Kelly, Gene Movie Reviews


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Family movie reviews for "Kelly, Gene" sorted by average review score:

Hello, Dolly!
Released in DVD by Twentieth Century Fox Home Video (19 August, 2003)
MPAA Rating: G (General Audience)
Director: Gene Kelly
Starring: Barbra Streisand and Walter Matthau
They just don't make musicals like this any more. There are some who would be grateful for that--the plot is but a flimsy excuse to string together song and dance numbers. Some of us, however, love big, splashy, overdone musical scenes, of which there are many. Glittering stage numbers showcase a commanding Barbra Streisand as Dolly Levy, a New York matchmaker who can find a mate for anyone. Anyone but herself, that is. Determined to marry wealthy Walter Matthau, she lures him out of Yonkers and sets about wooing him.

Don't worry about the lack of a solid story or Gene Kelly's pedestrian direction. Watch instead for the musical numbers and the lavish costumes. Listen to Jerry Herman's score, and dance around the living room when a sequined Streisand arrives in a club as Louis Armstrong strikes up the title tune for her benefit. (Just pull the shades first.) Based on Thornton Wilder's play The Matchmaker, Hello, Dolly! won Academy Awards for best sound, art direction, and musical score. --Rochelle O'Gorman

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American Pop
Released in DVD by Columbia/Tristar Studios (16 June, 1998)
MPAA Rating: R (Restricted)
Director: Ralph Bakshi
Starring: Mews Small
Animator-director-screenwriter Ralph Bakshi audaciously tries to chronicle the history of 20th-century American popular music, while also placing each period into historical and social context--all in 97 minutes! Its animated, episodic narrative follows four generations of Jewish-American musicians as each painfully seeks fame through changing musical eras. Starting at the turn of the century with a piano-playing immigrant in New York, the film moves swiftly, following his offspring through such movements as Gershwin-era pop, jazz, folk music, '60s psychedelia, and punk--and only pauses for elaborate, energized musical numbers designed to showcase the work of Benny Goodman, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Lou Reed, the Jefferson Airplane, and numerous others. However, these electric set pieces provide brief dynamism in a relatively bleak film filled with hard-luck protagonists suffering through clichéd drug addiction, death, and alienation. While the film's scope is admirably ambitious, and Bakshi's stylized use of rotoscoping (tracing animation from live action) makes for fluid and often eye-popping visuals, his treatment also feels heavy handed and cuts numerous corners. And, when Baskshi ends his epic by mocking punk, and celebrating the future of rock & roll through the music of Bob Seger, one wonders whether or not he a knowledgeable grasp of his topic at all. The DVD version presents the film in its original theatrical aspect ratio of 1.85:1. --Dave McCoy
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Oklahoma!
Released in DVD by Twentieth Century Fox (13 August, 2002)
MPAA Rating: G (General Audience)
Director: Fred Zinnemann
Starring: Gordon MacRae and Gloria Grahame
The hit Broadway musical from the 1940s gets a lavish if not always exciting workout in this 1955 film version directed by old lion Fred Zinnemann (High Noon). Gordon MacRae brings his sterling voice to the role of cowboy Curly, and Shirley Jones plays Laurie, the object of his affection. The Rodgers and Hammerstein score includes "The Surrey with the Fringe on Top," "Oh, What a Beautiful Mornin'," and "People Will Say We're in Love," and Agnes DeMille provides the buoyant choreography. Among the supporting cast, Gloria Grahame is memorable as Ado Annie, the "girl who cain't say no," and Rod Steiger overdoes it as the villainous Jud. --Tom Keogh
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Bullets Over Broadway
Released in DVD by Miramax Home Entertainment (06 May, 2003)
MPAA Rating: R (Restricted)
Director: Woody Allen
Starring: John Cusack and Dianne Wiest
One of Woody Allen's best films of the '90s, Bullets over Broadway stars John Cusack as a virtual Woody surrogate, a neurotic, Jazz Age writer whose new play sounds wooden and unrealistic to a low-level mobster (Chazz Palminteri) assigned to watch over his boss's actress-girlfriend (Jennifer Tilly). When the hood starts contributing better story ideas and dialogue than what the official playwright can conjure, questions (not unlike those of Amadeus) about the price we pay to make art at the expense of other responsibilities are intriguingly raised. Palminteri gives a very interesting performance as the enforcer waking up to the desperate (and almost feminine) demands of his own creative psyche, and Dianne Wiest (who won an Oscar), Tracey Ullman, Jim Broadbent, and Jennifer Tilly are very funny together playing the ensemble cast of Cusack's play. --Tom Keogh
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The Young Girls of Rochefort
Released in DVD by Miramax (06 May, 2003)
MPAA Rating: G (General Audience)
Directors: Agnès Varda and Jacques Demy
The French director Jacques Demy scored a worldwide hit in 1964 with The Umbrellas of Cherbourg, a bittersweet candy-colored romance in which all the dialogue was set to music. Equally enchanting is the musical that reunited Demy with the star and composer of Umbrellas, Catherine Deneuve and Michel Legrand. The film is The Young Girls of Rochefort, an effervescent concoction about traveling players and dreamy-headed demoiselles in a seaside town. Deneuve and her real-life sister, Françoise Dorléac (who died in a car accident not long after the movie was made), play twins who fantasize about life in Paris. But before they leave town, they are distracted by the weekend fair and its colorful singers and dancers. They're also destined to meet an American composer--gloriously, it's Gene Kelly, carrying the aura of classic MGM musicals in his lighter-than-air wake. He was 55 at the time, but much younger in movie years. (Another American, George Chakiris, also dances his way through the film.) Legrand's music isn't as powerful as his Cherbourg score, and some of the choreography would fit right into an Austin Powers discotheque sequence. And the costumes--well, the excesses of '60s mod designs have not aged well. Yet the crazy hairstyles and vinyl boots fit right into the film's sense of gleeful fun. There is a sunny, daffy spirit to this movie that becomes positively infectious. It deserves to be better known. (Try to catch a widescreen version, if possible.) --Robert Horton
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Brigadoon
Released in DVD by Mgm/Ua Studios (22 August, 1997)
MPAA Rating: G (General Audience)
Director: Vincente Minnelli
Starring: Gene Kelly and Van Johnson
Anything is possible in Brigadoon, the Lerner and Loewe musical put to celluloid in 1954 by director Vincente Minnelli: a village can reappear for only one day each century, and Gene Kelly can tap-dance on a dirt path. Kelly and Van Johnson play a pair of New Yorkers who go on a hunting vacation in the highlands of Scotland. But what Tommy Albright (Kelly) captures is the heart of a bonny Scottish lass, Fiona Campbell (Cyd Charisse). The catch: Fiona lives in Brigadoon, an enchanted town that appears for only one day every 100 years. If Tommy stays, he must give up everything (including his fiancé back home); if Fiona leaves with Tommy, Brigadoon will vanish into the highland mist, never to be seen again. Not that this keeps anyone from having a good time. The men are clad in vivid tartan kilts and leggings, and the women swish about in multicolored petticoats. Fiona's sister Jean is getting married, and the whole town is drinking ale and singing cheery songs--except for Jean's ex-beau, who threatens to leave and thereby end the town's existence. Brigadoon is a charming escape into a sweet fairy tale. Some of the songs may be less than memorable, but Kelly's choreography is often as witty as the banter. When the hectic pace of the modern world threatens to overtake you, consider a brief vacation in the highlands of Scotland. As one character says, "There must be an awful lot of folk searching for a Brigadoon"--even if it only lasts for a couple of hours. --Larisa Lomacky Moore
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Brigadoon
Released in DVD by Warner Studios (06 June, 2000)
MPAA Rating: G (General Audience)
Director: Vincente Minnelli
Starring: Gene Kelly and Van Johnson
Anything is possible in Brigadoon, the Lerner and Loewe musical put to celluloid in 1954 by director Vincente Minnelli: a village can reappear for only one day each century, and Gene Kelly can tap-dance on a dirt path. Kelly and Van Johnson play a pair of New Yorkers who go on a hunting vacation in the highlands of Scotland. But what Tommy Albright (Kelly) captures is the heart of a bonny Scottish lass, Fiona Campbell (Cyd Charisse). The catch: Fiona lives in Brigadoon, an enchanted town that appears for only one day every 100 years. If Tommy stays, he must give up everything (including his fiancé back home); if Fiona leaves with Tommy, Brigadoon will vanish into the highland mist, never to be seen again. Not that this keeps anyone from having a good time. The men are clad in vivid tartan kilts and leggings, and the women swish about in multicolored petticoats. Fiona's sister Jean is getting married, and the whole town is drinking ale and singing cheery songs--except for Jean's ex-beau, who threatens to leave and thereby end the town's existence. Brigadoon is a charming escape into a sweet fairy tale. Some of the songs may be less than memorable, but Kelly's choreography is often as witty as the banter. When the hectic pace of the modern world threatens to overtake you, consider a brief vacation in the highlands of Scotland. As one character says, "There must be an awful lot of folk searching for a Brigadoon"--even if it only lasts for a couple of hours. --Larisa Lomacky Moore
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It's Always Fair Weather
Released in DVD by (02 September, 1955)
MPAA Rating:
Directors: Stanley Donen and Gene Kelly
The third collaboration between Stanley Donen and Gene Kelly, It's Always Fair Weather falls short of the classics On the Town and Singin' in the Rain, mostly due to a slow plot and middling songs by Andre Previn, Betty Comden, and Adolph Green. In a story reminiscent of On the Town, Kelly, Dan Dailey, and Michael Kidd play three GIs who return from the war vowing to stay buddies forever. When they reunite 10 years later, however, they find they have little in common, other than having given up on their dreams. Best known as the choreographer of such MGM evergreens as Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, the diminutive Kidd proves adept at kicking up his heels in front of the camera. Cyd Charisse plays a scheming television producer (an unusually down-home character) and Delores Gray is the toothy TV show host. (Gray gets to sing and Charisse dances a little, though not with Kelly.) The best moments, of course, are the dance numbers Kelly choreographed, including the three GIs' trash-can-lid dance, Charisse's solo supported by a crew of boxers, and Kelly's number on roller skates, "I Like Myself," which combines some of the free spirit of "Singin' in the Rain" with the stunt footwear made famous by Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers in 1937's Shall We Dance. Unfortunately, the pan-and-scan format spoils the film's wide CinemaScope presentation, often fitting only two of the three characters on the screen. Enjoyable, but not quite a classic. --David Horiuchi
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Xanadu
Released in DVD by Universal Studios (12 August, 2003)
MPAA Rating: PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
Director: Robert Greenwald
Starring: Olivia Newton-John
A wimpy remake of an already anemic movie (the 1947 Rita Hayworth vehicle Down to Earth), this glitzy musical from 1980 improbably stars Olivia Newton-John as a heavenly muse sent here to help open a roller-derby disco. Gene Kelly is mixed up in this well-meaning but goofy effort to fuse nostalgia with late-'70s glitter-ball trendiness, and he looks just plain silly. Directed by Robert Greenwald, the film doesn't even work as decent kitsch. --Tom Keogh
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The Lion King II: Simba's Pride
Released in DVD by Disney Studios (23 November, 1999)
MPAA Rating: G (General Audience)
Directors: Rob LaDuca and Darrell Rooney
Starring: Matthew Broderick and Neve Campbell
Another made-for-video sequel to a Disney masterpiece. As with the Beauty and the Beast and Pocahontas sequels, most of the recognizable vocal talents return, creating a worthwhile successor to the highest-grossing animated film ever. We pick up the story as the lion king, Simba (voiced by Matthew Broderick), and Nala (Moira Kelly) have a new baby cub, a girl named Kiara (Neve Campbell). Like her father before, she seeks adventure and ends up outside the Pridelands, where lions loyal to the evil Scar (who died in the original) have lived with revenge in their hearts. The leader, Zira (a spunky turn from Suzanne Pleshette), schemes to use her son Kovu (Jason Marsden) to destroy Simba. As luck with have it, Kiara has bumped into Kovu and fallen in love.

This all sounds familiar since all of Disney's straight-to-video sequels have played it very safe, nearly repeating the originals' story, tone, and pace. Perhaps there were too many cooks for this production. Besides the two screenplay credits, there are eight other writers credited for additional written material. The look of the film has none of the surprise of the original but is far superior to other animated videos. In fact, the film played in European theaters.

For kids, the sequel will be a favorite. The comic antics of Timon (Nathan Lane) and Pumba (Ernie Sabella) are enjoyable, as is Andy Dick as Nuka, the mixed-up older son of Zira. And there's plenty of action. The best element is the music. Relying on more African-influenced music, the five songs featured are far superior to those in Disney's other sequels. Zira's song of revenge, "My Lullaby," was cowritten by Buffy the Vampire Slayer creator Joss Whedon. The standout opening number, "He Lives in You," was created for the Lion King Broadway smash and now finds a whole new audience. --Doug Thomas

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Related Subjects: Family Movie Review
More Pages: Kelly, Gene Page 1 2 3 4 5 6