The Greatest Showman (2017) Review

The Greatest Showman (2017)

Directed by Michael Gracey

Starring: Hugh Jackman, Zac Efron, Michelle Williams, Rebecca Ferguson, Zendaya

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
The film is inspired by the story of P. T. Barnum’s creation of the Barnum & Bailey Circus and the lives of its star attractions.

My Opinion:

I really enjoyed this movie. I saw it a good few weeks ago & I’m glad I didn’t review it right away as this is one of those films that has really grown on me since seeing it. I can understand why it’s getting repeat viewings & why it’s still playing in cinemas so long after its release.

Now, I have to say I don’t think this is a perfect film. Far from it! It’s certainly not up there with the biggest musical classics such as The Sound Of Music or Singin’ In The Rain (My list of my Top Ten Movie Musicals can he found HERE). I don’t think it will age quite as well as the classics but it’s a fun film & the songs are far more catchy & memorable than those in La La Land. I wouldn’t necessarily say it’s a “better” movie than La La Land but I enjoyed it a lot more than that one. It feels more genuine & has more heart. Unlike La La Land, it’s not pretentious or “trying too hard”. Sorry – I can’t help but compare the two since they’re both current musicals. Seeing this has actually made me like La La Land even less.

Where do I start? I’ve always been intrigued by circuses & that whole lifestyle so I enjoyed the story in this one (I don’t know how accurate the story of P. T. Barnum actually is in this, though). One of the only slightly negative things I’ve read about this was how they “glossed over” the treatment of the entertainers (called “Freaks”) in the old days. I disagree. This is a musical, not a documentary. It’s lighthearted, yes, but it certainly didn’t ignore the poor treatment of these people. We all know how horribly they were treated. It was a different time and the movie does what it can to celebrate people’s differences. This does give me the opportunity to again mention a movie that I love & that I think deserves more attention – Tod Browning’s 1932 film Freaks. It was very ahead of its time & I’d recommend it to all bloggers. I reviewed it HERE (one of the rare reviews that I actually put some effort into). 😉

Back to the movie. Jackman is very good but that’s to be expected. You can tell he really enjoys doing films like this & I think that really shows in his performance. Who doesn’t like Jackman?! He seems like a sweetie. And I’m starting to like Zac Efron as well! I think I’ll always see him as a kid but he was really good in this and was great in the scenes with Jackman & with Zendaya. As for him & Zendaya, I loved that romance. I think that relationship will be a big part of the reason why people like this film so much. I loved their scene together with the hoop thingy. They’re so young & so cute (I sound like such a granny!).

There are so many characters & different types of relationships in this, which is probably another reason why it’s done so well as most people will have a different character they like or can relate to. It also felt like we got to know most of them pretty well. They spent an equal amount of time on Barnum’s personal life with his wife & young daughters as well as his professional life with his circus family. The song & dance numbers looked great and, as I already mentioned, the songs are quite memorable (I’m glad one of them, This Is Me, is up for an Oscar). I’m not sure if that song is my favorite but I’ve only seen the movie once. I’ll know better when I’ve heard the soundtrack a few times, which is likely as my young daughter liked this movie a lot. And I think that’s another reason this film has done well: it appeals to all ages.


I may have been wrong when I said at the start of this review that this may not age quite as well as the classics. I do think it’ll definitely age much better than La La Land, which doesn’t appeal to all ages in the same way that this does. Oops – I’ve brought La La Land into this again! Sorry. I’ll stop rambling now & just say that The Greatest Showman is a fun family musical. Ignore the snobby critics.

My Rating: 7.5/10

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Bad Neighbours 2 (2016) Review 

Bad Neighbours 2 (2016) (aka US Title: Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising)

Directed by Nicholas Stoller

Starring: Seth Rogen, Zac Efron, Rose Byrne, Chloë Grace Moretz, Dave Franco, Ike Barinholtz

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDB)
After a sorority moves in next door, which is even more debaucherous than the fraternity before it, Mac and Kelly have to ask for help from their former enemy, Teddy.

My Opinion:

There’s seriously no need for me to blather on & on for this review – If you liked the first film, you’ll like this one. It’s the exact same movie again but with a sorority instead of a fraternity. It’s not perfect and the first one is of course better, as is the case 90% of the time with all these comedy sequels, but you don’t exactly go to movies like these expecting Sunset Boulevard or something anyway (yeah, I reviewed that yesterday – I’m diverse!). 😉 There are worse ways to spend 90 minutes but you don’t have to rush out to the cinema to see this one unless you really love comedies like these (I went on the cheap day!). I actually quite enjoyed the first movie, as far as modern comedies go, but I haven’t found anything truly funny since The Princess Bride. And Wayne’s World! (Ha! Showing my age). You can find my review of the first movie HERE if you desperately want to read it.

Seth Rogen & Rose Byrne are exactly the same as they were in the first one. There were some decent jokes & they once again had some funny sex scenes (like the opening scene – the movie started out quite promising but lost its way). Well, there was one difference: I think they were possibly even worse parents this time than in the first film! That poor kid. You should enjoy this fine if you’re the age of the sorority girls but us old parents get a little stressed out if we think a kid in a film isn’t being looked after. I’m still freaked out that they left her alone in the house in the first one (they had a baby monitor with) & that the air bag stunt could’ve killed her! But, let’s move on – this is a fictional comedy not meant to be taken seriously… (But, really, you shouldn’t smoke weed around your kids! WTF). Okay. I’m done. Moving on.

I like Chloë Grace Moretz and liked her fine in this but don’t really think that dumb comedies suit her – she should stick to stuff like Kick-Ass & Let Me In. Zac Efron is a bit better in this type of thing. He doesn’t do it for me (gross! he’s a kid!) but girls who like him will be happy to know he’s shirtless & in tiny shorts for lots of this movie.

I don’t really know what to say here. It’s honestly the same movie again. In any other genre, I’d probably complain about that. But, meh – it’s a dumb comedy. Who cares? As long as you get a few chuckles out of it (I did). I did like that this movie has three normal (and slightly nerdy) girls who become friends & decide to start their own “fun” sorority (as opposed to air-headed dress-like-sluts sorority). They decide to do this after leaving a frat party they call too “rapey” & they don’t want anyone calling them a ho. (What’s the plural of a ho?! Hos doesn’t look right but Hoes are garden tools. Hmm. It has to be Hoes, though). Anyway – RIGHT ON with all that! I don’t understand all that college bullshit. It’s just a shame that three girls I’d almost want to hang out with myself at first turn into over-the-top nightmare neighbors for the sake of the movie’s unoriginal plot. They’re probably even worse than the boys in the first film. Oh well. I liked this movie okay & it had its funny moments but it’s unlikely that I’d watch either of them again. Now I must go & call social services on the parents….

My Rating: 6.5/10

**Oh! And I just realized that I can add a scene from Bad Neighbours 2 as an honorable mention in my recent list of My Top Ten Period Scenes In Movies! What is it with Chloë Grace Moretz & period scenes?? She’s Period Proud! 🙂

We Are Your Friends (2015) Review

We Are Your Friends (2015)

Directed by Max Joseph

Starring: Zac Efron, Emily Ratajkowski, Shiloh Fernandez, Alex Shaffer, Jonny Weston, Wes Bentley

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDB)
Caught between a forbidden romance and the expectations of his friends, aspiring DJ Cole Carter attempts to find the path in life that leads to fame and fortune.

My Opinion:

Hmm. First of all, I wouldn’t say that I’m some EDM (Electronic Dance Music) fan. Some of it is okay, such as the title song (We Are Your Friends by Justice vs Simian). I love Justice, actually – I did a post about their music HERE for my Music Video Friday thing. Anyway, I like a little bit of most every type of music other than country (puke) but rock & metal will always be my first love and this EDM drug, rave, dance, screw, get-your-tits-out scene isn’t my type of thing. Plus, I hate really attractive people. And young people. And especially young AND attractive people. And that girl from that totally rapey Blurred Lines video is in this with her huge pouty mouth (and boobs). So… I went to this with low expectations and expecting to have to watch a bunch of young, attractive twats taking drugs & screwing each other for a couple of hours. Well, that of course happens but the movie actually wasn’t too bad overall. It could have been a lot worse, anyway. Clichéd as hell! But not the worst ever movie-watching experience.

I know some female bloggers here like Zac Efron. Little kid Zac Efron. He’s just a kid. A little kid! So, no, I do NOT find him attractive. Way too young! Also, too pretty for me anyway. If I had to choose from the group of four male friends in this, I’d go with the one who wants to be an actor:

But the one named Squirrel is the one who’d actually be my boyfriend:

If I was TWENTY. So, this group of four male friends are going nowhere in life & don’t have proper jobs & spend their spare time raving (or whatever EDM kids call it). But Efron has a dream – he wants to be a superstar DJ & make something of himself! He wants to write songs & dance almost naked on the tops of bars! Wait – that’s Coyote Ugly… He wants to make furniture! No, wait – that’s Magic Mike… Yes – it’s one of those “young, attractive person with a dream” movies. But, although shallow & predictable, it had more heart than I was expecting & was at least better than the two I just mentioned (thank god). I have to say that little Efron was quite good in this. He may end up being a decent actor! He has that “pretty boy” thing working against him, just like Leonardo DiCaprio had in the early days. But I have to say this is the first movie where I was impressed with his acting – it would be good to see him in slightly more serious roles.

Blurred Lines girl was… Tolerable. The oh-so-predictable romance/love triangle didn’t totally make me want to puke & they made her have “issues” and doubts about her own choices in life so at least they did do more with her character than JUST have her be the pretty face. And her boobs stayed covered! (Yes, you get some boobs in this but it didn’t go overboard. This was no Spring Breakers – it does take itself quite seriously). Wes Bentley also did well as the older DJ who is past his prime but his character doesn’t get much of a resolution. I also liked Efron’s group of friends who are “holding him back!”. Oh, and I liked one trippy scene where Efron has taken some PCP. Damn – can’t find a picture of that. 

Summary:

There’s not a lot more that I can say about We Are Your Friends. This same story has been done SO many times! It just happens to be an “EDM DJ” with a dream this time so I guess we’ve not exactly seen that before. I have nothing against this type of story – it always does well but the important thing is that they make us care about the characters & this movie does manage that. Efron was likeable & you want him to succeed. I found his group of friends believable & more developed than you’d expect from a film like this. I even found the (predictable, yes) ending pretty satisfying & they tied up some loose ends pretty well (in a clichéd way but, hey – most movies are guilty of that). Yeah, I liked this movie just fine. I can sometimes not be all snobby-movie-blogger and just admit that I liked a non-Oscar-worthy movie. 😉

My Rating: 6.5/10