Widescreen: David Byrne, Spike Lee join forces on HBO

  • David Byrne, foreground, performs in the filmed version of "David Byrne's American Utopia," coming to HBO.

    David Byrne, foreground, performs in the filmed version of "David Byrne's American Utopia," coming to HBO. Courtesy of HBO

  • Francis Ford Coppola's new version of "The Godfather Part III," entitled "The Godfather, Coda: The Death of Michael Corleone," comes to home video in December.

    Francis Ford Coppola's new version of "The Godfather Part III," entitled "The Godfather, Coda: The Death of Michael Corleone," comes to home video in December. Associated Press

 
 
Posted10/16/2020 6:00 AM

Two polarizing artists come together this weekend when "David Byrne's American Utopia," a filmed performance of the Talking Heads frontman's Broadway show directed by Spike Lee, premieres on HBO.

If you saw Byrne's February appearance on "Saturday Night Live," you have an idea of what to expect: Byrne and an ensemble of 11 musicians decked out in silver-gray suits in a freewheeling performance of songs from the 2017 album "American Utopia," augmented by some of the hits that made him famous. (The HBO website promises both "Burning Down the House" and "Once in a Lifetime.")

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Byrne told The Hollywood Reporter that he approached Lee about turning the stage production, which also features monologues from its star, into a film. "We'd crossed paths over the decades," Byrne told THR. "At the end of the second show, he came backstage and said, 'I want to do this.'"

You can see the result at 7 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 17.

'Godfather III' redux

It was nominated for seven Academy Awards and completed the story told in two previous Best Picture winners, but "The Godfather Part III" has been forgotten by film fans -- or, more accurately, remembered only for the infamously bad performance by one of its central figures.

Sofia Coppola has redeemed herself with a terrific career as a director ("Lost in Translation," "The Virgin Suicides"), and now her dad seemingly wants to redeem the film that introduced her to moviegoers as Michael Corleone's daughter.

"The Godfather, Coda: The Death of Michael Corleone" (um, spoiler alert, I guess), a reedited version of Francis Ford Coppola's 1990 sequel, comes to Blu-ray and Digital HD on Dec. 8.

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The new version is "an acknowledgment of (author) Mario (Puzo)'s and my preferred title and our original intentions for what became 'The Godfather Part III,'" Coppola said in a Paramount Home Entertainment news release. "For this version of the finale, I created a new beginning and ending, and rearranged some scenes, shots, and music cues."

This new version gives us all a fine excuse to revisit the entire Corleone family trilogy at the holidays; maybe I'll finally get what all the excitement is about. (I've always been a "GoodFellas" and "Casino" guy.)

• Sean Stangland is an assistant news editor whose favorite Talking Heads song is "Road to Nowhere."

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