Stuff To Look At

There is still some time to go before the new trailer for The Dark Knight Rises is unleashed (4th May, to be shown before The Avengers in US cinemas). I am trying to avoid the TDKR scoops/spoilers like the plague. In the mean time, here is some stuff on other upcoming releases.

Dark Shadows

Dark Shadows is out in cinemas on 11th may 2012 and I am really looking forward to it. Warner Brothers have released this fun featurette about vampire history and the film’s televisual past. Dark Shadows is Tim Burton’s first film since 2010’s Alice in Wonderland. The director also has Frankenweenie coming out later this year.


It’s all about the build up to the trailer nowadays. It was announced yesterday that a brand new trailer for Ridley Scott’s Prometheus would air on television during Homeland on Sunday evening. I might have to wait a little longer than that, as I don’t actually watch Homeland. While we wait for that, here is a short featurette on Prometheus and Ridley Scott. Prometheus is out on 1st June 2012.

The Dictator

The Dictator is due for release on 18th May 2012. Sacha Baron Cohen is stepping up promotion for the film, which will hopefully bring the laughs. Above is footage of an Australian television interview with Cohen (in character). Needless to say, there are some silly jibes.

Snow White and the Huntsman

After Mirror Mirror was surprisingly good, Snow White and the Hunstman needs to step up its game. Above is the latest TV spot for the film. I am really looking forward to the film because I like fairy tales and Charlize Theron looks like an amazing Queen. The Florence + The Machine song ‘Breath of Life’, which features in the film, can be heard here. Snow White and the Huntsman is released on 1st June, with previews from the 31st May 2012.

Rock of Ages

I for one am hoping that Rock of Ages will be the hot mess Burlesque was supposed to be. It has all the right ingredients; Tom Cruise as an ageing rocker, an eighties rock soundtrack boasting Journey and Def Leppard, and Catherine Zeta-Jones. I have never seen the musical, but I am looking forward to seeing the film. You can view the trailer hereRock of Ages will open on 15th June 2012.

Film Review: Burlesque

It is a little disappointing that Burlesque does not fall into the ‘it’s so bad, it’s good’ category, despite its casting and premise. Sure, the plot is predictable and the writing uninspired, but the musical numbers are incredibly fun and overall Burlesque is an enjoyable enough movie.

Small-town girl Ali buys a one-way ticket to Los Angeles, with dreams of making it big. She finds a job waitressing at a burlesque club run by Tess, who is having financial difficulties. Ali dreams of performing on the stage, while Tess is desperate for a solution to her difficulties…

Given a renaissance by the likes of Dita von Teese, burlesque seems a ripe subject for a film. Christina Aguilera is a sound choice for the protagonist. She has the look and the attitude necessary, together with a tremendous set of lungs. The film is a great showcase for her performing talents, if not for her acting skills. Cher, also, is an appropriate choice for the grand-dame matriarch figure. Yet despite this, Burlesque is not as camp as you might expect; the glitter and garishness are present, but the film lacks flamboyancy.

Burlesque functions as a ‘small-town girl trying to make it big’ movie, very much in the same vein as Coyote Ugly. The storyline is very predictable; there is little innovation in this aspect of the film. Several of the jokes fall flat; although Burlesque tries to be humorous, it does not really succeed. Some of the segue ways prior to the next musical number appear wooden, particularly the introduction to ‘You Haven’t Seen the Last of Me’.

Director and writer Steve Antin adds little depth to his characters. Ali is very one-dimensional; precious little is garnered about her background, or what triggers her to make a life-changing move. Likewise, Jack appears to be a very standard love interest for Ali. There is nothing particularly interesting about this character; he functions predominantly as eye candy for the audience (largely made up of women and gay men, presumably).

Where Burlesque excels is in its lavish production numbers. The choreography is fun and enticing, and the music is excellent. The other scenes seem like intermissions before another song; the musical numbers certainly hold the film together. Costume designer Michael Kaplan has created some fantastic costumes, which are pivotal to certain routines.

Christina Aguilera is adequate as Ali; the role is not a great measurement of her acting capabilities. Cher has a commanding presence in the film. Her appearance in musical sequence ‘Welcome to Burlesque’ is a great introduction. Stanley Tucci and Cam Gigandet, meanwhile, do their best given the limitations of the material.

Burlesque is at times by-the-numbers and at other times flashy and entertaining. The film features great production on the musical numbers, and can be described as mediocre at worst in the other scenes.