Archive for hugh grant

Two Weeks Notice

Posted in Comedy, Movie Reviews, Romantic with tags , , , , , on July 3, 2017 by Mystery Man

PLOT:

A woman finds herself attempting to foil one office romance while debating if she should take a chance on another in this romantic comedy. Lucy Kelton (Sandra Bullock) is a top-flight attorney who has risen to the position of Chief Legal Counsel for one of New York’s leading commercial real estate firms, the Wade Corporation. However, Lucy’s job has one significant drawback — George Wade (Hugh Grant), the eccentric and remarkably self-centered head of the firm. George seems entirely incapable of making a decision without Lucy’s advice, whether it actually involves a legal matter or not, and while she’s fond of George, being at his beck and call 24 hours a day has brought her to the end of her rope. In a moment of anger, Lucy gives her two weeks notice, and George reluctantly accepts, under one condition — Lucy has to hire her own replacement. After extensive research, Lucy picks June Carter (Alicia Witt), a Harvard Law graduate determined to make a career for herself. Lucy soon begins to suspect, however, that June plans to hasten her rise up the corporate ladder by winning George’s hand, leaving Lucy to wonder if she should warn George about his beautiful but calculating new attorney — and whether she should tell George that she has finally realized she’s in love with him.

What people are saying:

“Hugh Grant and Sandra Bullock basically play their patented movie selves in this overly familiar romantic comedy about corporate greed, social responsibility, personal promises and budding love.” 2 stars

“A familiar plot and typical Bullock flick. Woman intellect meets scatterbrain man, fall in love (neither one knows it), a falling out, and they supposedly live happily ever after. Grant always plays the somewhat down founded man and Bullock is always somewhat of dimwit. Also, there’s a cameo appearance (with a four-liner speech) by a certain billionaire, who could have been edited out and his appearance forgotten. Recommended to Bullock and Grant fans.” 3 stars

“Its only relevance is as a sign of its times. Really it’s no worse than Rock Hudson Doris Day movies, and maybe someday it will be misviewed as a classic as those movies are. There’s little pep to the proceedings, but plenty of star power.” 2 stars

“A rom com about a shallow and obscenely rich playboy (when he said he was calling for a lift, he meant his private helicopter) and a brainy cause-fighting attorney (she can rattle off names of General Counsels when suspected of concussion). Grant and Bullock deliver their cheeky wordplay (“I think you are the most selfish human being on the planet.” “Well that’s just silly. Have you met everybody on the planet?”) with impeccable comic timing and adorable chemistry.” 4 stars

“This is one of those rom-coms that does something unique: it actually gets you to care about the characters who are supposed to be together. The way this movie does it is by having these characters actually be good people, despite their differing ideologies, an achievement that is difficult enough to manage in real life, let alone in a movie. There aren’t any memorable lines, but the charm of both Sandra Bullock and Hugh Grant is enough to make this movie worth watching.” 3 1/2 stars

The Man from U.N.C.L.E.

Posted in Animation, Comedy, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 15, 2015 by Mystery Man

PLOT:

In 1963 East Berlin, Napoleon Solo tracks down Gabby Teller, a woman working in an auto shop. Solo tells her that he is with the American government and knows that Gabby’s father is a Nazi scientist who had worked for the U.S. government but went missing. He needs Gabby to set up a meeting with her uncle, Rudi, to find her father. They leave and are quickly chased by Illya Kuryakin, a top KGB agent who impresses Solo by his dogged pursuit and nearly stopping their car by hand. In the end, Solo manages to whisk Gabby over the Berlin Wall into West Berlin, with Illya left behind.

The following day, Solo meets his handler, Sanders, in a park’s men’s room where Kuryakin is waiting. The two fight it out before Sanders and his KGB counterpart Oleg stop them to announce the two are now partners. It appears that Rudi works for an Italian shipping company owned by Alexander and Victoria Vinciguerra, the latter the true brains of the operation, whose father was suspected of smuggling Nazi gold out of Europe to Argentina after WWII ended. The two are planning to use Gabby’s father to create their own private nuclear weapon. The KGB and CIA insist the two agents work together although each man is under private orders to steal the important computer data for their respective governments. In a private talk, the two men detail what they know of each other. Solo was a former U.S. soldier who turned to art theft, stealing and selling antiques and artwork across Europe. Finally captured, the CIA felt he was too valuable to waste in prison and offered him to work off his sentence for them. Kuryakin’s father was a former high-ranking aide for Stalin but convicted of embezzling funds and sent to Siberia, with Illya prone to streaks of violent behavior because of that.

Gabby is not happy to learn that her cover is to introduce Kuryakin as her architect fiancé but Solo insists they go on. In Rome, Kuryakin is tested by a pair of goons who steal his father’s watch and he forces himself not to fight them. Solo hooks up with the hotel desk clerk while Gabby tempts Kuryakin with drinking, dancing and some wrestling but passes out before they can go any further. The next morning, both men confront one other with how each had planted listening devices in the other’s room. At a race track party, Solo steals an invitation off of a man called Waverly and impresses Victoria with his skills as a thief by stealing her own jewelry. He offers her help in “filling the gaps” in her art collection. Kuryakin is offended by Rudi putting down Russians and takes out his anger by beating up a trio of men in a bathroom. Gabby flirts with Alexander before the group leaves. Checking secret photos he took, Kuryakin finds evidence Victoria and Alexander were by radiation and theorizes the bomb must be close.

That night, both men find each other breaking into the shipping yard and reluctantly work together. They discover a safe which Solo opens but the uranium is already gone. They are chased by guards into the nearby bay, Kuryakin leading the enemy boat while Solo ends up on shore to have a quiet dinner in a truck. He then drives the truck to crush the enemy boat and helps save Illya. Hearing of the break-in, Victoria goes to the hotel but Solo manages to return to his room before she does, and seduces her into sex. The next day, Solo meets with Victoria as Gabby meets with Rudi and Alexander at their mansion with Kuryakin following. He overhears Gabby tell the two men of the real mission and barely escapes. Alerted, Victoria drugs Solo and he wakes up in a private room with Rudi who turns out to be an infamous Nazi torturer. Rudi uses an electric chair to torture Solo but Kuryakin arrives to rescue him. Tied to the chair, Rudi tells them the bomb is being kept at an island fortress. The two men argue over what to do with Rudi but a short-circuit causes the chair to electrocute the Nazi so badly that he bursts into flames. At the island, Gabby meets her father and they attempt to sabotage the bomb but are caught by Victoria. Victoria forces Gabby’s father to complete the bomb, hand over both copies of the data, and then kills him.

Solo and Kuryakin meet with Waverly, who turns out to be a British agent, revealing that Gabby has been working for British intelligence for two years and the CIA and KGB nearly ruined the operation to find her father. The two men lead an attack on the island as Alexander drives the bomb and Gabby away on a jeep. Solo follows in a dune buggy while Kuryakin chases on a motorcycle, both men managing to crash the jeep. Alexander nearly kills Solo but is stabbed to death by Kuryakin. It turns out the missile is not the nuclear one and they worry Victoria will get away. However, Solo figures out she is using her father’s old fishing boat to smuggle the nuke to a sub where her Nazi allies are waiting. Solo tricks Victoria into issuing threats to him and uses the radio signal to have the missile they possess to be fired from an aircraft carrier and destroy the boat.

In Rome, Kuryakin reluctantly says goodbye to Gabby. He hears from Oleg on how Solo still has a copy of the data disc and, enraged, goes to kill Solo and get it. Solo responds by throwing back Kuryakin’s watch, which he took off a guard at the island. The two men decide to destroy the disc rather than let either of their countries get a major advantage. Waverly and Gabby find them as they were about to leave, informing them that they are now working for him and his new organization: U.N.C.L.E

REVIEW:

What better way to end the summer movie season than with an action filled spy comedy? Ok, there are other alternatives. One could go see that abomination that masquerades itself as the Fantastic Four, but I hear it isn’t that good. I chose to have fun at the movies and check out The Man from U.N.C.L.E. Having never seen the original TV show, I have nothing to compare it to, so no bias here.

What is this about?

Set against the backdrop of the early 1960s period of the Cold War, the film centers on U.N.C.L.E. (United Network Command for Law and Enforcement) agents Napoleon Solo and Illya Kuryakin. The two team up on a joint mission to stop a mysterious international criminal organization led by Victoria Vinciguerra, which is bent on destabilizing the fragile balance of power through the proliferation of nuclear weapons and technology. The duo’s only lead is Gaby Teller, the daughter of a vanished German scientist, who is the key to infiltrating the criminal organization, and they must race against time utilizing her connections and prevent a worldwide catastrophe.

What did I like?

Swinging 60s. I’ve come to realize that I am a sucker for period pieces. Well, period pieces set in eras that I actually care about. When I heard they were making this, the first thing that popped in my head was the fear it would be set in modern times which, obviously, would have been a big mistake. The film takes joy in its 60s setting, capitalizing on the clothes, cars, and music available at the time, as well as the, shall we say, simplistic technology of the time. All of this comes together in glorious package that I doubt would have worked so well in today’s world.

Heroic team up. Superman and the Lone Ranger fighting crime together. Doesn’t that sound like it would be awesome? I’m sure someone somewhere has thought of it, especially since I think those shows were on around the same time. We may not get the epic team up on screen, but we do get the actors together and, surprisingly, they have some great chemistry. Henry Cavill’s Napoleon Solo is, for all intents and purposes, a poor man’s James Bond. I feel Cavill watched a lot of John Wayne, Humphrey Bogart, Jimmy Stewart, Cary Grant, and maybe a bit of Adam West for this character. Why? Well, he has this way of speaking which is unnatural for modern ears, but if you listen to people talk from this era, it fits. Some may not like it, but they can get over it. Armie Hammer appears to have bulked up some since we last saw him on screen. Taking a Russian accent and basically being a super soldier he seems to be the emotional one of the team, whether it is his connection to his father’s watch, falling for the girl, or just controlling his temper. These are two guys that have that dapper 60s look naturally, which is probably why they were cast. The fact that they have such great chemistry is a bonus that we all can savor as we sit back and enjoy the ride.

No point. I think it was about half way through the film when I realized that there hadn’t been any references to anything in the 60s. What makes me bring that up? Well, usually in films based on TV shows, especially the ones set in a different era, they go out of their way to point out something that relates to that period. I don’t think that is done once in the picture and I, for one, am so glad for it. It is obvious this is the 60s, no need to bring everything to a halt just to bring up Woodstock, the Kennedy assassination, Martin Luther King, Jr., the Moon landing, etc.

What didn’t I like?

Plot. This is not a film that is meant to make you use your brain, let’s get that straight. It is, however, a film that could have used a couple of twists and turns. As it is the plot, two spies on opposites sides team up to stop a nuclear bomb, is very predictable. The one swerve turned out to be a non-swerve, and every time it seemed like something happened to spice things up, we would get a flashback that showed parts of the scene we didn’t see. Guy Ritchie is well-known for his stylistic vision, but once again, his writing flaws are the downfall.

Big dudes. Have you ever seen a big, athletic guy from the 60s? They really aren’t that big, honestly. Why do I bring this up? Well, looking at Hammer and Cavill, and spurred on by a comment in a review I listened to earlier this week, I noticed they are rather big for the time. Now, Cavill, obviously gets some slack because he’s Superman. I think this might have been right after or before filming for Batman vs. Superman, so his physique couldn’t change too much. Hammer, doesn’t have that luxury. I’m still trying to figure out why he suddenly looked so buff. He needed to look like the guys on Mad Men (probably the best example today of what the 60s were like), specifically Jon Hamm. He’s a somewhat bigger guy, but not huge.

Villainess. I wasn’t sold on Elizabeth Debicki as the villain. To me, she came off as a pissed off Paris Hilton. It wasn’t until Cavill told her that he had killed her husband that she seemed to be the villain this film deserves, but by then it was too late. Maybe if she would have had some motivation, the audience could buy into her. As it is, she’s just the token antagonist.

I feel like The Man from U.N.C.L.E. is going to be forgotten quickly. Not because it is bad, but because it was released at a bad time. The theater I was in had maybe 10 people in it, and most of them straggled in late. Everyone seemed to be going to see Straight Outta Compton. The fact that this was only playing on 2 screens compared to the 8 for the other one is quite telling, as well. Still, this is a quality, enjoyable film that will probably (hopefully) go on to a long life on DVD/Blu-ray. Maybe it will become a cult classic. The music, action, style, look, everything makes this a film that cannot be missed. I highly recommend it!

4 1/2 out of 5 stars

Cloud Atlas

Posted in Drama, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 30, 2013 by Mystery Man

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

The film consists of six interrelated and interwoven stories spanning different time periods. The film is structured, according to novelist David Mitchell, “as a sort of pointillist mosaic.”

South Pacific Ocean, 1849
Adam Ewing, an American lawyer from San Francisco, has come to the Chatham Islands to conclude a business arrangement with Reverend Gilles Horrox for his father-in-law, Haskell Moore. He witnesses the whipping of a Moriori slave, Autua, who later stows away on Ewing’s ship. Ewing advocates for Autua to join the crew as a freeman. Meanwhile, Dr. Henry Goose slowly poisons Ewing, claiming it to be the cure for a parasitic worm, aiming to steal Ewing’s valuables. When Goose attempts to administer the fatal dose, Autua saves Ewing. Returning to the United States, Ewing and his wife Tilda denounce her father’s complicity in slavery and leave San Francisco to join the Slavery Abolishment Movement.

Cambridge, England and Edinburgh, Scotland, 1936
Robert Frobisher, a bisexual English musician, finds work as an amanuensis to composer Vyvyan Ayrs, allowing Frobisher the time and inspiration to compose his own masterpiece, “The Cloud Atlas Sextet.” But Ayrs wishes to take credit for Frobisher’s work, and threatens to expose his scandalous background if he resists. Frobisher, who has read a partial copy of Ewing’s journal in the meanwhile, shoots Ayrs and flees to a hotel, where he finishes “The Cloud Atlas Sextet” but then commits suicide just before his lover Rufus Sixsmith arrives.

San Francisco, California, 1973
Journalist Luisa Rey meets an older Sixsmith, now a nuclear physicist. Sixsmith tips off Rey to a conspiracy regarding the safety of a new nuclear reactor run by Lloyd Hooks, but is assassinated by Hooks’ hitman Bill Smoke before he can give her a report that proves it. Rey finds and reads Frobisher’s letters to Sixsmith, resulting in her tracking down a vinyl recording of Frobisher’s “The Cloud Atlas Sextet.” Isaac Sachs, another scientist at the power plant, passes her a copy of Sixsmith’s report. However, Smoke assassinates Sachs and also runs Rey’s car off a bridge. With help from the plant’s head of security, Joe Napier, she evades another attempt against her life which results in Smoke’s death and exposes the plot to use a nuclear accident for the benefit of oil companies.

United Kingdom, 2012
Timothy Cavendish, a 65-year-old publisher, has a windfall when Dermot Hoggins, a gangster author whose book he has published, murders a critic and is sent to prison. When Hoggins’ brothers threaten Cavendish’s life to get his share of the profits, Cavendish asks for help from his brother Denholme. Denholme tricks him into hiding in a nursing home, where he is held against his will, but Cavendish escapes. Cavendish receives a manuscript of a novel based on Rey’s life and writes a screenplay about his own story.

Neo Seoul, (Korea), 2144
Sonmi-451, a genetically-engineered fabricant (clone) server at a restaurant, is interviewed before her execution. She recounts how she was released from her compliant life of servitude by Commander Hae-Joo Chang, a member of a rebel movement known as “Union”. While in hiding, she watches a film based on Cavendish’s adventure. The Union rebels reveal to her that fabricants like her are killed and “recycled” into food for future fabricants. She decides that the system of society based on slavery and exploitation of fabricants is intolerable, and is brought to Hawaii to make a public broadcast of her story and manifesto. Hae-Joo is killed in a firefight and Sonmi is captured. After telling her story and its intent, she is executed.

The Big Island (dated “106 winters after The Fall”, in the end credits and book cited as 2321)
Zachry lives with his sister and niece Catkin in a primitive society called “The Valley” after most of humanity has died during “The Fall”; the Valley tribesmen worship Sonmi (Sonmi-451) as a goddess. Their sacred text is taken from the broadcast of Sonmi’s manifesto. Zachry is plagued by hallucinations of a figure called “Old Georgie” who manipulates him into giving in to his fear, and hiding while witnessing the murder of his brother-in-law and nephew by the cannibalistic Kona tribe. Zachry’s village is visited by Meronym, a member of the “Prescients”, a society holding on to remnants of technology from before the Fall. In exchange for saving Catkin from death, Zachry agrees to guide Meronym into the mountains in search of Cloud Atlas, a communications station where she is able to send a message to Earth’s colonies. At the station, Meronym reveals that Sonmi was mortal and not a deity as the Valley tribes believe. After returning, Zachry discovers the slaughter of his tribe by the Kona. Zachry kills the Kona chief and rescues Catkin; Meronym saves them both from an assault by Kona tribesmen. Zachry and Catkin join Meronym and the Prescients as their boat leaves Big Island.

Epilogue
A seventh time period, several decades after the action on Big Island, is featured in the film’s prologue and epilogue: Zachry is revealed to have been telling these stories to his grandchildren on a colony of Earth on another planet, confirming that Meronym, who is present at the site, succeeded in sending the message to the colonies and was rescued along with him.

REVIEW:

It is my understanding that Cloud Atlas is based on a very successful book. If the book is anything like what I just saw, then is must be highly imaginative…and long…VERY long.

What is this about?

In this star-studded drama, six seemingly disparate stories take viewers from a South Pacific Island in the 19th century to 1970s America to a dystopian future, exploring the complicated links that humans share through the generations.

What did I like?

Make-up. It should go without saying that the makeup is a star of its own in this film. The reason I say that is because what other way can you use the same group of actors over 6 very different eras and change things such as their race, nationality, and in a couple of cases, sex. The makeup artists are to be highly commended for the job they did with these people.

Time. There was something about the way these people connected in one era, then would find each other in another era and connect, then do the same thing again in another era that resonated with me. I guess if you’re meant to be friends, lovers, or enemies with someone, then it’ll happen in all of your incarnations.

Mix. A review I read about this a little before I started this post said that this is the perfect mix of all the genres that people would want to see, be it comedy, drama, intrigue/suspense, action, etc. I had to think on that for a minute and it is true. Each of these segments is not only set in a totally different era, but they all have a different tone to them. That is what keeps the film interesting.

What didn’t I like?

Ambitious. I give this film all the credit in the world for taking a stab at doing something different. However, I felt that it may have taken a bit too big of an undertaking. This is a big film, but feels like it is an independent flick. The two don’t gel the way they could/should and ultimately, it hurts the proceedings.

Asian. The story involving Neo-Seoul wasn’t working for me. I just couldn’t seem to get into it. That isn’t my complaint, though. That section of the film also featured some very odd make-up that could be construed as racist by some. I didn’t think so, but I can see how some would cry foul. Having said that, I’m not really sure what else could have been done.

Long. At nearly 3 hours long, you better be ready to be sitting for quite some time. I’m not really a fan of long films, unless they can keep my attention, which this one did not. As a matter of fact, I actually found myself dozing a bit in the middle and had to rewind in a couple of sections just so I wouldn’t be lost. I don’t know what they could have cut out, but I’m sure there had to be a way to make this shorter, right?

Cloud Atlas was very much hyped up before it was released, but the finished product doesn’t live up to that hype. For me, it was ok, but nothing spectacular. I can’t not recommend this, because it isn’t a bad film but, at the same time, I can’t say that you should rush out and see it. Yes, it is above average and worth seeing, but I just don’t know how much you should move your schedule around to check it out.

3 3/4 out of 5 stars

Sirens

Posted in Drama, Independent, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , on January 9, 2013 by Mystery Man

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

Starring Grant as Tony, an Anglican priest newly arrived from England, asked to visit a notorious artist, loosely based on the Australian artist Norman Lindsay and played here by Sam Neill, out of the church’s concern about a blasphemous painting the artist plans to exhibit.

Estella, the priest’s wife (played by Tara Fitzgerald), accompanies him on the visit to the artist’s bucolic compound in the Blue Mountains. The artist’s saucy models are played by Elle Macpherson and Kate Fischer; Lindsay’s wife, Rose (Pamela Rabe) also poses for him. Portia de Rossi (in her film debut) plays the maid who has just begun demurely modeling for him as well. Mark Gerber plays the partially blind Devlin, the “odd-job” man who also poses for Lindsay.

While both Grant and Neill play characters critical to the film’s story, the film is really about Estella, who responds to the sensuality of her surroundings over the course of her visit to Lindsay’s estate. Her relationship with Tony includes the intimacy and commitment needed in a well-rounded marriage, but is missing the passion, in all of that term’s senses.

All of Estella’s senses are engaged by the backdrop for the film, a lush and dangerous landscape filled with the distinctive flora and fauna of Australia. To the prim and proper English wife of a priest it is all quite exotic. Lindsay’s voluptuous models (played by Macpherson and Fischer) live the libertine lives that Lindsay champions through his paintings and Lindsay has animated postprandial conversations with her husband. Those scenes and conversations, and various glimpses of naked models and a naked Devlin, contribute to the stimulating environment.

The surroundings and the lives of the models are siren calls that lead Estella to fantasize with increasing intensity, and (with encouragement from the models) act on a few of her impulses. She suffers morning-after remorse about a late-night encounter with Devlin, and perhaps influenced by supportive words from her husband (who had witnessed her acting on one of her impulses, though not the sexual one with Devlin), the film ends with a playful scene between the two of them. The scene hints at the possibility that she may find passion with her husband after all.

A separate story arc follows de Rossi’s character as she matures emotionally under the influence of the other two models and Estella’s advice. It intersects with the primary arc in the person of Devlin, to whom de Rossi’s character is attracted.

REVIEW:

In Greek or Roman mythology, I can’t remember exactly which one it is right now, sirens were beautiful women who lured sailors to the rocks with their voices. I’m not really sure what that has to do with Sirens, thought, as there is nary a siren to be seen in this dramedy, but I do believe the film tries to convey these models as modern-day sirens, perhaps.

What is this about?

A young reverend and his wife are on the way from England to Australia to minister to their flock. The bishop asks him to visit an eccentric artist prone to sexual depictions and requests that he voluntarily withdraw a controversial work call “Crucified Venus” from his show. The minister, who considers himself a progressive, is shocked at the amoral atmosphere surrounding the painter, his wife, and the three models living at his estate. The minister’s wife is troubled also, and has to deal with latent sexual urges while trying to remain loyal to her husband.

What did I like?

Relationships. The group of relationships amongst the cast, mainly as they relate to Tara Fitzgerald’s character is something of which take notice. As her character comes to terms with what is going with her marriage and the freedoms that the girls enjoy in this complex of sorts, she gets closer to them and her relationship with her husband goes through some changes, as well.

Sensuality. The focal point of this picture is the sensuality of the human body, specifically the female body. What else do you expect from a painter, right? Much like the scene in Titanic where Kate Winslet’s character is posing nude, there is nothing sexual or explicit about the nudity of this film, unless you’re the kind of person who can’t handle looking at art, or to an even deeper level, yourself in the mirror. That being said, there are a couple of sexual scenes, such as the blind guy masturbating on the rocks, but you never see anything.

What didn’t I like?

Church. The whole film starts with some church people being unhappy (when are they not?) with the portrayal of nudity in art. So, they send Hugh Grant’s character down to Australia to have a little talk with the artist. Once he gets down there, that is the last we hear of it, except for a brief mention when he and his wife get ready to leave. It makes you ponder  whether he ended giving up his religion, at least the way the film plays out.

Paint. Sam Neill portrays artist Norman Lindsey, but you wouldn’t know he’s there if not for the dinner scenes and his initial introduction. He barely has any lines and when we do see him he’s painting, which you would expect from a painter, obviously. I have to question why they cast such a prominent actor if you’re not going to give him anything to do? That would be like hiring Gordon Ramsey to microwave your Hot Pockets!

I won’t lie to you. The only reason I even bothered watching Sirens this afternoon is because of pressure from a certain person in this house, and her constant reminders about how much she loves it. Sometimes you just have to sacrifice for the greater good. Having said that, this isn’t my type of film. It is too artsy-fartsy for my taste and, as such, I didn’t really enjoy it. Does that mean I don’t recommend it? By all means, no, just remember that this is more of an independent dramedy. So, if films of that nature float your boat, this is for you!

3 out of 5 stars

The Pirates! Band of Misfits

Posted in Animation, Family, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 26, 2012 by Mystery Man

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

The film is set in 1837. The Pirate Captain, inexpert in the ways of pirates, leads a close-knit, rag-tag group of amateur pirates who are trying to make a name for themselves on the high seas. To prove himself and his crew, the Pirate Captain enters the Pirate of the Year competition, with the winner being whoever can plunder the most. After several failed attempts to plunder mundane ships, the Pirate Captain talks with his close first mate, the Pirate with a Scarf, about giving up and selling baby clothes as a living, but is convinced to try boarding the next ship they find, which happens to be the Beagle. They find no treasure but succeed in capturing Charles Darwin. Darwin recognizes the crew’s pet Polly as the last living dodo, and implores the Pirate Captain to enter it into the Scientist of the Year competition at the Royal Academy in London for a valuable prize. The Pirate Captain directs his ship to London, despite being warned of Queen Victoria’s hatred for pirates.

Darwin desires to win the Scientist prize on his own in order to impress Queen Victoria, on whom he has a crush. He uses Mr. Bobo, his trained chimpanzee who was from an old theory that parodies his own theory, to try to steal Polly. The Pirate with the Scarf witnesses the kidnapping but the attempt goes awry after alerting the other pirates. Darwin avoids implicating himself much to the Pirate with the Scarf’s frustration, but now the Pirate Captain insists on hiding the bird and entering the competition on his own. The display of the dodo takes the top prize: a minuscule trophy, an Encyclopedia set and an opportunity to meet the Queen. During the ceremony, the Pirate Captain accidentally reveals his pirate identity, but Darwin convinces the Queen to spare the Captain’s life because he knows the location of Polly. The Queen lets the Captain go free with a full pardon, but orders Darwin to locate the dodo by any means necessary.

Darwin takes the Pirate Captain to a tavern, and the latter ultimately reveals that he had stashed Polly in his beard. Darwin and Mr. Bobo are able to capture Polly and are chased by the Captain up into the Tower of London, where the Queen is waiting. The Queen quickly dismisses Darwin and Mr. Bobo, and then offers the Pirate Captain a large amount of treasure in exchange for the bird. Soon, the Pirate Captain reunites with his crew with his newfound wealth, stating that Polly is sleeping within his beard, and sets off for the Pirate of the Year ceremony. The Pirate with a Scarf expresses doubt to the validity of the Captain’s story.

At the ceremony, the Pirate Captain wins the grand prize from the Pirate King, but rival pirate Black Bellamy makes the Queen’s pardon revealed to all pirates in attendance. The Captain is stripped of the prize, his plunder, and his pirating licensing, and on learning that he lied about Polly’s fate, his crew abandons him as well. The Captain returns alone to London to sell baby clothes, but soon becomes determined to free Polly. He re-encounters a now-devastated Darwin, who has learned that the Queen is part of a rare animal eaters’ society with several other world leaders who are now aboard her steamship, the QV1, waiting to eat Polly and several other rare animals. The Pirate Captain enlists Darwin’s help to steal a dirigible and rescue Polly.

Aboard the QV1, the Pirate Captain and Darwin disrupt the meal, and are soon joined by the rest of the Captain’s crew, having been informed by Mr. Bobo of his need. The Queen locates them and after justifying her reasons behind her hatred of pirates, attempts to kill both of them, but together they best her. In the battle, they accidentally mix the ship’s store of baking powder with vinegar, causing a violent reaction that rends the ship in two. The Pirate Captain rescues Polly and they escape safely, leaving behind a furious Queen.

With his reputation among pirates restored because of the large bounty now on his head, the Pirate Captain and his crew continue to explore the high seas in search of adventure. They leave Darwin on the Galapagos Islands, where he finally finds a girlfriend, and Mr. Bobo joins the Captain’s crew. As for the Queen, she is left at the mercy of some of the rare animals she had planned on eating

REVIEW:

Pirates became exceedingly popular not that far back, thanks to Johnny Depp’s Jack Sparrow. Many of us thought that to have been a fad, but apparently, pirates, like vampires, are here to stay. However, a kids film about pirates might be the nail in the coffin. Then agin, those vegetables did not too long ago and nothing happened, so who am I to think that The Pirates! Band of Misfits would do any better. Of course, keep in mind, I like pirates.

What is this about?

This animated tale follows a pirate captain from the high seas to the streets of London as he strives to win the Pirate of the Year Award. But to snag the coveted prize, he’ll have to beat his dreaded rivals Black Bellamy and Cutlass Liz. Will he succeed in this task, as well as fight off the evil Queen Victoria?

What did I like?

Animation. It is no secret that I prefer stop motion to CGI. It just looks cleaner and there is more care put into rather than just clicking on a computer. I don’t care for the mixture of the two, but at least they didn’t rely solely on CGI, which is always a plus in my book.

Comedy. Unlike other pirate films of late, these pirates are a light-hearted bunch. With that in mind, one can guess that the tone of this film is anything but dark. There many great comedic moments throughout the picture, with jokes for the young and um, not-so-young.

Voices. The voice casting is sensational. Headlined by Hugh Grant as the Pirate Captain and Imelda Staunton as the evil Queen Victoria, this sensational group of British actors (as well as Salma Hayek, Jeremy Piven and Al Roker in small roles) , really sell their characters.

What didn’t I like?

You dodo. One of my favorite underrated Bugs Bunny cartoons has to do with him finding the last dodo. When I first saw the bird here, I immediately knew he/she was a dodo. This begs to question why it is that the pirates couldn’t figure out the difference between a parrot and a dodo bird. Are they that daft?!?

Title. In the UK, this called The Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientists. For some reason, though, someone decided it would be a good idea to change the title when it came across the pond. Don’t ask me why because it makes no sense to me. What exactly was wrong with the original title? I would like to know!

Darwin, Salma, and curvy pirate. Whatever your side is on the creation debate, you can’t help but notice that Darwin was sed more as a villain in this film, leading me to believe that the filmmaker doesn’t care for the Darwin school of thought. Salma Hayek’s character was just as voluptuous as her, though quite thinner, but I can’t say I cared for her. Maybe it was the gap in her teeth, or the murderous intent she almost always had. Women often masqueraded as men to join pirate crews, we all know that. Like with the dodo, though, I don’t see how Pirate Captain, and the rest of the crew missed the fact that she was a girl. Something just seemed off about that, then again, it might have been for comedic effect.

The Pirates! Band of Misfits provides the audience with many laughs, some action, and just a good ol’ fun time. The stop motion is great and a welcome change from all the CGI we see everywhere, though I think if they would have gone all out with it, the finished product would have been much better, as can be seen with Mary and Max. Do I recommend this? Yes, I do. A few minor complaints aside, this is a flick that should be high up on your must-see family flick list.

4 out of 5 stars

Love Actually

Posted in Chick Flicks, Comedy, Movie Reviews, Romantic with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 12, 2009 by Mystery Man

PLOT:

The film begins with a voiceover from David (Hugh Grant) commenting that whenever he gets gloomy with the state of the world he thinks about the arrivals terminal at Heathrow Airport, and the pure uncomplicated love felt as friends and families welcome their arriving loved ones. David’s voiceover also relates that all the known messages left by the people who died on the 9/11 planes were messages of love and not hate. The film then tells the ‘love stories’ of many people, culminating in a final scene at the airport enacted to the tune of The Beach Boys’ “God Only Knows” that closes their stories. The film ends with a montage of anonymous persons greeting their arriving loved ones that slowly enlarges and fills the screen, eventually forming the shape of a heart.

With the help of his longtime manager Joe (Gregor Fisher), aging rock and roll legend Billy Mack (Bill Nighy) records a Christmas variation of The Troggs’ classic hit “Love Is All Around.” Despite his honest admission that it is a “festering turd of a record,” the singer promotes the release in the hope it will become the Christmas number one single. During his publicity tour, Billy repeatedly causes Joe grief by pulling stunts such as defacing a poster of rival musicians Blue with a speech bubble reading, “We’ve got little pricks.” He also promises to perform his song naked on television should it hit the top spot. Mack keeps his word—albeit while wearing boots and holding a strategically placed guitar. After briefly celebrating his victory at a party hosted by Sir Elton John, Billy unexpectedly arrives at Joe’s flat and explains that Christmas is a time to be with the people you love, and that he had just realized that “the people I love… is you”, despite simultaneously hitting Joe with insulting comments about his weight. He reminds Joe that “We have had a wonderful ride” touring around the world together over the years. He suggests that the two celebrate Christmas by getting drunk and watching porn. Billy and Joe’s story is the only one exploring platonic love, and the two characters are unrelated to any of the other characters in film, although a few of the other characters are shown watching Billy Mack on their TVs or listening to his song on the radio. At the end of the film, Billy Mack arrives at the airport terminal with a gorgeous six-foot blonde woman pushing his luggage cart. He refers to her as one of two (and possibly more) new girlfriends, indicating that, despite his love for Joe, he is heterosexual. Joe is there to greet him and their friendly relationship remains solid.

Juliet (Keira Knightley) and Peter (Chiwetel Ejiofor) are wed in a lovely ceremony orchestrated and videotaped by Mark (Andrew Lincoln), Peter’s best friend and best man. When the professional wedding video turns out to be dreadful, Juliet shows up at Mark’s door in hopes of getting a copy of his footage, despite the fact that he has always been cold and unfriendly to her. The video turns out to consist entirely of close-ups of her, and she realizes that he secretly has had feelings for her. Mortified, Mark explains that his coldness to her is “a self-preservation thing” and excuses himself. On Christmas Eve, Mark shows up at Juliet and Peter’s door posing as a carol singer with a portable CD player, and uses a series of cardboard signs to silently tell her that “at Christmas you tell the truth,” and, “without hope or agenda… to me, you are perfect”. As he leaves, Juliet runs after him and kisses him, before returning to Peter. Mark tells himself, “Enough, enough now,” perhaps acknowledging that it’s time to move on with his life. All three appear at the airport in the closing scenes to greet Jamie and Aurélia, showing that the friendship between Peter and Mark has not been affected by the latter’s feelings for Juliet.

Writer Jamie (Colin Firth) first appears preparing to attend Juliet and Peter’s wedding. His girlfriend (Sienna Guillory) misses the ceremony allegedly due to illness, but when Jamie unexpectedly returns home before the reception, he discovers her engaging in sexual relations with his brother. Heartbroken, Jamie retires to the solitude of his French cottage to immerse himself in his writing. Here he meets Portuguese housekeeper Aurélia (Lúcia Moniz), who speaks only her native tongue. Despite the language barrier they manage to communicate with each other, with subtitles indicating they are at times in agreement with each other, and sometimes of opposite minds. Jamie returns to London, where he takes a course in Portuguese. On Christmas Eve, he decides to ditch celebrations with his family to fly to Marseille. In the crowded Portuguese restaurant where Aurelia works her second job as a waitress, he proposes to her in his mangled Portuguese, and she accepts using her recently learned English. The film ends with Jamie and Aurélia, now engaged. At the airport they are met by Peter, Juliet, and Mark. Aurelia jokes that if Jamie had told her his friends were so handsome, she might have chosen a different Englishman. Jamie then jokes that she doesn’t speak English well and doesn’t know what she’s saying.

Harry (Alan Rickman) is the managing director of a design agency. Mia (Heike Makatsch), his new secretary, clearly has sexual feelings for him. His nascent mid-life crisis allows him tentatively to welcome her attention, and for Christmas he buys her an expensive necklace from jewelery salesman Rufus (Rowan Atkinson), who takes a very long time adding ever more elaborate wrapping while Harry becomes increasingly nervous with the fear of detection. Meanwhile, Harry’s wife Karen (Emma Thompson) is busy dealing with their children, Daisy (Lulu Popplewell) and Bernard (William Wadham), who are appearing in the school Nativity, her brother David, a politician who just became the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, and her friend Daniel, who has just lost his wife to cancer. Karen discovers the necklace in Harry’s coat pocket and assumes it is a gift for her, only to be given the CD Joni Mitchell’s Both Sides Now to “continue [Karen’s] emotional education”, as Harry puts it, instead. She then believes Harry is having an affair with Mia, and briefly breaks down alone in her bedroom before composing herself to attend the children’s play with her husband. Following the play, Karen confronts Harry over the necklace, who admits, “I am so in the wrong — a classic fool”, to which Karen replies: “Yes, but you’ve also made a fool out of me — you’ve made the life I lead foolish too,” before blinking back tears and enthusiastically congratulating their children. As for Mia, she is shown smiling while trying on the necklace. In the final airport scene, Harry returns home from a trip abroad, and Karen and his children are there to greet him. Harry is delighted to see his kids again; his exchange with Karen is more perfunctory, but suggests that, though the two are not on steady terms, they intend to give their marriage a chance.

Karen’s brother, the recently-elected British Prime Minister David (Hugh Grant), is young, handsome, and single. Natalie (Martine McCutcheon) is a new junior member of the household staff at 10 Downing Street and regularly serves his tea and biscuits. Something seems to click between them, but with the exception of some mild flirting, neither pursues the attraction. When the President of the United States (Billy Bob Thornton) pays a visit, his conservative attitude and flat refusal to relax any policies leave the British advisors stymied. It is only after David walks in to find the President attempting to seduce Natalie that he stands up for the UK at a nationally televised press conference, saying Britain is a great country for things like Harry Potter, The Beatles and David Beckham’s right foot (“David Beckham’s left foot, come to that”), and chides the President by saying that “a friend who bullies us is no longer a friend.” Concerned that his affections for Natalie are affecting his political judgment, David asks for her to be “redistributed.” Later, while looking through a sampling of Christmas cards, David comes across a card signed “I’m actually yours. With Love, Your Natalie.” Encouraged by this he sets out to find her. After much doorbell ringing, including a ring at Mia’s house, David eventually finds Natalie at her family’s home. Hoping to have some time with Natalie, David offers to drive everyone to the local school for the play, the same one in which his niece and nephew are appearing (as he realizes only when his sister, Karen – still unsteady from her recent discovery of her husband’s suspected affair – spots him and thanks him for finally managing to come to a family function). The two watch the show from backstage, and their budding relationship is exposed to the audience when a curtain at the rear of the stage is raised during the big finale and David and Natalie are caught in a passionate kiss. Undeterred, they smile and wave. In the final airport scene, as David walks through the gate at the airport in the finale, Natalie – heedless of the surrounding paparazzi – runs straight through his entourage and leaps into his arms, planting a big kiss on him.

Daniel (Liam Neeson), Karen’s friend, is introduced in the film during a funeral for his wife, Joanna. Her death, caused by an unspecified long-term illness, has left Daniel and his stepson Sam (Thomas Sangster) to fend for themselves. Daniel must deal with his sudden responsibility, as well as the perceived end of his love life. (“That was a done deal long ago”, he says to Sam, “unless, of course, Claudia Schiffer calls, in which case I want you out of the house straight away, you wee motherless mongrel.”) Sam, too, is especially forlorn about something, eventually revealing that he is in love with an American girl from his school, also named Joanna (Olivia Olson), who he assumes does not know he exists. After seeing Billy Mack’s new video in a store window, he comes up with a plan, based on the premise that “girls love musicians. Even the really weird ones get girlfriends.” With Daniel’s encouragement, Sam teaches himself to play the drums, eventually acting as top for Joanna’s performance of “All I Want for Christmas Is You” at the aforementioned Nativity Festival. Unfortunately, Sam’s drumming fails to secure Joanna’s attention the way he had hoped. After the play, Daniel consoles Sam, who is also heartbroken over recent news of Joanna’s return to the United States, and convinces him to go catch Joanna at the airport.

While Sam dashes off to collect his things, Daniel bumps into another parent, Carol (played by Claudia Schiffer), and sparks immediately fly. Sam and Daniel leave to find Joanna before she and her family board their flight to America. Once Daniel and Sam arrive, the attendant refuses to let Sam through. However, while the attendant is distracted by another passenger, the jewelry clerk Rufus, Sam is able to sneak through and race past the security checkpoint. With the gate staff distracted by Billy Mack’s promised naked performance on TV monitors, Sam is able to reach Joanna and confess his love to her just as she is about to board the plane. He is brought back to his stepfather by security guards, but Joanna runs back to Sam to give him a kiss on the cheek. In triumph he leaps into Daniel’s arms. In the finale, Daniel and Sam have returned to the airport with Carol and her son as Sam awaits Joanna’s return. When Joanna walks through the doors, Sam says, “Hello,” restraining the impulse to embrace her. Daniel curses, “He should have kissed her…” but Carol soothes him, “No, that’s cool.”

Sarah (Laura Linney) first appears at the wedding of Juliet and Peter, sitting next to her friend Jamie. We learn she works at Harry’s graphic design company and has been in love for years with the creative director Karl (Rodrigo Santoro), a not-so-secret obsession recognized by Harry, who implores her to say something to him since it’s Christmas and Karl is aware of her feelings anyway. Unfortunately for all concerned, Sarah has an institutionalized and mentally ill brother who calls her mobile phone incessantly. Sarah feels responsible for her brother and constantly puts her life on hold to support him. Sarah’s chance at making love with Karl, following her company’s Christmas party (hosted at an art gallery run by Mark), is abandoned when her brother again calls her at the most inopportune time. Karl suggests that she not answer (asking, “Will it make him better?”), but she does so anyway, effectively ending their relationship. On Christmas Eve, she wishes Karl “Merry Christmas” as he leaves the office, and it is clear he wants to say something to her, but he departs and she breaks down in tears before picking up her phone to ring her brother. She is seen spending Christmas in her brother’s institution, wrapping a scarf around him. They are the only couple not seen at the end of the movie at the airport.

After several blunders attempting to woo various English women, including Mia and the caterer at Juliet and Peter’s wedding, Colin Frissell (Kris Marshall) informs his friend Tony (Abdul Salis) he plans to go to the US and find love there because, in his estimation, that country is full to the brim with gorgeous women who will fall head over heels for him because of his ‘cute British accent’. (‘Stateside I’m Prince William without the weird family.’) The first place he goes after landing in Milwaukee, Wisconsin is an ‘average’ US bar where he meets three stunningly attractive women (Ivana Milicevic, January Jones, Elisha Cuthbert) who after falling for his Basildon accent invite him to stay at their home, specifically in their bed, with them and their housemate Harriet (Shannon Elizabeth) (‘the sexy one’). They warn him that because they are poor they can’t even afford pajamas, so everyone will be naked. In the finale Colin returns to England with Harriet for himself and her sister Carla (Denise Richards) for Tony. Carla hugs and kisses a startled Tony at the airport, telling him ‘I heard you were gorgeous’.

In a story that was excised completely from the censored version of the DVD release of the film, John (Martin Freeman) and Judy (Joanna Page), who up to this point were unknown to each other, work as stand-ins for the sex scenes in a movie. Colin’s friend Tony is part of the film crew, and gives them directions as to the activities they should simulate so that lighting checks and such can be completed before the actors are called to the set. Despite their blatantly sexual actions, and frequent nudity, they are very naturally comfortable with each other, discussing politics, traffic, and previous jobs as if they’d known one another for years. John even tells Judy that “it is nice to have someone [he] can just chat with.” The two carefully and cautiously pursue a relationship, and see the play at the local school together with John’s brother. In the finale at the airport, Tony, while waiting for Colin, runs into John and Judy, about to depart on a trip together. Judy happily displays an engagement ring on her finger.

Rufus is a minor but significant character played by Rowan Atkinson. He is the Selfridges jewellery salesman whose obsessive attention to gift-wrapping nearly gets Harry caught buying Mia’s necklace, and later at the airport, his distraction of an attendant allows Sam to sneak through security and see Joanna before she goes back to America. In the original script, the character was revealed to be an angel, and the airport scene showed him disappearing as he walked through the crowd, but this aspect of the character was removed, although he does give Daniel a wink indicating he knows he is giving Sam cover to slip through. Richard Curtis says that with all the storylines already complicating the movie, “the idea of introducing another layer of supernatural beings” seemed over-the-top.

REVIEW:

I’m not a bug romantic comedy guy, but I will watch them willingly. Today, I actually chose to watch this (partially because the little woman was hinting at it). Having said that, I’m not ashamed to say that this was quite an enjoyable film.

Similar to the Harry Potter films, the cast is exclusively British (with a few exceptions). I am not one to bring about nationality and stuff, but the Britihs setting and cast work. For some reason, if this was done with American actors, I don’t think the charm would have been there. There’s just something about British accents that make almost everything better.

I really like how each of the stories intertwines, and they all come together at the end. Films that have these multiple storylines should do that more often. It relinquishes the confusion that the audience may be feeling after watching the entire film.

Let’s discuss the good parts of the film. First we have the aforementioned intertwining storylines that I just discussed. Then we have the performances of all the actors. I don’t believe a single one of them gave a bad performance. If I had to sya there was a breakout star, it would have to be the lovely Martine McCutcheon, who plays Natalie. The mixture of her talent and total cuteness steals the show. Hopefully Hollywood will give her a call and we can see more of her here in the states. It can’t be forgotten that this is a comedy. Granted, it isn’t a laugh out loud, riotous, knee slapping type of comedy, but it does have a few moments that will get a rise out of the audience. Pay special attention to Bill Nighy’s scenes for these.

The bad parts are few and far between, but they have to be brought up. The main issue I have with this film is that it doesn’t develop the minor characters enough. They play major roles in the film, but none of them are anything more than glorified cameos.  I also have a little bit of issue with the ending, aside from those that are related, how do these people all happen to know each other. That’s just me being nitpicky and curious, though.

This is far from being a bad film, but it isn’t a macho guy film. It seems more like the type of cheesy romance flick you watch during the holidays. It really is a good film, though. Snuggle up to someone you love, pop it in and enjoy.

4 out of 5 stars

Music & Lyrics

Posted in Comedy, Movie Reviews, Romantic with tags , , , , , on March 28, 2009 by Mystery Man

PLOT:

Alex Fletcher was one of the founding members of the band PoP!, which achieved fame and enjoyed considerable success during the late 1980s and early 1990s. After they disbanded, his partner Colin Thompson became a popular solo act, while Alex’s career nosedived. In recent years he has supported himself by reprising his old hits for middle-aged female fans at high school reunions, county fairs, and amusement parks.

Alex is given a chance at a comeback when teenaged pop star Cora Corman commissions him to write a song for her new CD which is on the verge of completion, leaving him only days to fulfill her request. Alex’s forté is composing music; he always relied on Colin to supply the words. His manager Chris Riley helps him search for a lyricist, and Alex is in the midst of trying to collaborate with one when Sophie Fisher arrives at his apartment in place of his usual plant caregiver.

Sophie is a former creative writing student reeling from a disastrous romance with her former English professor that left her with little confidence in her talent. When she blurts out a few lyrics Alex finds more appealing than those provided by the pompous writer with whom he’s making no progress, he cajoles her into working with him. There are signs of a budding romance as the two spend the next three days collaborating on “Way Back into Love.”

Cora is thrilled with the completed song and Alex, Sophie, Chris, and his date have dinner to celebrate. At the restaurant Sophie runs into ex-lover Sloan Cates, the creative-writing professor who used her as the basis for the protagonist in his latest best-selling novel. Alex convinces Sophie to confront him, but the speech she prepared for this very moment long ago escapes her as her insecurity rises to the surface and leaves her tongue-tied in Sloan’s presence. She and Alex return to his apartment and consummate their relationship, much to her sister Rhonda’s delight when Sophie confides in her.

Sophie is horrified when she discovers Cora plans to record a sexually-charged interpretation of “Way Back into Love,” complete with a “steamy and sticky” Indian vibe she feels clashes with the romantic spirit of the song. She is determined to convince Cora to abandon the bizarre arrangement, only to find Alex vetoing her efforts for fear he will lose the opportunity to work with Cora and revive his career. In the ensuing argument, he admits Cora’s version is awful but contends accepting it is the cost of doing business. Upset by Alex’s willingness to demean his talent and hurt by his argument that she is refusing to live in the real world, Sophie leaves him.

When Cora’s new tour opens at Madison Square Garden, Alex introduces “Don’t Write Me Off,” a self-penned plea for Sophie to give their relationship another chance. She finds him backstage, and he confesses he convinced Cora to drop the risqué version of “Way Back into Love” in an attempt to win Sophie back. He and Cora perform the tune as he and Sophie intended it to be sung, and the two songwriters embrace in the wings.

REVIEW:

There just aren’t enough films about music. Yes, there are a few, but none have the charm of this one.

Drew Barrymore is giving Meg Ryan a run for her money as the queen of the romantic comedies. She plays the naive, hopeless romancitcness that only she can bring to this role. On top of that, she seems to have natural chemistry with Hugh Grant.

Speaking of Hugh Grant, this is his type of movie, and of course he delivers. He even sings his parts! That’s dedication.

The opening video of this film is one of the things that really sold me on it. A very catchy 80s tune that, had it have been an actual group that released, more than likely would have been a hit.

There’s not much on the negative side I have to say about this film, other than a couple of observations. The first is that I wih Sophie would have eventually gotten the courage to go and stand up to Sloan. Secondly, they talk about  the other member of Pop!, but never show him. I think instead of having Cora sing in the finale with him, that it should have been a reunion. Maybe that’s just me wanting a true happy ending, though.

So, I’m sure many of you are wondering whether I recommend ths or not. Well, the answer is yes. It’s got someting for just about everyone. The music is great. The acting is top notch, and its just a great film.

4 1/2 out of 5 stars