Musical

[4.5] Patrick Dennis’ 1955 best-selling novel Auntie Mame: An Irreverent Escapade was first adapted into a stage play, then a film starring Rosalind Russell, and then a stage musical, and then into Mame, a film musical starring Lucille Ball. All the versions follow young orphaned Patrick’s adventures with his only remaining living relative, an eccentric aunt with a zest for life and a flare for …

[3.5] Pia Zadora and Craig Sheffer star in a no-budget sci-fi rock opera that’s so abominable, it’s almost charming. When a bunch of space dudes in pink costumes land on Earth looking for the source of rock music, they find it in Zadora’s singing. While Zadora starts to fall in love with the lead alien guy (Tom Nolan), Sheffer gets jealous and decides to stop …

[8.0] Rami Malek stars as Freddie Mercury in Bryan Singer’s (X-Men, Valkyrie) biopic about the formation and explosive success of rock group Queen. The film centers primarily around Mercury — his estranged relationship with his family, his homosexuality, his drug use, and eventual battle with AIDs — but without ignoring the other members of the band, played by Gwilym Lee, Ben Hardy, and Joseph Mazzello …

[7.5] Director/co-star Bradley Cooper decided it was time for a fourth version of A Star is Born (previous versions were released in 1937, 1954, and 1976). I haven’t yet seen any of those versions, so I’m coming into this one without the burden of comparison. I was expecting a romance movie with a lot of singing. So I was expecting to hate the movie, honestly. …

[6.5] The Apple is a glorious abomination of cinema that must be seen to be believed. Catherine Mary Stewart (The Last Starfighter, Night of the Comet) and George Gilmour star as singing lovers who are torn apart when an evil record label drives a wedge between them. Through religious allegory, disco, lavish song numbers, sex, and camp, the two are finally reunited at a hippie …

[8.0] At first sight, you might mistake Footloose¬†for just another teen rebellion movie, but Herbert Ross’ (Steel Magnolias) sensitive direction and committed performances from John Lithgow and Dianne Wiest help the film transcend its genre. The story about a town where dancing has been outlawed sounds ridiculous at first, but screenwriter Dean Pitchford and the cast treat the premise with disarming sincerity. It was a …

[8.0] A lonely writer falls in love with a singing, dancing courtesan in this bawdy musical that soars on the charms of co-stars Nicole Kidman and Ewan McGregor. The song numbers cannibalize lyrics from love songs over the past century, an approach you’re either going to love or hate. I think the musical sequences are the best part of Moulin Rouge!, whether it’s the Tex …

[3.5] Near the end of both Singin’ in the Rain and An American in Paris, there is a big, epic dance number that feels very out of place. It’s the only thing I don’t like about Singin’ in the Rain, and the only thing I DO like about An American in Paris. The later film is essentially a superb 20-minute dance number tacked onto an …

[8.5] Disney goes Broadway in the first animated motion picture ever nominated for a Best Picture Oscar (in the days before they rolled out a separate category for the medium). This version of the classic fairy tale is fueled by power-house songs from Howard Ashman and Alan Menken, memorable characters, and a calibre of design and refined skillsmanship unseen for decades in the studio’s output. …

[6.5] Diminutive¬†Herve Villechaize (TV’s Fantasy Island) stars in this gift from cult movie heaven for which no summary could do justice, Forbidden Zone is a prolonged crash of the whacky and perverse. The utterly irreverent storyline tests my patience in a few places, but the inventive animation and catchy soundtrack (featuring Danny Elfman and Oingo Boingo) keep things afloat. Susan Tyrrell is camp-tastic as the …

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