Musical

[8.0] Burt Reynolds and Dolly Parton star in this stage musical adaptation (based on a true story) about a bordello madam and a county sheriff who fight a tabloid television reporter’s campaign to close a legendary Texas whorehouse called the Chicken Ranch. The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas is a bawdy good time, with charming performances from Parton and Reynolds, fun musical numbers, and comic …

[3.0] Rival breakdancing teams the Delivery Boys and the Devil Dogs plan to compete under the Brooklyn Bridge, but on the day of the show, three of the Boys are missing in action. Turns out the leader of the Dogs has tricked their pizza parlor boss into sending them on sticky assignments. One boy is held captive by a lusty rich girl, another becomes a …

[3.0] In an abstract void of color gradation, it’s Donald Duck’s birthday. He magically receives three strange presents that transform into song-and-dance lessons about Mexico and South America, featuring two other cartoon birds named José Carioca (a parrot) and Panchito (a rooster). A five-year old might be entranced by the bright Technicolor imagery and lively music featured in The Three Caballeros, but the frenetic pace …

[8.5] Tension between rival New York City gangs the Jets and the Sharks is wound to a tragic snapping point after one young Jet falls head over heels for the sister of the Sharks’ leader. West Side Story is based on the landmark stage musical featuring music by Leonard Bernstein, lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, and exciting dance choreography by Jerome Robbins, who co-directs this film …

[2.5] John Travolta returns under the curious direction of Sylvester Stallone for this sequel to the mega-hit Saturday Night Fever. But whereas Saturday Night Fever was a sincere story about a young man with big dreams and lessons to learn, Staying Alive is just a plodding procedural love-triangle that climaxes in an over-the-top music number of camp proportions. Travolta’s Tony Manero character seems to have …

[3.0] Dorothy Mackaill headlines as a newly-engaged Broadway song and dance star who’s confronted with a ghost from the past on the eve of her retirement. Noah Beery plays the bad guy — a man who tried to rape Mackaill’s character several years ago, and who shows up at the theater to (we assume) try again. Bright Lights (also known bizarrely as Adventures in Africa) …

[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. …

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