Movie watch 2016: Musicals

I am neither a musical fanatic nor a hater, but I do not generally seek out musicals. The few music-related films I watched last year were recommended by others.

The French Young Girls of Rochefort (1967) (see my review here) should delight those who love a song a minute, romantic couples, and deliciously shot towns in southern France. The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert (1994) is not a musical in the same sense, but it includes numerous songs mouthed by its drag queens played by Hugo Weaving, Guy Pearce, and Terence Stamp as they travel across the Australian outback. The sometimes poignant story revolves around a gay man traveling to meet his son for the first time. Along the way, he and his companions find themselves in both tense and ludicrous situations. In spite of some misogyny and an egregiously racist series of scenes, this comedy, considered a classic by many and a key moment in MOGAI film history, is for those looking for a fabulous splash of color in the desert and a representation of characters who are unapologetically themselves in the face of a stunned society.

Julie Taymor’s Across the Universe (2007) creates a movie musical out of songs by The Beatles. The film is as visually innovative as one would expect from Taymor, but the plot is lacking and the pacing slow. Some may love the kaleidoscopic nature of Universe, while others, like myself, might do little more than appreciate the aesthetic fantasia and familiar tunes, competently sung and adapted.

If you’re tepid about musicals, consider yourself warned, and if you’re a Broadway-head, check out Rochefort, Priscilla (if you haven’t seen either the movie or the theatrical adaptation), and Universe.

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