Matthew Lickona 3 p.m., July 21
Blues Brothers 2000
A for-want-of-anything-better-to-do movie. It at least serves as a reminder that John Landis made a good one once. Eighteen years earlier. His lack of inspiration here extends to the clodhopping parade of face shots, the paraphrasing and plagiarizing of the original, the employment of the Russian mafia as straw badmen, and the long time getting going. John Belushi is of course long departed, reason enough, surely, to have never even thought about getting going. And with the Blues Brothers thus reduced to the singular (Dan Aykroyd, heavier-footed than before), a "sort of like" a stepbrother will have to be scared up (Joe Morton: "Have you noticed, Mr. Blues, that I am an African-American?") just to justify the title. The sort-of-stepbrother -- the bastard offspring of the Brothers' mentor, the late Cab Calloway, but at present a Commander in the Illinois State Police -- doesn't enter the fold until almost the end. In the meantime, a ten-year-old orphan and a strip-club bartender (John Goodman, more or less filling Belushi's pants) are recruited to don the uniform of dark suits and dark glasses. The musical number at Ed's Love Exchange, with phone-sex operators as physically unfit chorus girls, and the solo vocals handled by Wilson Pickett, Eddie Floyd, and a young blue-eyed soulster called Jonny Lang, had some possibilities, mostly unfulfilled (washed-out color, insufficiently differentiated dancers). The climactic Battle-of-the-Bands works up some definite sonic excitement, but one wonders about the standards of admission to an R&B dream team that welcomes the likes of Lou Rawls, Eric Clapton, Steve Winwood, and Travis Tritt. 1998.