Archive for the ‘Musical’ Category

Yeh Ballet – **

Posted: March 19, 2020 in 2020, Drama, India, Musical, XX

There’s a debate on why the west love poverty porn from India more than the usual Bollywood fare. The Indians sure don’t understand. And the west may feel uncomfortable afterwards for having enjoyed a movie that focuses on the kids from the slums who succeed in something.

Yeh Ballet tells the story of two kids who take classes in a dance studio and get noticed by an extravagant Israeli-American ballet teacher. He sees potential in them and helps them get a grant to study abroad. But it is a long journey to get there. Both kids come from lesser of families who don’t appreciate their dancing skills and their struggle is pretty much their own.

It’s an okay movie. But it’s not well balanced. The movie feels like a fairy tale, so when you hear it’s based on true events it’s kind of hard to believe. A lot of dramatic elements are just mentioned briefly and it is not well indicated what the timeline of the story is. It’s an Indian movie so there are references to the Islam/Hinduism conflict and it’s clear what the director thinks about that by hearing the muslim kid’s lines. “We all have the same blood.” “Allah gave me the body of a dancer so it’s not haram to continue dancing.” This is interesting stuff, but we only get quotes or remarks. Something dramatic happens to the chubby friend of the muslim kid and even though that’s not the main story, it’s dealt with in a very rushed way. By the way, it seems like chubby people in Indian movies always play the silly/goofy sidekick like back in the Goonies days.. Showing the other family who is struggling they briefly mention the failure of the older brother to succeed in life and how they set all hopes on their dancing son to get to university. But what happened isn’t clear. Do we need to know? Not really, but still. The kid has an ailing sister, but it’s never really clear what her condition is. Do we need to know? Not really, but still. The dance teacher isn’t replying to his emails that he gets sent. Why is he so eccentric? Why did he accept a job in India? Why is he being such a prick to everyone? Do we need to know? Not really, but still.

It all feels very rushed, the story telling. And the dance sequences aren’t that spectacular to be fair.

But the acting of the two kids is good. One is debuting as an actor and as a dancer and he does an excellent job. The other is playing a fictionalized version of himself, which somehow feels less authentic. Yes, his dance performances are great and he can put on the best performing smile possible. But that doesn’t help in all scenes. Yet. Both are debuting actors and do a great job.

A miniseries would have been a better idea.

www.imdb.com/title/tt10230436

 

Simonal – *

Posted: February 10, 2020 in 2018, biopic, Brasil, Musical, X

Halfway in this musical biopic of the notorious Brazilian singer Simonal, you start wondering if it is worth watching until the end.

The acting of the main lead is bad. Annoyingly bad. The storytelling is unoriginal, superficial, boring. The music doesn’t particularly sound great either. And the lip-sincing is done terribly. But the setting is interesting (sixties Brazil), the camerawork is fine and the opening scene (set in 1975) promises an interesting reveal.

Then, it turns out there is an interesting story to tell about this ‘Harry Belafonte of Brazil’. He was accused of having had his accountant be kidnapped and tortured. He somehow also worked as a snitch for the dictatorship.

Now this is a different story. An intriguing one.

But alas… again, this part of the story is told so fast and so superficially, it would only make some kind of sense if you have lived through these events.

Sure, it is made for Brazilian audiences who know more about this singer and who know more about the military dictatorship. For any viewer not familiar with the singer and unaware of his importance/deceit it is quite a lame movie.

So this guy sings about how cheerful Brazilians are during a time of dictatorship and gets scolded at for doing so. Then also falls victim to his own success and any financial predator around him. Gets connected to the military investigators who make him lie on record. All material for a good movie.

Unfortunately this one isn’t.

https://www.imdb.com/title/tt6145054

Mystify – *(*)

Posted: January 30, 2020 in 2019, Australia, Documentary, Musical, X1/2

INXS were one of the coolest rock bands of the eighties until the nineties happened and U2 took over.

Michael Hutchence was more in the news because of his affairs with Kylie Minogue and Helena Christensen than because of his music. Oh. And there was drugs and stuff. And then he had Paula Yates leave Bob Geldof… oh and yes, it ended up with him hanging himself in a hotel bed room.

This documentary wants to show a different aspect of the rock idol gone roque. Lots of people are interviewed, but they all sound so overly positive about the guy. Even Kylie whose heart he broke into a million pieces.

That is just weird.

www.imdb.com/title/tt5938950

Judy – **

Posted: January 19, 2020 in 2019, biopic, Drama, Musical, UK, USA, XX

Renée Zellweger is really good. There you go. Everyone writes it and it’s true.

The movie isn’t bad either, but it may not be what you expect after having seen the trailer. It’s a tragic story of a Hollywood icon at the end of her career. Bankrupt, homeless and addicted to all kinds of medication. When she is kicked out of a hotel suite because the bill hasn’t been paid, she drags her two youngest children to their father and asks him if they can stay there for a while. It’s a desperate act, because she and her ex aren’t on speaking terms. Without money and a house, she can lose custody. So, she reluctantly picks up a gig in London…

It’s a tragic tale. There are very few uplifting moments. Sure, there are some songs and performances, but that’s not the focus of the movie. No, this is the story of a woman who is so addicted to being loved and receiving attention and having other people tell her what to do, that she completely neglects taking care of herself. That’s the focus and they should have dug even deeper into this troubled soul. The flashbacks to the troubled childhood of Garland are good as well and nobody mentions her, but Darci Shaw is good too as the young Judy.

www.imdb.com/title/tt7549996

Rocketman – *(*)

Posted: November 9, 2019 in 2019, biopic, Drama, LGBT themed, Musical, USA, X1/2

It’s never a good sign when the producer of a biopic of a certain artist is the artist himself. In this case, Elton John. Sure, he has lead an interesting life, but told from his perspective it’s flawed and biased.

The movie starts with the British piano rock star attending an AA meeting in full extravagant outfit. It ends with a message that he’s been clean for 27 years. In between you get to learn about his rise to fame and the lack of love he received as a child and as an adult. The whole part where he’s addicted to alcohol, drugs and sex is mentioned, but not really visualized that much.

So, all you’re left with is an uninteresting character with mediocre songs who rose to fame, couldn’t figure out the difference between his onstage larger than live persona and lived with self pity until quite late in his career.

Some may like the magical realism at certain points in the movie (like the uplifting experience in LA’s Troubadour or the skyrocketing singer performing Rocketman, the song). It’s a nice gimmick, but nothing more than that. The acting isn’t particularly great, but satisfying. But it’s a bit sad when the only interesting character in the movie is the ‘evil’ manager John Reid, who is also the bad character in Bohemian Rhapsody. Now, give him  a biopic!

www.imdb.com/title/tt2066051

 

Homecoming – **

Posted: April 30, 2019 in 2019, Concert Movie, Musical, USA, XX

Beyoncé gave a brilliant concert at Coachella last year.

She decided to make a documentary about it and have it shown on Netflix.

It’s apparently edited/directed by herself. Which means she’s a terrible editor and director.

The show itself is AMAZING. The way it’s filmed and edited not.

The show is excellent. It’s the kind of performance you want to have been looking at live, as it was happening. The choreography in some parts is incredible. The re-worked songs sound great. The homecoming theme with the brassbands and cheerleading squad make it unique. Beyoncé is shining. She looks proud, strong, happy.

But throughout the documentary you just want the show to just go on. Way too often the flow of the show is stopped by behind the scenes stories. Sure it’s important to learn that she’s the first black american woman to headline the festival. Sure it’s important to learn that it’s quite a feat to put on such a show after having given birth to twins. Sure it’s interesting to see that almost the entire crew is black and given a chance to be part of something special. That’s all important. Yes.

But you know what? It’s all very superficial. A few statements here and there. A few images here and there. A few memories here and there. If you want to make a point, make a full documentary about that. Don’t interrupt a great live show with tidbits that don’t really say anything at all. You’re all sucked up in the concert and then bam, blablabla, then back to the show, then bam, more blablablabla. It’s tiring. It’s a bad concept. Either make an in depth behind the scenes/preparation documentary. Or show the live concert. Don’t mix them up. Or do it like others have done better in the past.

www.imdb.com/title/tt10147546

A Star Is Born – **

Posted: February 22, 2019 in 2018, Drama, Musical, USA, XX

This movie probably doesn’t need any introduction. It’s directed by Bradley Cooper who ‘stars’ as an alcoholic rock singer and also features Lady Gaga. The movie found a large audience and critics love it as well. Personally, this movie didn’t appeal to me at all. Shallow is one of the most annoying radio songs of 2018 and the snippets I’ve heard from the soundtrack sound equally terrible. Moreover, it stars Lady Gaga (not a fan) and features a drunk and addicted rock singer (not original).

But it was okay.

In fact, Lady Gaga was surprisingly good. Sure, she’s playing a character who can sing well, who can play the piano and who isn’t afraid of embracing commercialization without losing authenticity. But still, it was a good performance. She even outshines Bradley Cooper in the scenes that they are together. It’s not so clear however where the focus is in the movie. It’s not on a young waitress becoming an overnight star. It’s not a rock star dealing with his addictions. It’s not on a relationship between two talented music loving hearts. It seems the focus is on the soundtrack.

And the songs are terrible. It’s like Kings of Leon meets Whitney Houston meets broadway musical shit. No. No. No.

www.imdb.com/title/tt1517451