Archive for the ‘Musical’ Category

Lalaland – ***

Posted: March 24, 2017 in 2016, Musical, Romance, USA, XXX

Finally.

There’s a good reason why it took so long, but that’s another story.

So much has been written about this musical already that even those who haven’t seen it and don’t care about seeing it all, know what it’s all about. An aspiring actress and a jazz musician fall in love, singing and tap dancing around Los Angeles. It’s a modern take of the musicals and romantic comedies from back in the day with Ryan Gosling as a modern-day Gene Kelly and Emma Stone as a ginger headed Doris Day.

It works. It’s amazing. It’s entertaining. It’s charming. It’s flawed and not consistent in its marvel. But the overall impression is great. Emma Stone acts heavenly. Ryan Gosling performs more down to earth. But they sure have the right chemistry. Some moments are classic movie magic. Others are just random. Go see it. Don’t put on a I Hate Musicals attitude or don’t boycott the movie because it’s not Moonlight. It’s not Singin’ In The Rain either, but nevertheless a must.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt3783958

 

Florence Foster Jenkins – *(*)

Posted: February 26, 2017 in 2016, Dramedy, Musical, USA, X1/2

A 99 cent rental.

That kind of is the reason why this movie is on here.

And because it has Meryl Streep in it who got yet another Oscar-nomination for her portrayal of the title character.

It’s about a society lady who’s been sponsoring a lot of musical performances throughout her life and who decides it’s time to go onstage herself (before she dies). She hires a vocal coach and a young piano player and has her husband pay them a LOT of money to pretend that she’s actually good. Her voice, however, is the most terrible thing ever recorded in American music history.

It’s an okay movie, but it has little to no appeal. It’s a one gimmick musical comedy and only conjures up two or three laughs. The music sequences are terrible. That’s the point of course. But that doesn’t make them enjoyable. As a period piece it’s quite on spot. And the comical acting is good. But it’s the kind of movie that you forgot minutes after you’ve finished watching.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt4136084

This is the most boring and ridiculous tv series I’ve ever finished watching. It took me more than a year to sit through this really bad soap opera. And it is a really bad soap opera. The only reason why people give it some credit is because the story is taking place in a modern setting: that of the music industry, more specific the black music industry.

But it’s really just a bad soap opera. The first two episodes still intrigue. There’s definitely some potential. A former artist turned music mogul is diagnosed with ALS and only has a few more months to live. He has three sons. The oldest is a business school graduate and ready to help his dad bring the company to the stock exchange. The middle one is a talented singer songwriter and the youngest has the star power to become a successful rapper. The all have their flaws though. The oldest is bipolar, the middle one is gay and the third one is spoiled brat.

Enter: Cookie Lyon, the wife of Luscious Lyon (the media mogul). She spent the past 17 years in prison taking the fall for the misdemeanors of her husband, helping him set up a record company. Her arrival changes everything. And her presence is the ONLY reason why you want to watch this tv series. All the rest is bullshit. The problem is that you’re never sure if the show wants to be a parody or the real deal.

No second season for me.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt3228904

 

All That Jazz – **

Posted: May 7, 2016 in 1979, Dramedy, Musical, USA, XX

Musical director Bob Fosse made his own autobiographical movie ten years before he died. It’s a bizarre, but entertaining late seventies musical drama with an excellent performance by Roy Scheider (who got nominated for an Oscar).

The fictional Joe Gideon (Fosse’s alter ego) is a busy bee, creating a controversial new stage show and editing a stand up comedy movie. But the hard work – in combination with his excessive use of alcohol and tobacco – takes its toll. He’s admitted to hospital and faces death (represented by Jessica Lange). Maybe it’s time to change his habits… Or not.

Back in the eighties I watched this movie because it starred my hero Roy Scheider. I wasn’t impressed back then. 30 years later and I’m a more appreciative. Scheider is really good. But it’ll probably take me another 30 years to watch it again.

Viva Cuba Libre – **

Posted: March 27, 2016 in 2013, Cuba, Documentary, Musical, USA, XX

What’s the point of making a documentary about a controversial Cuban rap group, if you don’t use subtitles when the artists actually rap?

It’s frustrating, because already from the beginning you start empathizing with the rapping duo. And you wánt to know what they rap about. The government bans them, they can’t sell cd’s and they can’t perform. The police also arrests fans of the band who play listen to their music. So it’s pretty important to know what it is that they actually rap about.

It’s explained though via interviews, but still. The lack of subtitles during the songs totally ruined it. And the fact that the documentary clearly avoids any negative depiction of the main characters. They may well be good hearted ideologists, but I’m sure they aren’t always angels either.

We all know that Cubans don’t believe in their government’s ideology anymore. We all know they can’t express it in fear of retribution. But you may not have heard about this underground band who’s quite popular amongst the youth.

The most interesting scenes are the ones where bold kids rave about their idols, while their cautious friends try to temper their enthusiasm, because you never know… paranoia rules!

 

Sure, it’s a brave documentary (it’s filmed with hidden camera’s and the risk of being arrested) and you do get to see another Cuba, but it’s not really a must see either.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2145847

I needed to re-watch this for professional reasons. I will take American guests to Salzburg on several occasions this year and there’s a whole Sound Of Music day excursion planned as well. The strangest thing is that Austrians don’t seem to know about the existence and success of this movie. Apart from those working in tourism in and around Salzburg of course. But ask anyone in Vienna about this massive blockbuster hit from the sixties and they won’t know what you’re talking about it.

The Sound Of Music is the kind of movie that you’ve seen a dozen of times as a child, because they play it every single year on television during the christmas holidays. Almost all of the songs from the movie have become classics. Even if you haven’t seen the production, you’ll recognize at least a few tracks. But is it really a good movie?

Well…. it’s pure nostalgia. It’s corny. It’s cheesy. It’s fun. In fact, it’s a must. Let’s leave it at that.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0059742

Belgica is the latest movie by Felix van Groeningen, who scored internationally with The Broken Circle Breakdown. It’s an overlong, but interesting take on the sex, drugs and rock ‘n roll myth, focussing on two brothers who open an alternative nightclub. If it wasn’t for director’s fame, the thrilling soundtrack (produced and composed by Soulwax) and the impressive acting skills of little known actors like Tom Vermeir, this movie wouldn’t have gotten a release at all. There’s little substance, but it’s still a treat. Surprisingly enough.

I went to see the movie with a French friend in Paris amongst an audience who needed to rely on the subtitles to get the jokes and innuendos. None of them recognized the actors or musicians doing a cameo. None of them had ever visited the Charlatan, on which’s history the whole movie is based. I assume several cinema goers weren’t familiar with the work of Soulwax. It was a very quiet crowd. There wasn’t any laughter. There weren’t any sounds of recognition. The movie had NO impact at all.

However, nobody left the theatre room either. And neither did I.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt3544218/