comscore ‘The Artist’ is impressive, but ‘Descendants’ is better | Honolulu Star-Advertiser
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‘The Artist’ is impressive, but ‘Descendants’ is better

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    Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga

AFTER WATCHING the Academy Awards and being floored by “The Artist,” a silent (except for music), black-and-white picture from France winning five Oscars, I had to see the film. After all, it beat out “The Descendants,” which was filmed here, for best picture and its star Jean Dujardin topped George Clooney for best actor. Surprisingly, I liked it, but I do not consider Dujardin or the picture better than Clooney and “The Descendants.” Dujardin has Clark Gable looks and his co-star, Bérénice Bejo, is a beauty with great legs. Both are excellent dancers. But that is not enough. The story about a big star who falls hard into poverty and then with the help of a devoted love makes a comeback, is similar to themes used before. One big plus: Uggie the dog is sensational … Shailene Woodley, who did an exceptional job portraying the elder daughter of Clooney’s character in “The Descendants,” is pictured with 10 other actresses on Vanity Fair’s three-page cover of its Hollywood issue this month. The magazine calls the women “fresh young stars of 2012” …

THE SCREENING of “Great Performances Tony Bennett: Duets II” on Sunday night’s PBS Hawaii pledge-of-support program at 7 is a treat in itself, but there is an added bonus: live performances by some of Hawaii’s top performers. Duets by Ginai and Al Waterson; Mary Gutzi and Shari Lynn; trumpet player DeShannon Higa and his wife, singer Rocky Brown, will have the stage at 9 p.m. They’ll be accompanied by Dan Del Negro on piano and bassist John Kolivas. Bennett’s “Duets II” is a gem. The program celebrated the crooner’s 85th birthday. A CD was made of the songs and it won three Grammys. Singing with him are Lady Gaga, Andrea Bocelli, Josh Groban, Michael Bublé, John Mayer, k.d. Lang, Sheryl Crow, Willie Nelson, Queen Latifah, Norah Jones, Faith Hill, Carrie Underwood and the late Amy Winehouse, in what turned out to be her last performance. The Winehouse-Bennett duet on “Body and Soul” won a Grammy. The CD won for best traditional pop album and the third Grammy went to Jorge Calandrelli for best instrumental arrangement with vocalists for “Who Can I Turn To,” Bennett’s duo with Latifah. Lynn and Waterson are the pledge evening’s hosts …

SUE FUJII HILL has been cutting men’s hair for 50 years and a group of her customers arranged a surprise luncheon for her at Assaggio in Kahala. Sue has owned four barber shops over the years but now is content to take care of her customers at Hawaii Kai Salon and Day Spa and grow vegetables with husband Dwain Hill. She wants to thank party organizer David McLain and attendees David and Lindie Bess, Jack Suyderhoud, Gene Dunn, Robert May and his wife, Connie, and their sons, Kenneth and Richard. The sons, now men, have been Sue’s customers since they were kids. “Only Auntie Sue cuts my hair,” they say …

FILMMAKER Michael Moore randomly chooses people from his Twitter account followers to make a $1,000 donation to the nonprofit of their choosing. Recently, he chose Gary Kubota, who happens to be a Star-Advertiser reporter. Gary asked him to send the grand to Helping Hands Hawaii. The organization’s prez, Jan Harada, confirmed the donation …


Ben Wood, who sold newspapers on Honolulu streets in World War II, writes of people, places and things. Email him at

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