Showing Tag: " musical" (Show all posts)

REVIEW: Beauty And The Beast (2017) – A Star-Studded Cast With A Tale As Old As Time & A Song As Old As Rhyme

Posted by SoberFilmChick on Wednesday, March 22, 2017, In : 0.00% Water 
Beauty and the Beast

Directed by: Bill Condon

Starring: Emma Watson, Dan Stevens, Luke Evans, Kevin Kline, Josh Gad, Ewan McGregor, Stanley Tucci, Audra McDonald, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Ian McKellen, and Emma Thompson

Disney is in the business of remakes.  As if the Marvel and Star Wars dynasties were not enough, the industry titan has decided to bring numerous cartoon classics to life.  In the last few years, Disney has released Cinderella and The Jungle Book to much success.   Live act...

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REVIEW: From Boulder City & Chicken On a Stick To Paris and Seb's, The Jazz-Filled La La Land Is For the Fools Who Dream Season After Season

Posted by James Brown on Monday, December 19, 2016, In : 0.00% Water 
La La Land

Directed By: Damien Chazelle

Starring: Ryan Gosling, Emma Stone, John Legend, Rosemarie DeWitt, and J. K. Simmons

If there is such a thing as a liberal bubble, Hollywood is the absolute epitome of it.  There have been plenty of years where the film crowned best picture does not speak to the times in any way, shape, or form.  Just look to winners like No Country for Old Men, Birdman, and especially The Artist.  In two of these examples, it's clear that Hollywood has an affinity for mov...

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REVIEW: With Synergy 51N3RG-Y But Fearing the Unknown, Jem and the Holograms Doesn’t Quite Uncover the Mystery or the Dismal Mediocrity of Starlight Enterprises

Posted by James Brown on Sunday, October 25, 2015, In : 0.09% Cocktails 
Jem and the Holograms

Directed By: Jon M. Chu

Starring: Aubrey Peeples, Stefanie Scott, Hayley Kiyoko, Aurora Perrineau, Juliette Lewis, Ryan Guzman, and Molly Ringwald

Other than Back to the Future Day, it's safe to say that films not named Star Wars are hardly getting any love this week.  With sites crashing, world records breaking, and tickets being scalped for as much as $10,000, it's safe to say that Star Wars is dominating the pop culture landscape once again.  That's why I'm less than sho...

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REVIEW: Love & Mercy Is All About the Beach Boys' Paranoid Schizophrenic Brian Wilson

Posted by James Brown on Sunday, June 14, 2015, In : 0.03% Wine Coolers 
Love & Mercy

Directed By: Bill Pohlad

Starring: John Cusack, Paul Dano, Elizabeth Banks, and Paul Giamatti

I would be lying if I were to say that am a huge fan of the Beach Boys.  I'm familiar with their discography, and I respect what they accomplished in their day.  However, I'm not exactly rocking to their tunes on Amazon Prime.  That being said, this doesn't mean that I can't appreciate Brian Wilson's tale.  After all, there's a rich story to be told here.  A musical heavyweight whose career...

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REVIEW: In Pitch Perfect 2, The Barden Bellas Riff Off With Junk From Das Sound Machine, the Green Bay Packers & Snoop Dogg's Christmas Album

Posted by James Brown on Friday, May 15, 2015, In : 0.06% Beer or Wine 
Pitch Perfect 2

Directed By: Elizabeth Banks

Starring: Anna Kendrick, Rebel Wilson, Brittany Snow, Ester Dean, Hana Mae Lee, Alexis Knapp, Hailee Steinfeld, and Chrissie Fit

The best critics should have the wisdom to acknowledge when they're wrong.  Well, it's time to acknowledge that I got it wrong with regard to the 2012 sleeper hit Pitch Perfect.  I saw the original as an earnest but not-so-funny affair.  Looking back, I have to disagree with my 2012 self and say that the film bursts with a b...

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REVIEW: Into the Woods With Some Magic Beans During A Blue Moon, Rob Marshall Grants Moviegoers a Musical Christmas Wish

Posted by James Brown on Thursday, December 25, 2014, In : 0.03% Wine Coolers 
Into the Woods

Directed By: Rob Marshall

Starring: Meryl Streep, Emily Blunt, James Corden, Anna Kendrick, Chris Pine, Tracey Ullman, Christine Baranski, and Johnny Depp

Merry Christmas STMR readers!  As happy as I am that the holidays have arrived, I'm pretty disappointed by the offering at the box office this week.  For the most part, it's gloom and doom.  Just look at this week's releases.  We've got a self-hating blackjack addict throwing away tons of money in The Gambler.  We've got an Olym...

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REVIEW: Annie (2014) – A Made For Television Musical With An A-List Cast

Posted by SoberFilmChick on Wednesday, December 24, 2014, In : 0.09% Cocktails 

Directed by:  Will Gluck

Starring: Jamie Foxx, Quvenzhané Wallis, Rose Byrne, Bobby Cannavale, and Cameron Diaz

Annie is a classic American musical.  I first saw the film in theaters as a young girl in 1982, and then starred in my high school’s production of the musical.  Annie is near and dear to my heart.  The songs are iconic.  From “It’s The Hard-Knock Life” to “Tomorrow” to “Maybe,” the music grabs you.  My fondness for the tale is why I viewed the 2014 ...

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REVIEW: Beyond the Lights, Noni Jean's Black Bird Is Freed At Last From Her Musical Cage By Officer Hero Kaz Nicol Despite His Fear of Flying

Posted by James Brown on Sunday, November 23, 2014, In : 0.03% Wine Coolers 
Beyond the Lights

Directed By: Gina Prince-Bythewood

Starring: Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Minnie Driver, Nate Parker, Danny Glover, and Machine Gun Kelly

You all are familiar with my less than positive sentiments on the state of the music industry today.  It's all about sex appeal, club playability, and the bottom line.  It's not about the music anymore.  It's not about showmanship.  It's not about the artistry.  Because of this, the industry is a shell of its former self.  While I could elaborate on the ...

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REVIEW: In the New Jimi Hendrix Experience, All Is Not By My Side Because André 3000 Doesn't Play the Hits

Posted by James Brown on Saturday, September 27, 2014, In : 0.09% Cocktails 
Jimi: All Is By My Side

Directed By: John Ridley

Starring: André Benjamin, Hayley Atwell, Burn Gorman, Imogen Poots, Andrew Buckley, and Ruth Negga

Jimi Hendrix is before my time, but I would be a fool not to recognize the profound impact his music has had on generations of musicians to follow him.  With the influence his music and his creativity have had on rock and roll and the music landscape as a whole, it should come as no surprise that filmmakers are trying to bring his tragically short l...

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REVIEW: From SXSW to Bluff City, Kansas, Frank & His Band SORONPRFBS Push Chinchilla Guy Jon to His Furthest Corners

Posted by James Brown on Saturday, August 23, 2014, In : 0.03% Wine Coolers 

Directed By: Lenny Abrahamson

Starring: Domhnall Gleeson, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Scoot McNairy, and Michael Fassbender

This isn't the first time I've said this, but 2014 has been a tame year at the movies.  It's not just the fact that we've had fewer high quality movies, but we just haven't had the same level of weird inventiveness.  We don't have filmmakers this year going for it all regardless of how strangely their final product may appear to moviegoers.  We haven't had the next Seven Psych...

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REVIEW: In Born Dead Biopic Get On Up, James Brown Does Right by Himself & Pays the Cost to Be the Boss

Posted by James Brown on Saturday, August 2, 2014, In : 0.03% Wine Coolers 
Get On Up

Directed By: Tate Taylor

Starring: Chadwick Boseman, Nelsan Ellis, Dan Aykroyd, Viola Davis, Keith Robinson, Octavia Spencer, Brandon Mychal Smith, Jill Scott, Tika Sumpter, and Craig Robinson

As you all know, I share a name with the subject of the recently released musical biopic Get On Up.  Having the name James Brown comes with a certain responsibility — to endure a lifetime of singing, shouting, and dancing at the most unexpected times in the most unexpected places.  For instance...

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REVIEW: In Jersey Boys, Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons Don't Honor the Jersey Contract Put Forth in the Broadway Original

Posted by James Brown on Saturday, June 21, 2014, In : 0.12% Hard Liquor 
Jersey Boys

Directed By: Clint Eastwood

Starring: John Lloyd Young, Erich Bergen, Michael Lomenda, Vincent Piazza, and Christopher Walken

It suffices to say that talking to an empty chair hasn't exactly paid dividends for American cinema icon Clint Eastwood.  I can say with ease that I lost some respect for Harry the day he got his hands dirty in the game of politics.  The five-time Oscar winner has been relegated to baseball movies like Trouble With the Curve.  Now, the Million Dollar Baby and ...

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REVIEW: Rio 2 – A Music-Filled Blue Macaw Romp In The Amazon That Falls Short

Posted by SoberFilmChick on Saturday, April 12, 2014, In : 0.09% Cocktails 
Rio 2

Directed by: Carlos Saldanha

Starring: Jesse Eisenberg, Anne Hathaway, Leslie Mann, Bruno Mars, Jermaine Clement, George Lopez, Jamie Foxx,, Rita Moreno, Tracy Morgan, and Andy Garcia

Computer animated films are a dime a dozen at this point.  In the “olden” days, one or two animated films would be released in a given year.  However, studios have seized on the economic potential of family friendly animated films and are rolling out computer animated films with in...

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REVIEW: If We Had Wings, The Coens & Their Cat Ulysses Would Take Us Soaring From the Gaslight Cafe With Some Soulful Folk Songs in Inside Llewyn Davis

Posted by James Brown on Friday, December 20, 2013, In : 0.00% Water 
Inside Llewyn Davis

Directed By: Joel & Ethan Coen

Starring: Oscar Isaac, Carey Mulligan, John Goodman, Garrett Hedlund, and Justin Timberlake

As I conclude another year of running STMR, I've begun reflecting on all the movies I've seen and the hundreds of reviews I've written during the 2+ years since the site was founded.  After doing so, I can say one thing with the utmost confidence.  I have absolutely no idea what movies I'll end up loving.  With the holiday mass of films starting to crowd ...

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REVIEW: Black Nativity – Great Music, But This Langston Hughes’ Musical Is Thin On Substance

Posted by SoberFilmChick on Saturday, November 30, 2013, In : 0.09% Cocktails 

Black Nativity

Directed by: Kasi Lemmons

Starring:  Forest Whitaker, Angela Bassett, Tyrese Gibson, Jennifer Hudson, Mary J. Blige, Vondie Curtis-Hall, Nas, and Jacob Latimore

Black Nativity should have been the perfect storm for movie magic.  It stars a heavy lineup of Oscar winning and nominated actors, including Forest Whitaker, Jennifer Hudson and Angela Bassett.  Black Nativity is set during the holiday season, it revolves around Christianity and family, and is based on a La...

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REVIEW: Frozen – For The First Time In Forever, A Disney Musical

Posted by SoberFilmChick on Thursday, November 28, 2013, In : 0.06% Beer or Wine 


Directed by: Chris Buck and Jennifer Lee

Starring:  Kristen Bell, Idina Menzel, Jonathan Groff, Josh Gad, and Santino Fontana

"That's no blizzard, that's my sister!"
- Anna (Kristen Bell)

Disney has given us the best animated musicals: The Lion King, The Little Mermaid, Aladdin, Beauty and the Beast, and so much more.  However, in recent years, except for The Princess And The Frog, Disney’s animated musicals have been nonexistent.  Clever computer animation a la Toy Story...

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REVIEW: In Unfinished Song, Rusty Old Banger Arthur Shows His True Colors When His Wife Marion Says Let's Talk About Sex

Posted by James Brown on Saturday, June 29, 2013, In : 0.06% Beer or Wine 
Unfinished Song (Song for Marion)

Directed By: Paul Andrew Williams

Starring: Terence Stamp, Gemma Arterton, Christopher Eccleston, and Vanessa Redgrave

Is it just me or do elder British actors have a lock on movies about old people?  In the last year or so, we've had The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, Quartet, and now Unfinished Song.  With the exception of Amour, there haven't been too many non-British films about the elderly hitting theaters as of late.  I will say that each of these British fli...

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REVIEW: In The Sapphires, Bridesmaids' Chris O'Dowd and the Songbirds Take Some Aboriginal Soul on the Road to Vietnam

Posted by James Brown on Saturday, March 30, 2013, In : 0.03% Wine Coolers 
The Sapphires

Directed By: Wayne Blair

Starring: Chris O'Dowd, Deborah Mailman, Jessica Mauboy, Shari Sebbens, and Miranda Tapsell

The music of today is some real crap.  We all know it.  We all hear it.  Some of us even do something about it.  Personally, I've found that I spend very little time listening to Top 40 radio anymore.  It genuinely sucks.  What passes for music today is truly a sin and a shame.  Consequently, I stay in the past and tend to go for the oldies.  I listen to the likes of...

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REVIEW: At the Beecham House Annual Gala, the Quartet Brings Down the House with Verdi's Rigoletto

Posted by James Brown on Saturday, January 26, 2013, In : 0.06% Beer or Wine 


Directed By: Dustin Hoffman

Starring: Maggie Smith, Tom Courtenay, Pauline Collins, Billy Connolly, Michael Gambon, and Sheridan Smith

"Old age is for sissies."
-Cecily "Cissy" Robson (Pauline Collins)

It's no secret that we have an aging population in the US.  The baby boomers are dragging our population into old age.  Consequently, we're starting to see more and more movies about the elderly at the box office.  In the last year, we've had films such as The Best Exotic Marigold Hote...

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REVIEW: Les Misérables. I Dreamed a Dream of Time Gone by With Prisoner 24601, the French Revolution, and the Perfect Christmas Movie

Posted by James Brown on Tuesday, December 25, 2012, In : 0.00% Water 

Les Misérables

Directed By: Tom Hooper

Starring: Hugh Jackman, Russell Crowe, Anne Hathaway, Amanda Seyfried, Samantha Barks, Helena Bonham Carter, Eddie Redmayne, and Sacha Baron Cohen

In musicals, acting is often compromised at the expense of singing.  Because a musical's selections are traditionally recorded before filming occurs, actors are playing to performances they gave before ever arriving on set.  As such, creativity and spontaneity are often stifled in actors' portrayals of their...

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REVIEW: Pitch Perfect Hits Most of the Right Notes

Posted by James Brown on Sunday, September 30, 2012, In : 0.06% Beer or Wine 

Pitch Perfect

Directed By: Jason Moore

Starring: Anna Kendrick, Brittany Snow, Anna Camp, Rebel Wilson, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Skylar Astin, Freddie Stroma, Alexis Knapp, Adam DeVine, Ester Dean, and Brock Kelly

Anna Kendrick has been pretty busy as of late.  In the last year or so, she's been in more than half a dozen films ranging from 50/50 and End of Watch to ParaNorman and What to Expect When You're Expecting.  She's chosen a variety of roles that have helped showcase her versatility...

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REVIEW: Rock of Ages — Rock-n-Roll, Sex, and 80’s Hair

Posted by SoberFilmChick on Saturday, June 16, 2012, In : 0.06% Beer or Wine 
Rock of Ages

Directed By: Adam Shankman

Starring: Julianne Hough, Diego Boneta, Russell Brand, Paul Giamatti, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Malin Akerman, Mary J. Blige, Alec Baldwin, and Tom Cruise

As a musical aficionado and a child of the 80’s, I was naturally chosen to review the highly anticipated Rock of Ages.  I wasn’t sure what to expect out of the film.  I had heard that Tom Cruise was phenomenal, and the movie trailer showed a lot of rock music, partying and big hair. That is...
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REVIEW: Joyful Noise Hits a Surprisingly Good Note

Posted by Mary Dieng, Esq. on Saturday, January 14, 2012, In : 0.06% Beer or Wine 
Joyful Noise
Mary Dieng

Directed By: Todd Graff

Starring: Queen Latifah, Dolly Parton, Keke Palmer, and Jeremy Jordan

Color me surprised.  I enjoyed Joyful Noise.  There, I said it.  Now before you throw tomatoes at me and revoke my STMR critic pass for life, hear me out.  I walked into the movie theater with a catchy title to pan the movie already dancing in my head.  While I love Queen Latifah, Dolly Parton and KeKe Palmer for their memorable roles in some of my favorite films (Chicago, Steel M...
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