Category Archives: musical

The Lion King (2019) Movie Review

The throw-out umbrella term “live action” used to describe the slough of Disney “re-imaginations” is a misnomer. It has been since The Jungle Book recreation in 2016, which is live action only in its employment of Neel Sethi as Mowgli. Everything else in that film is comprised of computer generated visual effects.

With The Lion King, Jon Favreau returns after The Jungle Book to direct, and the film is Continue reading The Lion King (2019) Movie Review

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Yesterday (2019) Movie Review

Yesterday is a perfect example of a film that makes for a great trailer. A trailer that hides everything but the premise, because nothing other than the premise would be enticing to put into a trailer.

This premise is this: a global blackout lasting 12 seconds causes failing musician Jack Malik (Himesh Patel) to be struck by a bus. After leaving the hospital, he is shocked to find that Continue reading Yesterday (2019) Movie Review

Teen Spirit (2019) Movie Review

“Teen Spirit” is an American Idol-esque pop reality competition in which teens sing and dance in hopes of achieving a record contract. Violet (Elle Fanning) is a seventeen-year-old who sneaks out at night to perform to a near-empty dive bar. She croons to one listener, silhouetted by a neon heart sign. “I was a fool,” she repeats until the song fades, and the one man (Zlatko Buric) claps.

When Violet decides to register for the “Teen Spirit” competition, she enlists this man—she later finds out he is a former opera singer—to Continue reading Teen Spirit (2019) Movie Review

A Star is Born (2018) Movie Review

About 10 minutes into A Star is Born—that is to say, the 2018 Bradley Cooper-directed A Star is Born—country rock superstar Jackson Maine (Cooper) explains to his love-at-first-sight (and soon to be muse) date Ally (Lady Gaga) something very important. Drunk, but conjuring up a moment of lucidity, he points around at the patrons of the bar. “Everyone in this bar is talented at one thing or another,” he says. But Ally. Ally has something to say. And that means something. That’s bigger than just being talented.

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With this line, Cooper both encapsulates the entire film and reveals its biggest flaw. A Star is Born is certainly talented at one thing or another. But I don’t know if Continue reading A Star is Born (2018) Movie Review

Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again (2018) Movie Review

Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again is both what you expect it to be and not at all what you might want it to be.

For one: if you have a soft spot for the silver screen Mamma Mia!, don’t expect a whole lot from the original cast. One hall of fame actress, in particular, is in noticeably short supply. And don’t go into this thinking, based on the trailer, that Cher comes in to fill the void.

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But don’t fret: there is still plenty of Pierce Brosnan. I just can’t understand why they don’t give him numerous musical numbers…at least he mugs, pursed-lipped, to camera at every chance he gets.

I joke, because there isn’t Continue reading Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again (2018) Movie Review

The Greatest Showman (2017) Movie Review

One benefit a musical is afforded is narrative efficiency. As we see at the beginning of The Greatest Showman, entire backstories and a character’s drives and goals can be distilled into a single song. But narrative efficiency should not replace depth of characterization, storytelling, nor theme.

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The themes at the heart of the songs in The Greatest Showman are not particularly deep or insightful. The power of dreams and acting on them. The power of individuality and being comfortable in one’s own skin. Tolerance of those different than yourself. A general distaste for upper class snobbishness. None of these concepts are Continue reading The Greatest Showman (2017) Movie Review