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.
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 →
The opening number of La La Land, the new musical from Whiplash director Damien Chazelle, is the appropriate first impression of Los Angeles: a gridlocked freeway of cars sitting idle. Only, instead of the frustration and cynicism that would arise from this situation, people burst into hopeful song and dance among the stalled cars. In a rush of agile choreography, a rainbow color scheme, and immense depth staging, a flurry of people dance on hoods and sing of the wonder of Hollywood sunshine.
At the culmination of this tune, we are introduced to Mia (Emma Stone), another hopeful going over audition sides in her car as she waits, and Sebastian (Ryan Gosling), who honks aggressively at her when she refuses to move once the congestion breaks up.
With the first few scenes, La La Land presents itself as a
Continue reading La La Land (2016) Movie Review →
Moana (Auli’i Cravalho) is a Polynesian islander and daughter of the chief of Motu Nui. Moana is raised on tall tales of legendary heroes and dastardly monsters, the story of demigod Maui (Dwayne Johnson) stealing away the heart of the Mother Island rousing in her the spirit of adventure.
Caught between this adventurous spirit and a call to lead her tribe, a divide between land and sea, Moana ventures out beyond the reef to Continue reading Moana (2016) Movie Review →
In this sequel to the surprising 2012 A Capella-themed hit comedy, the three time national champion Barden Bellas are banned from competing after a graphically embarrassing performance during the President’s birthday celebration. Despite this, they are still allowed to compete in the world championship that they have already qualified for (which begs the question as to why the initial scandal was necessary in the first place).
This movie has everything. A racist minority character. A cliche supporting male character who literally can’t Continue reading Pitch Perfect 2 (2015) Movie Review →