Hey everyone! It’s time for an update on a bunch of recent releases I’ve seen. I’ve had a pretty good stretch of films and am excited to be starting Christmas coverage at Hallmarkies Podcast next week with the first Hallmark movie airing on Friday.
TAYLOR SWIFT: THE ERAS TOUR
One of the great things about being engaged in cinema is it opens you to so many different kinds of experiences. You can laugh, scream, cheer, and occasionally go nuts with teens at a concert and the latter is what you get to do with Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour. I am obviously aware of Taylor Swift but I am far from a swiftie or fan of hers. I have nothing against her but just not very up to date on modern music unless it’s in a movie or Broadway show.
Anyway, the concert was super fun to experience with everyone singing and cheering. I can only imagine how much fun it is for fans or to go with a group. As a critic it’s hard to review such a fan-specific event but the concert is well put-together and Taylor is an extremely engaging performer. Again I was not familiar with most of the songs but she did a good job combining soft and hard and her stamina with the complicated arrangements and set-pieces is impressive (and some extremely fast costume changes.)
She also includes over 40 songs which is amazing for any performer so we definitely get our moneys-worth for the cost of admission. I had a great time with Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour and if you can see it in IMAX or at an xd screen I highly recommend it.
8 out of 10
THE OTHER ZOEY
In addition to Taylor we have a new rom-com out in theaters this weekend called The Other Zoey. It stars Josephine Langford as Zoey who gets in a screwball comedy situation where she is mistaken as a different Zoey by a hunky soccer player who gets amnesia and thinks she is his girlfriend also named Zoey. The catch is that she is cynical and not interested in romantic comedies, so for her to be stuck in the plot of an outlandish screwball comedy is ironic and funny.
They try and give The Other Zoey an edge to separate it out from Hallmark romances by having characters be polyamorous and lie to each other, but a lot of that edge falls flat. Langford’s character is pretty unlikable in the film but she does have decent chemistry with both male leads (Drew Starkey, Archie Renaux.) If you are jonesing for a rom-com this is sarcastic and funny enough to satisfy that itch. Not great by any means but passable entry in the genre.
6 out of 10
I finally got around to seeing Jesus Revolution on the plane and after hearing good things I can say I really enjoyed this intriguing faith-based film. It is made by one half of the Erwin Bros, Jon Erwin (with Brent McCorkle) and so far I have enjoyed all of the Erwin Bros films. They are making by far the strongest narratives right now in the faith-based market. They still have flaws but they aren’t afraid to put story over ministry and have characters with flaws that learn and grow.
Jesus Revolution tells the story of a group of hippies that turned to evangelicalism and religion in the early 1970s. We get to follow a number of real life characters including: Kelsey Grammer’s pastor Chuck Smith who embraces, at first reluctantly the movement, Joel Courtney as a confused teen in love named Greg Laurie and Jonathan Roumie (who plays Jesus on The Chosen) as the charismatic leader Lonnie Frisbee. These are fleshed out, imperfect characters. Not the paragons of virtue we sometimes see in this genre.
They do have enough messaging for fans of the genre but overall it’s a compelling story well told and I learned about a movement I’d never heard of before. Worth a watch.
7 out of 10
ONCE UPON A STUDIO-
I am sure there will be some people who will turn up their noses at Once Upon a Studio and criticize it as empty fan service but even though I have been very disappointed in Disney lately I’m not that cynical. For the 100 year anniversary of the studio they created a little short showcasing their animation (I really appreciate they kept it to just Disney and no Pixar, Star Wars or anything like that.)
It’s a simple concept of 500 characters from the studio gathering together to take a family photo. What I love is they didn’t just stick to the successful properties like The Lion King or Frozen but we have characters from shorts like Johnny Appleseed and from flops like Gurgi from The Black Cauldron. There is a particularly touching moment where Mickey greets a painting of Walt Disney and thanks him for all the memories. You’d have to be pretty cynical to not appreciate a moment like that.
Of course animation lovers and Disney fans have to see this short. I look forward to seeing it before their new film Wish coming out next month.
If you got to see it what characters did you enjoy seeing again the most?
7 out of 10
So there you have it. An all positive update! Happy moviegoing!
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