This movie may be called “The High Note,” but it never does anything to elevate itself above other flicks in the genre.
The movie stars Dakota Johnson as Maggie, a young woman who works as an assistant to Grace (Tracee Ellis Ross). Grace is a music legend who’s had plenty of hits over her great career. However, lately, her manager Jack (O’Shea “Ice Cube” Jackson) and others want her to start scaling back, doing just best hits albums and singing at events in Las Vegas. Grace believes she can still make new, great songs, though, and since she produces music at an amateur level as a hobby, Maggie wants to help.
Meanwhile, Maggie also meets David (Kelvin Harrison Jr.) in the first act. David is a guy who seems to have a ton of musical potential, but appears completely content with doing small shows and simple gigs. Because of his potential, though, Maggie decides to try and help David create an album, too.
Continue reading “REVIEW: ‘The High Note’ doesn’t earn a high score”
Bruce Springsteen’s music works well in movies, as shown in “Jerry Maguire” and “The Wrestler.” But if just one Springsteen song in a movie isn’t enough for a person, they may find the jackpot in “Blinded by the Light.”
Set in late 80s Britain during the time of Margaret Thatcher’s leadership, “Blinded by the Light” follows the story of teenage student Javed Khan (Viveik Kalra) under a lot of stress. In the midst of a recession, his parents Malik (Kulvinder Ghir) and Noor (Meera Ganatra) who immigrated from Pakistan are struggling to make ends meet.
In the face of financial hardships, signs of racism and pure teenage angst, Javed searches for some escapism. He ends up finding it in the music of Bruce Springsteen. After hearing a few tapes, he becomes hooked and turns into a mega-fan, with the music even inspiring him to become a writer. However, his new style and swagger runs into conflict with the ways of his father.
Continue reading “REVIEW: ‘Blinded by the Light’ is blinded by cliches”
An Oscar and Golden Globe winning director, a writer with several charming hits, along with a fantastic concept ripe for all sorts of possibilities. On paper, “Yesterday” looked like a slam dunk, which makes it a total shame that it turned out so poorly.
The movie follows a struggling singer named Jack Malik (Himesh Patel), who lives day-to-day playing small gigs with help from his manager Ellie (Lily James). Getting fed up with his lack of success and his dead-end job, Jack considers leaving music all together.
However, during one bike ride home, Jack is hit by a bus at the exact same moment a blackout occurs worldwide. When he wakes up and recovers from his injuries, he comes to find himself in a world where the Beatles never became a band and their music does not exist in the pop culture landscape. Seeing an opportunity, Jack starts singing the songs and claims credit for the work, which of course leads him to his own fair share of fame.
Continue reading “REVIEW: One can just move on to tomorrow, because ‘Yesterday’ doesn’t offer much”
Saturday might be the time of week alright for fighting, but any day is a good day to see “Rocketman.”
As the title and my song referencing lede implies, “Rocketman” is a film about the musician Elton John (Taron Egerton). The film focuses on John’s early success, which also, sadly, coincided with his struggles with addiction.
The picture tells both John’s early career story and the development of his psyche over time through a series of song and dance numbers numbers set to the musician’s music.
Continue reading “REVIEW: ‘Rocketman’ convincingly captures Elton John’s passion”
One of this award season’s biggest shockers took place Sunday night during the Writers Guild of America award ceremony.
At the annual event, “Eighth Grade,” written (and directed) by Bo Burnham, won the prize for Best Original Screenplay from the WGA. The win was a major upset, beating out the likes of “Green Book” and “Roma.”
Continue reading “Monday Movie Report: Writers Guild winners”
“Happy Death Day 2U,” a follow-up to a 2017 thriller, is the kind of sequel that seems to be in search of a reason to exist. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s bad to watch.
The movie picks up right where the first movie left off. Theresa (Jessica Rothe), who casually goes by Tree, put an end to a time-loop where she was living the same day over and over and in doing so, made several changes to improve her life.
However, she soon finds out that her issues aren’t completely over. In the first act she learns that her boyfriend’s roommate Ryan (Phi Vu) is actually one of three students working at her university’s science lab. There, the students have created a device that can cause disturbances in space and time. As a result, Tree, and this time her new friends, are put into a position of having to make fixes to the space time continuum, while also dealing with a murderer on the loose.
Continue reading “REVIEW: While not as fresh as original, ‘Death Day 2’ will entertain”
A Supreme Court justice now has a superhero origin story.
“On the Basis of Sex” tells the story of how Ruth Bader Ginsburg (Felicity Jones) entered the world of law and began a career focused on equal rights. That career, of course, would lead to her becoming a justice on the United States Supreme Court.
“Basis” begins with Ginsburg attending Harvard University’s law school and follows this up with her time as a professor at Rutgers University. The latter is where she would take on a case where the nation’s tax code discriminated on the basis of sex.
Continue reading “REVIEW: While cliched, ‘Basis of Sex’ is still inspiring”
The pacing in this movie was so fast. Maybe that would work for, I dunno, a biopic about the band Rush, but not Queen.
“Bohemian Rhapsody” tells the tale of the band Queen, with a significant focus on the life of Freddie Mercury (Rami Malek). The picture follows Mercury during his time in college where he discovers the band, all the way to his performance during the Live Aid concert.
As it goes on, the film covers Mercury’s sexual orientation, his creation of the song that shares the same name of the movie, his struggle with drugs and disagreements he had with other members of Queen.
Continue reading “REVIEW: ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ is a bland band biopic”
I’ll admit, when I hear the title, I think of the song at the end of the Disney “Hercules” movie.
In all seriousness, “A Star is Born” is actually a remake of a 1937 film with the same name. In fact, along with this most recent adaptation, that 1937 movie has been remade two other times in 1954 and 1976. This newest version was directed and co-written by Bradley Cooper, who also stars in the film as the lead character Jack.
Jack is a successful musician with plenty of hits, but also faces problems. Not only does one of his ears have a medical issue, but he’s also suffering from alcoholism. Despite, this, though, he meets a talented singer named Ally (Lady Gaga) who’s been overlooked her whole life. Not only do the two strike up a relationship, but Jack also helps Ally get her talent noticed. A strain remains, though, because of Jack’s health.
Continue reading “REVIEW: ‘A Star is Born’ will hook you in with passionate musical scenes”
Two biopics about legendary singers are taking shape in Hollywood. One of them will follow the life of Marvin Gaye while the other is about Sammy Davis, Jr.
According to Deadline, the latter is coming together under the leadership of Paramount Pictures and Producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura. Deadline reports that plans are in place to hire a writer and director soon to push the project into production.
Continue reading “Monday Movie Report: Biopics of Sammy Davis Jr., Marvin Gaye in the works”