Spling reviews All Together Now, Da 5 Bloods and Elle as broadcast on Talking Movies, Fine Music Radio. Listen to podcast.
Good morning – welcome to Talking Movies, I’m Spling…
This week, we’re talking about a coming-of-age drama, a war drama adventure and a crime drama thriller.
Starting off with a new release on Netflix…
ALL TOGETHER NOW
An optimistic high schooler with musical aspirations must learn to accept help from her friends to overcome her personal hardships and fulfill her dreams.
Director: Brett Haley
Stars: Auli’i Cravalho, Judy Reyes and Carol Burnett
– All Together Now is based on the book ‘Sorta Like a Rock Star’ by Matthew Quick.
– Starring Cravalho, who voiced Moana in the Disney animated feature, she’s perfectly cast and honours the decision with a gem of a performance.
– Dealing with real hardships, there’s an air of magic realism to this feel good movie about a selfless young girl trying to get ahead in life.
– Constantly giving of her self and her time, the heroic teenager leads a double life having to camp in a school bus by night and looking out for her alcoholic mom.
– Culminating in an annual variety show, this touching and entertaining coming-of-age comedy drama has some similarities with Last Christmas and All the Bright Things.
– It’s not as schmaltzy or heartrending but is still sugar-coated enough to make some cynics gag at the display of heartfelt warmth and beautiful humanity.
– Supported by a solid cast of up-and-coming young talents to the more seasoned Reyes and Burnett, All Together Now wears its heart proudly on its sleeve.
– The filmmakers could have got more leverage out of Cravalho’s beautiful voice but her engaging performance still shines through.
– If you’re looking for some quality, feel-good and heartfelt entertainment that treads lightly over the shadowy grit of life – All Together Now won’t disappoint.
– It did just enough to get…
A solid 7 on the splingometer!
Moving on to a film now on Netflix…
DA 5 BLOODS
Four African American vets battle the forces of man and nature when they return to Vietnam seeking the remains of their fallen squad leader and the gold fortune he helped them hide.
Director: Spike Lee
Stars: Delroy Lindo, Jonathan Majors and the late Chadwick Boseman
– You could say Spike Lee was looking to build on the success of his eclectic, politically-aware, cool and larger-than-life detective story, BlacKkKlansman.
– Da 5 Bloods takes a similar trip, playing like a blend of Space Cowboys, National Treasure and Apocalypse Now.
– The reunion of four Vietnam war vets doing one more mission echoes the camaraderie and enterprise of Space Cowboys.
– The treasure hunt aspect and wild-eyed lead performance from Delroy Lindo recall National Treasure with Nicolas Cage.
– Trying to harness the same spirit of Francis Ford Coppola’s classic, direct references and scenes immerse you in the hostile environment of Apocalypse Now.
– Operating in the realm of Quentin Tarantino with an equally cool soundtrack, its laugh-out-loud funny and stirring only for the action to spill into a Nam blood bath.
– Da 5 Bloods is fierce, touching on America’s involvement in Vietnam’s “immoral” war, use of black soldiers, Trump’s electorate and America’s slave history.
– Integrating political factoids and statements into the dialogue and imagery, Lee isn’t shying away from using the platform to voice social commentary.
– At almost two-and-a-half hours, Lee keeps you on the hook with his unpredictable and flippant style, but seems to be constantly scratching the surface of what could have been.
– The low hurdles, flabby storytelling and inconsistent tone are largely overcome through razor-sharp political barb wire, strong key performances and an intriguing return-to-Nam veteran war story.
A satisfactory 6 on the splingometer!
And finally a film on Labia Home Screen…
A successful businesswoman gets caught up in a game of cat and mouse as she tracks down the unknown man who raped her.
Director: Paul Verhoeven
Stars: Isabelle Huppert, Laurent Lafitte and Anne Consigny
– Paul Verhoeven isn’t a director of half-measures with films such as Robocop, Starship Troopers, Total Recall, Showgirls, Black Book and Basic Instinct
– Elle is in keeping with Verhoeven’s interest in exploring highly charged sexual content through his films.
– Originally wanting the film to take place in the United States, he moved the production to Paris with Huppert in the lead.
– She’s unflappable and unquestionable as Elle, brandishing a devil-may-care attitude to her family, social situations and personal setbacks.
– While prickly and uncomfortable at times, this is a compelling and unpredictable crime mystery thriller with touches of pitch black comedy.
– The subject matter is contentious, even more so by today’s standards, with a whiplash start that will naturally shed some viewers.
– Verhoeven’s bold film isn’t overly gratutious but more than earns its age restriction, playing out in an uneasy immoral grey area.
– As a character portrait, Huppert’s performance is captivating as she leads her own investigation into who her assailant could be.
– The video game visuals at her business date Elle but it remains contemporary by way of its sharp edge, pushing boundaries when it comes to sexual assault.
– Elle is a challenging and uncomfortable film experience, which is elevated by a strong lead performance, bold direction and suspenseful storytelling.
A solid 7 on the splingometer!
So just to wrap up…
ALL TOGETHER NOW… a charming and engaging lead compels this hopeful, touching, feel-good coming-of-age comedy drama… A solid 7!
DA 5 BLOODS… political fury, a cool soundtrack and key performances compel this eclectic yet lumbering war drama adventure… A satisfactory 6!
ELLE… an excellent lead performance, bold direction and compelling storytelling fuel this dark and risque crime drama thriller… A solid 7!
For more movie reviews, interviews and previous Talking Movies podcasts visit splingmovies.com.
And remember, Don’t WING it, SPL!NG it!