3 Star Movies, Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

Dreamgirls Review

It’s time for the first musical that I’ve seen in quite a while. I don’t think it’ll ever get old seeing people debate and fire comebacks through song instead of talking about it. It’s just an interesting way to make your comeback you know? It’s definitely not my kind of film and suffers from the usual problems that come with being a musical, but the film gave it a good effort and I suppose that’s what counts.

Effie, Deena, and a third girl have been trying to make it big for a long time now. They just haven’t gotten the chance to show that their singing abilities are the real deal. This changes when a slick car dealsman named Curtis tells them that he can get them a gig as Jimmy’s backup singers. Effie is worried that they’ll stay backup forever, but Curtis knows a way to shove Jimmy out of the picture at some point. Soon he gets them their own gig, but decides to slowly phase Effie out. Eventually he phases the third girl out as well and makes it all about Deena. Thing is….will Curtis also phase her out once Deena starts to decline in popularity? She’s going to have to do something and fast!

Usually this is where you’d chat with your friends to try and think about what you should do next. The problem is that all of the main characters are too busy keeping secrets from each other and playing the rebound game. There’s a lot to keep up with as Jimmy tries to use the moves on the main characters. 2 of them don’t fall for it, but then Curtis gets together with Effie. After he’s had his fun, Curtis moves on to Deena and while all of the characters know about this merry go round, none of them really care since they all think that they’re the special one. It leads to quite a lot of drama the whole time and so I can’t say that the romance was handled well. It felt really fake on all sides. Lets face it, if someone is cheating to be with you, then they’re also probably cheating on you. It’s an iron clad rule that has been around for generations and it doesn’t just go away in a flash. It was also hard to sympathize with any of the characters when they were betrayed because it was just so expected. They were all a little too easy as well as they basically skipped the dating phase.

As a result, none of the characters are all that good. Jimmy was bad from the start as he immediately tried to fool around with the main characters. He ended up getting into drugs and hitting the Game Over moment in life. Curtis may have been a fast talker, but you always knew that about him. It helped the audience not get tricked by his shenanigans and it was just annoying that none of the others could figure it out. He went from being manipulative to totally being a villain by the end. Deena was an all right main character as she stuck up for Effie for a while, but got pretty naive by the end. It turned out to be true that she was cheating with Curtis for a while so that’s certainly not very heroic of her. Curtis even admitted at one point that he had always loved her and not Effie so that should have rang some warning bells since he still stuck around long enough to have a kid. Deena made the right move in the end, but it took her a little too long.

Effie was also not so good. She wasn’t exactly blameless in this affair as she didn’t take moving to the back row very well instead of being happy for her friend. It’s also pretty understandable that a replacement would be hired for her during the Vegas New Year’s Celebration since she abruptly vanished and skipped all of the rehearsals. You can see why she was bitter, but surely she can see how the others had to move on. She was causing a bunch of problems. The song recorder that helped the gang was all right I suppose. He was a little slow on the draw as well, but ended up pretty well off. He didn’t agree with how his music was used at times, but he did get the money. Deena’s Mom was pretty fun considering that she didn’t appear much. I wouldn’t have minded her as more of a main character since she seemed to suspect that something was off from the start.

This isn’t usually much of a problem outside of some old black and white films, but I had a tough time telling each character apart once in a while. They all kept switching their wigs and then the film would constantly jump into the future by a few months or even years at time. It just made it hard to keep them all straight and that’s why I never even learned the third girl’s name. She technically had a reasonably sized role, but the characters never said it all that much since the focus was on the other two. This is why instead of coordinated costumes where everyone wears the same thing, you should always have something different.

There are a lot of songs as you’d expect. The beet for them is usually pretty catchy, but I can’t say that the lyrics were very good. They aren’t exactly something I’d play while at home. I’m not really a big music person to be honest, but when I play music it’s typically extremely epic anime/video game songs. If I play the occasional lyrical song, it’s typically one from those mediums. Instrumental is still the best bet as you get the cool beats without having to worry about the lyrics, but both sides can be good. I think this soundtrack could have been a little better considering that it was a musical, but ironically the fact that it was a musical meant that the music was very mainstream and not quite as epic as it could have been. Look up the Attack on Titan themes and you’ll see what I mean.

I also can’t say that I care much for the competitive/professional dancing that usually accompanies the music. If anything it just makes the music feel more objectionable as they’re trying to hook the audience on them rather than the music. It doesn’t feel quite as legitimite which is why I never bought into music videos. The audience certainly ate it up, but that’s also why you’ll attract a specific crowd based on what you sing and how you sing it.

Overall, Dreamgirls may have tried its best to be an intense musical with a lot of drama, but it didn’t work too well for me. Without likable characters or a stronger plot, you just can’t sing your way out of the tough situations. I do like how the characters banter with songs though as it was extended more than in most films and they had whole conversations. It just wasn’t enough to block out all of the drama and rebounds. I can’t really say that I’ve ever loved a live action musical film though so it’s possibly just a really hard genre to succeed in. Hopefully they can pull it off someday. They just need to take some cues from Frozen. Get some better songs, cut out the dances, and build a better plot. If you can get those aspects of the film together, then I think you’ll end up with a winner on your hands. By the way, if you’re wondering who the standout character of the film was, it was certainly the lawyer. I like how he just showed up out of nowhere and took down the main villain. He probably cost a lot of money, but it was well worth it since a lawyer can save you millions!

Overall 3/10

6 Star Movies, Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

White House Down Review

It’s time to review a recent White House film and I’m not talking about Olympus Has Fallen this time! White House Down has more of a summer blockbuster feel while Olympus tried to take itself more seriously. I definitely preferred this one, but I’ll compare them both in a little bit. This film still had quite a few problems and suffered from the usual terrorists vs America issues, but was decently fun for the most part.

John has always wanted to be a part of the secret services and he’s about to get his chance! He brings his daughter along for the interview and things are going well. The problem is that…he failed the interview. Ah well, he tried. As John is about to leave, the White House is attacked and a traitor among them destroys all of the guards. A handful of other terrorists appear and take out the 50+ guards in the White House. John manages to escape along with the President, but how long can they hold out? Can these villains be stopped or will the heroes have to call for some backup?

Well, the plot’s fairly basic and these films have a bit of a formula to them so you know what to expect. Most of the usual events occur, but the film does try to shake things up a little by having the President get more of a role in the adventure like in Air Force One. The film is a little on the long side, but I wouldn’t say that it drags on as you’ll stay interested during the viewing for the most part.

All right, let’s quickly get the comparisons out of the way between this and Olympus. As I mentioned earlier, Olympus is supposed to be really serious business. The terrorists just want to watch the world burn and it can be pretty gritty as the lead knifed and gunned everyone down. The villains also intimidate and shoot the hostages for a little while which made for overdramatized scenes that were painfully long. The President got a scene where he was boxing in that film, but then didn’t get to throw a punch. This film is the opposite in many ways as it’s more light. There are several scenes for comic relief and the President gets a decent role. The best part is that we don’t have to waste time watching the terrorists mess with the hostages for the most part. It happens a bit of course, but it’s much better. This film was simply better for me on just about every level. The only area where the other film won was probably with the main character. He was a little more intense than John, but I liked both leads.

Back to the film. One of the good things about it was the soundtrack. We got several solid tunes to listen too during the attacks. They were certainly fast paced and helped to make the scenes a little more epic. A little on the generic side…sure, but they still did the job. That’s the important thing. I’d also say that the writing was much better than expected as there was virtually no language when compared to the standard, but this was a TV airing so make of that what you will. It’s possible that it was just edited out.

As I mentioned earlier, John’s a good lead. He wants to be a good father and he’s been working to make himself into a good person who can be dependable for his daughter. He certainly proved his stuff in this film and you can easily root for the guy. The President is also a solid character and I’m glad that he’s always ready for a fight. He gets quite a few big moments and even shoots a rocket at one point. That’s definitely not your average President material! There aren’t any other real notable characters as you have the garden variety terrorists at the ready and the supporting characters. I liked the general of the National Defense military group as he always kept a calm head about everything and I also liked the accent.

Now, let’s get into the main issue that makes the film a little dicey. The whole premise and plot only works on the assumption that the government security staff is inept and that America’s aim for each soldier is about as good as a storm trooper. As I stated earlier, the terrorists essentially entered with 20-1 odds or maybe even worse ones than that and not a single one of them was taken down during the attack. They seriously mowed everyone down without effort and it was embarassing to watch. Adding insult to injury is the fact that the hacker just had to type in 9 digits to immediately override the security of the White House and own everyone with it. He was very adept with the tech and suddenly knew how to operate everything.

There is a lot of plot hax in this film and it never really stops. Even near the end when the President rushes an old guy, I had to wince. The old man is able to overpower him and with a single punch, the President is out of commission for about 10 minutes. A single punch…just let that sink in a little. There’s no way that someone would lose that quickly when the stakes are so high. We do have the whole concept of adrenaline after all. I could list dozens and dozens of other such reasons, but let’s just talk about the big ones. There’s the fact that there is apparently no backup near the White House for some reason and none of the planes get anywhere near there until late into the film. That’s certainly…not very well thought out of our government eh? It’s also sad to see so many random civilians huddled around the White House as it makes things very tough for the army to do their job.

Our tanks were also not very impressive as a single rocket took one down since the tank naturally missed its target with the first shot and decided not to fire any more of them after that. America just did not look good and that’s unfortunately how it has to be if this plot is ever going to look impressive to the masses. It’s also unfortunate that we even have White House tours in real life, but that’s another matter entirely. The White House is mostly for show after all and especially nowadays as the President is always around on peace negotiations and other such things. Still, the concept of it just doesn’t work for me.

Beyond that…and that’s a big beyond, this was a good film. The plot was interesting as the President wanted to unveil a controversial peace treaty that would take all troops from the Middle East. That definitely sounds risky and I’m not sure if it’s a good move, but let’s save the politics chatter for a political site. The film’s attempts to keep things light with the comic relief were decent for the most part. I didn’t mind the antique guy who kept going on about the priceless artifacts. Him throwing one away at the end was a little much, but at least he was brave enough to stand up to the villains. I didn’t like John’s daughter though as she was overly rude to him the whole time and acted like the kid from Jurassic World. We’re definitely not getting good examples of kids in current films. Just look at Pixels and how the main characters were petty thieves in their younger days. Not cool.

Overall, White House Down fulfills its duty as an action blockbuster where the President gets to fight back. There is a lot of plot hax scattered throughout the film and America looks decently bad as expected. Luckily, it’s not to the extent of Olympus Has Fallen and this film was just more fun. It wouldn’t be my first pick, but I would recommend it to viewers. My advice is to just watch it as another action film and ignore the fact that the White House is being invaded. Imagine that it is just a fancy office building and everything will start to make a little more sense. I mean, the US not having any backups whatsoever to our missilles and nukes..? Please! Still, maybe it’s a good thing for foreign countries to believe this so in that sense….right on!

Overall 6/10