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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Black Rain (1989)

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God I love this movie! One of Ridley Scott’s most underrated movies in my opinion. Nick Conklin (Michael Douglas) is a cop in New York City who is under investigation from Internal Affairs for his part in a bust where drug money went missing. Nick and his partner Charlie Vincent (Andy Garcia) are in a cafe when some Japanese men enter and begin to hassle some mafia members. One of them, Sato (Yusaku Matsuda), steals a wooden box and kills the men. Nick and Charlie give pursuit to Sato and his men. Nick manages to catch up to Sato and over powers him.

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Nick is told that Sato is wanted in Tokyo and that he is to be brought back immediately. Nick tells his superiors that he wants to be the one to bring Sato back and that Charlie is to accompany him. Nick, Charlie and Sato reach Tokyo where they are met by a group of policemen who have been ordered to collect Sato. Nick and Charlie hand Sato over and begin to get off the plane. Another group of policemen show up and say they are there to collect Sato, Nick realises that he’s been duped and gives chase. After losing Sato, Nick tells the chief of the police in Tokyo that he wants to retrieve Sato. Nick is told that he is not a Japanese policeman and that it will be left to Masahiro (Ken Takakura), a detective in the Tokyo police force, to catch Sato.

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Not willing to accept to simply be an idle bystander, Nick teams up with Masa and they both work together to catch Sato. Also helping them is an American working girl in Japan called Joyce (Kate Capshaw). As the case goes on, things happen that cause it to be more personal to Nick, giving him a chance at redemption.

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I really do love this movie. Tokyo looks like such a brilliantly vibrant city, I would love to visit one day. Everybody is on top form. Michael Douglas is brilliant as Nick, Andy Garcia brings a level head as Charlie and Ken Takakura is fantastic as the honourable Masa. However Kate Capshaw feels wasted in her role as Joyce, not really contributing anything to the story that I felt was needed. Yusaku Matsuda is menacing as Sato, bringing a real intensity to the role. Sadly he was dying of cancer during the making of this movie. Definitely worth a watch if you dig 80’s action with a kick ass synthy score.

4/5

JM

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