Sing: The Cutest Film since Zootopia

sing

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.

The Ticket: A Fickle Fable With a Stunning Performance

ticket

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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