus five food booths manned by some of the city's top restaurants and caterers; and Grant Park will be a performance mecca, with shows by the Flying Karamazov Brothers and the Grant Park Symphony Orchestra. Other spectaculars will include the Chicago Loop Walk sponsored by the Chicago Architecture Foundation and the Book Sale in the Park, a Grant Park extravaganza sponsored by the Friends of the Library and the City of Chicago. HERE'S A DETAILED, chronological schedule for the SummerStage '80 events. Designed primarily to bring Chicagoans back into the Loop, the supershow is sponsored by the Chicago Central Area Committee, in conjunction with the Chicago Council on Fine Arts. State Street Council, Grant Park Concerts, First National Bank, Friends of the Parks, and the Mayor's Office of Special Events.

In case of rain, the event will be Sunday, with identical scheduling. For further information, phone 346-3278. "On the Dock With Gloria," 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.; at the Carsort Pirie Scott Co. loading dock.

The roofed alley will house 40 bistro tables decked with red-and-white-checked tablecloths. Hot dogs will be $1, soft drinks 55 cents, potato chips 30 cents, and old-fashioned popcorn 25 cents a bag. And at 12:15, 12:45, and 1:15 p.m., 12 fashion models will strut the latest in the Gloria Vanderbilt line as part of a fashion show along Carson's 60-foot-long loading dock; The show will be accompanied by Judy Roberts ana her band, and the dock will be dressed up with yellow banners and red and yellow balloons. King Richard's Faire, 1 to 4 p.m.; State Street Mall, from Randolph Drive to Jackson Boulevard. SummerStage '80 has booked this lively troupe of Renaissance-style minstrels, jugglers, and other impersonators who perform each summer at the King Richard's Faire near Kenosha, Wis.

The festivities begin at 1 p.m. with a "Royal Promenade" starting on State Street, between Adams Street and Jackson Boulevard. This Renaissance parade will include brass players, court jesters, jugglers, gymnasts, minstrels, magicians, actors, mimes, king and queen, and Milwaukee's Ring of Steel jousters. The promenade proceeds north on State Street to Randolph Drive, then crosses to the west side of State Street and heads south again to Jackson Boulevard. From 1:30 to 3:30 p.m.

the troupe will break up into 10 separate acts, with performances in various spots along the State Street Mall, from Randolph Drive to Jackson Boulevard. The 10 groups will move to a different storefront every 15 minutes, so that from any single vantage Continued from page 4 Prison drama confined by warden Redfords glamor jt I cs j- i L-r' St b. -9 -r jr 4 CHiCAOl 5 .7 'I La uraVaW i'i CiMaa ST I TRIBUNE MINI-REVIEW: Competent but dreary Wractad by Stuart Roaanbarg; acraanplay by W.O. Rlchtar; pnotographad by Bruno Nuyttan; adltad by Robart Brown; mualc by Lalo SchNrln; producad by Ron SUvarman; a 20th lmury-roi I ralma at tha Camay ka and outlying Inaatara. natad THt CAST DtcklaCoambaa.

Radtotd Kotto Alaxandar HamHton Larry La BuHan. OavM wanar.H Morgan Fraaman Matt Clark aaaaaa TWlt MclfttlF9 Richard Ward PurcaC. Huay Rauch Abraham one of the prisoners. It's nice to see Mr. Cool get involved.

There's another problem what is "Brubaker" really about? We're vaguely aware that it's based on a true story about an Arkansas warden, but that doesn't make the movie any better. It seems that "Brubaker" is simply the story of how one dedicated man (Redford) can change a system until the system decides to fight back. Big deal. All that means is that Redford, with his star power, can affect this movie prison and receive the ultimate liberal's honor at the end of the film the applause of a tough black con (Yaphet Kotto). SANCTIMONIOUS IS one way to describe "Brubaker." It has been competently directed by Stuart Rosenberg Hand who hasn't made a good film in years.

The prison looks striking from the outside, particularly in an oft-repeated shot of its welcoming sign with the year 1903 emblazoned on it as a warning to all who enter that they are about to step back in time. But inside, the "Brubaker" prison is much too neat, too Hollywood. The only unsettling element is Jane Alexander's fine, sophisticated performance as a governor's aide who originally is supportive of Redford in his reforms but who ultimately tries to cover her own butt when he steps on too many toes. Alexander's role as a flawed, pragma- THERE'S LITTLE wrong with "Brubaker" that removing its main star wouldn't cure. Robert Redford stars as Henry Brubaker, a reform-minded penologist who takes over a decrepit Ohio prison only to discover that the state prison system is even more corrupt than its facilities.

The reason Redford should be removed from "Brubaker" has nothing to do with his acting; he plays his role as earnestly as possible. But we never believe him in his role. His golden head sticks out like a sore thumb, signaling "Brubaker" as nothing more than a routine Hollywod prison picture with all the usual trappings young boys being raped by big men, black prisoners who are more interesting than the whites, and mentally defective guards who kick the hell out of everybody. Also, there's a Big secret about some hidden graves on prison property. But Redford is simply too glamorous for his role.

For example, the film begins dramatically enough with Redord arriving undercover at the prison, masquerading as one of the convicts. He spends the first 40 minutes of the film in prison clothes watching the corruption firsthand as he sees prisoners bribe the barber not to get short haircuts and bribe the lunch hall servers to get special meals. He also witnesses cruel and unusual punishments, the wholesale theft of prison food, and the rape of a new inmate. FRANKLY, A RATHER tasteless thought crossed my mind during these scenes. With all of the rape' going on, why is it that no one puts the make on Redford? Now that would have indicated that "Brubaker" was really serious about its subject, and that Redford was, too.

But, no, he stands above it all, and that's why the horrible nature of what's going on in "Brubaker" never seems very real. The film Is not sloppy enough, not dangerous enough, not frantic enough. Instead, it's neat and clean around it's big star, and, frankly, every threat to him comes off as a temporary irritant. The closest Redford comes to appearing real is when he shoots -x miry: Mt Robert Redford as an undercover prison warden in A star who's too glamorous for his role in a movie that's too "neat" to be credible. tic woman is refreshing in films today, in to see in the summer is an earnest which most female characters are either sex prison reform picture starring Robert Red-bombs or goody-goodies.

ford. Maybe in the fall, but not now. Finally, there's the questionable wisdom Sidrl of Twentieth Century-Fox making tfK" "Brubaker" a summer release. I don't know Gem Siskel regularly reviews the movie about you, but about the last kind of movie I scene at 5 and 10 p.m. on Channel 2 News.

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