The Greatest Showman

The Greatest Showman is a true spectacle. This musical made for the big screen brought life into the old cement walls of my local movie theatre. The cast, the music, the story (even though not entirely true) is sculpted to ensure you leave there with a smile on your face. I saved the album to my Spotify account as soon as I walked out the doors and haven’t stopped listening to it since. Apart from watching the trailer once or twice, I generally don’t like to know too much about a movie prior to seeing it for the first time. I like all my reactions to be genuine and my expectations to be minimal. Although, not going to lie, I did have high expectations for Zac Efron returning to the musical scene. He did not disappoint. The ‘Rewrite The Stars’ number made me want to become a trapeze artist. I started googling classes as soon as I got home. The end results being, don’t expect a career change from me anytime soon. Anyway, first I want to talk about Hugh Jackman. I have evolved as a human within the past year or two. I have sort of come up from under a rock in regards to movies I have seen. Even though I have always had a love for movies, for some reason I thought my interests were exclusively rom coms and Disney movies. I was wrong. The point of all this babbling is, I have never really seen anything with Hugh Jackman in it. All I knew about him was that he was Wolverine and just made a new movie titled ‘Logan.’ Blame it on me being naive about the pure talent that is Hugh Jackman, but he absolutely blew me away. Maybe it was the fact he, and many others, had been developing The Greatest Showman for over seven years, but he was a beacon of passion. You could just tell by the look on his face, which I am not going to try to describe because I could bring it no justice. I truly had no idea that he could sing (I have now put Les Mis on my Netflix DVD queue). I have a hard time choosing favorites when it comes to this soundtrack, but my favorite song Hugh is on has to be ‘From Now On.’ The build on that song is incredible. Speaking of the songs, as I mentioned earlier, I listen to at least one song from the album everyday. For the first two weeks after I saw the movie, the soundtrack was the only thing I listened to. I’m not joking. Songwriters, Justin and Benj, are so talented it makes me sad because I know I will never have an ounce of that creativity. The whole album is so catchy and fulfilling, I have to stop myself from breaking out into a full-on dance routine when I listen to it. Which provides me with a great segway to the dancing. I grew up being a dancer and have always had a joy for performing, whether I was doing or watching. It could be why this movie resonated so much with me. The dance number for ‘Come Alive’ is probably my favorite. I’ve been trying to master that move where their feet are together and they move their arms in an upward motion. It’s hard to describe, but if you’ve seen it, you’ll know what i’m talking about. My second favorite has to be the choreography for ‘The Other Side.’ Hugh and Zac together are a match made in heaven. Their movements were so clean. The sound of the shot glasses moving across the bar and all the coordination that must have went behind that really impressed me. Third has to be ‘Rewrite The Stars’ because, c’mon, that took serious skill. *Que me dreaming about becoming a trapeze artist* This wouldn’t be a review about The Greatest Showman if I didn’t mention Keala Settle and the anthem that is ‘This Is Me.’ That song is my jam and makes me feel really empowered. Her voice is perfect for the song (and just perfect in general). There is a video on YouTube I’ve probably watched realistically at least 50 times of her singing that song in a workshop they held in the process of getting the movie green lit. The emotion. Ugh, the emotion. I cry every time. I love the message of acceptance this movie, and this song in particular, portrays, as it is something I am very passionate about. Although this depiction of PT Barnum is not historically accurate, it is still something we all need to be reminded of. In my opinion, I think it was good they did not show PT Barnum exactly how he was described to be. It has been noted that he mistreated his side-show acts and exploited them for money. I even read that he first used slaves as his acts. I’m not saying it was right, but those were much different times. I think the true story would be a good documentary, and one that I would probably watch, but it doesn’t make for a good musical. For obvious reasons.

Advertisements

Midnight Sun (w/ spoilers)

I saw Midnight Sun this past weekend with my best friend. We both love a good romance. One that makes you fall in love with the characters and with their relationship. One that has a happy ending and you leave there with a smile on your face, with hope for your own life. This was not the case. Yes, the two main characters fell into a beautiful, magical love. But we did not leave the movie theater with happy hearts. I feel like I cannot review this movie without spoiling it so here we go… SHE DIES.

Being honest, my best friend kept tagging me in advertisements for Midnight Sun and I would completely forget about the movie after every time I saw one. Not on purpose, it just didn’t stick. I just thought  of it as another love story. A trailer that didn’t require my full attention since I am familiar with the plot of most romances. I do love a good love story, even though they are all essentially the same. The reason why this movie didn’t interest me much is, Bella Thorne. I don’t like to judge, but with how she has been presenting herself lately in her personal life, I couldn’t help but not take her seriously. I was wrong, because I thought she did a good job in this movie.

There was a specific moment where it clicked in my head that it wasn’t going to be a happy ending. You learn right from the start that Bella’s character is sick. She has something called XP. When someone has XP they cannot go in the sun, as for lack of any knowledge, gives them cancer almost instantly. Again, not an expert. Anyway, she was kept inside her whole life. During the day at least. Amidst one night venture, she meets a boy. Cue the romance. Everything is splendid until, alas, she gets hit by the sun. I felt like I knew it was coming, but I was also surprised. There is no way they would kill her off, right?

Well, they did. I felt horrible but I couldn’t help but laugh in that moment. My best friend, and favorite movie companion, absolutely hates when a main character dies (i.e. Fault In Our Stars). The scene where it all came together she turned and said, “you’re joking, right?” We were both bawling our eyes out until the end of the movie. Although I do get emotional, I don’t always cry during movies and oh man, I was crying. Hats off to the cast/writers/everyone else that worked on this movie on that part.
I’m not sure if it is better or worse to know the ending prior to going to see Midnight Sun. Also, I haven’t seen it but I feel like this is the same premise as the movie Everything, Everything. Hopefully that has a happier ending.All in all, I would recommend Midnight Sun. That is, if you’re interested in getting your heart torn out.

A Wrinkle In Time

A Wrinkle In Time is based on the book by Madeleine L’Engle. I cannot remember for the life of me if I read it as a requirement in school or not. I really thought I had, until I saw it and now I have no idea. Anyway, I enjoyed this movie. The plot was what I thought it would be, which is fine, and it was beautifully shot. The acting was great, as expected. I am a huge fan of all the big hitters; Oprah, Reese, Mindy and Chris Pine. But, the actor who impressed me most was Deric McCabe, who played Charles Wallace. At only 9 years old, he was incredible and played the character really well. I would see it again just to watch him.

The plot, as I mentioned, was a bit predictable. I don’t want that to take away on how well this movie was made, but I think everyone over a certain age knew that it is a feel good movie and would be met with a happy ending. Chris Pine plays a scientist who, along with his wife, discovers that you can travel between dimensions. He then does said traveling and gets lost in space (not sure if ‘space’ is technically correct??). A very cool concept. After four years, his children and the help of some friends get called on a mission to find him.

One thing I am going to criticize in this post is a scene where Mrs. Whatsit (Reese Witherspoon) transforms into a mythical creature to fly the children to a new location. Only the creature she turns into looks like a giant piece of lettuce. I’m not sure if this was the intention, but I could not focus on anything else other than the fact she was a flying piece of lettuce.

A Wrinkle In Time demonstrates love, hope, family, and strength. Cliche Disney movie feelings but what can I say. I left the theater with a smile on my face. That was until I knocked my popcorn bucket over when returning my reclining seat back to its normal position. If you enjoy visually appealing, warm-hearted movies, then I definitely suggest you see A Wrinkle In Time.

Black Panther

Black Panther. Wow. I’m just going to come right out and say I loved it. I absolutely loved it. I am a huge fan of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. As a fan, I tend to get overly excited for new movies, and Black Panther did not disappoint. It was bad ass, visually appealing, compelling, funny, and did I say bad ass? The whole cast gave phenomenal performances. The story line is now one of my favorites out of Marvel superhero movies. Each character felt important and was so unique. What I loved most about Black Panther was all the strong female characters. It didn’t feel like females were chosen for those roles for good press. They were meant for those parts.

Black Panther is a showcase of culture, strength, and morals. The villain in the film, Killmonger, may just be my favorite Marvel villain. What I liked so much about him is that, his story was believable and at some points you could almost sympathize with him. I honestly feel like anything I say could bring this film no justice, I’m not that great of a writer. Just know that it’s awesome and you should most definitely see it. As many people are saying, the hype is real. I think I am going to check it out again this weekend. Wakanda forever!

15:17 To Paris

The 15:17 to Paris was good. I wasn’t sure what to expect from this movie for one reason in particular. That reason being, the three main heros, played themselves in the movie. They did a well enough job and I think it’s awesome that they wanted to do so. If you are unfamiliar with the story, The 15:17 to Paris is a true story about three Americans who stopped a terrorist on a train while vacationing in Europe. However, the majority of the movie was about their lives prior to that moment. I enjoyed how it was more focused on them as humans, than that horrific moment. I liked the idea of showing how they got there, not on their vacation, but how they grew in life. Director, Clint Eastwood, did a noteworthy job. It had potential to feel documentary style, especially the scenes of when they were older, since they played themselves, but it still felt like a feature film.

Sitting in the theater, watching this movie made me realize something. Prior to explaining this, I just want it to be clear that I do not want to discredit this movie or the three incredible men. They saved many lives and will be remembered forever. But something occurred to me while watching the previews. (warning: this is going to turn a little political) One of the coming attractions was for another movie based on a true story of a terrorist attack. Actually, not so much an attack as a hostage situation. Forgive me, I don’t remember the name, but it is about a plane heist that held their passengers hostage in a airplane hanger until the government did what they wanted. That’s not a good explanation, but I hope you will know what event it is referring to. So, what I realized was, why do they keep making movies about awful things? I’m not sure. I believe it continues to normalize these situations that we have already grew numb to. Do the real people that lived through that traumatic experience really want a blockbuster movie about it? It’s almost like saying “That was awful but can you imagine the movie this will make one day!?” Another example, the movie ‘Patriots Day’ made about the Boston Marathon bombing. He is a terrorist and there is a movie about him. Yes, I know, it’s not about him and does nothing complimentary towards him at all. But still. Do something horrible and maybe there will be a movie about it! The 15:17 to Paris actually showed very little of the terrorist, which I thought was a great move. It was primarily focused on the good guys. Another thing I realized about these true story movies is, the bad guy is never a white American. Most of America’s terrorist are white Americans. Where are the movies about those situations? (Note: there could be a movie like this but none that I have heard of) It’s just adding fuel to the fire to this notion that terrorists are one singular type of person. End of rant.

As I mentioned at the start of this post, The 15:17 to Paris was good. It is not something I am racing to see again, but I am glad I saw it. And of course, another shout out to the three incredibly brave men that were on that train.

Star Wars: The Last Jedi

I want to start this post by sharing that I had not seen a single Star Wars movie before October 2017. I decided to dive into the galaxy far, far away for a couple reasons. The main reason being, I thought the new movies looked really good. My second reason was, as you may know, there is a giant Star Wars land going into Disney World (my favorite place) and I wanted to be able to know what was going on. I mention that because I didn’t have many expectations or major ties to this world. I wanted to (hopefully) see a good movie and see where the story goes. After discovering the first two trilogies were free OnDemand, I watched them over the span of three days. Followed by The Force Awakens. I liked the movies, the characters, the narrative. By then I was wicked excited to see Star Wars: The Last Jedi. I had become a big Daisy Ridley fan and loved her as Rey. She is one thing that did not disappoint me in The Last Jedi. The movie as a whole was okay. There are things I really enjoyed and others, not so much. I think overall I expected a little more. The movie was shot beautifully and really well done, but the parts of the storyline seemed forced. For example, Finn and Rose. I felt like they had no idea what to do with Finn as a character. In general, there was just too much going on. They kept jumping from scene to scene. Leaving little time to take in what you just saw. One thing I did love was the Rey/Luke/Kylo plot line. I wanted to spend more time in the company of those characters and the developing relationship between them all. Some of the dialogue in the Rey/Luke training scenes felt a little overdone but, I can overlook that. Their saving grace was the scenery on those cliffs. Breathtaking. Moving on, I think my favorite part of the movie was when Rey and Kylo Ren took on Supreme Leader Snoke. I was hoping we would learn a little more about Snoke, but perhaps that will come to light in the next one. Although this wasn’t my favorite Star Wars saga, I am looking forward to it being released in digital form so I can watch it again.

The Post

The Post is thrilling in its own definition. Maybe I would have thought differently if I had paid attention to history class, but I was figuratively on the edge of my seat, eager to see what was going to happen the whole time. Figuratively because my local movie theater now has reclining seats so I was taking full advantage of them. The Post is set in early 70s, Nixon-era America. It follows Katharine Graham (Meryl Streep) and Ben Bradlee (Tom Hanks) among others as they race to publish leaked government documents before The New York Times. I think the thing that made it most thrilling is that, the information was true. Sure, things were probably added to indulge the cinematic experience, but for the most part, it was a true story. Katharine Graham was the first ever female head of a newspaper. That in itself is a story. Although she held all the power, you could tell it made her really uncomfortable. Something Meryl portrayed without flaw. The whole time I found myself rooting for this character to find her voice. The general message of this movie resonates so well with things that are happening in our country right now. My takeaway from seeing The Post is how important freedom of the press is. That is something our country was founded on. No matter how wrong or immoral it may be, it’s still our right. It also made me realize how little we have evolved as a country over the past 40+ years. But that’s enough on that. This movie is a must-see. The cast was incredible. Plus, if Streep and Hanks together doesn’t sell you already, just see it to learn something. Unless, unlike me, you remember everything you learned in 10th grade history class.

Jumanji: Welcome To The Jungle

While I was thinking about how to start this post, I was unsure if I should assume that everyone knows the concept of Jumanji. I would like to think that majority of people have seen the original movie. But in case you have not, Jumanji is a board game (at least in the first one) that is interactive, to say the least. If you so happen to become a player in the game, the world around you becomes the jungle nightmare that is Jumanji. Whether that means, that world comes to you or vice versa. In the 2017 model of Jumanji, four high school kids get sucked in the electronic version of the cursed board game. Each teen chooses an avatar, which they become once in the game. I wouldn’t say Jumanji: Welcome To The Jungle is a sequel, but I wouldn’t say it is a remake either because although identical in concept, they aren’t the same. I don’t think they were trying to be the first movie, just carrying on the legacy. The original movie with Robin Williams is a classic, that is indisputable. With it being over 20-years old, I am okay with them reinventing it as a movie to fit into the now. To be honest, I wasn’t sure if I was going to see this movie in the theater. It’s a very commercial movie and seemed like one I wouldn’t mind waiting until it came OnDemand. I’m not saying I’m above this type of big-budget movie, created to pull an audience in to usually turn out sub-par. I have seen many of the type, and will continue to. I decided to go see this movie for two reasons. #1 it had been absolutely killing the box office and #2 I was a Nick Jonas fangirl from 2007-2011. And I’m glad I did. I actually enjoyed the movie. The scenery and the colors were beautiful and I thought the acting was good. I don’t like to compare past movies with new ones, I went in with the mindset of it being a stand alone film. The comedy in it was a bit predictable, but I did laugh a few times. I guess in general it was predictable, but I went in there expecting as much. This could be a *spoiler* but, they complete the game and make it out of the jungle. I don’t think anyone expected any different. Jack Black stole the show for me. His counterpart was your typical, blonde high school teen. Jack Black channeling a high school girl- fabulous. All in all, Jumanji: Welcome To The Jungle was entertaining. Isn’t that what movies are supposed to be?