Inspired by the magic of P.T. Barnum and his legacy, The Greatest Showman reunites Hugh Jackman with the musical genre in his second appearance of 2017 following his X-men au revoir in Logan this spring. Featuring Michael Gracey's directorial debut - The Greatest Showman follows show business impresario P.T. Barnum and how he rose from nothing to create one the most famous circus shows in history.
The Greatest Showman's cheap and cheesy spectacle is an uninspired showbiz sham. Boasting an empowering story of persecuted individuality over conventional prejudice but as a whole the film's dazzling performers and sequinned elephants can't hide the reality of the tale - one less magical and far more upsetting.
What is The Greatest Showman really about? A story that takes advantage of those who aren't accepted in the world - in order for one man to fulfil his dream - at the expense of all others. One can't criticise the ambitions of P.T. Barnum, but certainly can condemn the way in which he went about it - musical glitz or otherwise.
Jackman performs well as the enthusiastic Barnum; but even the man of musicals can't extract a single likeable aspect from such a self centred, insincere character. The circus performers he assembled are tricked into believing Barnum has genuine concern for their talent, yet he uses them for his own self promotion and interest. Not once does he show authentic and real concern for them - a story that sells a fun and gritty mix of showbiz but delivers a hollow, character piece that is unaware of its false portrayal of individuality.
Glittery, cheerful, The Greatest Showman's great potential make it all the more insufferable. Perhaps the only thing keeping one in one's seat is the thrilling soundtrack that is easily The Greatest Showman's best feature. The story appears to be threaded together by each musical number in a film otherwise lacking any substance or structure, indeed The Greatest Showman often makes no sense. Characters make sudden decisions to service the progression of the story - their moods quickly change from sombre to excited making many of the characters difficult to take even remotely seriously.
Aside The Greatest Showman's entrancing premise, its a cheap, offensive musical piece that is built upon the lies of its lead. This picture promotes a false and uninspired understanding of society. Though its charming cast and incredible soundtrack lure you in, don't be fooled by this schmaltzy circus and its deceiving show.
The Greatest Showman:
Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle marks the 20 year comeback to 95's obscure jungle board game adventure. Dwayne Johnson appears to once again score box office numbers - joins alongside Jack Black, Kevin Hart and Karen Gillan. Four teenagers discover an obscure jungle video game only to be sucked into its mystical wonders, they find themselves trapped and - with only three lives - must complete the game in order to return back to the real world.
This retro jungle-safari game is a failed bonus level that should've been left on the shelf. An all new cast and an all new concept; yet Jumanji Welcome to the Jungle feels like a huge missed opportunity. Board games are a thing of the past and the shift to 90's Nintendo is a sharp attempt to do something different with the crazy jungle material. Everything is set in place - the film just struggles to piece it together.
The sensational idea of tropical animals coming to life from a board game was a fantastic breath of fresh air - but as soon as you take that concept and switch it the other way around, Jumanji quickly becomes something it's not. Placing each player inside that world, makes the whole concept a lot more generic; ultimately Welcome to the Jungle is an unnecessary game adventure that struggles to make it past level one.
The main problem lies with the silly safari's inability to notice what it has to work with. So the premise has evolved from what it used to be, I'm sure we can expect the film to take full advantage of its video game gimmick? Well, not really. There are gaming references peppered throughout but never an attempt to go full on, video game extravaganza.
Welcome to the Jungle creates a handful of game levels that are never set in stone like the 95 original. There was a dramatic weight to the film each time a player rolled the dice and what followed everyone was dreading to find out. Boasting the same game just from the inside, Jumanji Welcome to the Jungle runs primarily on star power but not creativity.
The perfect family film to kick start the Christmas season, but a bland return to the world of Jumanji. The fantastic four of humongous personalities, bounce of each other perfectly and their energy together is kinetic. Given that the material supplies more than enough imagination yet its creative potential is never fulfilled: Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle is an instant GAME OVER.
Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle:
Chins high, voices ready, the final performance of the crazy Barden Bellas is here. Rebel Wilson joins Anna Kendrick reprising her role as Fat Amy for the supposed conclusion to the aca-awesome series. Step it up: All In director Trish Sie unites the harmonic squad for their craziest outing yet. Following the success of their world championship, the bellas breakout from their dismal real lives, reuniting for one final show.
The Barden Bellas return for the wacky grand finale of their silly singing saga. Despite an off key sequel these pitches end on a fine tuned high note. Aside the silliness - it's a story addressing how we evolve from our past to thrive in our future and delivers a well earned, teary farewell to the A Capella group.
Three films in - this franchise still upholds it's can do, get up and go attitude; the energy that keeps this singing series on tour. Revisiting this carefree, positive world where everyone sings - fantastically I might add - and has a great time doing so, is an easy to come treat third time round.
It maintains a quick and effective pace - something most films this year have failed with. The music quality is much improved from Pitch Perfect 2 - offering some of the grooviest modern chart toppers along with some old school 2000's classics.
The musical comedy feels like a much better attempt to continue an seemingly one note franchise. Pitch Perfect 3 is a much more honourable crack at picking up where it left off. As a whole, this third outing is a wacky curtain call for the series.
That being said, it's not what the original was nor could it ever have been and struggles to recapture the same quirky charm. Pitch Perfect was that one sleepover movie you couldn't shake off that easily. Sure if you're looking for that same A Capella sparkle of the original then it's nowhere to be found. However, if you admire where the oral only musicians have come it's rewarding and will ensure a fun time with you and your friends.
Bubbly, energetic - driven by Rebel Wilson's rib ticking return as Fat Amy, gelled together perfectly with a strand of ridiculous sub plots. Pitch Perfect 3 is a silly send off that marks the end to this zany singing saga.
I am going to give Pitch Perfect 3:
Rian Johnson takes the helm for Star Wars: The Last Jedi, the middle slice of the current trilogy in the long running Star Wars cannon. A cat and mouse game between the First Order and the last surviving members of the resistance, Rey on an uncharted island seeking for Luke Skywalker's guidance and Finn with newcomer Rose Tico searching for a way out of the luxurious casino planet 'Canto Bight', it's a race against space and time with the growing threat of Supreme Leader Snoke and his loyal apprentice Kylo Ren.
Star Wars' blockbusting return launches the sci-fi saga into exciting galaxies far far away. Nine movies in, The Last Jedi, by some great revelation, delivers the four decade long series most original picture. It isn't fuelled by nostalgia the way 2015's 'The Force Awakens' was, and waves a poignant farewell to the old days of Star Wars and a warm welcome to a new age of Jedi.
Rather than an ending or a continuation, The Last Jedi delivers a smarter, richer and consequential beginning to the new Star Wars. Johnson's striking visuals, compelled by a gorgeous artistic flare allows The Last Jedi to standout amongst the other eight entries . The american director looks at the series from an abstract angle and delivers a less fanboy approach than perhaps JJ Abrahams did with 'The Force Awakens'.
Upon second viewing, The Last Jedi appears the finest chapter in the ever expanding Star Wars story. Earlier issues fall into place second time round, seeming to click and service the story far greater than remembered. Everything is key, has grit, purpose and consequence. Its characters are each woven delicately into the story given direction and meaning. Above all The Last Jedi grasps this realistic and brutal concept of war, emphasising the saber swooshing fantasy’s more sophisticated under tone.
Adam Driver's sterling turn as 'Kylo Ren' and Daisy Ridley's career defining performance as 'Rey' mark the lightsaber-esque snap, fizzle and oomph the two kick into the Star Wars saga. Their spine tingling performances are the driving force, front running the newer Star Wars trilogy.
The Last Jedi is gorgeous, its complex, its purposeful and in every way the quintessential Star Wars movie. Admittedly its challenging, uncovering its many layers - asking more of you than previous episodes but the result is a reward worth reaping. Compelled by the phenomenal Daisy Ridley and Adam Driver, Star Wars: The Last Jedi is an iconic space sensation, blasting the four decade long series on a new course.
I am going to give Star Wars: The Last Jedi:
"Oh hai Mark!", who knew these three simple words would go down in film history, but hey, I didn't say for the best. The Disaster Artist is directed and led by the ingenious James Franco who alongside his brother Dave tells the true story of Tommy Wiseau and his creation The Room - better known as the worst movie ever made.
The story behind Hollywood's most notorious picture strikes movie gold. This lame La La Land alternative adapts its shocking source material into a wondrous work of movie magic. James Franco delivers a fantastic turn in his best performance to date, as well as placing himself on the board as a serious director.
Franco's alternative acting approach elevates him alongside the likes of Jack Nicholson and Jonny Depp. He immerses himself into the role of Tommy Wiseau and honours the mysterious actor in a strikingly powerful performance. The young Franco's presence sparks the flame, setting The Disaster Artist alight; one of the few reasons that completely and utterly make this wacky picture work.
Adapted from Greg Sestro's accounts of the making of The Room, The Disaster Artist is hilarious, powerful and terrifically endearing in the precise moments. As the film plays out you become increasingly aware that all is building to one of Hollywood's biggest flops and Franco honours this sticky and unfortunate situation. The result - a story that presents the shear dedication of young actors and that although it may not play out the way you intended, capturing the hearts and smacking a smile on people's faces is the most crucial take away.
Franco's remarkable turn in The Disaster Artist presents how one man is capable of many great things. He honours one of Hollywood's most notorious filmmakers and adapts a compelling story from one of the worst films ever created.
I am going to give The Disaster Artist:
Emma Stone makes her second appearance of 2017 following her mesmerising performance in January's La La Land. The young actress takes on the role of Billy Jean King, one of the definitive figures in tennis history. Battle of the Sexes follows the twenty night year old tennis player on her journey of female equality in the sport after she discovers the pay gap between men and women: soon challenged by the obstinate Bobby Riggs with not only her career but women's reputation at stake.
This swish 70's biopic serves a triumphant matchpoint for women's status in the sporting world. Compelled by tennis titans Billy Jean King and Bobby Riggs, Battle of the Sexes is an empowering, enlightening sensation.
Told through its charming script and equally charming story, Battle of the Sexes almost caught one off guard. Striking seventies visuals often standout with a fuzzy, lens glared blur: there's a sort of art to its merged scenes of warm colours.
For tennis fans it serves a fantastic retelling of historical events: beyond that Battle of the Sexes offers a far more touching story beneath its fuzzy green surface. Sold on the rivalry between King and Riggs, it appears as a far more poignant story than imagined. It is, in recent memory, one of the few pictures which highlights the LGBTQ community within sport. Rather than a mean spirited, drama of grit and determination, Battle of the Sexes brings to the court how an inspiring individual’s challenges and beliefs helped diversify the sporting world as we know it.
From teen comedy Easy A to poignant racial drama The Help, Battle of the Sexes marks the peak of Stone's career, portraying one of sports most dominant female faces. The gauntlet has been passed and, following her oscar win earlier this year, Stone is crowned the new Meryl Streep for the modern generation. The young actress offers a powerful turn in her career taking on her first role as a gay character, portrayed with the upmost grace and elegance, Stone is simply beautiful.
There's no hiding from this terrific tennis drama's powerful backhand. The inspiring light of the LGBTQ community shines light upon a newer form of drama in film and portrays one of sport history's most important events. Battle of the Sexes presents a touching and inspiring story that brings to light both gay and women rights in a time which is need certain need of change.
I am going to give Battle of the Sexes:
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Hi I’m James - a huge welcome to my film blog! I started this site just after my 14th birthday and have been bringing you my own take on the hottest box office arrivals and many art house triumphs ever since.