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This adolescent drama shines with its carefully scripted plot emphasis on relationships in this, yes, predictable, but entertaining movie. Additionally, unlike most such drama, the care taken to ensure the substance of the theme isn't given short cuts. As this movie's theme centers around ballet, ballet and dance scenes are given a nice balance of on-screen time, especially the Nutcracker ballet which must of cost a bit of movie, unless the producers were fortunate enough to be able to borrow or lease an actual Nutcracker set and costumes. Another nice feature here is the focus on sister-sister relationships as well as the typical subplots between other ballet dancers. There isn't much in the way of romance to distract from the main message here. This is an educational, nicely messaged adolescent movie for girls.
Typical Comedy Entertainment
There is nothing particularly great but at the same nothing particularly bad in this animal talking live action movie. The lead character seems to be a little on the dense side at times. The pacing of the movie seems to slow down too much in places. What's interesting is the performances and acting of the Presidential detail outside the immediate advisors that add to the authenticity of the movie which is usually loosely handled in other movies. One of the lead character's pets actions seems rather oddly portrayed in the movie. Overall this movie had a comprehendible storyline, an environmental focus, and decent if not superlative acting. There's even a Presidential lesson to be learned by young people who watch.
Great Beat and Uplifting Entertainment
Yes, this movie is predictable, the storyline nothing special that hasn't already been done before. Yet, the music is really sharp, crisp, and engrossingly fun and hip. The performances are subtly different and more natural and easy-going without overly drama. This Disney Version of the famous pop star accidentally meets unknown, plain girl is done in an appealing and straightforward, honest way that doesn't depend on anything more than a good music track, sung well, and performances and chemistry which are entertaining and smartly done. Other fun movies include I'll Be There (2003), A Royal Night Out (2015), Roman Holiday (1953), Music and Lyrics (2007), Pride and Prejudice (2005), The Artist (2011), The Devil Wears Prada (2006), Good Morning Call (2016),
Be Somebody (2016)
Authentic Independent Romance Movie
Finally a refreshing romance movie that isn't a knockoff of predictable, over the top romance comedy movies. This crisp and underplayed teen romance ironic genre has the photographic technique and ambiance of an independent movie more focused on the performance and storyline than on the corny mainstream manners that underlie most teen romantic comedies.
Be Somebody has the teen pop star much more down to earth and seemingly sincere in the depiction of a boy whose life is not his own. The unknown teen artist on the other hand has a pretty every girl face that isn't a gorgeous model. There is a nice seriousness to this movie with overtones of humor in the irony between star and artist.
This movie one of the most appealing in its sincerity and natural performances to come along in a romance movie in years.
Off Balanced Dark Superhero Comedy
I'm reminded of Wil Smith in Hancock (2008) which was more of a superhero crime drama than a superhero dark comedy action as Deadpool. Nevertheless, perhaps its the contemporary times of change and loosening of societal morals that the gutter talk of sex and swearing like young boys and late night comics within a superhero movie was inevitable. While the dark humor is creative and at times refreshing, it really seems more like a stand up comic night with a lot of R-rated one-liners. Even Deadpool noted the absence of a lot of superheroes in this movie. The fusion of comedy, action, and then a severe transitions to romantic drama, along with the constant cynicism much better presented in Hancock, made for a jarring experience with a movie without a consistent tone. Along with a lot of Kill Bill death-dealing and death-defying action, this movie seems more like a testosterone action entertainment thriller for boys rather than anything really seriously award winning. The one redeeming element of the movie was Ryan Reynold's delicate and remarkable performance.
London Has Fallen (2016)
Bigger Isn't Always Better
The Olympus Has Fallen (2013) sequel unfortunately becomes the bigger and louder isn't better route. This over the top action thriller actually takes its premise as a disaster movie at the beginning as if more explosions and more big deaths supposedly makes for a better movie. In short, in this case it definitely does not. The implausibility of the entire storyline crosses the line into impossible, unlikely fantasy much more than even the original. Unlike Harrison Ford's Clear and Present Danger (1994), Ben Affleck's Sum of All Fears (2002), over even Bruce Willis's Die Hard (1988), London Has Fallen is more about how much can the blown 'em up, shoot 'em mayhem can be achieved almost like a video game. This by the numbers one action scene after another become more and more a blur of how many ways can the director come up with more of the same but different. All of this makes for a rather boring, repetitive and unbelievable action thriller.
The Finest Hours (2016)
A Slow Methodical Action Thriller
This slower paced action thriller doesn't quite have the intensity as its similar predecessor as The Perfect Storm (2000). This mostly by the numbers action thriller has it all though, the girl, the struggle against the elements and yet for all the histrionics the movie isn't has dramatic or epic as Titanic (1997). Perhaps, its the difficulty of transferring the real life story onto the screen in a way that maintains the authentic story of what happened and at the same time include the dramatic flourishes. Maybe its just the unbelievability of the plot points. Or maybe because of the imbalance between not a lot going on at times and the crush of too many things going on at other times. The movie however does proceed point to point, including all the requisite emotions, good guys, bad guys, romance even while there is for some reason distance between the characters. Unlike actually experiencing the involvement in the movie, the audience is more of a passive spectator unswept by the action-thrillers being presented.
An Invigoratingly Compelling Pre and Post Jet Landing Experience
Director Clint Eastwood has created a compelling and refreshing look at both the mental and the physical experience of a national event of an aborted passenger jetliner takeoff and its aftermath occurring in one of the most populated place on earth. Both the director's incorporation of humanly personal touches and some wonderfully new camera shot perspectives reveal an exciting movie-going experience this heroic incident that is inspiration in its entirety.
The editing and use of flashbacks to maintain the pacing and captivating questions move the storyline along at a wonderful pace. This is one of those movies where the director's keen talent is required to finesse and flesh out a written recollection by the heroic pilot himself onto the big screen. The small shots of the secondary but just as important humans involved in the rescue and personally touched by this major bird hit informs the public of a community coming together and the teamwork involved in saving the lives of both passengers and crew.
Clint Eastwood offers up this singular event as in important redemptive experience of Americans in light of the tragedy and turmoil that took place in this country in the early part of the last decade of the 21st Century. This movie is a great follow up to Ralph Nelson's 1964 fictional airliner investigation thriller Fate is the Hunter or the more haunting supernatural thriller of Rodrigo Garcia's Passengers (2008) and complements the television series Air Disasters (2011) with a fuller personalized background story.
Grace of Monaco (2014)
A Powerfully Captivating Fictional Drama
There is something humanly powerful and inspirational in this fictional account of Princess Kelly of Monaco. The tender and intense dramatic script requires Nicole Kidman to disclose the valuable possibilities of falling in love and loving a King. This fairy tale is about real life fairy tales and how they are considerably different from each other. This revealing movie is dramatic in the superficial media glow of the rich and famous and the low of real royalty life as well as its possible redemption. As dramatic in scope as the Cuban Missile Crisis was for America, the human turmoil and sacrifice offers a great message of hope and perseverance on the part of Kidman's character. This movie without the action, thriller, adventure epic plot outline, depends more on the courage and intelligence, and moral fortitude of the characterization performance which makes this movie all the more powerful and amazing in its appealing and valuable, informative presentation.
Madonna in Evita (1996), Gillian Anderson in House of Mirth (2000), Natalie Portman in Black Swan (2000), Charlize Theron in North Country (2005) are some of the powerful performances that this movie brings to mind.
A Cynical and Amazing Look At A.I. Sci Fi.
Ridley Scott's son has put together an icy, cynical, but very intense and psychologically tight sci fi thriller. I assume that many audience members will overlook the superb acting and directing especially when it comes to Morgan, the primary character. What's really difficult to evaluate is the basic underlying premise and twist in the movie which isn't likely to endear audience members with its distinctly anti-audience pleasing expectations. What this movie does as well or better than the best of the scientifically created human movies is the theoretical presentation of the development of a life form that is usually just handled with stereotypical laziness or perhaps better described as underdeveloped primitiveness. Writer Seth Owens and director Luke Scott both put extensive and artful portrayal of artificial life persona into the big screen with both creepy and emotive effectiveness. While Splice (2009) also offered a carefully appealing psychological developmental process of human created life, Morgan offers up an additional covert agenda (with some resemblance to Alien (1979)) as well as an even closer look and vibrant and compelling relational interactions between and among the characters in the movie. Morgan spends more time allowing the audience to experience and absorb and evaluate for ourselves Morgan's existence and its meaning.
Albeit, a number of audience members will likely miss the nuances of this movie and reasonably compare it to Event Horizon (2009) or Cube (2009) due to its cynical nature and that's all. Yet a closer experience of Morgan can also reveal even deeper resonating and at the same time frustrating emotions if one compares Morgan to an assassin movie like Hannah (2011) or La Femme Nikita (1990) of which there are similar parallels in character development and the ethical underpinnings as well as conspiracy theories that tie these movies together.
Unlike Kurt Russell's sci fi character in Soldier (1998), Morgan presents a rather more complex and more opaque presentation than even Roy Batty's character in Blade Runner (1982). Overall, Morgan is a good addition as well as sometimes an apparent improvement on the vast majority of artificial intelligence movies to date, ranking with the best of them including the more forward looking Ex Machina (2015)(which I found an actress being too human trying to be an artificial life form instead of the other way around)), Transcendence (2014), Lucy (2014), Automata (2014), EVA (2011), and my favorite The Machine (2013).