Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers was an absolutely peerless pair of brilliant dancers that didn’t just inject chemistry on the dance floor, but also as a romantic pairing. Whether they were swooning over one another, or tap dancing in sync, it’s impossible not to be caught up in “Swing Time.” George Stevens’ classic romance comedy and musical takes the pairing as mismatched strangers that fall in love over the art of dance and their performances that look effortless but actually act as their own characters.
Director Annie Deniel’s “Steampunk Connection” will likely be admired in the same vein as “Trekkies,” in that it examines a strong fan movement that allows people to connect through a broad scope of science fiction. It’s also been integrated in to their everyday lives and for many of them, the art form of Steampunk has allowed them to grow as people, and realize their potential in mediums like mechanics, engineering, and fashion. If there is anything that may push audiences away is that director Deniel digs so deep in to the following that it’s almost too niche for a broader audience.
One of the telling lines of “The Queen” is when show runner Flawless Sabrina explains that the biggest task of organizing the Miss All American Camp Beauty Pageant is finding a hotel that can house all the contestants, and finding a hotel that’s “hip” enough to want to house them. In 1968, being out and yourself was about being as discreet as possible and operating behind closed doors. While “The Queen” is basically a documentary about the cut throat world of Drag pageants, as well as a sobering portrayal of how the LGBTQ community had to function behind closed doors for much of the twentieth century.
I’d almost be willing to bet money that Warner is planning a big deluxe boxed edition of “A Star is Born” for Christmas or perhaps the new year. Until then, fans of “A Star is Born” can double dip or opt for either edition that’s been released. While the original release is very good with some interesting extras, The “Encore Edition” is an okay release if you want the extended edition and a lot more material with what is an already great film. You can’t go wrong with “A Star is Born,” a wonderful remake that managed to be the best musical of 2018, bar none.
The original documentary “Fighting With My Family” was the stuff that underdog tales were made of, so when it was turned in to a feature film, it wasn’t too surprising. Stephen Merchant has a knack for creating very funny, human tales, and this adaptation does a good job of taking from the documentary and creating a very good adaptation of the story of Saraya, a young wrestling fanatic who would become Paige, one of the most influential female wrestlers and Superstars for the WWE.
As someone who grew up with a family that adored wrestling, I had a very good time learning about Paige and the down to Earth working classic family she grew up in. “Fighting With My Family” is the adaptation of the documentary that tells the tale of Paige and how she grew up working with her parents, both of whom built their own home grown wrestling federation. Paige, the most popular of her brood, eventually rose to become a WWE star, allowing for a great tale of the working class rising to fame. With some liberties taken Stephen Merchant’s “Fighting With My Family” is almost as good that also works as a tribute to the power of family.
Director/Star Bradley Cooper’s “A Star is Born” will likely go down in history as one of the greatest remakes of all time. Cooper doesn’t try so much to remake a story that’s been already remade, but rethink it for a modern culture. In the end “A Star is Born” excels because it doesn’t lose sight of what it wants to convey as an epic romance, and a tale about identity, and stardom. It’s a beautiful and often soul shattering drama that Cooper directs with immense humility and is able to derive wonderful performances all around.
One of the best movies of 2018, “Anna and the Apocalypse” is a movie that’s destined to catch on with midnight audiences, as it begs for sing alongs from an enthusiastic audience. John McPhail’s zombie horror musical is a pastiche of the best from the genres it puts on the big screen, delivering what is one of the pleasing and creepiest zombie movies of the years. “Anna and the Apocalypse” manages to be both life affirming and a spectacularly vicious zombie movie at the same time, with some of the more entertaining musical numbers and sequences filmed in a long time.