There’s something giddily pure about Gurinder Chadha’s “Blinded by the Light,” a coming-of-age story about a young Pakistani Muslim boy growing up in late eighties Luton. With the country experiencing the economic and social turmoil of Thatcherism, Javed (Viveik Kalra) and his family must endure not only financial hardship but the hostility and bigotry of … Continue reading Javed learns to live with what he can’t rise above in Springsteen-powered musical dramedy Blinded By The Light (2019)
If you were born between the 1970s and 1990s, it’s almost impossible to imagine a world without “The Muppets”. From “Sesame Street” to “The Muppet Show”, they formed one of the cornerstones of childhood pop culture and while they have endured, they’ve yet to recapture the dizzying heights of their late 1970s/ 1980s dominance. That’s … Continue reading It’s time to play the music, it’s time to light the lights, it’s time to raise the curtain on The Muppet Movie’s 40th Anniversary tonight!
In terms of what you might be expecting, Disney’s live-action adaptation of their own animated take on Aladdin is much more than a diamond in the rough. Against the odds, and certainly expectations, Guy Ritchie and his likeable and talented cast have managed to deliver a cave of wonders which honours the original classic and … Continue reading A fool off his guard could fall and fall hard for Disney’s surprisingly beguiling Aladdin (2019)
The real genius of “Rocketman”, other than Elton John and Bernie Taupin themselves, is the wonderful narrative conceit of framing the story as a rehab confessional. It allows the makers or this musical fantasy to dive deep into the unreliable narration of a man who may be willing to air the dirty laundry of his … Continue reading And it seems to be, he lived his life burning candles at both ends. Rocketman (2019) Review
Like its subject, “Vox Lux” is demanding, pretentious and self-congratulatory, although the film takes these traits to the point of cinematic onanism. Occasionally arrestingly shocking, it almost feels like, having grabbed your attention, it doesn’t really know what to do with it beyond hitting you over the head with its achingly obvious allegory for American … Continue reading Vox Lux (2019) kinda sucks.
When hot-headed young singer Rose-Lynn Harlan (Jessie Buckley) is released from prison, she reluctantly returns to her mother’s house to be reunited with her two young children. Nursing a grudge against the world and a burning ambition to make it as a country singer, she struggles to reconcile her dreams with her reality. It’s a … Continue reading Whether or not you’re a fan of country music, Wild Rose (2019) will work hard to win you over.
Posted as part of Realweegiemidget's Adoring Angela Lansbury Blogathon Far better than the “Mary Poppins”-lite it’s often dismissed as, “Bedknobs And Broomsticks” takes the more famous nanny’s Disnified spoonful of sugar and stirs it into a shot of absinthe before knocking it back in one go and heading off to war. A curious and yet … Continue reading There’s no substitutiary for Angela Lansbury when it comes to giving Bedknobs And Broomsticks (1971) its locomotion!
Continuing the irreverent, pop-culture saturated craziness of the first movie, Emmet, Wildstyle and all your favourites from “The Lego Movie” are back picking up mere moments from the end of the first movie as the Duplo aliens attack. With the previously harmonious world of Bricksburg transformed into the post-apocalyptic wasteland Apocalypseburg by the repeated invasions … Continue reading Not everything about The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part (2019) is awesome but, as the movie itself is at pains to point out, that’s okay too.
Assembled more like one of Disney’s current ‘live action’ adaptations of their animated back catalogue than a genuine sequel to the 1964 original, “Mary Poppins Returns” brings back cinema’s premiere Nanny to answer another Banks crisis. In Depression-era London, a now-grown Jane (Emily Mortimer) and Michael Banks (Ben Wishaw), along with Michael’s three children, face … Continue reading Mary Poppins Returns (2018) is an exercise in Lucasian poetry
No one would have believed in the early years of the 1980s that young me would have been listening to this prog-rock concept musical adaptation of H G Wells’ tale of the timeless worlds of space. No one could have dreamed I would scrutinize the album’s artwork as someone with a microscope studies creatures that … Continue reading Jeff Wayne’s Musical Version Of The War Of The Worlds (1978) 40th Anniversary Review
Last Christmas, a friend of the family gave us four tickets for the touring show “Forever Jackson” featuring Michael Jackson impersonator Robin Parsons, because Mrs Craggus has long been a fan of the ‘King Of Pop’. The show’s a lot of fun and Parsons pretty much nails his Jackson impersonation (as long as you don’t … Continue reading Moonwalker (1988) Review
*SPOILER WARNING* Donna is dead to begin with. As dead as a doornail. It’s just one of the many, many ways this sequel unpicks all the happy endings of the first movie to cynically give itself a reason to exist. Preparing for the grand opening of the Hotel Bella Donna, Sophie (Amanda Seyfried) is working … Continue reading Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again (2018) Review
Rereleased to celebrate its 40th anniversary, “Grease” takes us to a nostalgia-fuelled retro-dystopia where middle-aged adults are forced to attend high school and endure the trials and tribulations of adolescent life, no doubt the forfeit of some Faustian pact or “Lost”-style purgatorial atonement. After being drowned by a freak wave during a weekend getaway to … Continue reading Grease (1978) 40th Anniversary Review
In The Craggus household, many films are held sacrosanct but maybe none, save perhaps now “The Greatest Showman”, unite the clan in happy song as much as “Pitch Perfect 2”; fresh, funny and toe-tappingly, finger-snappingly, irresistibly sing-alongable, the soundtrack rivals even that of “Guardians Of The Galaxy” for in-car entertainment supremacy. It’s into this crucible … Continue reading Pitch Perfect 3 (2017) Review
In the run-up to Christmas, I was very taken by the Sky Movies TV ad showing a mum and her daughter watching “The Sound Of Music” over and over again through the years. For me, it perfectly captured the sentimental sweet spot of Christmas, family and the magic of movies. I found myself wondering what … Continue reading The Greatest Showman (2017) Review
Opening with a bright and cheery fuzzy felt scrapbook retelling of the story of the “Trolls” movie, “Trolls Holiday” picks up where that story left off, with the Bergens seeking a replacement for Trollstice. When Queen Poppy (Anna Kendrick) realises the Bergens now have no holiday, she’s determined to set things straight. With her usual … Continue reading Trolls Holiday (2017) Review
In the United States, “Olaf’s Frozen Adventure” has been released along with “Coco” but, as we have to wait an extra couple of months here in the UK, we at least get the opportunity to watch this latest Disney short for the Kids’ Club ticket price of £3 (or thereabouts) plus the opportunity (should you … Continue reading Olaf’s Frozen Adventure (2017) Review
Stretching the definition of ‘Original’ almost to breaking point, Disney Original Movie “Descendants 2” takes us back to the world where all the Disney Classics have been reimagined and remixed into a glossy tween fantasy soap opera. As Mal (Dove Cameron) struggles to acclimatise to a life of being good, back on the Isle of … Continue reading Descendants 2 (2017) Review
There's a refreshing swagger to Edgar Wright’s latest creation, drifting on to the screen with an irresistibly brash confidence, popping the clutch, downshifting the gears and roaring past the sluggish, lumbering summer blockbuster behemoths. Sure, “Baby Driver” could have a smug-off with Ben Wheatley's “Free Fire”, but “Baby Driver” ultimately deserves its sense of self-satisfaction. … Continue reading Baby Driver (2017) Review
Did you ever watch Disney's 1991 animated classic "Beauty And The Beast" and think, 'wow, that script was really missing something'? The original, animated, Best Picture Oscar-nominated “Beauty And The Beast” had a running time of 84 minutes. This new live-action adaptation clocks in at 129 minutes and adds little but padding with the extra … Continue reading Beauty And The Beast (2017) Review
There are few animation studios which can cut a trailer together like Illumination Entertainment can. Unfortunately, outside of the “Despicable Me” movies, the finished products are increasingly failing to live up to the hype. When Buster Moon (Matthew McConaughey) realises his theatre is in financial trouble, he comes up with a sure-fire scheme to save it: … Continue reading Sing (2017) Review
There’s nothing Hollywood likes more than love letters to itself, and “La La Land” is a love letter of such passion and affection for the glamourous halcyon days of old Hollywood that it almost makes you willing to overlook the slightly weird effect CinemaScope has on the actors’ faces in the close-ups. In modern day … Continue reading La La Land (2017) Review
It’s astounding. Time really is fleeting. It’s been over forty years since Richard O’Brien’s anarchic, subversive and brazenly salacious musical horror comedy exploded onto the big screen. Buoyed by their recent successes with “Grease Live”, Fox raided their back catalogue to bring Frank-N-Furter and co romping into the twenty-first century. When straight-laced couple Brad and … Continue reading The Rocky Horror Picture Show: Let’s Do The Timewarp Again (2016) #MonthOfSpooks Review
With its DayGlo aesthetic and unashamedly sunny disposition, “Trolls” may prove to be too sugary a confection for some viewers. If, however, you’re a fan of silliness, cuteness and jukebox musicals, “Trolls” is an unabashed delight. Having escaped from the dreaded Bergens long ago, the Trolls are living happily in their hidden forest home. But … Continue reading Trolls (2016) Review
Where the film musical famously pushed Danny and Sandy to the foreground arguably at the expense of many of the supporting characters, the South Downe Musical Society’s production of “Grease” delivers a much more ensemble approach to this cheeriest and cheesiest of musicals. Thankfully, alongside Danny (Perry Ralls) and Sandy (Hannah Ali), the cast packs … Continue reading Grease – The South Downe Musical Society Production #Review
Crammed with A-list talent, “Hail, Caesar!” is a delightfully light and frothy love letter to a Golden Age of Hollywood which was much more gold-plated than 24-carat memories might suggest. Although not quite the madcap laugh-a-minute romp the expertly edited trailer might suggest – this is not “The Last Ten Minutes Of ‘Blazing Saddles’: The … Continue reading Hail, Caesar! (2016) Review
Exclusive to Netflix, “A Very Murray Christmas” sets out to gently spoof those ubiquitous variety specials which used to pile up in the festive TV schedules of the seventies and eighties like snow drifts. At its heart is Bill Murray, playing a version of himself – the same version of himself that he’s been happily playing … Continue reading A Very Murray Christmas (2015) Review
For a 23 minute thinly veiled cash grab advertising an expensive auxiliary Christmas disciplinary deterrent ruthlessly marketed as an adorable Christmas tradition that also subtly indoctrinates the youth of today to be comfortable living within an overt surveillance state, “An Elf’s Story” actually isn’t all that bad. The cheap and cheerful computer animation is decent enough and the … Continue reading An Elf’s Story: The Elf on the Shelf (2011) Review
You’d think with all of Disney’s recent acquisitions that they’d be more competent at creating a shared universe than this. The set up is reasonable enough (if breezily oblivious to some disturbing constitutional and human rights issues): after their marriage, Belle and the Beast (who, despite now being human apparently still doesn’t merit a real name) … Continue reading Descendants (2015) Review
Charting the meteoric rise, bitter disintegration and tentative reconciliation of pioneering West Coast hip hop group N.W.A., “Straight Outta Compton” is a curious beast, slightly uneven in texture but bolstered by some mesmerising performances, none more so than O’Shea Jackson, Jr’s portrayal of his real life father Ice Cube. It’s perhaps not a surprise given their … Continue reading Straight Outta Compton (2015) Review
Although the original “Pitch Perfect” turned out to be an unexpected treat, I was wary of the sequel. Sometimes when a sleeper hit gets a sequel, it’s hamstrung by the creators not being sure what made the original recipe so tasty and it ends up overcooked and disappointing. Thankfully, original writer Kay Cannon and debut … Continue reading Pitch Perfect 2 (2015) Review
With shared cinematic universes being all the rage, Disney must have been delighted to realise that Stephen Sondheim had done the work for them in his Tony award winning 1986 musical “Into The Woods”. Long destined for the big screen, after multiple production attempts, it’s fitting that Disney are the ones to finally bring it … Continue reading Into The Woods (2015) Review
‘Paramount Pictures Proudly Presents’ this film, which instantly made me smile. I mean, studios these days still present films, but when was the last time they proudly presented one? It makes me think of your children bringing home a macaroni and glitter picture and showing it to you as if it’s the new Mona Lisa … Continue reading Craggus’ Christmas Countdown Day 6: White Christmas (1954)
You only need to look at the poster to know that the makers of “Walking On Sunshine” (released in cinemas Friday 27th June) saw “Mamma Mia!” and thought ‘that looks really easy – I bet we could do that’. But where “Mamma Mia!” is a carefully crafted jukebox musical based on Abba’s phenomenal back catalogue … Continue reading Walking On Sunshine (2014) Review
Jukebox musicals always run the risk of being a little cheesy and there's more than a whiff of Quattro Formaggi about this Four Seasons musical biopic. Telling the story of the iconic pop group, it charts their rise from the Jersey projects, their run-ins with the Mob and ultimately the divisions and rivalries which tore … Continue reading Jersey Boys (2014) Review
Whimsical, quirky and sometimes just downright weird, “Frank” is a delightfully offbeat comedy drama from Irish director Lenny Abrahamson. Starring Domhnall Gleeson, Michael Fassbender, Maggie Gyllenhaal and Scoot McNairy, it tells the story of fictional band ‘Soronprfbs’ and their enigmatic lead singer Frank. When Jon, an earnest young call centre worker with a passion for … Continue reading Frank (2014) Review
You always know what to expect when a new Muppet movie comes around: there'll be spectacle, there'll be fantasy, there'll be derring do and stuff like you would never see. There'll be heroes bold, there'll be comedy, and a lot of fuss, that ends for us real happily. Yes, a movie – starring everybody and… … Continue reading Muppets Most Wanted (2014) Review
“Pitch Perfect” is what “Glee” would be like, if “Glee” wasn’t so in your face about ‘issues’ and didn’t mistake tokenist diversity for good characterisation. Of course, “Pitch Perfect” has a suitably diverse cast of characters, it just doesn’t care about ramming it down your throat and saying “See? SEE?” before bursting into hysterical tears … Continue reading Pitch Perfect (2012) Review
While Pixar can’t seem to break their recent slump (“Cars 2”, “Brave”, “Monsters University”), resurgent stable mate Disney Animation Studios is going from strength to strength; first with “Tangled”, then “Wreck-It Ralph” and now “Frozen”, bursting onto screens with the kind of confidence and artistry that evokes “The Little Mermaid” kicking off the Disney renaissance … Continue reading Frozen (2013) Review
To call it ‘This year’s “Mamma Mia!”’ is a bit lazy, as “Sunshine On Leith” has enough going on to step out of the shadow of it's glittery sequined predecessor. Smaller and more parochial in scale and story, it does bear some similarity to the Abba musical but free of “Mamma Mia!”’s exotic fantasy of … Continue reading Sunshine On Leith (2013) Review
"Les Misérables" is, without a doubt, the most musical musical I've ever seen - all singing, no talking! It was...astonishing. Grand in scale, but powerfully, emotionally intimate. The cast is as near perfect as possible but everyone is eclipsed by Anne Hathaway, whose heartbreaking rendition of "I Dreamed A Dream" literally moved me to tears. … Continue reading Les Misérables (2013) Review