Sunday, 20 December 2015

REVIEW: A VERY MURRAY CHRISTMAS

4/5

Scrooged In Translation.

56 Minutes. Starring: Bill Murray, Paul Shaffer, Chris Rock, Miley Cyrus, Michael Cera, David Johansen, Rashida Jones, Jason Schwartzman, Jenny Lewis, Amy Poehler, Maya Rudolph & George Clooney. Director: Sofia Coppola.

Let it Bill, let it Bill, let it Bill! There is no one in Hollywood quite like the maverick Murray and this yuletide season wont feel like a 'Groundhog Day' of not kick starting your Christmas shopping or struggling to get into the spirit thanks to Bill's jingles for your bells. Now the legend that made movies like 'Scrooged' and 'Lost In Translation' classics mixes the two for a perfect Christmas cocktail for those feeling lonesome at the bar and in need of spirit this December 25th. Streaming Netflix with a variety Christmas special, directed by 'Godfather Part III' actress Sofia Coppola, who brought the love and loneliness out of Tokyo and Murray back when this icon was even big in Japan, even the most popular cult celebrity in the world has the 'Christmas Blues' and he's singing it all poignantly and perfectly beautifully. Aching, but a long way away from dull, this is a soulful mediation to all we have love and lost in this time that brings everyone together no matter how far apart. This musical comedy film brings an epic ensemble of A listers from cinemas and concerts for quite the gig. But at the end of your advent calender's eve it's still a Murray Christmas guaranteed to give you the happiest of New Years. So join us and have yourself a Murray and merry one.

Baby it's cold outside, but you really must stay for this fairytale in New York as Murray makes it warmer than relaxing, 'Santori' times whiskey this Winterime in the snowed in classic Carlyle Hotel in NYC. Somber tones may run throughout this fictional show that Bill is trying to put on in the Big Apple, but just like the Oscar winning 'Birdman' there is unexpected virtue here in the form of hopeful inspiration not ignorance or woe. Sleet may sheet the window of this isolated leading mans loneliness but the woodgrain polished look of the Bemelmans bar and it's roaring fireplace inside takes your coat and holds your hands that are just like ice. This mini-film is funny, forthright, dramatic and damn delightful...oh and between all that acting there's some singing too. But you best believe this musical is big numbers to your ears. As Murray moves Christmas classic after Christmas classic to his pace, much like the atmospheric and magic, smoky and smoldering 'A Very She And Him Christmas' album. As a matter of fact the only thing this old boy is missing is 'New Girl' Zooey Deschanel. Although 'She's Not Me' of last years 'The Voyager' fame singer Jenny Lewis is on hand as a wonderful waitress for when there are no cabs to be had out there next to French group Phoenix. And how about legendary Letterman sidekick and musical director Paul Shaffer who brings the biggest and best out of backing everyone, especially the jingle 'Wrecking Ball' of Miley Cyrus atop his snow white piano? Inspiring in interpreting 'Silent Night' into her own holy beauty you forgot she was this crazy good when she sings classically...just like Gaga 'Cheek To Cheek' with Tony Bennett this lady.

No wonder the 'Party In The U.S.A.' singer that can't be tamed whether it's a Hannah Montana special or a Christmas one like 'The Night Before' is up in the arms of a tux, Rat Pack double act of Murray and Clooney. And by George does this guy and Bill make for one Sinatra and Dino pairing preparing the Christmas drinks. To be frank Clooney hasn't looked this great and relaxed in years. Looking like his old Cary Grant self, did you forget how funny this practical joker was backing up the worlds most hilariously offbeat actor (he and Bill even take the mick out of their unfairly underrated 'Monuments Men' movie thanks to a hilarious exchange with on-screen geek turned douche Michael Cera) and dancing with a plastic Douglas Fir for your new fondest, seasons greetings memory banks? Still even with one the biggest Hollywood names on the planet on the Bill, Bill still gets by with a little help from his famous friends. From Quincy's daughter Rashida Jones to Tina Fey's 'Sister' Amy Poehler. Or one of Wes Anderson's favorites Jason Schwartzman or another of Bill's old friends, New York Doll and Ghost Of Christmas past 'Scrooged' star David Johansen. But what's Christmas without Rudolph as 'Bridesmaid' Maya shows just how great she can sing as well makes us all shout with red nose and faced laughter? All these stars yet the best duet bar the fondly funny 'Do You Hear What I Hear' one with 'Top Five' king of comedy Chris Rock is the reuniting one with Francis Ford's daughter herself. Coppola and Murray need to make something like this a timely tradition, because this slow burner, more than a decade in the Scarlet karaoke nights (where's 'Her' in all this guys? 'Lucy' can sing!) of the Far East removed is like chestnuts to the open fire. And here with a love song to the letter homage to the big name, Saturday night, bright light, live shows of the big city of New York, variety here is the cinnamon spice of this festive life. To you all watching and listening and streaming a very Murray Christmas. TIM DAVID HARVEY.

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