The Greatest Showman Movie Review

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Hugh Jackman stars in The Greatest Showman as P.T. Barnum, the man who starts the circus now known as the Ringling Bros Barnum and Bailey Circus.

As Barnum sets up his circus he must contend with bigotry and family drama that threatens to upset his career and his marriage.

The plot of the movie is fairly predictable for a musical and even more so given the source material. It comes as no surprise that Barnum’s circus is successful.

The weak plot leaves the enjoyment of the movie not in the story but in the storytelling. How good are the songs, the dances, the costumes, and the acting?

Simple answer, marvelous! I loved The Greatest Showman! Continue reading

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Beauty and the Beast Movie Review

Beauty and the Beast

Disney’s latest live-action remake, Beauty and the Beast, is out and I’ve seen it.

The movie is very much a remake of the 1991 animated movie. The plot, the songs, the characters, all pretty much the same.

For those who aren’t familiar with the story (really though?) Beauty and the Beast tells the story of a cruel prince who is cursed by an enchantress. Continue reading

La La Land Movie Review

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I’d heard a decent amount of buzz before going to see La La Land. Critics gave it good scores, my friends and family were raving about it, and it even won a bunch of Golden Globe awards.

A lot of hype to live up to and while it was a very good movie it ultimately did not meet my inflated expectations.

I went into the movie only knowing it was a romance staring Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone. Stone plays an aspiring actress/barista in Hollywood. Gosling plays her love interest

Continue reading

Cinderella Movie Review

I saw Disney’s new live-action Cinderella movie with my wife and we weren’t very impressed.

We went into it with high expectations. Everyone had told us it was good and a nice romance movie that we both would like to see.

First disappointment was that it wasn’t a musical with talking mice like the animated version.

The mice are still there, hungry and oppressed by the cat, but they don’t talk. The notes of the songs are still used in the movie’s score, but the movie is definitely not a musical with talking animals.

Next problem for me specifically was Cinderella’s beauty. I had the same problem in the new Snow White movie with Kristen Stewart. In both cases the story tells of the characters unsurpassing beauty. Its even an important plot point in the Snow White story. And then the movie fails to deliver. In both cases the villainous women are more attractive than the heroine.

This fact is possibly a conscious decision in Cinderella. She is far more kind and generous than her step-relatives and perhaps making the villains more outwardly beautiful than her was done to counterplay Cinderella’s inner beauty.

The story doesn’t stray far from the known narrative. The romance between Cinderella and the Prince seems genuine. They love each other because they both judge each other’s worth based on their personalities instead of their rank in society.

Their romance did seem a little tame compared to other romances though. I’m used to movies where true love is expressed by the characters jumping each others’ bones instead of holding hands and dancing.

Not that Disney did anything wrong by keeping the passion to a low level. The movie is intended for children and the historical setting imposes its own limitations on how far the lovers can go physically without being sinful.

The removal of the songs and the lack of adult romance didn’t ruin the movie, but it certainly doesn’t compare well to other Cinderella movies like Ella Enchanted or A Cinderella Story. If you’re in the mood for a sappy Cinderella romance I would suggest those over Disney’s live action Cinderella.

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Annie Movie Review

Annie Movie Poster

I went to see the new Annie movie recently with my wife. She’s a big fan of one of the previous movies, the 1982 Columbia Pictures version.

As my wife’s a fan of the 1982 version we spent most of our time comparing the new 2014 movie to the older one.

There’s some rather obvious changes they made to adapt the movie to the modern world.

The original was set during the Great Depression with Daddy Warbucks earning his money by selling weapons. The new movie replaces Warbucks punny name with Will Stacks and his stacks of money he earned from his mobile phone company.

Annie used to be in an orphanage with dozens of other girls. Now she lives in foster care with four other kids.

Roosevelt is removed from the movie. A political element is still present as Stacks is running for mayor. He takes over Annie’s foster care as a PR move for his campaign instead of the nonspecified reason that Warbucks does in the first movie.

A few of the songs are missing, but the originals are joined by a few new ones such as “Opportunity” which you can hear on Youtube.

The song performances themselves are good with the exception of Cameron Diaz who plays the evil foster caretaker, Miss Hannigan. “Easy Street” and “Little Girls” are much worse than their 1982 versions, but how could anybody compete with Carol Burnett and Tim Curry?

The new Rooster character is a lot creepier than how I perceived the Tim Curry’s comical performance. I’m unsure if that was a decision made by the director or just that when the character is updated for a modern audience his creepiness comes out in a way that I can appreciate.

The movie has a few problems with lip syncing which is… odd. You’d think that’d be something they could’ve worked out by now with software.

There’s tons of other new additions to update the movie, Annie has a Twitter account run by her fans for example. There are still plenty of homages and jokes to please people like me who liked the original. If you enjoyed the 1982 Annie then I’m pretty sure you’ll enjoy this new version as well. Quvenzhane Wallis and Jamie Foxx are just as cute as Aileen Quinn and Albert Finney.

-Mister Ed