Page 8 Wednesday, July 10, 1985
'Cocoon' is a heck of a half of a movie
By Richard Campbell
A MOVIE IS an incredibly
difficult thing to make. The sim-
plest close-up requires gangs of.
people working behind the scenes, all
holding their collective breath during
the five-second reaction shot.
To even get a film considered,
bankrolled, and scheduled for
production is a prodigous feat. The
time between original conception and
final draft of a screenplay is usually
years and sometimes decades.
After all of this, it seems wisest to
count our silver screen blessings
while we can and accept the few
decent and sincere films that may
happen to come our way during the
But it is perhaps our over-
eagerness to expect the best from new
and old talent that clouds our vision
and disappoints the most. Because
for all its youthful wit and elegance of
character, and for all its warm sun-
sets and visions of a new dawn, the
only thing wrong with Cocoon is that it
is simply not good enough.
On the good side, what sets Cocoon
apart from so many other visitor-
from-outer space pictures good and
bad, is that the first two-thirds of the
film has nothing to do with spaceships
and extra-terrestrials. It concerns, in
fact, what the best science-fiction has
always been concerned with: human
beings, not light sabres.
The carefully crafted beginning
centers on four retired couples living
out their twilight years on the coast of
Florida. They gripe and moan about
their age in general and the lack of
Bianconi shines with
By Bianconi a chance to show his
By eil Galanter abilities with music from his
T UESAY EENIN Jul 2nd homeland.
T hm.UESDAY EVENING July 2nd, Ravel's Miroirs was his French
pianist Philippe Bianconi, a vehicle. Miroirs is literally
silver medalist in the recent Van "Mirrors," suggesting images, and
Cliburn Piano competition, took the Bianconi portrayed the various
stage at Rackham Auditorium, images in this contrasting set super-
Bianconi donated a recital to this bly.
summer's 2nd Annual Summer His playing swirled and swam
Festival and for the most part was a with lush impressionism. The colors
strong success. produced in each varying movement
For the first half of his program locked in perfectly with the ap-
the pianist played Haydn's C Major propriate titles. Bells rang with a
Sonata (Hob. XVI/50) and the tingle in "La Vallee des cloches,"
Brahm's Fantasy Pieces Opus 116. and his "Alborada del Gracioso"
His Haydn drew the audience's ad- was a rich Spanish soup, with Bian-
miration. Sparkling arpeggios and coni delineating all the colors of the
crystalline articulations contributed Spanish piece from a hat dance to a
to what was a clear and vivid inter- "siesta." Especially enthralling
pretation of the work. His ex- were his glissandos, which glided
pressivity was satisfyingly apparent and sailed smoothly across the keys.
as he took adequate time in all the The only weak point in the recital
appropriate areas of the piece. seemed to be his closing work,
There was a sprightly playfulness in Prokofiev's Sonata in A Minor Opus
the finale and Haydn seemed to 28. This is one of the shorter Sonatas
pounce, bounce, and shake subtitled "From Old Notebooks."
throughout. Although the piece does have many
The Brahm's Fantasias Opus 116 jagged qualities, at many points
is a group of pieces that alternates throughout the score Bianconi
storming Cappriccios with seemed to be excessive with those
emotional and introspective Inter- characteristics.
mezzi. His Capriccios were Things rounded off to a good
emotionally stormy and had dif- finish. Two encores, the DeBussy
ferent characters contrasted well. "Feux D'Artifice," and a Schumann
There were many gentle and Romance proved successful. There
pleasing moments in his Intermezzi was glistening personality in the
with Bianconi highlighting the Fireworks of the DeBussy, with
melting harmonies that Brahms clarity and continuity.
uses throughout his scores. Naturally, Bianconi seemed more
Bianconi's demonstration of at home with the French music that
technical ability on the Fantasias he played, and his ability to show the
was also commendable. When lavish qualities that impressionistic
wishing for a loud strong tonal music has is laudable.
quality from his chords, he elicits His silver medal in the com-
full rich timbre, without the harsh petition entitles him to a hefty cash
bangy quality that many pianists prize, but most importantly, 30 mon-
end up with in similar circumstan- ths of concert activity that will give
ces. him the chance to grow even more
The last half of the program gave asa pianist and musician.
understanding each of them receives
from society and their loved ones.
But all this quickly changes as
Walter, our alien friend charmingly
played by Brian Dennehy, comes
back to our planet to rescue a dozen or
so of his crew members who were
trapped under the ocean in long-lost
Atlantis. Walter eventually finds his
mates, and puts them, carefully
hibernating in barnacle-encrusted
cocoons, into the swimming pool of a
As luck (and Hollywood) would
have it, this happens to be the same
pool that three of our elderly leading
men have been sneaking into for daily
But with the life-giving force from
the cocoons, each of our aging heros
find that he no longer feels old, tired,
and sexually over the hill. During the
courseof their new found vitality,
they discover that the magic of youth
brings forth fresh memories as sweit
as re-awakening past folly.
Played by an excellent cast, in-
cluding Don Ameche, Wilford
Brimley, Hume Cronyn, Jack Gilford,
Maureen Stapleton, Jessica Tandy,
Gwen Verdon, and Herta Ware,
Cocoon is something of an enigma:
the latest box-office smash from
cinema's most recent wunderkind
concerns the life and loves of an octet
Director Ron Howard demonstrates
clearly that he has a firm handle on
fantasy film-making, as well as 'alter, a friendly alien played by r
deafeating the notion that the 14-24 Guttenberg in order to search for me
year-old movie audiences of today Atlantis in Ron Howard's latest fant
will sit still only for music-video-
Howard's previous picture, Splash, existence on earth; life without end or
was a better film than this first big- life that ends; fantasy made real or
budget effort, Night Shift. The unadorned reality. It is unfortunate
modern-day mermaid in Manhattan that the final tally in the film is over-
movie brought back a sense of the whelmingly, albeit understandably,
fantasy films of the '40s and '50s and in favor of one of these ideas (I'll try
made many eagerly await his next and not disclose the film's answer to
work. Although his technical vir- the dilemma). The film's final half-
tuosity and character handling is hour is therefore filled with soaring
definitely on a level with Spielberg, music and vibrant effects, but empty
what is disappointing is the lack of of any drama of intellectual interest.
any well-thought out conclusion to the Other similarly structured fan-
film's first hour and ahalf. tasies concluded with some sort of
At the basis of the dramatic climax twist - Richard Dreyfuss finding
in any story is the confrontation bet- himself sane and chosen at the end of
ween two major opposing character Close Encounters or Henry Thomas
or ideas. In Cocoon, the conflict is growing up and deciding to stay on
between new hope among the stars or Earth at the end of E.T. Cocoon, on
a more mundane and conclusive the other hand, has only a predictable
rian Dennehy, rents a boat from Steve
embers of his crew who are trapped in
asy film, 'Cocoon.'
climax followed by a relentlessly or-
There is in Cocoon a sketchily writ-
ten sub-plot which concerns one of our
hero's relationship with his grandson.
At the beginning of the film, the child
is scared of the world for some reason
and at the film's end, he is suddenly
cured of his fears. How this connects,
with the rest of the movie is never
Movies, of course, are much more
than flat images flickering on a
distant wall and so I am honestly en-
vious of those who can see more in
Cocoon than a simple story with no
ending. But given the usual quality of
mall movie, we can all be grateful of
at least half od a good picture..
R r . s year. The product is not really a member of
D.C. 3-This is Dez says the band started out as either genre.
the Dream (SST) "a concept - a group of friends get- This is the Dream is a concept
IshthreeaSSTrBting together in the studio to record an record in pretty much the old sense of
Is there life after Black Flag? Up album in the style of the records that the term. Yes, I know, since 1974 it's
until now the mysterious disap- used to excite us when we were young been all too chic to be snootily
pearances of former members of the like Deep Purple's Machine Head, disdainful of anything that isn't
Los Angeles band from the music Captain Beyond, Humble Pie, Moun- somehow danceable, and to lower
scene might lead you to believe that tain ..." While the album does have one's attention span to four minutes,
there isn't. But now former Flaggie a throwback feel, the musicians are and to complain that while Sgt. Pep-
Dez Cadena had gathered a bunch of still quasi-hardcore musicians. The per is good, what it spawned isn't.
his cronies including producer Spot to result is one of the most successful Generally bands have to make a
create DC. 3. The result is one of the melds of thrash with the dinosaur
most exciting debut records of the rock of the late '60s and early '70s. See RECORDS, Page 9