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Across the Universe

By Cyril Pearl -- Video Business, 1/14/2008

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Dinner and a screening
To celebrate the Feb. 12 DVD release of Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner 40th Anniversary Edition, Sony held a film screening at the Armand Hammer Museum in Los Angeles on Feb. 11.
Celebrating Jane Austen
The stars of The Jane Austen Book Club greeted fans at Barnes & Noble at The Grove in Los Angeles on Feb. 5.
Warner's 85th anniversary party
Warner Home Video launched a retail event to celebrate it's 85th anniversary with a party on the studio's lot on Feb. 5.


Street: Feb. 5
Prebook: now
> Colorful ’60s love story set to the music of The Beatles.

Film and theater director Julie Taymor’s (Frida, Titus) star-crossed musical love story between Liverpool dockworker Jude (Jim Sturgess) and American suburbanite Lucy (Evan Rachel Wood) is set against the colorful backdrop of the ’60s and all the evolving counter-culture with which the decade has always been associated. The music comes in the form of some 30-plus Beatles classics, which are covered by the leading players and a collection of guest stars, including Eddie Izzard, Joe Cocker, Salma Hayek and Bono, whose version of “I Am the Walrus” is one of the film’s highlights. In a sense, Across the Universe is a very polished, extended music video that contains many notable peaks but also its share of uninspired valleys. It’s a generally positive and undeniably imaginative confection by Taymor, who is frequently at the height of her powers as she unleashes a creative amalgam of effects, animation, puppets, costumes, masks and good old-fashioned singing and dancing.

Shelf Talk: Though Wood and Sturgess are up-and-comers, they’re not strong enough to sell Across the Universe, and neither are the cameos by Bono, Cocker and others. After Taymor’s dedicated, but relatively small fan base checked it out theatrically, the bulk of the film’s modest box-office take was generated by a young female teen audience, and they’re your best word-of-mouth target market to generate business. Of course, The Beatles’ enduringly popular catalog also is a strong selling point. Those not in the know might be drawn by the striking cover art of the young lovers framed in an impressionistic painting of a strawberry.

Musical, color, PG-13 (mature themes, violence, language, nudity, sexual situations, drug use), 133 min., DVD $28.96, BD $38.96, PSP $24.94
Extras: director/composer’s commentary, eight extended musical numbers, deleted scene, five featurettes
Director: Julie Taymor
First Run: W, Sept. 2007, $24.3 mil.

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