During the early 1970s, “The Sonny and Cher Comedy Hour” was a bright spot on the television schedule. The eponymous couple would team up with a stellar guest line-up (including Jerry Lewis, Jimmy Durante and Tony Curtis) and a rather voluminous supporting ensemble (including then-unknowns Steve Martin and Teri Garr) for comedy sketches and musical numbers. Continue reading →
It’s hard to imagine a more bizarre experimental movie I’ve come across in years. Jack Henry Robbins’ film “VHYes” at its best is a funny, smart, experiment with nostalgia, while at its worst, it feels like a weak pilot for Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim expanded in to a near feature length movie. Some might appreciate the jarring changes in tone and bite size comedy that is peppered throughout “VHYes” and while I thought it left much to be desired, it also had a lot going for it, with some fascinating commentary about nostalgia and memories. It really wants to be “Amazon Women on the Moon,” at the end of the day, but it ends as a mildly fascinating meshing of genres, and comedic bits.
Some of the best and most entertaining rock bands of all time come from pop culture; in particular there’s the rock bands of the movies, all of whom have some shocking contributions to make to actual music. Case in point: The Rutles, The Blues Brothers, and Spinal Tap. And there are… others that I had fun remembering like The Archies and the Oneders. These are five of some of my favorite movie rock bands of all time. I excluded some at risk of being repetitive, but these are five that stood out for me and still stick with me.
Director Danny Boyle and writer Richard Curtis have a fascinating premise for “Yesterday,” and when all is said and done, after two hours, they—have a fascinating premise. They don’t actually do much with it, in all honesty. They take what could have been a unique and bizarre tale about an iconic band completely inexplicably being erased from all of culture around the world and turn it in to a conventional tale of rags to riches. I mean the script does nothing with the idea of the Beatles not existing. What would happen to all the singers, performers, bands, and artists they inspired? Would they cease to exist as a whole? “Yesterday” barely scratches the surface at two hours.
The thing about cinema is that it’s an often very literal art form that takes what is often very metaphorical or performance art about stage productions and has a hard time supplanting it for the audience. For “Hedwig and the Angry Inch,” it’s a very good cult rock film that often feels like it has to be seen on stage in order to soak in the true experience. I’m not trying to take away what a cult classic John Cameron Mitchell’s musical drama is, but I couldn’t quite help but feel that “Hedwig and the Angry Inch” could have been much more appreciated as a live show.
Another year, another mediocre big budget biopic, filled with Oscar aspirations, about a musical genius. I’m a huge fan of Elton John, and have been for years, but he deserves so much more than what is mainly just a serviceable musical drama about his life. While it gets credit for consciously dodging biopic tropes (and seems to also be a retort to “Bohemian Rhapsody” which openly shied away from Freddie Mercury’s sexuality), “Rocketman” only inspired me to re-visit his classic music.
Ten movies later, and “A Cinderella Story” continues to push forward as a franchise that is mainly just a vehicle for young up and coming female Disney stars. After Hilary Duff came and went, portraying a contemporary take on the fairytale, the series stomped on and now introduces a Christmas themed romance. It’s tough to review “Christmas Wish” as it’s mainly aimed toward teens that love this kind of sickly sweet Christmas muck. It’s basically like a greeting card with a pre-written message on it. It’s predictable, formula, and kind of hard to criticize.
One of the highlights of 2019 has been the rise of lighter zombie films that skirt the whole gloom and doom in favor of something more. Abe Forsythe’s “Little Monsters” is one of the most satisfying zombie movies of the year, and one of the best movies of the year. It’s a movie that offers everything from laugh out loud comedy, creepy zombie carnage, vicious gore and grue, great music, and a very touching story of two adults that find purpose in innocent children that need them to survive an extraordinary situation.