I liken “Beat Street” to “Saturday Night Fever” in where both films, set in the Bronx, feature very talented youths with troubled home lives trying to fulfill their promise and chase the American dream. While “Beat Street” is nowhere near as timeless as the former film, director Stan Lathan’s drama is an entertaining, if exaggerated look at life in the Bronx, and the culture that would eventually die with the decade. The film produced by Harry Belafonte doesn’t have the same committee constructed, consumer pandering aesthetic that the “Step Up” movies do. But for all intents and purposes it tend to shine the light on actual minorities living in the Bronx, some of whom can barely make rent, but still drive themselves on their love for their work.
Like many people that likely watched “Grease Live,” I’m a huge fan of 1978’s “Grease.” I’ve seen it at least a thousand times and watch it every single time it’s on television. So naturally fans like me would go in to “Grease Live” comparing it to the 1978 movie, consciously and sub-consciously. It was a risky venture giving us a live broadcast of “Grease,” but FOX took a gamble, and a wise one by getting in on the live musical broadcast gimmick, starting off with one of the most entertaining musicals of all time. “Grease Live” is pretty much the same as we always knew it, seemingly taking bits and pieces from the 1978 movie and including numbers from the original musical. Surely enough while I was worried about what I was getting in to, a lot of my reservations about casting, and production were absolutely destroyed with what was a pretty damn fun, three hour broadcast.
For fans that don’t want to pay incredible amounts of money for the complete editions of “The Carol Burnett Show,” but still want to savor in a complete episode of the hit comedy series, DVD’s like “Together Again” exist for you and you alone. Though it’s a little tough to tell what kind of episodes are on these DVD releases and what they feature, these editions are fine snippets of what you’d get if you forked over money for complete season sets. For a primer course, “Together Again” isn’t too shabby for your collection.
After the pop culture explosion that Steven Soderbergh brought to screens with 2012’s “Magic Mike,” director Gregory Jacobs does a bang up job of carrying the torch. “Magic Mike XXL” is a mixed bag that sags in the middle but is overall a very entertaining road film. After three years retired from the erotic dance business, Mike receives word that former boss “Dallas” is dead. Shocked to learn that he is very alive and abandoned his former group of dancers, Mike is inspired to rejoin his old team after a serendipitous airing of the song “Pony” reminds him of his old days.
While Susan Seidelman’s musical drama is contrived and formulaic, it gets a free pass mainly for being such a charming romance that at least tries to break its predictability. “Musical Chairs” is the celebration of dance, despite physical disabilities, all the while focusing on a couple that find love through their hardships and their passion for the dance floor. It’s very interesting that “Musical Chairs” really dodges the more conventional aspects of films of this ilk, and also seems to strive for more diversity in characters beyond skin color.
Yesterday the trailer for “Step Up 4” or “Step Up: All In” hit the net, and we were psyched to see the movie return with some of the series best characters. There will be plenty of dancing, and a lot of excellent choreography and that’s all the fans care about with these movies. They’re fun entertaining films, and we’re definitely in on the new installment. In honor of the upcoming sequel, here are five great contemporary dance films.
I’m surprised Cartoon Network decided to remake and bring back the “Powerpuff Girls.” After their infamous statements in 2013 that their cartoons are aimed for boys and boys only, I’m not too sure what the reasoning is behind bringing back their very entertaining series about the three heroic young girls fighting crime in Townsville. I know, it’s all about the dollar at the end. They want money, and will only invest in series that make money. But when they basically told girls to go bake cookies, and stop watching the network last year, “Powerpuff Girls” is an odd show to re-invent and bring back for a new generation. I almost expected “Foster’s Home” or “Johnny Bravo” to be their target remakes.
The only thing more shamelessly stupid than the utter self-congratulatory premise behind “Battle of the Year” is the god awful product placements. One thing about these stupid dance movies it that they’re a gold mine for corporations to advertise to an audience that likely can’t afford their crap. So we’re shown images of Braun in the background in the first minutes of the film, Josh Peck has a new Sony Ipad because “It’s the future,” he tells main character Josh Holloway. Then there’s an insert of him renting “Planet B-Boy” on Netflix, menu and all.