‘The Bob’s Burgers Movie’ Review: A Quiet Jewel

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It’s weird to call an adaptation of a long running, moderately popular show a sleeper but that’s where we are. The Bob’s Burgers Movie is a throwback to the old school simple comedy theaters used to run on hot summer days. It’s modest with low stakes and a very chill energy level. Yet is it weird I enjoyed this more than almost every other franchise movie we got this year. Marvel hasn’t touched the heights of a family trying to float a single payment.

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‘West Side Story’ Review: The Perfect Reintroduction of a Classic Musical

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Over his decades long career, Steven Spielberg has made his very first musical. Nonetheless, Spielberg has also established that he had always wanted to try his hands at bringing a musical to the big screen with a second cinematic adaptation of West Side Story, following the 1961 film. It’d be easy enough to express skepticism to the need for a new West Side Story film, but Spielberg establishes that the material is a perfect match for him. Spielberg doesn’t work with creating a pastiche of the 1961 film as much as he does create a new screen life for one of Broadway’s most beloved musicals. In doing so, Spielberg has made what may be his best film in at least fifteen years.

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‘Rocketman’ Review: A Perfect Tribute to a Life Beyond the Yellow Brick Road

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Rocketman isn’t so much a biopic about Elton John as it is a film that indulges into the fantasies that have defined his creative process, while telling his story in a digestible manner. But at that, what director Dexter Fletcher presents to the screen in Rocketman is everything that is so unapologetically Elton John at that, without ever shying away from the roughest parts of his lifestyle – for he notably said that he never lived a PG-13 life as one of the world’s best-selling musicians. Yet it’s always the best parts of the film that remain every bit as glorious as they possibly could ever be, whether it be the sex, drugs, or just living at the height of one’s own life within the 1970’s, all creating what isn’t only the perfect portrait of Elton John as an artist but also as a person. It’s impressive enough that Dexter Fletcher manages to make a film that celebrates everything Elton John had made himself out to be from beginning to end, because there’s a point to which you’ll find yourself feeling like you aren’t watching a music biopic anymore. Putting it lightly, I think it’s gonna be a long, long time before we get another film of this sort – because even if it may not be perfect it still soars up higher than most modern biopics would.

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‘Pyaasa’ Review: Guru Dutt’s Hauntingly Semi-Autobiographical Poem

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NOTE: This is an archived review originally written last year.

Pyaasa (or Thirst in the English language) is perhaps the best-known film of director Guru Dutt, who also plays the lead role and serves as producer. Having already enjoyed a reputation as a classic Bollywood film, it’s not hard to see why the film has managed to make such a name for itself because this is the work that an accomplished artist could pull off, but I’m amazed already thinking about the many responsibilities that Dutt had in putting something of this sort altogether. It’s amazing just to think about that because Pyaasa is a film that feels made with the same sensibilities that reminded me of the films of Satyajit Ray, for even in moments that ring towards being what one would already recognize from Bollywood films such as the occasional musical number, you still find yourself in awe at how much more dimensions they add to the narrative – but there you also have one of the best qualities of a musical coming into play. And if someone with about as many big responsibilities behind and in front of the camera like Dutt can utilize all of this the way he did, then he truly has created a great film.

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‘Hedwig and the Angry Inch’ Review: The Glamour of Embracing True Self in a Wicked Little Town

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For the longest while, I have always known about Hedwig and the Angry Inch as an off-Broadway rock musical that depicted the struggles of gender identity – and the music still holds up more than simply wonderfully. But what made John Cameron Mitchell and Stephen Trask’s musical carry such an enduring legacy can be felt from far more than simply in how much of a staple it has become in LGBTQ+ culture in America, but also because it’s a film that just perfectly captures how good it feels to be able to break free of the boundaries set in stone by societal expectations. At the time of the film’s release the film failed to break even at the box office but it has only ever developed a more dedicated following since and not without good reason. Yet the film’s wonders don’t stop there, for it perfectly fits the definition of a great parody of a rock musical but it still retains a genuine sense of heart that even makes for an emotionally investing journey from beginning to end. But it also speaks a great deal as a testament towards the work put into making art that people love, no matter what boundaries may be holding it back.

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Mary Poppins Returns but Brought Nothing New: A Review

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The original Mary Poppins is often recognized as the crowning live-action achievement of Walt Disney’s career, and is also most notable for being the only Disney production to earn a Best Picture nomination during his lifetime. But so fervent was author P. L. Travers’s dislike of the changes that Disney made to a story that she once created, we wouldn’t end up seeing another Mary Poppins film until much later. So it only leaves me wondering what can be pulled off with a belated sequel, 54 years later. But how exactly would such a long wait between the two films provide, especially when trying to reach out for a newer audience with Mary Poppins Returns? Trying to recapture the charm that Julie Andrews and Dick Van Dyke have only ever made so distinctive would be one challenge, especially with trying to reach another audience, and Emily Blunt and Lin-Manuel Miranda make the very best of it here. That alone could provide a lot for some viewers but I was only ever left wondering what else would be coming by in order to allow this story to feel so distinctive from its predecessor after so long.

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A Star is Born – Review

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Essentially the catalyst for success stories being made within Hollywood about an industry, but to talk about George Cukor’s A Star is Born in this manner only understates what more it is on the inside. And coming to think of what was already expected from the Academy at the time, one of their biggest crimes was giving the Best Actress award to Grace Kelly for The Country Girl. For not only is Judy Garland’s performance one to define her own career as her very best, it also signifies one of the very highest points that Hollywood’s classic era has ever managed to reach. I’m not even sure how it was possible to make something like this back in the day come out as perfectly, even at the hands of excessive editing from studio executives – there’s a greater tragedy being reflected in A Star is Born that only solidifies it as a musical to define both the era and cinema as a whole.

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Beauty and the Beast (2017) – Review

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As I was about to watch Bill Condon’s new take on Beauty and the Beast a growing skepticism was only arising on my own end with the fact I had only recently rewatched Gary Trousdale and Kirk Wise’s original film, for it not only remains my favourite of Disney’s animated films but one of my own all-time favourite films. Therefore with Disney’s recent trend of live-action reboots of their animated classics I felt that there was a possibility that something new could have only been brought to the table but I’ve had a running issue with these films as they can’t seem to find much about themselves in order to allow each entry to stand apart from the original. It seems to have run again with Beauty and the Beast, a fairly competently made one but to some extent what I thought it would be overall.

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The Umbrellas of Cherbourg – Review

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Those who want a musical like any other musical will not find it in The Umbrellas of Cherbourg. Those who find the idea of having every line in the film entirely sung grating, Jacques Demy knew it would turn you off too. With The Umbrellas of Cherbourg, Jacques Demy already knew what audiences are set to expect when they hear the label of “musical” being used to describe a film but he turns around desires into a greater melancholy. In the nature of the French New Wave, The Umbrellas of Cherbourg goes ahead to carry more of their experimental traits and now we have one that takes the approach to the Hollywood musical. Then it becomes clear why The Umbrellas of Cherbourg works as wonderfully: it isn’t a musical anymore.

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Frozen – Review

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Of all Disney’s recent animated fare, it would probably be easy enough to note Chris Buck and Jennifer Lee’s Frozen as the most overexposed from the bunch especially with the popularity it has acquired from females of all ages. Sadly this apparently has turned synonymous with the actual film’s quality even with the many admirable things to have come about from it. There are many calls back to what had made Disney so great during its Renaissance era (now going back to a Hans Christian Andersen tale again after The Little Mermaid) which allow for Disney themselves to live within what had made said musicals as impactful (something which their previous, Tangled, had managed to capture with ease). But all of this joy should call for me to love it and instead I just find it so lacking – then again I was never a huge fan of this particular musical from the first day.

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