The Blues Brothers (DVD)

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The Blues Brothers (DVD)

In roles made famous by their famed SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE skit, Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi star as Ellwood and Jake Blues in this extremely entertaini...

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Review of "The Blues Brothers (DVD)"

published 29/04/2010 | pmcds
Member since : 07/11/2005
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Pro The whole thing ( love the music!)
Cons Nothing
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"Bend over, let me see you shake a tail feather!"

In the late 1970s, comedians Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi brought a new sketch to the Saturday Night Live show that has been producing comedian actors by the bucketload for a number of years. The sketch was two men who dressed in black suits, with black ties, white shirts, black hats and sunglassess. They liked blues music and called themselves the Blues Brothers.

A few years later, the sketch became a film, released to rapturous reception, and has become the second highest grossing film to come from a Saturday Night Live sketch, losing out only to Wayne's World. Aykroyd and Belushi took the leading roles as Elwood and Jake Blues, and the bevy of characters used in the band on stage also took the big screen themselves.

The plot takes up with Jake emerging from Joliet Correctional Facility (earning him the nickname Joliet Jake) to an awaiting Elwood, picking him up in an old police car. The two of them then decide that, due to the money they owe, they need to gather their blues band back together again for one last tour to raise the money. This follows them taking a trip to their local church (James Brown playing the preacher) and Jake seeing the light. The film then progresses as they set off on a musical adventure to regroup the band and play their last gig.

The magic of Aykroyd and Belushi shows throughout as they rarely bat an eyelid at anything that happens (not that we'd see because of the sunglasses, which never come off!). Mini adventures along the way make things interesting, and I liked the way that various stars were given the chance to get a cameo. Twiggy, Aretha Franklin, Ray Charles, James Brown, Frank Oz, and Cab Calloway (brilliant Minny The Moocher from him) all get the chance, and I liked the way the balance of the magic of a promised huge end gig teeters with the fact that the brothers actually start getting chased by the law right from earlier on.

By the end of the film, the band have a whole host of people after them, but it's the way they are undeterred in delivering this one special gig that makes the film worth it. The scenes that get you there feature some great music, such as Aretha Franklin singing 'Freedom' and Ray Charles giving us a roaring rendition of 'Shake A Tail Feather'. But it's the music at the gig that is the best, with 'Everybody Needs Somebody', and the well quoted intro, where Elwood thanks everyone for turning up, including the aforementioned police, that makes it magic, and I found myself singing along and remembering most of the dialogue, let alone the songs.

The acting is good throughout, and the direction from John Landis is made to look like the easiest job in the world, due to the musical love throughout the film. No doubt Landis worked his usual magic to make this film flow as easily as it does, and the brilliant car chase scenes must have needed a good deal of control and practice before perfecting, and it's this apparent ease that Landis is good at portraying. The fact that Belushi and Aykroyd are on hand to provide undeterred cool from start to finish is a huge plus point, and the whole film is just really enjoyable.

The comedy element is present throughout, not just with the presence of some funny acting or some situational comedy, but with the slapstick comedy that Aykroyd seemed to be so good at, with films like Dragnet not a million miles away in difference. You find yourself laughing at points, and even when there's a lot of chasing and guns firing, it never seems to be tense or too serious - there's always that comedy edge. Not surprising seeing as the film is based on a sketch from one of the most famous comedy shows in the world.

I urge you to watch this. The soundtrack is awesome, and the film doesn't require a huge deal of concentration, as it has a basic plot that isn't made complicated by any unnecessary extra additions. A bevy of stars, some great music and a couple of hours of fun. Great stuff, and highly recommended.

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Comments on this review

  • KarenUK published 30/04/2010
    It's a great film. I should really get it on DVD.
  • sparkles29 published 29/04/2010
    I agree. Good film. AWESOME soundtrack!
  • plipplopfromdooyoo published 29/04/2010
    I'm afraid I just didn't *get* this film - it was all way over my head!
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In roles made famous by their famed SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE skit, Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi star as Ellwood and Jake Blues in this extremely entertaining and successful comedy. Upon Jake's release from prison, the brothers are reunited and visit the orphanage they grew up in--only to discover that it is in danger of being shut down by the county for failure to pay taxes. With a little help from James Brown as a revival preacher, the Blues Brothers are divinely inspired to raise the $5,000 that the orphanage needs to stay open. On their mission from God, they must reunite their old band and raise the money by playing various gigs around town. The wild adventures of the band include dodging evil neo-Nazis, playing in a rowdy redneck bar, and narrowly escaping the crazed Carrie Fisher as Jake's ex-fiancee, who is out to see him dead. Finally, the boys have to get to a gig at the Palace Hotel Ballroom and deliver the $5,000 to the county assessor's office--leading to one of the most wild and hysterical car-chase smashups in film history. John Landis has spiced this wonderful romp with fabulous rhythm-and-blues numbers from such greats as Aretha Franklin, James Brown, Cab Calloway, and Ray Charles.


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