Archive for the ‘Musical’ Category

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

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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

Django – (*)

Posted: December 19, 2018 in 1/2, 2017, Drama, France, Holocaust, Musical

Crap movie #1

There aren’t many movies dealing about the deportation of Roma & Sinti during the Second World War, so somehow, someone thought it would be great to use the story of the most famous Sinti musician, jazz guitar legend Django Reinhardt, as a tool to make an audience aware of this horrendous fact.

Okay, it’s understandable. Django Reinhardt is probably the only known Sinti in the world. But still, the story shown in this movie is not correct. He lived in France during the war and was quite successful, even when Paris was occupied by the nazis. In fact, there were some nazi officers who liked his music (when gypsy music and jazz were banned by the nazis).  He tried to escape, yes, but never managed to leave the country. So, this story is fictional! Oops. Spoiler. In this movie, Django leaves Paris, with the help of a weird character that is not only one of his lovers, but also works for the resistance and prostitutes herself to the nazis. He ends up near the Lake of Geneva and waits for a possible escape, while a nearby gypsy camp is under the threat of being deported.

This movie doesn’t work. The musical scenes are too long and not captivating at all. We don’t really get to learn anything about this jazz legend. All the side characters don’t really matter at all. The nazis are portrayed in a very stereotypical way. The editing is bad. There’s no drama, no tension, no emotion. It’s bland.

Here you have a jazz artist who is successful in a town that is occupied by people who hate his kind and the music he plays. Yet, he remains successful and is left alone. Now that’s a story worth telling. Not his fictional escape to Switzerland.

Another ‘famous’ Sinti is Marianne Rosenberg, a singer who’s only popular in Germany. Her father survived the death camps, so maybe that story would have more fascinating and a better source to make a Schindler’s List for the Romani people.

www.imdb.com/title/tt6247936

Bohemian Rhapsody – **

Posted: November 14, 2018 in 2018, biopic, Dramedy, LGBT themed, Musical, USA, XX

This is a pretty entertaining movie for anyone who knows the songs of Queen, but never really bothered learning more about them or their lead singer Freddy Mercury.

Being a teenager in the eighties, this band had zero appeal to me. The songs were anthems for the masses and the front singer just looked ugly as f***. Those teeth! Yet, a few decades later and the songs still stand and have become rock and pop classics. So, they must have done something right.

It’s clear why this movie attracts large crowds. It’s filled with the songs that people want to hear. In fact, the last 15 minutes or so are a re-enactment of their Live Aid concert in 1985, considered by most as the best performance of that night. It’s a daring choice, but it works. It’s a great performance. As a vinyl collector I have NO singles or albums of this incredibly important band, but next time I see The Works or A Kind Of Magic on the flea market for 5 euro, I’ll take them home.

So, music wise, this is a great movie. Visually it’s quite attractive as well. The acting is silly. 80s Mercury is performed extremely well by Rami Malek. But that’s about it. The story however is so obviously edited for the masses. Just like their music. It doesn’t shy away from Mercury’s flamboyant lifestyle, but it just lets the audience assume things and doesn’t confront them with it. And that’s okay. There’s no need for explicit scenes.

It’s very clear that the band members are the good guys and his personal assistant is the bad guy. That is SO obvious. It’s very clear that the band members and the former wife of Freddy somehow supervised this movie. But that’s okay. Sure, the movie does the all American thing where being gay is okay as long as you have a monogamous relationship, but hey, at least they mention that he’s gay. At least his wife mentions that he’s gay.

It’s very enjoyable.

www.imdb.com/title/tt1727824

The Greatest Showman – *(*)

Posted: February 11, 2018 in 2017, Musical, USA, X1/2

Movie choice by mom: an entertaining musical.

Predictable, loud, superficial, incoherent and with a terrible ‘modern’ soundtrack. The album sells well, so there’s an audience for it out there, but de gustibus non est disputandum. Songs to which everyone in the cast seem to lip sync. A cast of ‘freaks’ that don’t look freaky at all. A cast with Hugh Jackman as an unconvincing lead and that buffed guy from Baywatch – Zac Efron – as another box office draw. Sure, it’s all entertaining. But it’s forgotten as soon as you walk out of the theatre.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1485796

Coco – ***

Posted: January 15, 2018 in 2017, Animation, Children/Family, Mexico, Musical, USA, XXX

A little Mexican kid dreams of being a mariachi musician, but his family is very much against a music career. This disgust for music and musicians dates back to a time when the father of his great-grandmother Coco left the family to pursue a music career and never came back.  The kid is a bit of a rebel and wants to perform at a local music festival, organized during the yearly Dia De Los Muertos holiday, when Mexicans remember their deceased loved ones. Something goes terribly wrong and little Miguel arrives in the land of the Dead …

This is just another marvelous Pixar movie. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll be overwhelmed with the animation. But it’s still a kids movie. Just like with the equally excellent Inside Out, the story is not only aimed at adults and certain scenes and characters are added to also please the little kids. That’s fine. But it prevents the movies from being absolutely flawless.

The soundtrack is great. And the animation is brilliant.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2380307

Getting a Netflix account will make up for not traveling far this winter! No need to re-visit Salvador do Bahia if you got movies like Ó Paí, Ó on your tv. Not sure what other ‘world cinema is available on the streaming network, but that’s to find out in the near future.

This movie is very confusing though. It starts of as a musical comedy, but it ends as a drama with a message. The confusing part is what that message is. Throughout the movie you get to see Salvador the way no other travel documentary has shown it. It’s a beautiful and exciting city. A lot of the sights that tourists want to see are shown in this feature. The stories are set in the famous Pelourinho area with its colorful houses and the charming cobblestoned streets. If you’ve been to the place, you want to go back as soon as you see it on screen. However, the reality of the city is harsh and it’s like this whole advertising clip ends with the message: don’t go there!

The first characters to appear on-screen are played by Lazaro Ramos and Emanuelle Araujo, both from Bahia. They immediately have a sexy scene together in which he paints on her naked body after he just showed off dancing to a samba beat. Within ten minutes you’re thinking: wow, a movie about gorgeous Salvador with even more gorgeous Brazilians making out. However, half an hour later or so, twenty more characters are introduced and they all represent a stereotype. An hour into the movie, the list of clichés is so long that you can’t take it anymore. But then drama sets in and there are some strong scenes with social commentary. It’s like the parody becomes a political manifest.

The clichés are confronting though. If someone else makes a movie about Brazil and adds too many clichés, they get burned. If a local makes a movie about Brazil and fills it with even more clichés, they get heralded. A Brazilian friend told me the movie was well perceived and quite important for the local community, but for a Western European this movie feels awkward. Sure, everyone in Brazil or who has visited Brazil can relate to some of those stereotypes. But to see them all in one movie is confronting.

The hypocritical evangelist who worships the bible, but loves the gossip of sexual adventures by others. The white trash drug dealing nut-head, who blurts out racist insults to feel better about himself. The cheating husband of a pregnant wife, who fucks the ‘mandatory’ transgender. The emigrant who lies about her successful life in Europe. The rascal kids who find it amusing to rip off tourists. The promiscuous girl who get another abortion because she always forgets to use a condom. The corrupt police officer who needs to keep an eye on the store of his landlord in order to postpone paying for last month’s rent. And then there’s the candomblé (Bahia’s spiritual religion), acarajé (great street food), the music from Olodum (Salavador’s famous carnaval drum band), flirtatious behavious by all, the shouting when communicating, etc…

It’s an interesting movie to watch. But it’s a tough one to sit through. Most of the acting is terrible. It’s just over the top. Wagner Moura for instance is so ridiculous that it’s not even funny. And he’s a good actor! Lazaro Ramos however is excellent. That one scene where he replies to a racist insult is quite powerful. The story though, that’s another weak point. It’s a collection of stories happening during the days before Carnaval. They do intertwine, but it’s nothing like Crash or Short Cuts where they merge.

Again, it’s not really clear what the director wanted to tell. It’s both a lot and nothing at all.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0895777/