Archive for the ‘Musical’ Category

It all looks a bit surreal at the end, when a group of underprivileged kids from a favela in Sao Paulo perform a classic musical piece perfectly. Especially since months before the concert, none of them could even read scores or hold their instruments the right way. But hey, it’s cinema. And it comes with a good story. Based on true facts apparently. Far from original, true. But it’s set in Brazil and doesn’t quite feel the same as similar Hollywood stories. A talented violin player can’t secure a place in the National Symphonic Orchestra and needs to teach music in a public school to make some money. The school is surrounded by drug dealers and other criminals and even in the band are some kids who do credit card scamming in their after hours. But the teacher somehow manages to inspire the kids and they end up performing well, making him confident enough to audition for the orchestra again. See. All very predictable.

It’s an okay movie. But the acting by some of the kids is very basic. And the story doesn’t dig deep enough. We never get to learn why the teacher, who is so talented, doubts his own capacities so much. We also don’t get to learn more about the kids and their situation. Sure, there’s that one scene where this girl shouts out that playing music helps her escape from everyday problems. But it feels forced. This could have been a good tv series. Now it’s just an okay movie. Lazaro Ramos is great tough. And Kaique De Jesus (that name!) is set for more starring roles!

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt4972904/

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Nina – *(*)

Posted: August 30, 2017 in 2016, biopic, Drama, Musical, USA, X1/2

Nina Simone got herself a biopic. Unauthorized by the family. And so somewhat controversial. Nina Simone doesn’t come accross as a nice person. Maybe she wasn’t nice. And that’s not necessary for a good biopic. But somehow as a contrast, it should be evident that the woman had talent. And that’s not really the case. There’s zero sympathy for this character. And that’s tough. Zoe Zaldana is actually really good as the bitchy, drug addict/alcoholic. But she has too few scenes to show a brighter side to the jazz icon.

Oyelowo is degraded to a supporting role and does not get the platform to perform to his ability. Playing a submissive, rather boring and blank assistant isn’t really a challenge. He does it well. It’s just not really a role you want to see him play.

It’s not a good movie, but it’s not a bad one either. There is much worse out there.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0493076/

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