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PostHeaderIcon Michael Jackson Movie, a Thriller

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Why did I see the Michael Jackson movie “This Is It”? Two reasons: the music and this mysterious person named Orianthi. I had never heard of Ori, as she is called, but the buzz on the movie Web site said she is one of the best female guitarists of all time. I had to find out.

I saw this film early on a Saturday evening and the crowd was small but really into it. I was really into it. The documentary is about the making of Jackson’s elaborate summertime stage show that never took place because of the 50-year-old’s untimely death.

The film completely surpassed my expectations, both in terms of the performances captured during rehearsals, and the insights it provided into the creative process of a man who still had nearly all the talent and musical ability he displayed twenty years ago.

The film focuses on Jackson as he rehearses and refines his show on stage. It is not watered down with a lot of interviews from the supporting cast, as I had feared. It is edited so that the audience effectively gets to see a series of complete, uninterrupted songs. It’s almost like you are part of a small, private concert.

One of the things that really impressed me was how in control Jackson was. You can feel the tension increase as he instructs his music director about how to refine his keyboarding style and sound. Jackson is instructive but non-threatening. It’s clear that the king of pop knows what he wants and how to get it.

The movie shows that several new music videos were to be played behind the pop icon as he performed on stage. The videos are included in the movie and one of my favorites puts Jackson in an old black-and-white movie where he is nearly gunned down by one of the most well-known actors of all time, and after flirting with a few well-known actresses of the same era. I won’t spoil it by telling you their names.

In the movie, Jackson dances, twists, shakes his head and struts with such agility that he doesn’t just keep up with the back up dancers-- who are the best of the best in the world --he leads them. I was awed by his talent, and surprised that he really still had it.

So what about Orianthi, that great female guitarist?  She is among the best, and played a few very impressive solos on camera. This film is currently playing at the Cerrito Theater, one of my favorite theaters in the East Bay. It is still fairly new and small, and has couches and tables and a variety of food and beverages. It's also close to BART. "This Is It" is playing at the Cerrito Theater (www.cerritotheater.org) but not for long. Check it out.--MA

Markus Allen is a Bay Area writer and now the owner of the "This is It" soundtrack.

Last Updated (Monday, 04 October 2010 18:56)


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