Sing: The Cutest Film since Zootopia

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I have wanted to see Sing since it came out in theatres. However, if I remember correctly, my theatre either didn’t show the film or they didn’t have it out for very long. I think they were still showing the big tentpoles like Rogue One and I forget what other films came out last December. Either way, I missed it in theatres and I am sad that I did.

Sing was really good. We’re talking Disney levels of good. In fact, it was on par with Zootopia which I caught on Netflix earlier this year. To be perfectly honest, just because it was a musical, I think it even surpassed my love of Zootopia. Of course, who doesn’t like seeing a humanoid pig, voiced by Reese Witherspoon, dance a tango in the middle of a grocery store?

I mean really.

But, I digress.

Sing tells the story of a marsupial, a koala bear named Buster Moon (Matthew McConaughey), who is trying to save his beloved theatre from being shut down. He’s hounded by the bank, his stage hands’ pay checks bounce, and he has to put up with a senile old lizard, named Miss Crawly, as his secretary. With the help of his friend Eddie (John C. Reilly), who, honestly denounces the whole thing, Moon decides he needs to stage a singing competition to generate more revenue.

Of course, the senile Miss Crawly messes up the prize money amount and everyone thinks they’re getting $100,000 instead of simply $1,000.

The cast of characters who round out Moon’s little competition include, Rosita the above mentioned pig; Gunter, a pig who likes to dress in sequins and who is very over the top; Johnny (Taron Egerton), the gorilla son of a gang member who has a voice to rival Sam Smith; Meena (Tori Kelly), an elephant with a set of pipes but severe stage fright; Ash (Scarlett Johansson), a teenage porcupine who likes to rock; and Mike (Seth MacFarlane), a sax playing, jazz crooning mouse.

The film juggles the host of characters well, bouncing around to each of their lives and how the competition changes them. For Rosita, it means her husband finally pays attention to her and her 25–yes, I’m not joking–children. For Johnny, it means getting out of the life that imprisoned his father. All of the other animals have their reasons for joining the competition and it’s incredibly adorable.

The voice cast here is especially stunning and it really amps up the storytelling. All of the main cast use their own voices to sing and they still manage to stand up to the phenomenal Kelly who is a professional singer.

Though, I have to say, the biggest surprise wasn’t Witherspoon, who has the cutest set of pipes ever. No, I was deeply impressed by Egerton’s vocals which were smooth, silky and all together mesmerizing. I think I could listen to him sing all day. He really elevated himself and stood out in the crowd. To be honest, I really think his role as Johnny should’ve been noticed more and appreciated more.

As a whole, Sing really surprised it. It was funny, heartfelt, and a toe tapping good time.

ShOR Is Bloggy: Anne with an E has been Renewed by Netflix

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The Netflix and CBC adaptation of Lucy Maud Montgomery’s children novel Anne of Green Gables has been renewed for a second season. The reboot that I once called “pesky” has been commissioned for a 10 episode run that will air sometime in 2018. To say I’m excited would be an understatement.

Anne with an E (or simply Anne north of the border) was billed as a “gritty” adaptation. Despite the inherent darkness the program brought with it, it proved to be a critical darling. Moira Walley-Beckett (Breaking Bad) stayed true to the first book in Montgomery’s highly popular series. She introduced Anne (played to perfection by scrappy newcomer Amybeth McNulty) to Green Gables and the Cuthberts, but she also decided to take the show in a few new directions. One of the biggest twists came in the form of Matthew Cuthbert. I won’t tell how the show differed from the novels because of spoilers but let’s just say it’s a pretty important change.

Next season, we shall see the precocious redhead deal with even more drama and hardships. Netflix has said Anne will “continue to chart bold new territory, adding new characters and story lines and continuing to explore themes of identity, prejudice, feminism, bullying, gender parity and empowerment.” All of which is pretty awesome when you consider the fact that Walley-Beckett has built an entirely female writers room for the new series.

“This season is brave and bold and full of wonder,” Walley-Beckett said in a statement. “It is colourful, exciting, action-packed and, of course, full of heart. I can’t wait to share all the brand new adventures!”

Truthfully, we can’t wait for the new series either. Anne with an E is currently streaming on Netflix.

(Originally posted at 4ye.co.uk.)

ShOR is Bloggy: A New “Vice” May be Bound to NBC

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Another TV reboot is being added to the already gigantic (and growing) reboot roster for the next few seasons of television. Miami Vice may be coming back to our screens as early as the 2018-2019 season.

Vin Diesel and his production company One Race Television are teaming up with Fast and Furious writer Chris Morgan to produce the series on NBC. If picked up, Vice would be returning to the Peacock network nearly thirty years after being canceled in 1989.

The project, which has been in development for a few months, is being spearheaded by Shana Waterman who heads One Race Television after leaving Fox Broadcasting. Diesel and Waterman are tapped to executive produce the show while Peter Macmanus (Spike’s The Mist) will write the scripts which will be based on the original Miami Vice.

Miami Vice ran from 1984 to 1990 and starred Don Johnson and Philip Michael Thomas as Sonny Crockett and Ricardo Tubbs, two vice cops who frequently went undercover to bust down notorious drug rings. Edward James Olmos played their chief and a whole slew of high profile actors guest starred on the show through its five season run. The show was often praised for its use of music as well as the extremely pastel colored, yet highly stylish, clothes Crockett and Tubbs often sported.

Michael Mann penned and produced both the television show and the 2006 film version which starred Jamie Foxx and Collin Farrell. The movie didn’t fare as well as the show and pretty much tanked at the box office. So, the ultimate question is, with Mann, the original producer, absent from this reboot, will it be as good as its predecessor? Not only that, is it even warranted? In an already overly reboot saturated lineup, what will Diesel, Morgan, Waterman, and Macmanus bring to the table that hasn’t already been done?

The good thing about this reboot is that it comes at a time where drugs and opioid usage are at an all time high which echoes the cocaine crisis of the 80s. So, there will be plenty of stories and things to pull from. Personally, however, I am tired of seeing reboots and remakes both on television and on the big screens. Nostalgia filmmaking needs to make a quick and brutal exit from our lives before more national treasures are decimated by lackluster, uninspired writing, and bland performances.

(Originally posted to 4ye.co.uk.)

ShOR is Bloggy: Beauty and the Beast 2? The Stars Are Interested!


Back in March, a little Disney film by the name of Beauty and the Beast, was unleashed on the world and in the two months since its release, the film has grossed over one billion dollars worldwide making it one of the largest March releases in recent history. Beauty and the Beast was mostly well received by critics and there is no doubt that when the film is released on DVD in June, the money Disney is making will just grow exponentially.

As a result, people have been talking about a possible sequel being greenlit by Disney and being greenlit soon. The House of Mouse has no plans for a sequel, but that doesn’t mean the film’s stars aren’t interested in returning for a sequel.

Dan Stevens previously voiced his interest when asked in an interview for his film Permission which premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival on April 22nd.

He said, “That’s not a question for me. I’m not sure what turn that would take. I’m open to offers. It would seem odd for me to hear about it, but never say never.”

The only hang up with Stevens is, he doesn’t want to return as Prince Adam in his human form.

“I’d kind of like to bring the Beast back.”

I’m not completely sure how that would work out but we all know the Beast is widely regarded as Disney’s most handsome prince so that is always a plus despite how the Beast is now a human prince but it’s Disney, they can do anything. Besides, I wouldn’t mind spending another two hours listening to Stevens’ deep, silky smooth Beast voice. I swear, his voice is sinful in that role.

But, I digress.

Stevens’ co-star, and generally adorable book nerd, Emma Watson, has recently jumped on the sequel bandwagon as well. While on the press tour for her new film The Circle, Watson broached the subject of a Beauty and the Beast sequel.

The results are so in character that it’s painfully perfect and I need it more than ever.

“I would love to do a sequel,” she said. “I always thought that Belle would become a teacher and she would run the library in the castle and open it up to the village.”

As if that wouldn’t be the cutest thing to ever happen ever. In Beauty and the Beast, Belle already shows her penchant for education. If you remember, when she is in town letting her donkey and homemade washing machine do her laundry for her, she takes it upon herself to teach a little girl how to read. While the village people harass her for it, and ruin her laundry in the process, there is no doubt that the spark to teach is there in Belle.

I, for one, love this idea. Here’s to hoping that Disney listens to fans, their actors, and their pocketbooks and they give us a sequel! It would be fantastic.

You can catch Watson in The Circle now in theaters. Stevens’ new film Kill Switch will be released in theaters July 15th.

(Originally posted at 4ye.co.uk.)

ShOR is Retro: Hud Showcases Paul Newman’s Range

hud_ver4_xlgWesterns aren’t typically my thing. I’ll be the first to tell you that. In fact, I honestly can’t remember the last time I’ve seen a Western. Perhaps it was in high school. If it was in high school, it was definitely something John Wayne. Probably The Searchers or something like it. I just don’t do Westerns or do I typically do black and white films. Hud  was both but I was pleasantly surprised by how good it was, despite it not being something I’ll probably ever revisit again.

Hud was released in 1962 and was based on Larry McMurty’s novel Horseman, Pass By. Directed by Martin Ritt, the film was one of Paul Newman’s earlier ventures but you certainly couldn’t tell it. In fact, the character of Hud was written for Newman and he shines brightly as the morally corrupt, alcoholic, womanizer. He brings out a nuance in the character that wasn’t in the novel and it works.

For those who may be unfamiliar with both Hud and Horseman, Pass By, they tell the story of Homer, Lon, and Hud Bannon, a ranch owner, his grandson and his son, in the small town of Wichita, Texas. Hud is morally corrupt, a womanizer, and a man who definitely needs to evaluate his life choices. This is all made even more apparent when it is revealed that he killed his brother and Lon’s father in a drunk driving accident some fifteen years earlier.

When an outbreak of foot and mouth disease threatens Homer’s cattle, the subsequent downward spiral of Hud’s character is made even more starkly evident. He attempts to drunkenly rape the Bannon’s house keeper, Alma, and he even begins to corrupt Lon in the process.

However, none of that is truly important because Hud, despite his tendencies, is extremely charismatic and Newman plays him with a likable snark that makes it hard to consider Hud a truly typical “villain”. He’s not the typical “protagonist” either. He is what could be considered the anti-hero or the deuteragonist, second only to Lon and to some extent Homer. No matter how you slice it, Newman gives a depth to the character of Hud that McMurty’s novel failed to do. There is a brilliant scene between Lon and Hud around a water trough following a fight the two have in a diner and it really showcases how Newman gives Hud a humanity and a layer of remorse under all the barbed wire in his soul. Newman is also one of those actors who acts with their eyes and there are definitely moments when you can feel Hud’s desolation and loneliness reflected in Newman’s eyes.

In all, it’s a great film but one I won’t revisit even though this is clearly an early masterclass in Paul Newman’s talent.

The Ticket: A Fickle Fable With a Stunning Performance

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As a whole, I had a real big problem with Ido Fluk’s The Ticket. On the surface, it had a lot of promise. The idea that a man suddenly regains his sight after years of being blind is a story that could have a lot of miles to it. Yes, it’s been done before. Done correctly, however, it has the ability to transform the tired “medical miracle” morality tale. The Ticket was not one of those transformative narratives.

The Ticket is presented as a fable. A man, James Harvey, has been blind since he was a child. He has a nice life with a nice house and married with a young son named Jonah. For all intents and purposes, he is happy. However, are never given enough time with James before he regains his sight to make that distinction affirmative. At a brisk 90 minute runtime, it is hard to do so.

Instead, we get a man who regains his sight and is suddenly a modern day Beast from Beauty and the Beast. With his sight, he is unsatisfied with his life, his wife, his appearance, everything. He becomes spoiled, selfish and unkind. This man is a complete asshole. The downward spiral doesn’t work the way it should because we have nothing of James’ former personality to go on. That doesn’t mean we are spared from the brutal disintegration of James’ life and the subsequent breakdown of his character.

Of course, like all fables, the hero, who regains his sight and does bad things with his new found lease on life, eventually receives his comeuppance. In this case, the impending doom can be seen as soon as James starts making eyes at a woman who definitely isn’t his wife at about twenty minutes into the film. So, the audience knows where this morality tale is heading and it heads there really quickly.

Despite that, the one good thing to come of this film is Dan Steven’s acting prowess. If this film was a little longer and a little bit better written, then there would be no doubt in my mind that this could’ve been an award’s show darling for Stevens. No seriously, the man is that good.

I have, honestly, never hated a main character in a film as much as I hated James in this film. It was all because Stevens gave this performance that I was, in the end, blown away by. This stunning performance really hits its peak in a scene where James breaks down, alone, in his bedroom. I read somewhere that Fluk set up a camera on a tripod and let Stevens go to town in a few of the scenes. I felt like this scene was one of them. We are on the outside looking in on this character and the amount of harrowing desolation that emanates from Stevens is something I was not prepared for. This is a man who fully understands his characters and is unafraid to dive into the deep end and dive into a world of unrestrained creation. The result is absolutely beautiful and heartbreaking.

Unfortunately, Stevens is the only saving grace in this film. I am, however, eager to see how Ido Fluk makes his mark on the film industry in the future.

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