Tag Archives: musical

Rocketman (2019) Movie Review

Dexter Fletcher’s Rocketman flies in the face of other musical biopics. Not because it presents an entirely novel version of such a story, but because it presents the same-old cliched version and makes it a fantasy.

We hear the musician’s story straight from the horse’s mouth, as Elton Hercules John (Taron Egerton) struts into a group therapy session donning an ornate devil costume and heart-shaped glasses. He proceeds to tell his life story to the group. Through this framing, Rocketman sheds any preconceived notions that biopics have anything objective to say about their subjects. In the present, Elton can be an unreliable narrator. In the past, scenes from his life are laced with dreamy, musical bravado.

Fletcher makes clear that Rocketman is a show, not a retelling. In doing so, he Continue reading Rocketman (2019) Movie Review

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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

La La Land (2016) 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.

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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 (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.

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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

Pitch Perfect 2 (2015) 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).

 

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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