30 Thursday, 29 October 2009 London Lite I f Michael Jackson had lived to play The o2 shows, This is it would probably have ended up as just another rarely watched extra on disc two of the inevitable live concert dvd package. after all, who would have been bothered with the rehearsals if theyd just watched two hours of what was clearly going to be a flamboyant show? The early indicators were not too promising either. Just four months after Jackos death, kenny ortega, a choreographer and director famous only for the high school Musical franchise, has completed a movie stitched together from 120 hours of rehearsal footage from this spring, as Jackson, his dancers, his band and his crew prepared for 50 shows in london. and this hot on the heels of the sloppy accompanying cd of the same name. surely This is it was going to stink of necrophilia, money-grubbing and opportun- ism and would not be any kind of tribute to Jackson? There is indeed a heavy whiff of dosh-chasing and a measure of ghoulishness about this ven- ture but, remarkably, and probably totally by accident, ortega has managed to stumble upon what seems to be a central and reveal- ing truth about Jackson -- he was only ever really engaged with the world when he was performing or making music. The Jackson of This is it is smart, focused and driven. he leads the dancers, musicians and singers through every song -- asking for a bit of sizzle here and some simmering there. These are my songs, he says at one point, i know how the audience wants to hear them. ortega who, as well as directing the filming, is also in charge of the stage show, is reduced to saccharine sycophancy. i love you, Michael, he simpers at one point. i love you too, murmurs Jackson unconvincingly. This isnt the distracted, lost Jackson of countless interviews. crucially, ortega has resisted the temptation to resort to cheap sentimentality: there are no trite homilies or tear-sodden wailings. instead, were treated to the songs, performances of which are clearly woven together from multiple takes (a curiously inert Billie Jean being the exception) yet capture Jackos swooping voice and often extraordinary dancing -- though im not sure about the spanking he indulges in on human nature. There are failings. The song selection is odd: theres only a brief, exhilarating snatch of one tune (dont stop til You Get enough) from his best album, off The Wall, while treacly, earnest earth song swallows up what feels like an hour. But these would have been shortcomings of a live show, too. at least we get to see Jackson when he was truly happy -- preparing to play to his fans. REVIEWSCINEMA Michael Jackson--This Is It Cert PG, 111 minsHHHII Thisisnothriller ...butitsnotbadREVIEW BY PAUL CONNOLLY Thecredit crunchers Lock,Stock The egg-timers running for Nick Kane (Tamer hassan), an ex-con forced to resort to grubby tactics when his loan shark (hip hops keenest but blandest thesp, 50 Cent) gives him 24 hours to pay back 100 grand lent in flusher days, before the bankers little booboo. Danny Dyer sidles up to hassans more serious Nick as Bing, a cheeky, wide boy comedy foil; the two drive about in a stolen taxi, trying to get the cash before Nicks wheelchair-bound old mum (a winningly low-key Brenda Blethyn) cops it. The boys skip from the dogs to the crack dens to the woods to the members clubs, turning tricks on a reasonably rollicking but utterly tried-and-tested criminal Challenge Anneka. Its a sort of downgrade Lock, Stock... for a credit crunch generation, packed full of dialogue aiming for Pulp Fiction stature but resulting in banter which, like Fiddys music, thinks its sexier than it really is. MARthA dE LACEY Glitz: David (Peter Sarsgaard) and Jenny (Carey Mulligan) Riteofpassagehasrealclass An Education Cert12A,100minsHHHHH Alsoshowing... sTarsuckers, a documentary about our obsession with celebrities, is terrifying, albeit very one- sided. The eagerness of parents to push their kids into the limelight and the fact that lithuanias second- biggest political party is composed entirely of celebrities will depress even the jolliest of star- followers. LAUREN PAxMAN Starsuckers Cert 12A, 103 mins HHHII 9 Cert 12A, 79 mins HHIII The Horsemen Cert 18, 90 mins HIIII forensic expert aidan Breslin (dennis Quaid) decides that a series of mutilated corpses may be connected to the Bible passage about the four horsemen of the apocalypse. do we care? not a jot: this is pure piffle. PC Who needs arnie as The Terminator when you have a few sock puppets with attitude to save the planet? 9 tells the familiar story of technology taking over the world and destroying humanity in a visually arresting manner, but with a terrible script (technology has been the ruin of us). PC Making moves: Jackson in action Dyer Brit flick: Bing (Danny Dyer) Dead Man Running Cert 15, 90 mins HHIII IN ThIS thoroughly delightful British film, adapted by Nick hornby from journalist Lynn Barbers memoir of the early Sixties, Jenny (Carey Mulligan) is already the smartest, most confident student in her class. her immediate aim is to be accepted to Oxford, an ambition she shares with her overbearing father Jack (Alfred Molina), a lower-middle class penpusher in Twickenham. But Jenny knows theres more to life than studying and competing. She needs an education in real life -- in art, dazzling nightlife, music and, well, having fun. This is where David (Peter Sarsgaard), a glamorous thirty-something wheeler-and-dealer, comes in, with his flash motor, fancy friends and fondness for young girls with a hunger for life. Of course, these days an older man hanging round the school gates waiting for a 16-year-old girlfriend would be run off by outraged parents with blazing torches and pitchforks, but Jennys nave, impressionable folks are wowed by Davids charm and she swans off with him for weekends in Oxford and Paris. Perhaps predictably, David is too good to be true and their romance is but a brief, phosphorescent flame. however, director Lone Scherfig refuses to punish Jenny for her dalliance with glitz and decadence, instead establishing it as a valuable part of growing up. Jenny may return to her studies but she does so a fuller, more complete person. Mulligan is bewitching -- though her voice is a little too deep to convince as a 16-year-old -- but Molinas scared, loving father is the powerhouse of this funny, wise and moving film. PC IN&OUttONIGht FILMS Celebrity dreams: Starsuckers index.html2.html3.html4.html5.html6.html7.html8.html9.html10.html11.html12.html13.html14.html15.html16.html17.html18.html19.html20.html21.html22.html23.html24.html25.html26.html27.html28.html29.html30.html31.html32.html33.html34.html35.html36.html37.html38.html39.html40.html41.html42.html43.html