REVIEW: Spielberg’s ‘West Side Story’ doesn’t sizzle like its 60s counterpart

Tonight… Tonight… I’m rather disappointed tonight.

Because I didn’t enjoy this “West Side Story” adaptation as much as I hoped I would.

Directed by Steven Spielberg, this marks the second time the 1957 musical was adapted for the screen, the first released in 1961. In the film, there are two gangs in New York City the film revolves around, the Jets and the Sharks, the latter made up of Puerto Rican immigrants. Tensions have already been high between the two, but their battles appear ready to reach an even higher level of violence.

Before that takes place, though, both gangs end up at a dance. There, a former member of the Jets, Tony (Ansel Elgort), meets Maria (Rachel Zegler), the younger sister of the Sharks leader. While the two fall in love, their relationship only complicates the situation between the two groups.

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REVIEW: ‘Tick, Tick… Boom’ is an enjoyable, touching tribute

The legacy of late composer Jonathan Larson is honored in this new Netflix feature, based on his own autobiographical musical, “Tick, Tick… Boom.”

Andrew Garfield stars as Larson in the movie, directed by Lin-Manuel Miranda. The film has a framing device of Larson of performing “Tick, Tick… Boom” as a one man show, where he tells the story of himself in 1990, struggling to get a new production off the ground.

That production is “Superbia,” and the story Larson tells includes details about how he worked at a small diner, his strained relationships because of his focus on his work and how he grieved for friends he lost to the AIDS epidemic.

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REVIEW: Get in the theater for ‘In the Heights’

“In the Heights” is an appropriate name for this film and the stage production its based on.

Not only because it takes place in New York City’s Washington Heights neighborhood, but also because it’s an experience that earns high scores.

The film is set in a Latin community and follows several characters, but the main focus is on Usnavi (Anthony Ramos), a bodega owner who dreams of reopening his late father’s beachside business in the Dominican Republic. One of the regular customers to Usnavi’s shop is Vanessa (Melissa Barrera), a young woman working at a salon who wants to pursue a career in fashion.

Early in the film, Usnavi and Vanessa meet up with Nina (Leslie Grace), a Stanford University student whose father owns a taxi company. That company is where Benny (Corey Hawkins), who has relationship history with Nina, works. The four of them spend time with others in the neighborhood and try to navigate their futures during a heat wave across New York City.

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REVIEW: Star power and songs carry ‘The Prom’

For the second year in a row James Corden is starring in a musical during the holiday season. This time, though, he has less fur.

Corden is one of four actors portraying Broadway performers in “The Prom.” Corden plays Barry, who is joined by other theater performers Dee Dee (Meryl Streep), Angie (Nicole Kidman) and Trent (Andrew Rannells). At the movie’s outset, the four are somewhat down on their luck after receiving negative reviews for their latest show.

However, they soon find a way to get good press again by supporting a teenager in Indiana named Emma (Jo Ellen Pellman) who’s come out as a lesbian and has been met with resistance to attending her prom as a result. During their time there, though, the four become supportive of Emma more than just for their own needs.

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REVIEW: ‘Cats’ is crazy, but its music is catchy

Cats are not dogs. This is information the movie really wants an audience to know, so much so that Judi Dench turns directly to the camera to say it. That’s just one of the lessons one will learn over the course of the cinematic experience that is “Cats.” It truly is something to behold.

Based on the stage play of the same name, “Cats” is set in London and follows a group of felines who love to sing and dance. The main character we’re introduced at the start is Victoria (Francesca Hayward), who’s introduced to the Jellicle cats. The Jellicle cats all have their own traits, quirks, and even personalized songs that they sing.

Victoria meeting with the Jellicle cats happens to be a meeting of destiny, as it turns out it’s the night of the Jellicle ball, where a single cat is chosen to have their life thoroughly improved. Over the course of the film, different cats sing and perform with the hope of being the one.

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REVIEW: ‘Rocketman’ convincingly captures Elton John’s passion

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.

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REVIEW: Catchy Songs Don’t Save Rushed Story In ‘Greatest Showman’

I’m not usually a stickler for 100 percent historical accuracy, but even I have to admit that “The Greatest Showman” takes a battle axe to P.T. Barnum’s true story.

The film tells the story of how Barnum (Hugh Jackman) went from a poor boy coming from nothing to a well-known showman who creates entertainment via circus acts. It doesn’t just do this in any ordinary manner, though. Instead, the film goes into full musical mode right off the bat and never lets up.

As the movie goes on, it explores Barnum trying to balance his family life with his wife Charity (Michelle Williams) and his business, which he runs with help from his partner Phillip (Zac Efron).

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REVIEW: Musical Scenes Are Greatest Feature Of ‘Trolls’ Movie

It’s nice to see something with the name Trolls and have it not be related to the internet in any way.

Instead, it’s the latest animated feature to hit the big screen and it’s based off the old toys with wild hair. As the name suggests, the film tells the story of Trolls, a race of happy-go-lucky beings who live in harmony, that is when they’re not under attack from the Bergens, giant creatures who only find joy from eating trolls.

Fortunately, at the film’s outset, the Trolls haven’t had to deal with the Bergens for two decades. One day they’re discovered, though, and a number of Trolls are captured by a vicious Bergen Chef. As a result, the Trolls Princess Poppy (Anna Kendrick) and a rather grumpy Troll named Branch (Justin Timberlake) go on a rescue mission/adventure.

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Into the Woods review

Director:
Rob Marshall
Cast:
Anna Kendrick
Daniel Huttlestone
James Corden
Emily Blunt
Tracey Ullman
Meryl Streep
Rated: PG

Based on a Broadway musical of the same name, “Into the Woods” is a crossover of sorts which features characters from the stories of Cinderella (Kendrick), Jack (Huttlestone) and the Beanstalk, Little Red Riding Hood (Crawford) and Repunzel (Mackenzie Mauzy). The stories are all brought together by a couple, the Baker (Corden) and the Baker’s Wife (Blunt), who are trying to lift a curse that was set on them by the local Witch (Streep).

To do so, the couple needs to collect items from all of the famous fairy tales. The film tells the story from multiple angles and much of the plot is told through song.

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Frozen review

Director:
Chris Buck, Jennifer Lee
Cast:
Kristen Bell
Idina Menzel
Jonathan Groff
Josh Gad
Santino Fontana
Rated: PG
Trailer

Disney’s has made another classic in “Frozen.”

The movie is built on two intertwined character arcs, with the story following the sisters Anna (Bell) and Elsa (Menzel). The plot begins by showing that Elsa has the power to create and manipulate ice. Because of the lack of control over her abilities, her parents decide it’s best for her to hide them from the world, including her sister. After the death of their parents, the movie moves forward to the day of Elsa’s coronation as queen.

Everything seems alright at the coronation for a while, that is until Anna, being the more free spirit that she is, makes a bold announcement that doesn’t sit too well with Elsa. The whole ordeal causes Elsa to reveal her power and flee the kingdom. In the process of running away she freezes the entire land in the middle of summer. To end the cold spell, Anna decides to confront her sister and get her to end the winter that now exists. Along the way she is joined by an ice seller named Kristoff (Groff) and his reindeer as well as a living snowman named Olaf (Gad).

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