Tag: Minnie Driver

Beyond The Lights

I am not just reviewing Beyond The Lights because it was nominated for Best Original Song in the Oscars. No, I wanted to see it even before that!

However, yes, I am having the review out this week because of that fact.

I wanted to see it because I heard good things despite a somewhat Lifetime movie looking trailer. I wanted to see it because it was a mainly black cast and it had nothing to do with Kevin Hart or Tyler Perry. Some of their movies are terrible, sure, but at least they are actually increasing the amount of color that our TVs can show. So it is always exciting to see someone else do something to break the trend or lack of trend.

Oh hey, wait. It is British? Never mind. This means nothing now.

The Badge
It can’t even help our current opinions about law enforcement!

Just kidding. Despite starring British people, it is actually American overall. Go back to flying our flags proudly, folks.

Since Noni (Gugu Mbatha-Raw) was a little girl, her mother (Minnie Driver) has been focused on her career as a singer. She was entered into talent contests and her mother would not let her settle for second place. Her mother raiser her alone and always wanted her child to succeed.

Now, many many years later, Noni is about to win a Billboard award with a collaboration with Kid Culprit (Machine Gun Kelly). It is very impressive, since she hasn’t even released her own album. She has just been on three of his tracks and they have all been super popular. Yes. Now is the time for her to break out and get one of the best selling records of all time.

But Noni doesn’t feel happy. Maybe she hates her relationship with Kid. Maybe she hates selling her body for success. Maybe she hates her mother deciding every part of her life. Maybe she just feels fake. Either way, she decides to end her life. She is saved last minute by the current cop watching her room, Kaz (Nate Parker), who calms her down and makes her feel like an individual.

And won’t you look at that. A relationship might come from it too. Sure it starts in an awkward place. He kind of saved her life. There is some awkwardness that might make people question its long lasting-ness. Especially since Kaz himself is only going to be a cop for a little bit. He wants to run for office, a political kind of guy. Being with a pop star might make people question his seriousness.

I am sure none of that will come up though. Also featuring Danny Glover, who is still too old for this shit, as a cop.

Mom
When your mom encourages an outfit like this, you know you might actually be a doll.

And then I enjoyed a movie about a pop star struggling with the music industry and feeling like a real person. Of course I did. Put it that way, it sounds brilliant. Sure, first world problems a bit, but everyone should understand the need to feel loved and important.

The romance in this picture feels very realistic and that is actually refreshing given the last few “romance” movies I have seen. They have problems, they have outside forces telling them one thing or another, and they have their own issues to work through, but they try things out and give it their best shot.

Both Mbatha-Raw and Parker give great performances. Driver is a straight up bitch, but it all fit for her character. Hell, I might not have completely hated her by the end either.

Overall, a good romance/drama. And uhh, the songs are decent too. I guess. (It won’t win).

3 out of 4.

Stage Fright

There comes a time in every movies life when it needs to pick a genre out of a hat and just run with it. Sometimes, they get genres accidentally stuck together when it comes to be their time, so they might get odd combinations like “Thriller Comedy” or “Urban Sci-Fi”. In the case of Stage Fright, it was able to pull out “Horror Musical”. Sure, musicals could be in really any genre. But even the ones with “darker themes” such as Rocky Horror Picture Show or Little Shop of Horrors or Cannibal! The Musical are all just actually musical comedies. I guess the closest we have right now is Repo! The Genetic Opera. But that is all sorts of weird.

So can Stage Fright be the musical that is also truly a horror?

The Loaf Is Raw
Well, it has a horror musical veteran in this, so why not?

The movie starts with the worldwide premiere of The Haunting of the Opera, which is a fake Phantom of the Opera, obviously. Similar plot and all. It’s star is miss Kylie Swanson (Minnie Driver), who was killed after her opening night wonderful performance. Awkward. She left behind two kids, Buddy (Douglas Smith) and Camilla (Allie MacDonald). They are taken in by Roger (Meat Loaf), the director or producer or something of the original musical and long time friend of Kylie.

Then, ten years later. Roger has started a musical summer camp for kids to grow their talent and put on shows, to teach everyone that musicals are great! Camilla and Buddy are not campers, they just work in the kitchen. But the camp this year is putting on their own Japanese inspired version of The Haunting of the Opera. That is terrible. But Camilla feels strangely allured to it. She wants to audition for the lead role, like her mom did, and truly honor her.

Yadda yadda yadda, other people want the part. We got an annoying director (Brandon Uranowitz), another lead lady (Melanie Leishman), a weird lead actor (Ephraim Ellis), and a head tech guy who likes Camilla (Kent Nolan). Oh, and eventually a killer starts taking out parts of the cast and crew. Shit, again? What’s up with that? Is that musical haunted or something?!

Trance
Haunting musicals can make women fall into trance. A modern day snake charmer, really.

Well, turns out this musical, like the others, really isn’t too scary. Nope, but it does half original music and actually a decent number of laughs! Maybe horror musicals are just inherently funny, because it is hard to take it too seriously when people just belt into song?

There actually weren’t too many original songs in this, just a couple, and then a song from the musical that gets song a few times. But the songs that they did make up were very entertaining/clever/funny. So props to them there!

I find it funny that I can’t think of anything really else to say analysis wise. Not really scary, but the gore existed at some points. The killer isn’t a big shocker. But I am just so happy that they tried to do something like this, and it was decently amusing, that hey, it gets a nice grade.

3 out of 4.