Monthly Archives: August 2014

Center Stage

Ballet dancing - exactly as much fun as their expressions suggest

Ballet dancing – exactly as much fun as their expressions suggest

I do love a good dance movie. If we’re talking about sequels that are better than their predecessors, then I tend to bypass the obvious Godfather example and go straight to Step Up 2: The Streets, which despite the lack of Channing Tatum, (or Tatum Channing? I can never remember) has significantly better choreography and a central couple you can really get behind, you know? But in fact Center Stage seems to be the only dance film I actually own, which even disregarding the US spelling that my heart rebels with every beat against, doesn’t make a lot of sense. OK, Footloose is mainly tractor drag racing, Magic Mike is technically stripping, Billy Elliot makes me cry too much and if I wanted to watch someone de-skin their own finger I would be a different person entirely, Natalie Portman. But there’s Strictly Ballroom for the romance, Save the Last Dance for classic-era Julia Styles, Silver Linings Playbook for Oscar class, Singing in the Rain and Top Hat for the dancing and Dirty Dancing, ironically, for almost everything except the dancing. The fact is, Center Stage is not a good film – the script is clunky, the storyline is entirely predictable, it’s loaded with stock characters, the romance is so obvious it might as well be telegraphed with those mountain-top pyres they use in Lord of the Rings, and the majority of the cast are professional ballet dancers, and as actors… they make very good professional ballet dancers.  Continue reading

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The Fall

There were five of them...

There were five of them…

In a Los Angeles hospital in 1916, a night-shirted man lies in bed and beckons over a small girl with a broken arm and missing milk teeth. ‘I’ll tell you a story. Close your eyes. There were five of them: The Indian. The Ex-Slave. The Explosives Expert. Charles Darwin. And the Masked Bandit. They had one common enemy…’ Then the images begin: a rearing horse, a strange bare tree ablaze, a monstrous juggernaut powered by children, a blue city, a swimming elephant.

God, it’s a good trailer. I only saw it because the remote was too far away to bother leaning over and skipping straight to the menu of whatever DVD I was trying to watch. Why had I never heard of this movie? Where had it come from?

It came from Pepsi Max, as it turned out. And Nike Trainers and Levi Jeans and Honda Civics, and eventually Michael Stipe. Continue reading