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Archive for Friday, February 26, 2010

Disco stayin’ alive in MTV movie

February 26, 2010

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Music of a certain vintage receives a serious makeover on two very different offerings.

The original TV movie “Turn the Beat Around” (9 p.m., MTV) takes a contemporary crack at the old disco musical. Romina D’Ugo, a veteran of Canada’s version of “So You Think You Can Dance,” plays Zoe, an aspiring hip-hop dancer whose headstrong individuality scuttles her auditions for music videos. But she soon catches the eye of Michael (David Giuntoli), a rich club owner whose obvious attempts to woo her include taking her advice about turning his new club into an old-school urban disco club, featuring contemporary musicians covering favorite songs from the genre’s brief golden age.

The makers of “Turn” seem to have forgotten that disco movies, from “Saturday Night Fever” to “Thank God It’s Friday,” allowed fairly simple stories to showcase fun song-and-dance routines. “Turn” bogs down in a melodrama about Zoe’s jealous boyfriend and her mother’s grim marriage to a bitter stepfather, who has stomped all over her creative dreams. For most of the movie’s first hour, we see only a handful of auditions. The fun and the music take a very long time getting started.

• The musical showcase “Live from Abbey Road” (7 p.m., Sundance) enters its third season with a tribute to the 1969 album that shares the studio’s name. Artists from Seal to Matchbox Twenty have the tricky job of interpreting songs from “Abby Road” without sounding like cover bands at a Beatles convention.

The results are decidedly mixed, from the predictable to the inspired. My favorites include a very stripped-down acoustic version of “Come Together” by Sugarland and a Bossa Nova-inflected performance of “Because” by Melody Gardot.

Tonight’s other highlights

• Winter Olympics coverage (7 p.m., NBC) includes the men’s short track skating event.

• Will Ferrell sends up the figure skating world in the 2007 comedy “Blades of Glory” (7 p.m., ABC).

• Gone fishing on “Caprica” (8 p.m., Syfy).

• The lack of rain may prove deadly on “Spartacus: Blood and Sand” (9 p.m., Starz).

• Mary Tyler Moore received an Oscar nomination for her performance as a repressed mother in the 1980 drama “Ordinary People” (9:30 p.m., TCM).

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