Directed by Steven Spielberg – Screenplay by Tony Kushner.
If you’ve been thinking that another West Side Story is pretty unnecessary, then you’re not alone. After all, Robert Wise and Jerome Robbins’ 1961 musical film adaptation of the Romeo & Juliet-inspired Broadway stage play ended up with eleven Oscar nominations and won in ten of those categories including Best Picture. Often regarded as one of the greatest musical films of all time, the 1961 film has made people very familiar with the story. So, did we need Steven Spielberg to make a new version of the stage play? No, we definitely didn’t. But here’s the thing. Let’s be honest, we also didn’t technically need another Batman reboot. We didn’t technically need three different live-action Spider-Men in the last twenty years. However, even though we didn’t need those films, just like how I loved the vast majority of the Spider-Man films, as well as the new Batman flick, I have to say that Steven Spielberg’s West Side Story is just wonderful. We didn’t need it, but I’m glad we now have it.
In this edition of my monthly movie and television catch-up article series titled ‘Additional Bite-Sized Reviews,’ I mostly run you through my thoughts on several different films that I’ve missed throughout the year. That means that I have finally seen films like Jon M. Chu’s In the Heights, Rebecca Hall’s Passing, the latest entry in the Fast and Furious franchise (F9), and much, much more including a Best Picture winner that I missed during the previous Oscar season.
Directed by Lin-Manuel Miranda — Screenplay by Steven Levenson.
Hamilton-creator Lin-Manuel Miranda’s tick, tick… BOOM! is based on the Jonathan Larson musical of the same name and it tells the story of Jonathan Larson’s time as an aspiring composer and playwright in New York City in the early 1990s. Larson (played by Andrew Garfield) is about to turn thirty years old, and he is worried that he is about to miss his moment. While he is juggling paying his bills, working on his relationship with his girlfriend, Susan (played by Alexandra Shipp), and working as a waiter in a SoHo diner, he is also trying to complete his musical Superbia, which he has been working on for eight years, before it is to be presented a couple of days prior to his birthday. But Larson finds it difficult to find time for everyone in his life as he can constantly sense that time is ticking away inside his head.
To tell you the truth, I couldn’t possibly tell you how many times I’ve watched the ending of Bo Burnham’s previous comedy special, Make Happy. With his closing song “Can’t Handle This,” he showed everyone watching the kind of uniquely gifted talent he is. I remember thinking so many times about the line from the song that intimated that Burnham struggled to make himself happy, and I also learned since then that he quit stand-up comedy shows due to him having suffered from severe panic attacks on stage. But his talents off the stage have nonetheless shone since then, which was evident from his incredible directorial feature film debut, Eighth Grade.
The following is a review of Judy — Directed by Rupert Goold.
Rupert Goold’s Judy is a biographical picture about the final year of Judy Garland’s life. The biopic is based on the Peter Quilter stage musical End of the Rainbow, and the film mostly takes place in 1969 when Judy Garland (played by Renée Zellweger) relocated to the United Kingdom for work and to be able to afford a potential custody battle in court. The multi-talented star is, at this point in her life, a wreck. The American industries that made her a star now see her as unreliable, she is unable to pay her bills, she doesn’t eat, she is severely depressed, and she suffers from issues related to substance abuse. Her job in London represents one last moment in the spotlight to dazzle, use her stardom, and make the money she needs to keep her family together. Though she often hesitates to go on stage, it is only on the stage that she can find energy and satisfaction in her last year. Continue reading “REVIEW: Judy (2019)”→
The following is a review of Yesterday — Directed by Danny Boyle.
What would you do if you woke up one day and found yourself in a world where no one knew of The Beatles? Just picture it. This world wouldn’t think of John, Paul, Ringo, and George when they thought of Abbey Road. People wouldn’t know the words to “Eleanor Rigby,” “Yesterday,” or “Back in the U.S.S.R.,” and you would be the only one in the world who could be the vessel and voice of their genius. Would you tell the world of their music, or would you make a career off of their work? In Danny Boyle’s Yesterday, the failing musician Jack Malik (played by Himesh Patel) finds himself in that situation after he is involved in, and knocked out by, a car crash during a worldwide power outage. Malik eventually decides to take credit for the song-writing to advance his career, but, in doing so, he soon realizes that he’s letting go of the person that means the most to him. Continue reading “REVIEW: Yesterday (2019)”→
The following is a review of Rocketman — Directed by Dexter Fletcher.
From the director of Eddie the Eagle, Dexter Fletcher, who honed his musical skills and ironed out his music biopic missteps early as he completed Bryan Singer’s Bohemian Rhapsody last year after Singer was fired, comes the Elton John fantasy musical biopic Rocketman that tells the story of how Reginald Dwight (played by Taron Egerton) met lyricist and friend Bernie Taupin (played by Jamie Bell), rebelled against his posh but harsh upbringing, and became the flamboyant superstar now known as Elton John who partied like the best until it almost pushed him over the edge. Continue reading “REVIEW: Rocketman (2019)”→
The following is a review of Baby Driver – Directed by Edgar Wright.
In Edgar Wright’s newest film – Baby Driver – one character remarks that “you don’t need a score to do a score,” a proposed fact that the talented writer-director refutes with one of the most entertaining films that I’ve seen in years. Continue reading “REVIEW: Baby Driver (2017)”→
It’s time for me to finally let go of 2016 by officially announcing my top ten films of 2016. I’ve said this multiple times at the beginning of 2017, but I just don’t think 2016 deserves to be known as a bad year for movies. I think it was a bad year for blockbuster films, but at the end of the year there were so many great films to watch. Continue reading “Top Ten Films of 2016”→
The following is a review of La La Land – Directed by Damien Chazelle
They don’t make movies like they used to. Cinema is dead. – Odds are that you’ve encountered similar sentiments online or by the water cooler this past year. 2016 was, somewhat unfairly, called a bad year for movies, when it was just a bad year for summer blockbuster films. As is always the case with discovering new films, you have to know where to look.
It is all about finding the right talents, the right studios, or the premises that will pique your interest. Sometimes the right movie for you is one that reminds you of great classics but still isn’t blind to the nostalgia it’s feeding on. With a charismatic and charming cast, a brilliant director, and a genre that people are sometimes turned off by, La La Land is here at the right time to breathe new life into our love of movies. Continue reading “REVIEW: La La Land (2016)”→