Encanto: Does Every Animated Film Need To Be A Musical?

2.5/5

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

A family is each gifted with superpowers by a miracle however when one of the members of the unit does not receive her powers then things start to fall apart and the family has to work through there issues to restore the magic.

I am very mixed on this film. On the one hand, the message is very good and important and one that is worth remembering by everyone in the audience. Furthermore, the film does manage to connect emotionally and pulls on all the right heartstrings to make you feel something and care about the characters.

However, on the other hand, this film has no stakes and there is no real journey to it. The issues come about because of miscommunication and then the family communicates and everything is fixed, there is no real peril and it all feels very simplistic.

Moreover, the musical numbers start to get in the way of the plot. By that I mean they are unnecessary, overused and not particularly good. As I have said before there is something about the Lin Manuel Miranda style of musical that doesn’t jive with me and that I find irritating, having what could easily be dialogue sung for the sake of it is not clever or inventive- it feels lazy.

Overall, though some parts of the film connected with me for the most part it either left me cold or slight underwhelmed. Certainly not worth seeing at the cinema, wait until you can watch it for free.

Pros.

The message

Stephanie Beatriz in the lead role

The emotional resonance

Cons.

The songs

The lack of real character journey or stakes

It has pacing issues  

If you enjoyed this review, then please head over to my Patreon to support me, I offer personalized shoutouts, the ability for you to pick what I review next and full access to my Patreon exclusive game reviews. Check it out!

https://www.patreon.com/AnotherMillennialReviewer

Tick Tick Boom: Andrew Garfield Really Can Do It All

4/5

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

The film tells the somewhat real life story of Johnathan Larson, recounting the making of his first musical Superbia.

I have been decidedly negative on the work of Lin Manuel Miranda  for the most part, I didn’t like In The Heights, Vivo or his role in the Mary Poppins revival; the only thing I have liked from him has been his role in His Dark Materials. However, this blew me away and really resonated with me.

I thought this film was strong across the board, Andrew Garfield was splendid in the lead role, but when is he not? The songs were top tier and the emotion always rang true. I think the latter of those points is the feather in the film’s cap as the writing here has an uncanny ability to reach through the screen and tug at your heartstrings. There were multiple moments in this film were I was on the verge of tears; the writing is incredibly poignant and meaningful and Garfield sells this to the letter, in what may be one of his best performances to date.

Honestly Netflix needs to make more films like this as it might shake up their stale blockbuster wannbe slate and actually help to elevate them as a studio.

Overall, a magnificent film in many ways with only a few slight pacing issues holding it back.

Pros.

Garfield

The songs

The emotion and the impactful ending

It is inspiring

Cons.

Pacing issue

If you enjoyed this review, then please head over to my Patreon to support me, I offer personalized shoutouts, the ability for you to pick what I review next and full access to my Patreon exclusive game reviews. Check it out!

https://www.patreon.com/AnotherMillennialReviewer

Anna And The Apocalypse: The Version Of High School Musical That The Disney Channel Rejected

2/5

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

A Scottish highschool finds itself in the middle of a zombie apocalypse.

I had heard lots of positive things about this prior to watching, however I did not end up liking it. The people I spoke to about this film prior to watching it had left out one key aspect, namely that it is a musical. I really didn’t like that part of the film.

The songs in this film aren’t good. Yes, that is a personal taste thing on my part but every time someone started singing in this film I started to cringe. It felt like a knock off High School Musical clone without the talent, zombies aside. I understand what they were trying to do merging horror and musical elements is a novel idea, accept Sweeny Todd did it about ten years earlier and then there is Rocky Horror so maybe not so fresh an idea after all.

The horror elements are okay but again nothing game changing. For me the best part about this film was seeing Paul Kaye get to have some fun as the evil schoolmaster. Kaye is a tremendous actor, and he was the only reason I kept with the film.

Overall, Paul Kaye is always fun but everything else just doesn’t work.

Pros.

Kaye

It is unintentionally hilarious

Cons.

The songs are Disney Chanel reject quality

The elements don’t come together well

It is cringey  

If you enjoyed this review, then please head over to my Patreon to support me, I offer personalized shoutouts, the ability for you to pick what I review next and full access to my Patreon exclusive game reviews. Check it out!

https://www.patreon.com/AnotherMillennialReviewer

Respect: Musical Biopics Have Been Done To Death

2.5/5

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

We follow the life of Aretha Franklin, Jennifer Hudson, and see the highs and lows of parts of her career.

Since release this film has been much maligned, and my review is decidedly in the middle.

Do I think this is a good film? No not really, average but certainly not good. There are positive aspects to this film, the story is interesting, and it keeps you hooked for about two thirds of the film. Moreover, Hudson and Forest Whitaker both grace us with terrific performances, that really help to bring these characters to life and elevate the film.

However, that is where my list of pros runs out. There are many issues with this film, the most glaring of which is the run time. There is no reason for this film to pass the two hour mark, none. Earlier I said, the film keeps you entertained for two thirds and that is very true as by the final third you have already lost interest and are ready to leave or turn it off if you are watching it at home.

Moreover, try as it might this film can’t escape the fact that at its core it is just a very average biopic film. There have been many, many musical biopics over the last few years, but truly this one feels the most soulless and lifeless. There is so much more the film could have done with it’s subject matter, but instead decides to settle for mediocrity.

Additionally, for as good as Hudson and Whitaker are Marlon Wayans is bad. Seeing Wayans appear as a serious actor is always a gamble, more often than not a bad one. That is proven thoroughly by his performance here where he stands out for all the wrong reasons.

Overall, Franklin deserved better than this.

Pros.

It is interesting at times

The songs are still powerful

Hudson and Whitaker

Cons.

Wayans

It is generic

It has huge pacing issues

If you enjoyed this review, then please head over to my Patreon to support me, I offer personalized shoutouts, the ability for you to pick what I review next and full access to my Patreon exclusive game reviews. Check it out!

https://www.patreon.com/AnotherMillennialReviewer

Annette: The Strangest Musical You Will Ever Watch

2/5

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

The film charts the life of a stand up comedian, Adam Driver, and an opera singer, Marion Cotillard, after the birth of their first child.

I will say this for the film, I take my hat off to it for committing to being strange, quirky and unique.  

Personally, this film wasn’t to my taste. Though I enjoy Sparks I thought the music in this film was a bit overdone. I understand that the film views itself as a rock opera type musical, and that really isn’t my problem with it, my problem is that nearly every line is sung. This reaches such a point where you just want it to stop, and then the film just keeps going.

This film is on for far, far too long.

Moreover, though I admire the quirky elements of the film I find some of them to be clashing, and sometimes off-putting. Maybe it is my sensibilities, but there were certain more interpretive scenes where I had no idea what was going on or how it fit into the story in any real way, yes they were singing about how it fit in no doubt, but by that point my mind had found a way to drown out the singing.  

The performances were all fine, though I would say they didn’t feel like real people or characters rather they felt like some sort of twisted, warped idea of what humans are like as viewed by aliens. However, I am sure that was a deliberate choice.

Overall, it was not to my taste.

Pros.

I enjoyed the strangeness

You have got to love Sparks

Cons.

Too much singing, that often isn’t very good

Some of the elements clash

The characters didn’t feel like real people

If you enjoyed this review, then please head over to my Patreon to support me, I offer personalized shoutouts, the ability for you to pick what I review next and full access to my Patreon exclusive game reviews. Check it out!

https://www.patreon.com/AnotherMillennialReviewer

The Sparks Brothers: Committed To The Music

3/5

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

A look at the career so far of the Sparks Brothers, known more widely as the rock duo Sparks.

This documentary made me aware of and listen to Sparks for the first time so in that regard it is a huge success. I found the documentary to be different to the standard life of x musician fare that often clogs up the genre and thought that this was a breath of fresh air. I enjoyed the more out there and experimental visuals that this film employs to relay its history to us, it made everything pop just that bit more and become more memorable.

I thought the documentary did a very thorough job of covering the lives and careers of the Brothers Mael and its attention to detail really helps to paint a picture for us the audience, helping us to better understand the brothers both as artists and as people. I also enjoyed the various famous faces giving their own stories about how the brothers have impacted them in separate ways. It is clear to see that a personal attachment has been made.

The strongest part of this film is by far its soundtrack. Even if like me you start this film not knowing who or what Sparks is, by the end you will be dancing along. I found myself being given an auditory crash course on all things Sparks as I learnt about the life and times of its members, it was a very effective conversion; like I said earlier, I have since been listening to them fairly often since watching.

My one criticism, and it is fairly large, is that this film is on for far too long. Though I enjoyed the presentation and the soundtrack and the story itself I feel it could have been condensed down. What we are presented with is simply too long, and though I was still enjoying the music by the end my mind was elsewhere.

Overall, a good music documentary that manages to separate itself from the pack, though it could have done with being shorter.

If you enjoyed this review, then please head over to my Patreon to support me, I offer personalized shoutouts, one on one Q and As, the ability for you to pick what I review next and full access to my Patreon exclusive game reviews. Check it out!

https://www.patreon.com/AnotherMillennialReviewer

In The Heights: A Rare World Where People Cannot Converse Unless In Song

2/5

Written by Luke Barnes

I am not a fan of Hamilton……….. I’ll leave that to sink in.

When trailers for this film came out and a lot of people started to get very excited for it, I remained cool. After watching I am decidedly more so.

Firstly this is not a film that needs to be seen in cinemas; I am still waiting for a film that will make me say ‘wow this is better than watching it at home’ whilst in the cinema. The sound mixing much like Nolan’s Tenet serve to undermine the film some what and the loudness of the music itself makes the sung dialogue within it almost hard to hear.

Moreover, I don’t like that everything in this film is sung rather than said. Yes, I know it is a musical, but plenty of musicals have scenes of dialogue in between songs- it doesn’t all need to be sung. Almost every conversation in this film is done to music and in a song-like way, which honestly lessens any sort of dramatic impact.

Perhaps most damning of all the songs themselves are not even that good. The first song, the one that has been in all the trailers is passably okay, but after that they take a steep nosedive in quality to a point where it feels like they have given up trying.

Overall, maybe Hamilton fans or diehard musical lovers will be able to get something out of this, I for one just got my time wasted.

Pros.

It is a loud and colourful and easy to turn your mind off to

It doesn’t really require you to pay attention

Cons.

Too many songs

Most of these songs are of an average or poor quality

It is on for far, far too long

If you enjoyed this review, then please head over to my Patreon to support me, I offer personalized shoutouts, one on one Q and As, the ability for you to pick what I review next and full access to my Patreon exclusive game reviews. Check it out!

https://www.patreon.com/AnotherMillennialReviewer

Ham, A Musical Memoir: An Ode To The Past

HAM: A Musical Memoir is a biographical, comedy, musical film directed by Andrew Putschoegl. The film serves to tell the story of Sam Harris’ rise to fame.

This is a very effecting film, in multiple sense of the word. While watching it I became fascinated with this persons rise to stardom, not only was I rooting for them I also became invested in them as a person.

During my time with the film I was frequently smiling, also there were quite a large amount of laughs to be had over the run time as well; not laugh out loud sorts of laughs but definitely a few strong chuckles. Moreover, the complexity of this film’s emotion transitions comedy and becomes something more. Quite a few times while watching I could feel the film pulling on my heart strings, I found the character plight effecting, the film did not need to be overt in this, it never felt manipulative with its emotional delivery, yet it had a strong impact.
I also enjoyed the musical elements of this film I thought they worked well and added a nice flavour to the standard biopic format. I think in many ways this film seems destined to change the format of the biopic genre as a whole or at least pump some fresh blood into it, as it takes the best elements of something like Rocketman and distils them into a more refined product.

Overall, a must watch, it will make you laugh it will make you cry and most importantly it is a great way to kill a few hours.

Pros.

It is funny

It nails the emotion

I was invested in the story

The musical elements work well

Cons.

The first act is quite slow

4/5

Reviewed by Luke  

Sister Tempest: Watch Out For The Cannibal Cold This Winter

Sister Tempest is a comedy horror musical film directed by Joe Badon. The plot sees two sisters troubled relationship come under scrutiny from an Alien tribunal. Adjacent to this one of the sister’s new roommate’s illness leads her to become a cannibalistic murderer.

This one was a lot of fun; the premise is just as whacky as it sounds, and it never lets up for a second. I enjoyed how the film never went the way you were expecting it to go, where you thought it was going to zig it zagged. The more or less light hearted tone, also made it a nice breezy watch.

The acting was strong with Anne (Kali Russell), being my particular favourite. She was a strong lead and had just the right amount of rootability to keep me invested in the plot for the entire runtime. I have to give props to the script here as well, as Anne as a character is quite well fleshed out over the course of the film and you feel like you really get to know her and her sister.

I didn’t find the film scary, though I did appreciate its gore. The comedy and musical elements worked better for me, and I found myself being thoroughly entertained. Smiling the whole time.

Overall, this is a sight to behold, all of the elements work together in harmony to create something special.

Pros.

The comedy

The premise and committing to the wackiness

The acting

The musical elements

Cons.

I did find the horror lacking

4/5

Reviewed by Luke      

Cats: Eye Bleach

Cats is a musical drama film directed by Tom Hopper. The film is a big screen adaption of the famous theatrical musical of the same name.

So, yes I watched this to see if it was as bad as everyone said and yes, I can confirm for you all it is trash. Copies of this film should be burnt and we as a species would be better if we could erase it from our collective memory. Here’s how I got there.

Right from the off, the design and look of the Cats themselves is off putting, they’re too humanoid and also weirdly sexual. I don’t know if Furriers where the secret target demographic for this film, but it is weird, the casts are often shaking what would be their human sexual organs and yeah, its uncomfortable.

Secondly there is no real plot, from the opening moments of the film we are bombarded with songs telling us about what cats are and what their world is, but they don’t really explain anything, and you have no idea what is going on. There is also a song very early on in the film that takes place in a graveyard and I personally found something very disconcerting about this one, like it made me panicky and troubled and I can’t really tell you why.

I understand that it is a musical, but the constant songs get to be a bit much, there are other musicals that have actual lines of dialogue in-between their songs, but this is not one of those films. The acting is blatantly not there, most of the actors seem to either be there for an easy pay day or because they were forced into it (at least that is how they appear when they are on-screen as they clearly don’t want to be there).

Overall, this is as bad if not worse than you have heard.

Pros.

It is bizarre.

Cons.

The furriness of it

The design of the Cats themselves

The lack of a basic plot

The repetitive non-sensical songs

The terrible performances.

0/5

Reviewed by Luke