Directed By: Bill Duke
Written By: James Orr, Jim Cruickshank & Judi Ann Mason
Based On Characters created By: Joseph Howard
Cinematography By: Oliver Wood
Editor: Stuart Pappe, Pem Harring & John Carter

Cast: Whoopi Goldberg, Maggie Smith, Wendy Makkena, Kathy Najimy, Mary Wickes, Barnard Hughes, James Coburn, Michael Jeter, Sheryl Lee Ralph, Jennifer Love Hewitt, Lauryn Hill, Robert Pastorelli, Alanna Ubach, Ryan Toby, Jenifer Lewis

The sisters come back to Delores’s show to get her back as Sister Mary Clarence to teach music to a group of students in their parochial school which is doomed for closure. One of the girls, who is the most talented of the bunch, is forbidden to sing by her mother, although the choir has made it to the state championship. A group of stereotypical incompetent monks tries to stop them.

The film never seems to shake its beginning. It starts with a vegas stage show and the whole film feels the same way as production. That is glossy and slick and never feels real while it tries to impart a message. Though it comes off as hammy as a hallmark presentation movie. Put on the big screen full of cliché. In fact, Whoopi Goldberg hated making the first one though it revitalized her career one of the reasons she decided to appear in the sequel was that Disney agreed to finance her dream project SARAFINA. If she made this film. 

The film makes no sense half the time whereas at the end of the original Whoppi Goldberg’s character seemed to be world-famous and here she is a vegas star. Though no one seems to recognize her when she dons the habit. (Hence the title) to become a nun again to teach inner-city children. Even the administration.  One of the few pleasing aspects of this film is that it seems more of a film to highlight fresh new talent in acting and performance. In fact, this was the first time I remember seeing singer Lauryn Hill. She has practically the near lead out of all the students and Ryan Toby of the R & B group City High. 

I guess it was more intended for family audiences. Whereas the first one was also but played more for the adults. This one seems more aimed at teenagers. It takes place in the inner city but is the nicest inner city you’ll ever see. In fact, Lauryn Hill’s plotline involving her mother made no sense. it only seems to be here for false conflict. 

 The recognizable big-name cast in the film. That is cast in small supporting roles. Seem here to add marquee value to the dwindling film. Making the film look more respectable. Though the actors are only here for a fast paycheck and also so they can be in a film that looked to be a slam dunk at the box office. Though it is nice to see them they only add to the gloss and make the film shiny while never cutting deep. 

 I will tell the truth I am a fan of the first film. In fact, it still holds the record for the movie I saw the most in theaters (As well as such films as PULP FICTION, HEAT, THE BIRDCAGE and GET SHORTY) SISTER ACT was PG-13 and I could actually go see it without a parent. I also remember all my friends and family wanting to see it. So I would volunteer to see it with them. The film was very charming to me. It was also cute and funny. When I didn’t ask too much about my entertainment and art. When this film first came out I liked it. I didn’t hate it. In fact, I still don’t. Just watching it now is so disappointing. It hasn’t aged well at all. Though I doubt it was ever really good. It seems like a film that tries hard to be hip and meaningful but was played out even before it went to theaters. 

It plays like a film that is only interested in making money for its brand and seems like they tried hard to try to come up with a reason for a sequel. Though the answer wasn’t really that good. I still find it to be a mild guilty pleasure as it reminds me of the time that it came out. I did like the film and its music I even bought the soundtrack and think Lauryn Hill’s rendition of His Eye is on the sparrow is spectacular and haunting.  Wait for Television,     

This is one of the last times I feel Whoopi Goldberg really gave of herself and put in a performance. No matter how much she seems on autopilot here at least she looks like she is trying and engaging. Especially considering the material. 


ANNETTE (2021)

Directed By: Leos Carax  Written by: Ron Mael & Russell Mael (Sparks) Cinematography: Caroline Champetier  Editor: Nelly Quettier 

Cast: Adam Driver, Marion Cotillard, Simon Helberg, Devyn McDowell 

Against all logic, Henry and Ann–he, a struggling stand-up comedian, she, a beloved opera diva. fall madly in love and become inseparable after a chance encounter in bustling, modern Los Angeles. However, all great romances are fraught with pain. Faced with the public’s surprise and the dark side of success, Ann gives birth to gifted Annette: the fruit of their love, a miracle, a child prodigy, and the couple’s damnation.

I didn’t Love it, But I like it, kind of. There is A lot to dissect.

Starts off purely cinematic then the following film has its Moments and looks beautiful but never matches. As it seems more satirical at times and less an intimate story maybe taking on so many subjects and story beats rather than keeping it simple.

It’s special as it is not typical or something you see often. Or is it lazy or subpar filmmaking but didn’t white make the connection or inspire amazement. Though keeps interest throughout but feels overwrought at times.

Amazing how it starts off with so much promise and the belief that anything can happen or at least if what will happen and steadily loses steam, But manages to keep you watching with hope. Interested to hear others’ opinions about this film. I certainly have mine.

Director Leos Carax The French David lynch obviously loves films and cinema. Only he has his own vibe and influence.

Always excited when he makes a new film, never knowing what we are going to get and will it be something to enjoy, study or both.

I believe most of his films Are meant to be seen in theaters as a requirement. Having said that I will admit I have never seen one in a theater but am fascinated and taken away by all of his films.

As they are constantly Alive. Unpredictable, breathing, moving, emotional they have hearts and minds. Where by the end you have an opinion or the both in them as they engage and make you think stylish and able to shock they have their eccentricities and personality.

As they strive to be different yet tell stories that are recognizable and somewhat identifiable in their own way. You can always call them different and yet seem exactly to come out of an individual’s Imagination. Who has made no compromises and told the tale the exact way they wanted to, no matter how it is taken.  Not made necessarily to  entertain or even be understood completely but to share and experience. Which ultimately shows its personality.

This is Definitely a film made by an auteur, not by committee, more like An expression of thoughts that come to a point, A theory 

Movies have usually been driven by romantic notions and definitely influenced by music seeming like they are albums themselves with each scene or section of film being their own song or ballad. 

The film is Stylish above all else. Bringing his passion and interests into the story. That still seems filled with surreal shots that seem straight out of a perfume ad or filmed perfectly for one. 

The Director even cameoed  at the start to show that he is the engineer behind it all before introducing his collaborators in a musical sequence in which they are all together. Keep in mind this was also written by the band sparks. Who has a cult following for their music which is original on its own. So this was going to be far from conventional in the first place. 

Did the advertisement  influence a certain kind of filmmaking or just copy the artistic type  European style and Concepts? 

Maybe as a more American English language production steers it not as homemade and comfortable but as a work that is more foreign common and for him a little more straightforward and normal 

Obviously a musical. It wants to be an opera of its own, a kind of grand tragedy with big feelings and scenery yet personal and between few characters to keep it intimate with a huge Falsetto voice as it is not within the range of normal but gets attention and can be achieved.

Which will Make you notice and hit several notes, Not that easy to do. Yet lying seems to be easier for most than others but then again to maintain a lie you must create others to maintain which takes creativity 

Whereas the truth is easier a s it is natural but hard when wanting to go against or refuse to believe it . 

The film can be Graphic sexually but manages to make it sexy. 

Instead of Driven showstoppers or performances more seems to be little ditties to go with the story or to tell with a few full song show stoppers. 

The Camera always exploring as he creates his own world or a world that is quite different 

Like a true musical the film feels constantly performed but within the confines of a certain reality in all of its absurd ness and artistic design. 

There is a certain sadness that hangs over his films but also a current and electricity that makes the films somewhat exciting. Definitely a journey and excursion that feels like a trip. 

Sacred It feels monotonous and more staged, artificial doesn’t cut straight to the heart. As it usually does not emotionally truthful yet is still emotional.

Adam Driver with long hair can go from heartthrob or ruggedly Handsome. Looking like a grown geek who loves with his parents or worse the guy who still not only has a ponytail. But thinks it is still cool. Of course the stand-up that he performs isn’t funny but more of a one-man show that is theatrical but is most Stand up like that? Confessional with laughs and jokes or a humorous way to look at situations and stories of your life personal and all, opinions. 

Knew it was fake or skewed as his audience drank exclusively wine and cocktails and not one beer in sight.

The fleeting emotions and feelings, care and moods of crowds and fans especially.  if you do any meet their idealism of what they want from

You Don’t give them what they want as they feel if they pay to see you they have made an investment into you and you are supposed to give them what they want out of you. But they never say exactly so you are supposed to guess or do what you supposedly normally do to entertain, only they want the same if what they have seen or updated new material in the same vein but if you evolve some will stay but others will go against. As how some people in your life want you to stay the same and any time you move on or change for the better personally they take it as an insult or against it because it is not the same they remember.

The rejection of the conventional or being dismayed that it is unconventional and challenging that makes one not a fan or that makes one a fan as it is different and outsider art.

The film while being indulgent is also about toxic male masculinity. Having to control and be in control. So much so that as the film goes on Marie Cotillard’s Character seems to shrink not physically but from the film. As we see her less and less and spend more time with him and when they are together he seems to take over. Physically because of his size and his direction.

It doesn’t help that we get many dimensions of him, but for her she forever stays mroe representative and never really get any inner life form her. So much so that she remains a symbol throughout instead of a real character

At the end Playful and silly. It always feels like a full on experiment project rather than a heartfelt and committed one . 

Grade: B 

GREASE 2 (1982)

Directed By: Patricia Birch 
Written By: Ken Finkelman
Based On Characters Created By: Jim Jacobs & Warren Casey 
Cinematography: Frank Stanley 
Editor: John F. Burnett

Cast: Michelle Pfeiffer, Maxwell Caulfield, Didi Conn, Lorna Luft, Pamela Segall, Adrian Zmed, Eve Arden, Sid Caeser, Connie Stevens, Christopher McDonald, Tab Hunter

Two years after the life-altering events in Grease. Sandy’s cousin Michael, a straight-laced English student, is the new guy at Rydell High. Stephanie, the Pink Ladies’ foxy blonde leader, is about to break up with Johnny, the T-Birds’ leader, but she still likes her men dangerous, even as Michael starts to attract her attention. Now Michael needs to up his game: learn how to ride a motorcycle and transform himself into Stephanie’s hot leather-clad fantasy. Is he up to the task?

Directed by a noted choreographer Patricia birch. Who was the choreographer for the first film. The film’s showmanship is all there unfortunately the film isn’t. As it feels like a rerun of what we have already seen. 

This film is the epitome of 1950’s nostalgia that seems to be big in the 1980s. Though also an unneeded sequel.

I loved this movie as a kid. Watching it so many times. Even owning the soundtrack which I managed to get again a few years ago and enjoying it. As I know quite a few songs by heart. The songs are catchy and actually pretty good, but unfortunately still as memorable as the first film or its songs.

As there it comes off as an inferior copy that isn’t quite as sharp at all. It’s duller and the cast isn’t as memorable as their roles seem more uninspired. Making the t-birds more idiotic and not tough.

Though the characters trying to carry on in the grand legend and showing that they fall short isn’t intentional. It pretty much sums up this movie and its relationship to the first film.

Here they come off as imposing yet more jokes and comic relief caricatures as they Aren’t threatening. It’s an interesting case study in trying to act cool when truly scared in the role that you choose.

Everyone tries to give it they’re all but watching certain things come standing out. Such as it’s set in the 1950s yet Michelle Pfeiffer seems to be the only character who dresses in 1980s (when the film was made) fashion. This also helps showcase her future stardom as she definitely shows star potential more than anyone else. The movie is a true stepping stone for her

Other than most of the cast being obviously Too old to play teenagers. You can tell everyone in the background is a dancer just waiting to start dancing and singing on camera. Especially when it comes to their enthusiastic acting and facial movements.

It’s also ridiculous that no one can recognize the cool rider as Michael. As he doesn’t really change his voice. Only lowers it, and even though he wears a helmet he takes it off and only wears goggles that are barely shaded.

He even makes out with Michelle Pfeiffer and she never still recognizes him. Then singing the big number HANDS OF TIME comes off as one of the most unintentionally overblown ridiculous numbers. 

No one is truly a character. They all play types. It doesn’t help that unfortunately, Maxwell Caulfield has the looks but his singing can’t hit certain notes.

Even his plans to seduce her come off as douche. As they are more about manipulation and falsehoods. Even if the film tries to portray it as some kind of cute romantic turn. As he is basically dishonest throughout with her. 

Though the film is a cash-in. The production also has earnestness and energy. As well as campy as hell. Even if the plan was a quick cash-in and hoping to ride the success of the first film for the producer Allan Carr. Though the script for a proposed third film was resurrected later and made into HIGH SCHOOL THE MUSICAL. 

Grade: C


Directed By: Richard Lester
Written By: Alun Owen 
Cinematography: Gilbert Taylor 
Editor: John Jympson 

Cast: The Beatles, John Lennon, Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, George Harrison, Wilfrid Brambell, Norman Rossington, John Junkin, Victor Spinetti, Anna Quayle 

Over two “typical” days in the life of The Beatles, the boys struggle to keep themselves and Sir Paul McCartney’s mischievous grandfather in check while preparing for a live TV performance.

The film is shot in black and white that makes the film feel timeless. As well as give it a classic fresh feel.

The movie moves along briskly is pretty episodic almost like a Group or music video and live performances with a rather than story built around it. 

Director Richard Lester was ahead of his time based off of this film. He paved the way for music videos. Not just putting out clips of live performances. Fast-paced, rapid editing videos of songs with the band and a storyline of sorts that can be self-contained.

Wilfrod Brambell plays a frisky uncle to Paul. Here to add comedy and have a reason for the hijinks and confusion that keeps the story afloat. 

The film tries to give each member a different personality to play off and their own space to have a singular adventure. It also allows them to be goofier and show a sense of humor and enjoy their youth giving them range And full personalities. After all, this movie is about them.

Even though most of the film feels like filler and comes off as a lark to kill time. Though it has its fair share of memorable visuals.

The film is energetic and freewheeling that feels loose like you can go anywhere at any time. 

It also seems to show how normal the Beatles are despite the fame and situations they find themselves in. More a service to their fans to get somewhat up close and personal.

The film works as a time capsule of the times and culture. As well as a place to show and satirize the level of fame they had, that was the beginning and how they dealt with It in behavior and attitudes. 

It’s a fun film that helps if you are a fan. As it’s an inside look to a degree. This first film is their best film. Not quite as surreal as the others, but more artistic, comedic, and simple.

So that there are constantly scenes and moments to remember. Even if just the songs as the soundtrack is an original album itself.

Remember the excitement for this movie when it got re-released and finally came out on DVD. Which is when I first saw it. It was kind of my introduction to the Beatles. As I had heard of them and a few songs from them before but never quite got into them to kind of learn about them and investigate them and their music until I saw this film. 

Grade: A-

LA LA LAND (2016)


Written & Directed By: Damien Chazelle
Cinematography: Linus Sandgren
Editor: Tom Cross
Music By: Justin Hurwitz 

Cast: Ryan Gosling, Emma Stone, John Legend, Rosemarie DeWitt, J.K. Simmons, Finn Wittrock, Callie Hernandez, Jessica Rothe, Sonoya Mizuno, Valarie Rae Miller, Tom Everett Scott 

Aspiring actress serves lattes to movie stars in between auditions and jazz musician Sebastian scrapes by playing cocktail-party gigs in dingy bars. But as success mounts, they are faced with decisions that fray the fragile fabric of their love affair, and the dreams they worked so hard to maintain in each other threaten to rip them apart.

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THE LURE (2015)


Directed By: Agnieszka Smoczynska
Written By: Robert Bolesto
Cinematography By: Jakub Kijowski 

Cast: Martz Mazurek, Michalina Olszanka, Kinga Preis, Andrzej Konopka, Jakub Gierszal, Magdalena Cielacka, Zygmunt Malanowicz, Marcin Kowalczyk 

One dark night, at water’s edge, a family of musicians encounter aquatic sirens Silver and Golden. After assuring the family that they won’t eat them up, the winsome sirens are recruited to join the Figs and Dates band at a neon-lit Warsaw dance club. When Silver becomes romantically entangled with beautiful blonde bassist Mietek, the more cunning Golden, who cannot escape her bloodthirsty nature, worries that her sister’s relationship will doom their shared dream of swimming to a new life in America.

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Written & Directed By: Max Minghella
Cinematography: Autumn Durald
Editor: Cam McLauchlin 

Cast: Elle Fanning, Agnieszka Grochowska, Archie Madekwe, Zlatko Buric, Millie Brady, Vivian Oparah, Rebecca Hall 

Violet is a shy teenager who dreams of escaping her small town and pursuing her passion to sing. With the help of an unlikely mentor, she enters a local singing competition that will test her integrity, talent and ambition. Driven by a pop-fueled soundtrack, Teen Spirit is a visceral and stylish spin on the Cinderella story.

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Funny Face review_600

Directed By: Stanley Donen
Written By: Leonard Gershe
Choreography By: Ray June
Editor: Frank Bacht
Costumes By: Edith Head 

Cast: Frank Astaire, Audrey Hepburn, Kay Thompson, Dovima, Ruta Lee

Fashion photographer Dick Avery, in search for an intellectual backdrop for an air-headed model, expropriates a Greenwich Village bookstore. When the photo session is over the store is left in a shambles, much to salesgirl Jo Stockton’s dismay. Avery stays behind to help her clean up. Later, he examines the photos taken there and sees Jo in the background of one shot. He is intrigued by her unique appearance, as is Maggie Prescott, the editor of a leading fashion magazine. They offer Jo a modeling contract, which she reluctantly accepts only because it includes a trip to Paris. Eventually, her snobbish attitude toward the job softens, and Jo begins to enjoy the work and the company of her handsome photographer.

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Written &  Directed By: Todd Haynes
Story By: Todd Haynes & James Lyons
Cinematography: Maryse Alberti
Editor:James Lyons 

Cast: Christian Bale, Ewan McGregor, Jonathan Rhys Myers, Toni Collette, Eddie Izzard, Emily Woof, Michael Feast 

1971: Glamrock explodes all over the world and challenges the seriousness within the flower power generation by means of glitter and brutal music. Brian Slade, a young rock star, inspires numerous teenage boys and girls to paint their nails and explore their own sexuality. In the end Slade destroys himself. Unable to escape the character role of “Maxwell Demon” that he created, he plots his own murder. When fans discover the murder is not real, his star falls abruptly and he is quickly forgotten about. 1984: Arthur, a journalist working for a New York newspaper, gets assigned the tenth anniversary story about the fake murder of Brian Slade. When Arthur was young and growing up in Manchester, he was more than a fan of Slade. Reluctantly he accepts the assignment and starts to investigate what happened to his old glam rock hero.

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Directed By: Rob Marshall
Written By: James Lapine
Based On The Musical, Music & Lyrics By: Stephen Sondheim & James LaPine
Cinematography By: Dion Beebe
Editor: Wyatt Smith 

Cast: Meryl Streep, James Corden, Emily Blunt, Anna Kendrick, Tracy Ullman, Chris Pine, Johnny Depp, Christine Baranski, Tammy Blanchard, Lucy Punch, Daniel Huttlestone, Lilla Crawford, Billy Magnussen, Mackenzie Mauzy, Simon Russel Beale 

Into the Woods is a modern twist on the beloved Brothers Grimm fairy tales in a musical format that follows the classic tales of Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood, Jack and the Beanstalk, and Rapunzel-all tied together by an original story involving a baker and his wife, their wish to begin a family and their interaction with the witch who has put a curse on them.

Continue reading “INTO THE WOODS (2014)”