Alex Reynolds Reviews “Bad Education”

BAD EDUCATION

With big screen movie houses shuttered by the big bad bug intruding on our normal lives, Hugh Jackman’s latest film premiered on the home screen (HBO).

“Bad Education” shows Jackman as a baddy in one of his more impressive roles. Shedding his “Wolverine” and other tough guy characters, the multi-talented actor emerges as the manipulative superintendent of a Long Island school system.

Based on actual events, the story, adapted from a fascinating article in New York Magazine, outlines how Dr. Frank A. Tassone masterminded a scandal that rocked the Roslyn High School in Long Island. Civic pride was bubbling by the high school’s rising status in graduating more students into prestige schools. This directly led to inflated property values that come with owning homes in a sought-after school district.

On screen, the actor exudes charm and likeability (as I discovered in a personal inderview), playing Tassone with cool efficiency making him an amiable administrator. Inwardly though his character is an accomplished con man who, aided by colleague Pam Gluckin (the always watchable Allison Janney), launches a multi-million-dollar embezzlement scheme right under the noses of his co-workers,the student body, the school board, and the towns people of Roslyn.

The script, penned by Mike Makowsky, who was a middle school student at Roslyn when Tassone was arrested in 2004, incorporates depth and finesse in telling an illuminating story of a seemingly decent person corrupted by larceny and his folly in yielding to the temptation of attaining it.

Jackman’s list of credits is varied as singer, actor, producer. In the X-Men series of films, it was as the Marvel superhero Wolverine. His matinee idol looks led to romantic comedy roles, “Kate & Leopold”, “Australia”, and the fantasy melodrama “The Fountain”. Action and drama characters on the list include “Van Helsing”, “The Prestige”, “Logan” and the thriller “Prisoners”. Film musicals toplined him in “The Greatest Showman” and ”Les Miserables.”

On stage in concert and musical theatre, Jackmen wowed ’em in London, receiving upbeat acclaim in a revival of the classic 1943 Broadway musical “Oklahoma.” Jackman treads the boards again this fall as Professor Harold Hill in a new production of the 1957 Broadway hit “The Music Man”. He plays a charismatic swindler who drifts into a Midwestern town as a seller of band instruments and uniforms to the naive townsfolk but plans to skip town without giving any music lessons.

Despite this film/stage fraud-artist-double-casting, Jackman’s many talents override

any career typecast concerns. He’s currently in discussions to star as Ferrari founder Enzo Ferrari. The film will focus on the events in Ferrari’s life – which were often as combustible and volatile as the iconic race cars he built.

Jackman is fascinating to watch in “Bad Education”. Actor and movie are good.

FINAL CURTAIN

Ian Holm, the classically trained Shakespearean actor, who received his Knighthood from Queen Elizabeth II in 1998, “shuffled off this mortal coil” on June 19 at the age of 88.

The versatile actor, admired by his peers, was eminently able to inhabit characters (on stage and screen) skillfully. His lengthy legacy equals a university degree in acting.

As a senior (in his 70s), Sir Ian attained international fame as Bilbo Baggins in the “Lord of the Rings” films which attracted audiences of all ages.

I have a lasting memory of a radio interview I hosted during Sir Ian’s promotional tour for the Canadian film “The Sweet Hereafter”. His role drew praise from Roger Ebert.

To a knighted gentleman actor…RIP…..your contributions to the art of acting will be remembered.

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The beauty of the melody with poetic lyrics reach into the soul and stir emotions….. ”We’ll meet again, don’t know where, don’t know when”…..

I knew the song as a child during the Second World War. The singer, rather plain of voice intoned sincerity. The song became an anthem and Vera Lynn became known as the “forces’ sweetheart,” for boosting the morale of British troops during the conflict.

I had to be part of the admiring crowd when she visited the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum at Mt. Hope and performed at Hamilton Place. Memories are vivid.

To this day, I am emotionally shaken, when hearing the recording or view footage of the knighted singer performing the song.

Dame Vera passed away June 18, age 103. The singer and song remain embedded in the senses. “I know we’ll meet again some sunny day”.

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