A Chorus Line (1985)

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Zach (Michael Douglas) is auditioning dancers for a new show he is putting on. A multitude of dancers show up for the audition, but only 8 will make the cut. As the numbers of dancers are whittled down, we begin to learn more about them. We learn about the hardships they face in their daily lives, and how quick you can be cast aside in the world of dancing.

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What first drew me to this movie was the fact that it had the late Tony Fields in it as Al DeLuca. Tony played Sammi Curr in another of my favourite movies, Trick or Treat (1986).¬† Tony was a brilliant professional dancer, and he doesn’t disappoint here. Zach and his number 2 Larry (Terrence Mann), slowly cut the numbers down to a line of dancers before choosing the 8 that will be in the show. Zach goes through each of the dancers and asks them about their lives. He asks them about their childhoods, their likes and dislikes and why they want to be in the show. As the dancers divulge their personal lives, we begin to see how hard it can be being a dancer and trying to navigate your way through life to find your own identity as a person.

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The whole movie is set in the theatre at the audition. Along side the stories of the dancers, we have the story of Cassie (Alyson Reed). Cassie used to be romantically involved with Zach, and has returned to audition in the show. At first Zach is reluctant, as he believes Cassie to be too talented to be in a chorus line. However he eventually relents and lets her participate. It all leads to a wonderful musical number to end proceedings with a bang.

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I have to say I am normally very hesitant to watch musicals. I just find it hard to get into them. However I did enjoy this. There are some cracking musical numbers, and jaw dropping dance moves. Everyone gives it their all and you can see they are enjoying themselves. Also any film that has a song called ‘Tits & Ass’ in it has got to be worth a watch.

3/5

JM

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Mo’ Money (1992)

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This is another one that I file under ‘guilty pleasures’. I like it and I’m not afraid to admit it. I understand that it’s rotten tomato or imdb score might not be the best, but we all have certain movies we like that others don’t, this is one of those movies. I watched it years ago and it made me laugh, and it *still* makes me laugh. The story involves two con artist brothers Johnny Stewart (Damon Wayans) and Seymour Stewart (Marlon Wayans). The brothers have been making a living scamming unsuspecting people for a long time. However when their latest scam gets Johnny arrested they are warned that they need to make an honest living or face serious prison time next time either of them are arrested.

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Johnny gets a job working in the mailroom of a credit card company after he follows one of their employees, Amber Evans (Stacey Dash), into the building to get her number. Amber works in the upstairs offices and Johnny gets a job working their so he can get closer to her. Johnny’s boss Keith Heading (John Diehl) takes notice of Johnny and catches Johnny stealing a returned credit card. Keith calls Johnny to the office and tells Johnny that he planted the card and knew it was a matter of time before Johnny stole it. Johnny had been using the cards with his brother Seymour to pull more scams and get clothes and jewels.

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Keith tells Johnny that he wants Johnny to start using the cards to get certain items, which Keith will then sell so that he can launder money through the company. When Johnny realises he’s in over his head he tries to back out, but Keith won’t leave any witnesses, and gets his men to try take Johnny, Seymour and anyone else who knows what’s going on out of the picture.

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Like I said this film makes me laugh. There are a lot of funny scenes and some great bits of action. The scene in the jewellery shop always has me in stitches of laughter. It’s another one I don’t think a lot of people have seen, but it’s well worth giving a look. It won’t win any awards, but it entertains and that’s what counts.

3/5

JM

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Scrooged (1988)

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Since it’s Christmas I think it’s only right that I review a few crimbo movies. So to kick us off this month we have, my favourite Christmas movie, ‘Scrooged’. It’s basically a retelling of the classic Charles Dickens story A Christmas Carol. Frank Cross (Bill Murray) is the a head of a TV network which is soon to show a live version of A Christmas Carol. However Frank is not a fan of Christmas as it really doesn’t hold good memories for him. One night he is visited by his old, long dead boss who tells Frank that he’ll be visited by three ghosts in order for him to change the error of his ways.

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Frank used to be happy. However somewhere along the way he became consumed by work and completely miserable. He had a great girlfriend called Claire (Karen Allen), and things seemed fine. However that was a long time ago and now he’s a sour, hateful man. The first ghost to help Frank see where he went wrong is the Ghost of Christmas Past (David Johansen), an alcoholic, chain smoking cab driver. The ghost takes Frank back to when he was a small child, however all it does is remind Frank of how much he hates Christmas. The ghost then takes Frank to the time he met Claire, which slightly improves things, but not enough to change Frank.

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The next opportunity falls to the Ghost of Christmas Present (Carol Kane). She shows Frank all the people he is making miserable now, trying to somehow shake Frank into changing. This ghost is batshit crazy. She pokes, prods and punches the shit out of Frank all whilst giggling manically. I could go on and tell you the rest of what happens, but pretty much everyone knows the Scrooge story.

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Everyone is on top form. Bill Murray is fantastic as the sour faced, cynical Frank Cross. Carol Kane and David Johansen are brilliant as the ghosts. You have excellent supporting roles from great actors like John Glover, Robert Mitchum, John Forsythe, Alfre Woodard and even Bobcat Goldthwait as the screechy voiced Elliot Loudermilk. I do love this film, with it definitely being my favourite Christmas movie. I always try to squeeze it in at least once a year. I’m sure many have seen it, however if you haven’t then give it a go.

4/5

JM

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The Quiet Man (1952)

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I’ll start off by saying that I have never really been a John Wayne fan. I have no love for his westerns and really didn’t ever have much interest for any of his other movies. However that being said, I absolutely adore this movie. The whimsical tale set in Ireland just captured my heart when I first saw it. The picturesque settings are quite simply breathtaking and had me longing for a time I wasn’t even alive during.

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John Wayne plays Sean Thornton, a retired American boxer who returns to the town of Innisfree where he was born. There he meets a fiery redhead called Mary Danaher (Maureen O’Hara). Becoming smitten with Mary, Sean seeks to win her over and eventually marry her. However certain problems arise before courtship can even begin. Sean is looking for a home and enquires about a house owned by Widow Tillane (Mildred Natwick), however Mary Danaher’s brother Will also has his eye on the property and thinks he should be the one to get it. Incensed by Will Danaher’s attitude, Widow Tillane sells the property to Sean. However as strict social rules in Innisfree mean Sean must ask the father’s permission to court Mary it causes problems. Mainly because Mary’s father is deceased and the final say goes to her brother Will, who doesn’t like Sean as he got the Widow’s property.

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Things move forward and Sean marries Mary. However Will refuses to pay a dowry to Sean and Mary which causes problems between Sean and Mary. Not wanting to let Will jeopardise his marriage Sean goes to confront him, kick-starting a long and comical fight all over the town of Innisfree.

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Like I said I just adore this movie. The sets, the scenery and the costumes are exquisite. The acting is not the best in places, but is done with so much heart and the cast are clearly enjoying themselves that you can’t help but get swept up in the fun. I would have loved to live in such a beautiful part of the country, just beautiful. This movie is definitely worth a viewing for some wonderful Irish charm.

4/5

JM

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