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Rate / Review the Last Film you've seen v.3



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  #821  
Old January 30th, 2012, 11:32 pm
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Re: Rate / Review the Last Film you've seen v.3

And I just saw Moneyball again and it was just as excellent as the first time. Definitely deserving of its Oscar nominations, IMO. I suppose it's a bit slow getting into the meat of the film, but otherwise well written, edited, and acted. BTW, they aren't really called "matches"


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  #822  
Old January 31st, 2012, 4:38 pm
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Re: Rate / Review the Last Film you've seen v.3

The Tree of Life


Admittedly, not an easy task to put words on all my feelings towards this film, but I think my following observations and objections reflect them quite accurately.

Captivating introduction which right away draws you into the conflict: A family coping with the loss of a family member and how that challenges their faith in God, asking questions such as how he could allow such a thing to happen. That theme is well-developed throughout the film, but mostly conveyed by reverting to unoriginal voice-overs which IMHO is an overused technique in films. It makes the film seem more pretentious than it already is by adding voice-over to its majestetic images and music. It's like sweetening up a cake with more sugar; a bit sickening.

Preferences aside, a bigger fault of the film is how unfocused it feels and similarly lacks coherence. Yes, I get that it's an art film not adhering to storytelling conventions, but at least try to make it flow better with clever transitions rather than have the screen fade to black to cover up the lack of coherence in the storytelling. I found myself uninvolved throughout the film partly because of how much it jumped back and forth in time, even showing us scenes with dinosaurs and a heaven-like ending. It was a bit all over the place as such.

When it comes down to it, all the jumping back and forth in time doesn't hide the fact that there is not much of a story here outside coping with the loss of a dead family member. Not having much of a plot can work well if the presentation is good, however, as seen in Melancholia, which managed to engage by its focused storytelling and captivating atmosphere. Here it doesn't work as well, but not due to the simplicity of it. Quite the opposite: As I said, I think the film was a bit all over the place. That core story of the dead brother was mainly what interested me and I wish it could have been focused on even further, for instance by showing more scenes from the present time to justify the jump in time. Instead there were a lot of scenes from their childhood which arguably had less impact on that story.

When it comes to the symbolism, some of it was clever, such as the fast-motion through the city to show how life goes on (another theme of the film) and the low angles of the high buildings to emphasize how small and helpless the main character feels. As suggested, I would have wanted more scenes from the grown-up brother and his relationship with his father because that interested me more than all the pretentious nature shots and heaven-like ending for instance. Another missed opportunity from a storytelling POV was not showing the tree growing that the son and his father planted.

In an attempt to sum up my thoughts of this divise film, it did present some interesting themes that made it captivating the first half hour, it had a lot of goodwill put in it, but I would not say they were succesfully put together. Naturally, opinions may change if I revisit the film, but as it didn't engage me personally, I don't see that happening for a while. And for such an art film, how it speaks to one personally is IMHO the primary factor that should be taken into consideration when rating it.

As for an actual number rating, it would be 2/4. Or 2.5/5. In other words, mediocrity.



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  #823  
Old January 31st, 2012, 10:38 pm
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Re: Rate / Review the Last Film you've seen v.3

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Originally Posted by Noldus View Post
The Tree of Life


Admittedly, not an easy task to put words on all my feelings towards this film, but I think my following observations and objections reflect them quite accurately.

Captivating introduction which right away draws you into the conflict: A family coping with the loss of a family member and how that challenges their faith in God, asking questions such as how he could allow such a thing to happen. That theme is well-developed throughout the film, but mostly conveyed by reverting to unoriginal voice-overs which IMHO is an overused technique in films. It makes the film seem more pretentious than it already is by adding voice-over to its majestetic images and music. It's like sweetening up a cake with more sugar; a bit sickening.

Preferences aside, a bigger fault of the film is how unfocused it feels and similarly lacks coherence. Yes, I get that it's an art film not adhering to storytelling conventions, but at least try to make it flow better with clever transitions rather than have the screen fade to black to cover up the lack of coherence in the storytelling. I found myself uninvolved throughout the film partly because of how much it jumped back and forth in time, even showing us scenes with dinosaurs and a heaven-like ending. It was a bit all over the place as such.

When it comes down to it, all the jumping back and forth in time doesn't hide the fact that there is not much of a story here outside coping with the loss of a dead family member. Not having much of a plot can work well if the presentation is good, however, as seen in Melancholia, which managed to engage by its focused storytelling and captivating atmosphere. Here it doesn't work as well, but not due to the simplicity of it. Quite the opposite: As I said, I think the film was a bit all over the place. That core story of the dead brother was mainly what interested me and I wish it could have been focused on even further, for instance by showing more scenes from the present time to justify the jump in time. Instead there were a lot of scenes from their childhood which arguably had less impact on that story.

When it comes to the symbolism, some of it was clever, such as the fast-motion through the city to show how life goes on (another theme of the film) and the low angles of the high buildings to emphasize how small and helpless the main character feels. As suggested, I would have wanted more scenes from the grown-up brother and his relationship with his father because that interested me more than all the pretentious nature shots and heaven-like ending for instance. Another missed opportunity from a storytelling POV was not showing the tree growing that the son and his father planted.

In an attempt to sum up my thoughts of this divise film, it did present some interesting themes that made it captivating the first half hour, it had a lot of goodwill put in it, but I would not say they were succesfully put together. Naturally, opinions may change if I revisit the film, but as it didn't engage me personally, I don't see that happening for a while. And for such an art film, how it speaks to one personally is IMHO the primary factor that should be taken into consideration when rating it.

As for an actual number rating, it would be 2/4. Or 2.5/5. In other words, mediocrity.
Very well said...similar to my thoughts if I were to actually delve in and review more extensively, but you said it better then I could.

Unfortunately it's one of those films I mentioned in the Oscar thread that a small delusional faction think it's a masterpiece and thus it was nominated for Best Picture. It's perhaps the greatest example of style over substance and it is telling so many walked out on it.


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  #824  
Old February 1st, 2012, 6:12 am
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Re: Rate / Review the Last Film you've seen v.3

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Originally Posted by lcbaseball22 View Post
Very well said...similar to my thoughts if I were to actually delve in and review more extensively, but you said it better then I could.

Unfortunately it's one of those films I mentioned in the Oscar thread that a small delusional faction think it's a masterpiece and thus it was nominated for Best Picture. It's perhaps the greatest example of style over substance and it is telling so many walked out on it.
I would be a little careful about labelling anyone as delusional just because they appreciated something we didn't. I can see why it appeals to some and my intention in posting my critical thoughts was not to change their mind about it, but merely express my own film experience. I'm glad it helped you to a certain degree to understand why you felt this way about the film.

About the Oscar nomination, yes, I can imagine it split the Academy members, but with this new rule favouring peculiarity over accessibility it got in due to its supporters. That means it won't win, however.


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  #825  
Old February 1st, 2012, 7:40 am
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Re: Rate / Review the Last Film you've seen v.3

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Unfortunately it's one of those films I mentioned in the Oscar thread that a small delusional faction think it's a masterpiece and thus it was nominated for Best Picture. It's perhaps the greatest example of style over substance and it is telling so many walked out on it.
We actually had a fifth of the cinema auditorium running out of Moneyball - probably because they found it so annoying through promising something it didn't keep. I agree with Noldus that people are free to feel the way they do and express as much.

Let's don't blame groups of people for doing things like this, we don't know their reasons anyway. Maybe my Moneyball viewers had been just hungry.


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  #826  
Old February 1st, 2012, 8:13 am
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Re: Rate / Review the Last Film you've seen v.3

Speaking of which, I'd love to know how people in different countries decide which films to purchase for screening - because baseball is a virtually unknown sport in my country, it's not played, it's not televised, it's not discussed, we don't get any baseball news in the sports pages, yet Moneyball is showing here. Bridesmaids didn't, and I really wanted to see that. I wonder what logic they used.


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  #827  
Old February 1st, 2012, 9:48 am
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Re: Rate / Review the Last Film you've seen v.3

Well, Moneyball has Brad Pitt, and that usually means that lots of girls will go and watch the movie


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  #828  
Old February 1st, 2012, 9:51 am
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Re: Rate / Review the Last Film you've seen v.3

it hasn't made it to my local cinema..... mind you I know nothing about baseball ( we play rounders in school in the UK) and I'm not a Brad Pitt fan so I am unlikely to be going....


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  #829  
Old February 1st, 2012, 12:07 pm
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Re: Rate / Review the Last Film you've seen v.3

Tree of Life makes demands on its audience ... which is no bad thing. It is an art film (and how!) so you know, don't show it at a multiplex. It was worth it just to see those astounding creation sequences alone. I'd give it 8/10. I didn't rave about it like others have, but I do think it's better than 'style over substance'.

Anyway, last film I saw was The Piano, last night. It's been a long time since I've seen it and I'd quite forgotten what a strangely beautiful and powerful film it is. It's one of the few films by Jane Campion that I like. I was far less impressed by her Portrait of a Lady and that awful thriller she made starring Meg Ryan.

The mute Ada is a mesmerising heroine. Personally, I also think she can be quite a cow. And yet she commands our sympathies in her desire to be independent and find love on her own terms. Holly Hunter is brilliant in this role, it's her best ever performance. And little Anna Paquin's, for that matter.

Much as I love The Piano, though, it does pose one of cinema's greatest mysteries: why on earth cast Harvey Keitel as Ada's true love interest when you've got Sam Neill? As it is, Neill gives one of his best performances as an unsympathetic jerk. But, really ... I've no idea what Jane Campion was thinking, there.

9/10 If only Sam had been cast as Ada's true love, it would have got a 10.


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  #830  
Old February 1st, 2012, 1:00 pm
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Re: Rate / Review the Last Film you've seen v.3

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Tree of Life makes demands on its audience ... which is no bad thing. It is an art film (and how!) so you know, don't show it at a multiplex. It was worth it just to see those astounding creation sequences alone.
You mean the Planet Earth rip-off sequence?


The Ides of March-

Acting- 8
Script- 9.5
Visuals- 8.5
Sound- 8.5
Editing- 9

Total Score = 87

Verdict- Captivating story, but was a bit underwhelmed by the acting...I expected better from Clooney, Gosling, and Seymour Hoffman.


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  #831  
Old February 1st, 2012, 6:31 pm
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Re: Rate / Review the Last Film you've seen v.3

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Speaking of which, I'd love to know how people in different countries decide which films to purchase for screening - because baseball is a virtually unknown sport in my country, it's not played, it's not televised, it's not discussed, we don't get any baseball news in the sports pages, yet Moneyball is showing here. Bridesmaids didn't, and I really wanted to see that. I wonder what logic they used.
In my case it was a test screening in front of 200 peeps who come together once a week to watch a film not yet shown regularly in Germany. I'm pretty sure Moneyball won't run in this cinema when it's released in my neck of the woods, despite having Pitt and some chance to get Oscar-ed (I'll get to know this evening how the whole auditorium voted about the film). Then the cinema I visit for these previews is one of our smaller theatres, so 'big' films often get no chance while stuff like Intouchables or Le Havre is more appreciated. But even we loved Black Swan and Sherlock Holmes.

I assume that Moneyball will run in the bigger theatres and get those a lot of money, though, despite Baseball not really known in my country either. Besides that I agree with you that some decisions of theatres are quite difficult to understand.


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  #832  
Old February 2nd, 2012, 1:13 am
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Re: Rate / Review the Last Film you've seen v.3

I just watched The Asphalt Jungle.

Spoiler: show

I call this, "The Tragedy of Risk and Reward in The Asphalt Jungle

According to Aristotle’s Poetics, tragedy is composed of “incidents arousing fear and pity,” and “the change in the hero's fortunes must be... from happiness to misery.” In considering the film The Asphalt Jungle, this definition suffices to establish a tragic plot with tragic results for its characters, but in lieu of relying on happiness and misery as two gradable extremes, it may be more accurate to suppose that a crime film overlays life and death or freedom and imprisonment as absolute dichotomies. The Asphalt Jungle does not abandon the Aristotelian fall from happiness to misery altogether, but it may imply that for criminals, the greatness and the goodness which bestow happiness on characters in other tragedies are not available; and moreover, that because the character’s misfortunes are a direct result of their own immorality, their fates require something more than merely psychological trauma as a penance.

Two characters in particular, Dix Handley and Louie Ciavelli, exhibit both strengths and flaws which confound a straightforward understanding of the film as a legalistic tale, and which reveal the depths of desperation that only a film about criminals can. Even so, the origins and even the successes of these characters can never rise to the level of triumph, and it remains unclear whether, as Aristotle would have put it, their fortunes really take them from happiness to misery at all. Therefore, while it may be true that The Asphalt Jungle is “a touching picture of the humanity of the criminal,” as evidence that gangsters are “tragic figures,” it must incorporate the hope for happiness into the criminal lifestyle, rather than happiness itself, and shows how characters fall out of this hope into the despair or destruction the audience may not wish to witness, but which they know is deserved.

Dix Handley provides the quasi-tragic story with its hero, if there can be said to be a hero at all. (Although one might suppose that some invisible but embodied personage of Justice serves as the hero, and all of the main characters are antagonists, such a reading is perhaps too esoteric for the nonce). He is introduced to the audience as a petty criminal, a gambler, and a hired thug. With this in mind, it is tempting to conclude that he receives his just deserts in the end, and that his tragic flaw is no more or less than his entire existence. But the action of the film works hard to establish a slightly more sympathetic understanding based on his ethical quality and his ambitions.

Early on, the audience is informed of Dix’s principled nature, as he goes to considerable lengths to repay a gambling debt on time. His motives and his methods for doing so are not remarkably admirable, but his commitment to speaking his mind and keeping his word makes an impression early on--indeed, this forthright demeanor may be why Riedenschneider takes a liking to him and involves him in the film’s main heist. Handley may not be virtuous, but it is easy to suppose that he lives according to a set of principles that he will never betray. Accordingly, the other major aspect of Dix which helps the film to establish its tragic evocation is his hope for the future. In conversations with Doll, his hopelessly enamored ladyfriend, Dix reveals a genuinely admirable goal: to save money enough to reclaim the family farm. It is to this end that his life’s work seems to be aimed. The promise of achievement is all the more poignant because Dix is unwilling to compromise himself along the way, even as he risks everything that he is.

Louis Ciavelli on the other hand occupies--to borrow a sports term--a skill position. As a capable safe-cracker he is not responsible for devising criminal operations, for committing acts of violence, or for dealing with the aftermath of a job. If he performs his role adequately, the “utility players” will hold up their ends of the effort and provide him with his reward. As a family man, the audience discovers, Ciavelli is reluctant to participate in Riedenschneider’s heist, either because he fears mortal consequences or because he has sought to leave a life of crime behind him. His fundamental character seems to place his family life first, and he agrees to commit the crime only to feed his family. This trait is also his hope for future happiness--that he might work one last job and retire to familial love and prosperity.

In terms of painting “a touching picture of the humanity of the criminal,” the film plainly shows in these two characters as human, even pathetic characters, not the calculating monsters that gangsters might otherwise be. Yet considering their flawed but essentially admirable personalities and goals, the film must, if it would be a tragedy, transform their strengths into weaknesses, and snatch their hopes away. In other words, the film suggests, good intentions are not nearly enough to preserve the happiness of men willing to commit immoral acts.

Ciavelli, whatever his motivation is, finds himself on the wrong end of a discharged pistol and receives a wound that kills him. If this truly is one of only two possible outcomes (the other being imprisonment), Ciavelli’s fate demonstrates without apology that crime does not pay the wages that criminals hope to gain. The irony is that Ciavelli is the only man among the heist crew who has something real to live for, who has in his family a tie to the greater community, and who could really have gone on with his life uninterrupted by the temptation of a big score. But because he succumbs to the temptation of wealth, an utterly human failing if ever there was one, he finds himself in the wrong place at the wrong time, and he then fears to seek the medical treatment that would save his life at the cost of his freedom.

When it comes to Dix Handley’s fate, a similar but deeper mechanism is at work. His death at the gates of his family farm is the moving finale to a series of decisions that the audience perhaps wishes to avoid, but knows to be inevitable. Despite being honorable after a fashion, the lofty heights of Dix’s goals blind him to the realities of the life that lays before him: He coldly eschews the affections of Doll--with whom the audience supposes (purely by her sweetness and vulnerability) he might find a manner of happiness--because he has eyes only for rebuilding his family name. He wagers every opportunity for tranquility against the hope of an even greater, but ever-distant goal. He agrees to Riedenschneider’s proposal for this reason, and thereby embarks upon his fatal journey. Thus while Dix may not possess the happiness that one like Ciavelli may claim, the nature of his dreams shows the audience in stark contrast the doubled-edged sword of ambition: should he succeed, all his problems will be over; if he fails, he fails for good.

In a classical or early modern tragedy, it is the tragic mistake of a virtuous man which does the work of eliciting pity or fear--the audience may perceive ironically that the hero is marching to his death, or may fear the unknown consequences of a precipitous gamble. The Asphalt Jungle provides its audience with similar considerations, albeit under peculiar circumstances. The tragic mistake that all of the characters share is the belief that immoral acts may be diluted by time or justified by honorable intentions. This is a human flaw, not a heroic one, and it elicits an ambiguous reaction: On the one hand, each member of the audience likely identifies with the ethical failings of Dix and Louie--who has not been immoral or unscrupulous to achieve an end perceived as good? But on the other hand, the audience might conclude, being human is no excuse for breaking the law.



Last edited by canismajoris; February 2nd, 2012 at 1:17 am.
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  #833  
Old February 2nd, 2012, 7:39 am
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Re: Rate / Review the Last Film you've seen v.3

The Liverpool Goalie

Very nicely made Norwegian film about the up and downs of being a kid in school. For adding a lot of black humour, not getting cheesy at the ending (but playing 'You'll nevr walk alone')... 8/10. Very entertaining and decent work with film metaphoric.


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  #834  
Old February 2nd, 2012, 11:25 pm
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Re: Rate / Review the Last Film you've seen v.3

Sherlock Homes: A Game of Shadows 6/10

More fireworks, more fights, more action... less substance. No subtlety at all, specially concerning the relationship between Holmes and Watson. Mycroft's character had some interest, however, mainly thanks to Stephen Fry. Good Moriarty. Absurd use of Irene Adler's character. Interesting soundtrack, specially the Zimmer version of Don Giovanni.


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Old February 4th, 2012, 12:31 pm
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Re: Rate / Review the Last Film you've seen v.3

Drive-

Acting- 8
Script- 6.5
Visuals- 8.5
Sound- 8.5
Editing- 7

Total Score = 77

Verdict- What gives with this art house baloney? This was nearly as bad as Tree of Life in its own unique but mostly off-putting ways.


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  #836  
Old February 4th, 2012, 5:50 pm
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Re: Rate / Review the Last Film you've seen v.3

The Artist.

Wonderful movie! Witty, touching, feelgood and a glorious tribute to a golden age in cinema. Best film I've seen for a long time.

10/10!


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Old February 4th, 2012, 5:56 pm
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Re: Rate / Review the Last Film you've seen v.3

I'm glad you enjoyed it Pearl Took -a lot of people dismiss it out of hand. I agree it was brilliant!


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  #838  
Old February 5th, 2012, 12:23 am
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Re: Rate / Review the Last Film you've seen v.3

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The Artist.

Wonderful movie! Witty, touching, feelgood and a glorious tribute to a golden age in cinema. Best film I've seen for a long time.

10/10!
I would hardly call the silent era a "golden age in cinema" but otherwise I mostly agree, and despite being gimmicky it's my #2 of 2011.


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  #839  
Old February 5th, 2012, 3:21 am
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Re: Rate / Review the Last Film you've seen v.3

Saw Haywire.

Fighting scenes were good. And seeing the likes of Ewan Macgregor, Michael Fassbender, and Channing Tatum getting their collective butts beat down did have visceral satisfying moments.

But that's it.
Not much of a script for anyone to work with. It's like Soderbergh wanted to make a Bourne movie but seemed to forget that there actually was a story, script, plot...things like that, that did make it in such movies. So, I can't say much about Gina Carano's acting ability, but she does seem to have charisma.


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Old February 5th, 2012, 11:55 am
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Re: Rate / Review the Last Film you've seen v.3

Footloose (2011)

Acting- 8
Script- 9
Visuals- 8.5
Sound- 7.5
Editing- 8.5

Total Score = 83

Verdict- I was pleasantly surprised by the acting of the professional dancers cast in the lead roles and except for a few bizarre scenes this remake of the 1984 classic surpasses the original in its ability to entertain and connect on an emotional level. Soundtrack could have been better, though the Blake Shelton cover of the title song is pretty awesome. And for the most part the dancing is good, though I would have liked to have seen more partner dancing between the two leads (ha, or more lead & follow I should say...but the original lacked this as well)


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