The Greatest Showman (2017)

Hugh Jackman, Michelle Williams, Zac Efron, Zendaya, Rebecca Ferguson and many others bring P.T Barnum’s circus to life from the 1800s. A great cast and an emotional film, and an amazing, inspirational musical. It’s a colourful, stylish, aesthetically bright film with a great story. You become warped into this lifestyle on screen.

If you don’t like musicals, cross this one off your list, because there are a lot of songs, a hell of a lot. Every emotion is sung, but what makes that ok is that the songs are great. Talking about songs, there are some great singers, which is of course needed! The best singer without a shadow of a doubt has to be Keala Settle, who sings the best song of the film ‘This is Me’. A great inspirational song that gets stuck in your head. Keala Settle, I have to mention, has a very similar voice as Amber Riley, or as most people know her as Mercedes in ‘Glee’, up to you whether you can hear it too… I have to admit, some of the songs are much better than others, but all performances are ones to dive into. For example, Zac Efron’s and Zendaya’s trapeze act was stunning and so cleverly put together.

The Greatest Showman - Lettie Lutz

Hugh Jackman plays P.T Barnum, who when loses his job turns to a completely different lifestyle and boldly buys out a museum. Hiring those who are ignored and hated in society, he creates a family in the theatre in a phenomenal vibrant show. Following this new life with P.T aka Phineas Taylor is his real family; wife Charity (Michelle Williams), and two daughters Caroline (Austyn Johnson) and Helen (Cameron Seely). Powered by wanting to give his family a life different from his childhood, he falls in the world of riches and one he’s only dreamed of, one he’s never known before. In a tricky choreographed fun dance with shot glasses, Barnum’s circus gains a young associate, Phillip Carlyle (Zac Efron). In this dance, spot the shot glass that Hugh Jackman drinks with no drink actually in… Additionally, in the show there is the General, Tom Thumb (Sam Humphrey) who is mocked for his height, a trapeze act of Anne (Zendaya) and W.D (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II), a bearded lady with a voice so beautiful Lettie Lutz (Keala Settle), and many more to create a show like none before. Painted as “freaks” by thugs in society, this musical becomes a drama emotional and empowering in strength of originality and uniqueness.

The Greatest Showman - Barnum family

Sadly, there is something I have an issue with in this film. The editing seemed a bit lacking with the technology nowadays and with the amount of effort put into this film, I don’t understand why some parts seemed a bit fake. It’s not anything that ruined the film, because the film is more in the songs, the style and the story moral. Regardless, it wasn’t the best editing on the animals, especially the elephants – but with this point they weren’t actually anything important in the film anyway. Also, some songs did seem a bit dubbed and maybe slightly auto-tuned, which is a bit upsetting.

The film is extremely fast pace. The start revolves around the young lives of Phineas and Charity as childhood sweethearts destined not to be together since from different classes. We follow Phineas’ emotional childhood and soon as an adult. The pace doesn’t slow down there. The success of Barnum’s life races through the film quicker than anything. Soon, we have an outright successful show. But as this continues, in the background aspects start to diminish and multiple storylines become emotionally told for the audience.

The Greatest Showman - Zendaya and Carlyle

This is definitely a musical different to many others. Just as P.T Barnum presents his show as unique, as is this film. It is an emotional film, to say the least I may have nearly cried in sections. The songs and performances are inspirational and clever. I definitely became more connected to the performances and dances than the songs I do have to admit. If you think you would enjoy this film, I would definitely recommend it because as you can see it’s clearly done extremely well in cinema and society. Especially the soundtrack.

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The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975)

Wow, what a bizarre, confusing, random, overdramatic film this one was… I’m lost for words at how random this film was, I just didn’t understand the whole film. To say there was much escalation would be an understatement, I’ve never seen a film with so much escalation in my life. It started odd anyway, but then by the end… I was confused how I even ended up with this ending.

The Rocky Horror Picture Show - Frank N Furter

So maybe due to the overdramatic emotions and acting, it’s supposed to be on stage and leave it on stage as a dramatic theatrical show. This would make sense, theatre is one of a kind and of course I’m a fan, but what is seen on theatre can never fully be developed to film, there has to be some adjustments, and I feel like this film was supposed to be on stage and that’s where it should be and stay. It was a theatre production first. There were occasional moments where the characters looked into the camera as well, especially the criminologist speaking to the audience, this makes the audience more personal, but also highlights the divide of the film screen – again suggesting it is probably best as a theatre show. Also, it is regarded as a parody of older sci-fi films, so this explains the overdramatic and almost forced acting, but to be honest, I struggled to find the comedy in this. Regardless, I have to admit Tim Curry does play his character well, he does execute every part of his complex character.

The Rocky Horror Picture Show - all

I would try to explain the plot, but to be honest, I don’t really understand how I can. For starters, there is a newly-engaged couple, Brad (Barry Bostwick) and Janet (Susan Sarandon); when their car breaks down in the pouring rain, they turn to the one place nearby. A big castle. But they didn’t know that those in the castle were going to strip them down and keep them there. Why not? Things just escalate from there, into random. I get the characters and I think I understand what the film was trying to do? No, I’m not sure. You meet all the new characters, fine fine, then suddenly there’s other things revealed, which in case of spoiling and I wish not to, I will just leave there, but these things are just so random and bizarre… Anyway, jumping from this story is a criminologist narrating, as he is in the future from what we are witnessing. I have to admit, this bit I actually did like, I liked that he was there to turn back to narrate other parts not entirely explained, or just add a bit of comedy in the ‘Time Warp’ song. That was done well.

The Rocky Horror Picture Show - Rocky

Ok, so this film is a musical. And I’m sorry to say, this didn’t even stand out. I wasn’t a fan of the singing, I wasn’t fan of many of the songs, some I couldn’t even hear the lyrics. The one song I enjoyed and was happy with a character who could actually sing was killed off – I’m not ruining it as you don’t know who that is. And then finally, there were just too many songs. They were clumped together too much, there wasn’t enough break between some songs.

As you can probably tell, I wasn’t a fan. If you didn’t get that drift, then I definitely was not a fan. It was just all to random and bizarre. Everything escalated into strange. Another thing I should mention that this is definitely not a film for younger ages, a bit too inappropriate. I didn’t understand the comedy and I didn’t like the songs. So for a comedy musical film, I would say no. Maybe that’s just me though, because apparently this is one of the musical classics… At least I can say I’ve seen it once, probably won’t be able to say I’ve seen it for a second time however.

Hairspray (2007)

One of my favourite musicals, an enjoyable song-full film! Great people, great songs, great performances, great dancers – what more is there to ask for? Great storyline? Yes. Original musical standing out from others? Definitely. Bit of comedy? That too! Even some romance! Again, I ask what more do you need. This is definitely one of the best musicals out there. Up with the likes of ‘Mamma Mia!’, ‘Grease’, ‘Chitty Chitty Bang Bang’, ‘Chicago’.

Hairspray - Corny Collins Show

To begin with, the numerous recognisable actors and actresses has to be mentioned! First of all, John Travolta, although in a very different costume from his numerous other characters, but still amazing as ever. To say the least, there’s no Danny Zuko in this film. Then there’s Queen Latifah, Michelle Pfeiffer and Christopher Walken! Not forgetting, James Marsden (‘X-Men’, ‘27 Dresses’), Amanda Bynes (‘She’s the Man’, ‘The Duff’) and Brittany Snow (‘John Tucker Must Die’, ‘Pitch Perfect’). And of course High School Musical’s Zac Efron! Then introducing the perfectly selected Nikki Blonsky as Tracy Turnblad and Elijah Kelley as Seaweed. All actors play their parts brilliantly, all perfectly selected for their roles. Also helps that they all can sing and dance great as well!

As it is a musical, there are of course numerous songs within the film. Like I’ve already said, all of the songs are great. I don’t think there is a song that I don’t like in this musical, they all are enjoyable, especially the ones where they really put a show on with the performances and dancing. It’s definitely not a disappointment in that aspect, in any aspect, but happily this musical stands out as a musical. Oh and I cannot forget to mention the power Nikki Blonsky puts into her songs, the deep attitude definitely is noticed and appreciated amongst the songs.

Hairspray - Tracy and Edna

So I guess I should quickly go over the plot if you’ve never seen the film. Set in 1962 Baltimore, revolving around Corny Collins television show are apparently “the nicest kids in town”, when Tracy makes her dream to get on the show, she struggles as Velma Von Tussle and her daughter Amber ridicule at her weight. Nevertheless, she is persistent in participating in the Miss Teenage Hairspray pageant. As it’s set in America’s 1960s, segregation between black and white people is throughout the film, the film is a celebration of integration and the struggle of bringing it to, but eventually seeing all as equal as it should have always been.

So as you can probably guess, I love this film! It’s a great feel-good film, a film to get you singing and dancing along. To say the least, I know all the songs, I guess that makes it more enjoyable. But if you’ve never seen the film and like musicals, because I appreciate they are of certain taste, then I encourage for you to watch this one! You won’t regret it. There’s comedy, there’s romance, there’s quick-pace moments and there’s moving moments. Everyone is great and played perfectly, it’s a really great film to escape into for an hour or so.

Hairspray - Link and Amber

Anyway, “you can’t stop the beat!”

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (1968)

What a classic! A film everyone must see as a classic amazing theatrical film. A film based on the story by Ian Fleming, and screenplay written by Roald Dahl, directed by Ken Hughes. Brilliant stars all amazing in their character. The inventor, Caractacus Potts played by the brilliant Dick Van Dyke, driving the narration and adding comedy and song, a willing to do anything father of his two children Jeremy (Adrian Hall) and Jemima (Heather Ripley). Also, the brilliant Truly Scrumptious (Sally Ann Howes) and Grandpa Potts (Lionel Jeffries). The villain Baron Bomburst (Gert Frobe) and his wife Baroness (Anna Quayle), with their hilarious relationship, complicated with hate to say the least. Truly’s father, Lord Scrumptious (James Robertson Justice), with his harsh schedule to time and his love for his sweet factory. The kind and caring toymaker (Benny Hill), willing to help when no one would. And not forgetting the petrifying child catcher (Robert Helpmann), who to say the least was one of the scariest villains in childhood. All characters are amazing and bring so much to the film, all excellent in their own way and create a film never to be forgotten.

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang 2

This film is a brilliant family film, enjoyable for all. As we follow the backstories of the characters, one day at the beach we are transported into a story, all about an evil Baron who wants the outstanding car of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, which is able to float and fly and be a normal car within that. There are great songs, comedy and so many memorable performances. The performances are just something that stands out by themselves. They make the film amazing. The memorable performance of the toys for the Baron’s birthday, or waiting for Lord Scrumptious to whistle on the toot sweet, or the fun dance sequence at the circus, or even the comedic sing and dance where the Baron tries to kill his wife, it’s much less serious than it sounds though, I promise. You can tell the actors and actresses are extremely skilled with perfectly executed theatrical performances amongst the film. All the songs are great as well, of course sung well! Especially the incredibly catchy theme tune of the film, you know the song! “Oh you, pretty chitty bang bang, chitty chitty bang bang we love you, and our pretty chitty bang bang loves us too, high low anywhere we go on chitty chitty we depend, bang bang chitty chitty bang bang, our fine four fendered friend”. It must be in your head now! There is of course tons of comedy, lots of different comedy to appreciate as well. There’s slapstick among the two spies sent to get the car. The eccentric commotion of the Grandpa. The cleverness of the puppet man. The whole film is fabulous!

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang 1

As you can tell, obviously, I would recommend this film! It is a classic that is a must see! Everyone must have heard of this film and that alone stands at what a classic film it is. It’s one of those films you wouldn’t regret watching. A fun family film, an enjoyable performance film, a comedy and adventure film. If you haven’t seen it I would be surprised and you must watch it as soon as possible. It might seem a long film, but it has so much enjoyment in it that it’s never a waste of time!

Besides you have to love Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, it’s in the song!

Chicago (2002)

When the desire for show business becomes too much, Velma Kelly and Roxie Hart turn to murder. But according to them, “they had it coming”. ‘Chicago’ is based upon these two women, and their desperate pleas to be found not guilty for their actions and make it out of prison and find their way to the stage to be the star of the show.

As you can probably tell (or most likely know already), this film is very much a musical. But something quite different to other musicals is that many of the performances, not all, are actually alongside the narrative instead involved within it. For example, the famous ‘Cell Block Tango’ is a performance within Roxie’s mind, and for the audience to get to know about some other inmates of the prison. You would probably be surprised by how many of these songs you would actually recognise, the first time I watched it, which wasn’t the last, I recognised many of the songs. Many would most likely know ‘All That Jazz’. There’s also ‘Razzle Dazzle’ and ‘Mr Cellophane’. The great thing is all these songs are excellently sung and all made into a brilliant performance. The dance scenes are amazing with clearly great dancers. One that is so different but clever is the puppets and dummy in ‘We Both Reached For The Gun’.  And of course, the dance sequence in ‘Cell Block Tango’ is brilliantly choreographed. Even love the bit of tap dancing during the trial.  Altogether, the film is quite theatrical, the songs are performed on stages in front of audiences, also us as the watchers. I think it’s a really clever way of a musical, especially to portray the obsession the two women have to get upon the stage.

Chicago - puppet

‘Chicago’ is set in the 1920s, so one of the most important things for this film to be a success would be to create the kind of world these two women want to get themselves into. This means the creation of the scenes needs to be brilliant and the costumes need to represent those of the time. This is something ‘Chicago’ does brilliantly. Although, I have to say, because of the costumes, which are stage dresses, the film would probably be inappropriate for younger ages as they are quite revealing clothes (to say the least, a lot of confidence to needed to wear what they do). But altogether, the film brings alive 1920s Chicago.

‘Chicago’ is a film which has many recognisable actors and actresses. Velma Kelly is played by the brilliant Catherine Zeta-Jones, of course she portrays the character amazingly. Roxie Hart is played by the one and only Renée Zellweger (probably most recognisable as a completely different character Bridget Jones). Then there’s Matron Mama, played by Queen Latifah. There’s also Richard Gere (from ‘Pretty Woman’) as the most wanted lawyer Billy Flynn. Additionally, John C. Reilly (Dale from ‘Step Brothers’) and Christine Baranski (Tanya from ‘Mamma Mia!’) playing Mary Sunshine, the reporter. So like I said, many great and recognisable actors and actresses to appreciate in this film.

Chicago - Velma and Roxie

The film follows the life of Roxie in desperate need for her own stage act, being turned into the “sweetest little jazz killer” to escape her future on death row. Yet in prison finding that Velma is also on death row as they compete for publicity, the lawyer and the number one spot on the front news and eventually the hope back to freedom and being adored for their dancing and singing in the spotlight. I would definitely recommend this film, it is brilliantly done, has enjoyable songs and the performances are excellent. In my opinion, definitely at the top with best musicals.

“And all that jazz”.

Moulin Rouge! (2001)

Well overall, I thought this was good film. I’m a bit hesitant because it takes a while getting used to ‘Moulin Rouge!’, but once you’re full into the flow, you are warped into this forbidden romance and sucked into the life of the theatre called Moulin Rouge. You are thrown straight into this colourful, busy life, fast pace right away. For a first time watcher, this does take a while getting familiar with what is happening, why it is happening and who these people are. The introduction of the film has many characters involved, well it kind of has to when the film is about a theatre show; there’s the audience and those involved, then their hidden lives behind the scenes.

Technically, the film is a story about a play about a life, within the story is their lives… But that’s just confusing it. There is a narrator of the story, in present time, writing his story on his life and love with Satine (Nicole Kidman). This narrator is Christian (Ewan McGregor). These two characters are of course played brilliantly. But that’s obvious, I bet most people have seen a film with at least one of these actors in this film in. There are many other characters, but I will mention the few that are significant parts in the film. Firstly, Toulouse (John Leguizamo), his character is comical, yet kind, a character you can trust to be loyal, while making a comedy of the film. Then there’s the main leader of the theatre, this is Harold Zidler (played by Jim Broadbent – obviously familiar as Horace Slughorn in ‘Harry Potter’, but also the father in ‘The Borrowers’). His character is brilliant, he is very over the top, but Broadbent plays this so well to hold the representation of the Moulin Rouge theatre. He is a very eccentric character, but again one also comical, yet as the film proceeds you see more of a darker side to this character, one determined in his belief of the Moulin Rouge. Then finally, there’s the Duke (Richard Roxburgh). The Duke was just extremely creepy, but then again he is the villain of the film and I think he is supposed to give that essence to the film. He added a thriller genre to the film in a way. He was just a really horrible character, all his facial expressions were over the top creepy, yeah, he’s definitely a character to dislike. To say the least.

Moulin Rouge 1

The film is based in the underbelly of Paris in the late 19th century. This means there are many references to sex, some extremely awkward and cringey moments in the film, to say the least. Satine prostitutes herself to try and get out of the underbelly of Paris and into the bright lights of becoming an actress. The theatre is one similar to a night club with can-can dancing and flashy clothes, Satine being the centre of the theatre as a simple of beauty to be looked at, but also more. Therefore, what I’m trying to say is that it is definitely a film for older ages.

Anyway, the film is a musical. Although, unlike many musicals it is one of popular songs, songs you will recognise, not specific to the musical itself. The love medley is one with lots of recognisable love songs within it; The Beatles’ ‘All You Need is Love’, David Bowie’s ‘Heroes’. There are plenty of songs you will recognise; Elton John’s ‘Your Song’, Queen’s ‘The Show Must Go On’, many others. So not seeing the film before you can still enjoy and sing along to the songs. Which, I have to admit, is a nice change to a musical. Of course an important part of a musical is to have good singers, and this film definitely does. Nicole Kidman has a brilliant voice, she makes some songs amazing and enjoyable to watch, and Ewan McGregor doesn’t have too bad of a voice either.

Moulin Rouge 3

Overall, after coming to understand what was happening in the film and getting used to the extremely quick pace and occasional stupid special effects, I was warped in and really started to enjoy it. I have to admit at the start, the words ‘what is happening?’ and ‘really???’, ‘huh??’, ‘oh come on you’ve just met her!’, were going through my head. But then all the emotions of the film started to feel more realistic and these words disappeared. This is a film of many emotions, some over the top, comedic moments, forbidden love turns into a romance tragedy, not giving anything away. A film of tense drama and thrilling moments, with a musical of love and ridiculousness. This is definitely a film which changes genres; but don’t get me wrong, because there are comical elements does not mean it is a comedy, it is far from it.

Moulin Rouge 2

It’s very different to many other musicals, but perhaps that is the only reason you should watch it, if you haven’t already.

Little Shop of Horrors (1986)

Well this is one of the weirdest films I’ve ever seen… Things started hopeful with some enjoyable songs (don’t get me wrong there are many enjoyable songs), but then it all escalated extremely quickly, and that’s when things started to get weird. Really weird. Like to the point where I don’t really understand where this idea came from. A sort of twist on aliens, but in a plant that likes to drink blood, and a film which is a mix of comedy, mick-taking out of horrors, and throw in that it is a musical too… Random.

First of all, I actually quite liked the musical aspect of the film. It sure is a different type of musical to any others I’ve seen before. Can’t quite see similarities to this and ‘Mamma Mia!’ or ‘Grease’, but I think that’s the point. Anyway, as I’ve already mentioned the songs in this film are ones quite groovy and catchy, especially the theme song, that’s one to get stuck in your head for a while… However, I can’t say I’m the biggest fan of Ellen Greene’s voice, it’s probably a voice of particular taste. I would definitely say the best voices and the best contributes to the musical element of the film were the three women, played by Tichina Arnold, Michelle Weeks and Tisha Campbell-Martin, even though they weren’t actually a part of the narrative, they were either background singers or the main singers. They definitely added to the musical. Although, overall the songs were enjoyable.

Little Shop of Horrors 2

So the film revolves mostly around four characters and the plant, Audrey II (Levi Stubbs). These four characters are, the main character, Seymour (Rick Moranis – ‘Honey, I Shrunk The Kids’), Audrey (Ellen Greene), the boss of the Flower Shop, Mushnik (Vincent Gardenia) and Audrey’s abusive boyfriend, Orin (Steve Martin – ‘Cheaper By The Dozen’, ‘The Pink Panther’). The plot does have a lot of different types of characters, but the film isn’t a serious one, so for it to have elements of men beating women seems a bit out of place. Throughout the film, the plant gains much more influence over Seymour as Audrey II demands for more food.

The comedy of the film is quite over-exaggerated, but that’s the humour, also quite silly, but there were moments I found quite humorous. But I can’t say I was laughing out loud or laughing throughout, but then again I don’t think you’re supposed to. For me, wasn’t that much of a funny film at all. Although, something to mention is that the film does swear and as the plant escalates and grows bigger the language does get stronger. Also something to remember that this is an old film, so the graphics of the film are nowhere near what we witness today, but this is of course expected. But try not let this affect the film, because of the time, the effects would have been good.

Little Shop of Horrors 1

Overall, I can’t say I enjoyed the film to the extent I thought I would at the start. I was more baffled by the weirdness of it. The escalation really was out of control. But nevertheless, I watched the whole film, unable to stop watching, confused by what I was watching, maybe, but then again it wasn’t a film that bad to stop watching it. But if you’re looking for a different musical, one not like others, then I would recommend this one, not saying it’s amazing however.