Julie Taymor’s Beatles movie musical “Across the Universe” has multiple personalities. At one point you’re watching a drama–then a music video–then an art piece–then an actual stage musical–then a raging acid trip–and back to a drama again. The good news is the film leaves you with its strongest form: drama musical, and it leaves you feeling good.
It’s official — John Carney is the master of the modern day movie musical. The filmmaker who broke onto the scene and stole indie movie fans’ hearts with “Once” has a gift for crafting films and original music that work together seamlessly to tell emotionally compelling stories. “Sing Street” is probably his most personal effort […]
How is John Carney the only filmmaker who knows how to make a contemporary musical? The “Once” filmmaker recaptures some of that film’s magic in “Begin Again,” a more mainstream approach for a wider American audience. With a team of terrific songwriters and a top-notch cast, “Begin Again” is a welcome reminder of why and […]
How I’ve never seen a stage version of Stephen Sondheim’s “Into the Woods” is still a head-scratcher. My high school theatre department put on the twisted fairy tale the year after I graduated (much to my disappointment) and it has eluded me ever since. The point, excuse my digression, is it’s very rare for me […]
Nothing the Coen Brothers ever do is really a change of pace, but “Inside Llewyn Davis” is about as close to one as you’re likely to get from the filmmaking duo that has rolled out nothing but critically acclaimed hits since 2008 Best Picture winner “No Country for Old Men.” Even with a three-year break […]
There are few musicals like “Les Misérables,” an operetta lined with incredible music from start to finish, with a story so grand and tremendous that somehow manages to fit on a Broadway (or West End) stage.
Nothing about the premise of “Pitch Perfect” suggests it should be a funny movie, or anything more than a diversion for “Glee” fans who’ve burnt out on the hit show after three-plus seasons. A cappella groups might be a change of pace for Hollywood, but college humor isn’t, with most college comedies going straight to […]
There’s little rhyme or reason to anything in the “Happy Feet” universe. If it sings, dances, looks cute and enhances ethnic diversity, it flies. Except penguins of course — penguins can’t fly, everyone knows that. But that doesn’t mean they can’t creatively problem solve through self-determination, tap-dancing and passionate arias. Okay, so nothing makes sense […]
Rob Marshall knows how to direct a musical for the big screen. We learned that after his vision for “Chicago” earned a the big prize at the Academy Awards. That set the stakes high for “Nine,” the movie based on a musical based on a movie: “8 1/2” by Federico Fellini. If that weren’t enough, […]
Terrific, campy movie musicals don’t come around very often. How many films have been able to emulate the success of “The Rocky Horror Picture Show?” How many have even tried? “Reefer Madness” is about the closest any film has come to capturing the bizarre spirit of that cult classic. A film version of the Off-Broadway […]
The fact that “West Side Story” is based on Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet” is one of those knowledge tidbits that people seem to pride themselves on, but the truth is that the classic tragedy of star-crossed lovers is most of what makes “West Side Story” strike a note with audiences. Add to that story an […]
The ’60s was the decade of the movie musical with “West Side Story,” “The Sound of Music,” “My Fair Lady,” and “Oliver!” all taking home Best PIcture. It’s fair to say “Funny Girl” might’ve been on that list had it not came out the same year as “Oliver!” But the Academy had it right in […]