Step Up movies are known for their trite, formulaic plots and eye-catching dance set-pieces, and this instalment in the series certainly won't disappoint the fans. What makes this one slightly more fun is the fact that the filmmakers remember not to take anything quite so seriously. The melodrama is undercut with sardonic humour, the gyrations of the plot are so obvious that the script doesn't even bother to mislead us, and the dance scenes are fantastically over the top.
After The Mob dance crew conquered Miami in Step Up 4, they moved to Los Angeles, but found fame rather fickle. When they lose another job to their rival Jasper (Stephen Stevo Jones), head of The Grim Knights, they decide to go back home. But Sean (Ryan Guzman) has nothing to return to, so opts to stay, even though it means working as a cleaner at a salsa studio. This helps him reconnect with Step Up veteran Moose (Adam Sevani), and together they concoct a plan to form a new crew and enter the reality TV competition The Vortex, hosted by the preening Alexxa (Izabella Miko). With Moose's old pal Andie (Step Up 2's Brianna Evigan) on board, they bring together an appropriately eclectic team, which they name Lmntrix. And they head to Las Vegas for the big show.
It hardly needs to be said that Lmntrix are on a collision course to meet both The Mob and The Grim Knights in the final rounds. So with no suspense in the plot we can sit back and enjoy the dancing. And the choreographers have taken the Vegas theme to heart, designing routines that are more focussed on subtle power moves than street intensity. So each successive routine looks like another themed Cirque du Soleil number, building to a climax that will boggle the mind. Fortunately, all of this is directed with a light touch by choreographer Trish Sie, so it's easy to sit back and laugh with the cast rather than at them for a change.
Continue reading: Step Up: All In Review
In a noble but poor neighbourhood under a stack of bridges by the Miami River, Sean (Guzman) and his pal Eddy (Gabriel) lead an underground dance crew called The Mob to perform flash-mob antics in picturesque locations. Their goal is to win an online competition and go pro. Then Sean meets Emily (McCormick), whose property tycoon dad (Gallagher) wants to destroy Sean's neighbourhood to build another glitzy development. While trying to make her own way in dance school, Emily hides her identity to join The Mob and take on Dad.
Continue reading: Step Up Revolution [Step Up: Miami Heat] Review
Small-town girl Sherrie (Hough) takes the bus to 1987 Hollywood to become a rock star. There she meets Drew (Boneta), who has the same dream and works in the famed Bourbon Room on the Sunset Strip. He convinces the owner (Baldwin) to hire her as a barmaid just as diva-rocker Stacee Jaxx (Cruise) comes to play a major gig. Buzzing around him are a Rolling Stone journalist (Akerman) wanting an interview and a right-winger (Zeta-Jones) trying to protect the children from the evils of rock-n-roll.
Continue reading: Rock Of Ages Review
Garrett (Long) is struggling to get over a break-up when he meets Erin (Barrymore), a lively woman who connects with him both romantically and as a best friend. But Erin is only in New York for a summer internship, and when she returns to San Francisco their romance is strained by the 3,000 miles between them. Garrett's friends (Day and Sudeikis) aren't much help, while Erin's sister and brother-in-law (Applegate and Gaffigan) don't really get it. And as the months pass, Erin and Garrett have some difficult decisions to make.
Continue reading: Going The Distance Review
Shamelessly derivative and laughably packed with every cliche imaginable, this second sequel pushes the formula into a full-on celebration of street dance.
And through sheer exuberance, it almost gets away with it. It's not good, but it's a lot of fun.
Luke (Malambri) runs a nightclub and dance studio out of the Brooklyn warehouse he inherited from his parents. Despite the fact that the club is packed to the rafters every night, he's behind on his mortgage and really needs to win the upcoming World Jam to save his crew's home. So he challenges his team, the Pirates, to go for it against their arch-rival competitors. New members include Natalie (Vinson), who sparks a romance with Luke, and Moose (Sevani), who neglects his university studies and his pining best pal Camille (Stoner) to dance in secret.
The only connections to the first film are Stoner (from Step Up) and Sevani (from Step Up 2 the Streets), plus a couple of surprise appearances. Otherwise, the filmmakers jettison the clash-of-the-dance-genres premise for a more straightforward sports-movie structure with a win-or-die competition, two formulaic rom-com subplots and a rather pointlessly evil villain in rival team leader Julien (Slaughter), who has a nefarious connection to one of Luke's dancers.
But the filmmakers also realise that the whole point of the exercise is the dancing, and they stage outrageously elaborate dance-offs and montage sequences that are choreographed for maximum 3D gimmickry using water, lights and anything else they can find. Including Slushees blowing in a gust of wind from a Subway vent. This is all done with smiley brio and hectic energy, and the dance sequences are truly exhilarating.
They're so good, in fact, that we can overlook the clunky dialog, which the actors struggle to deliver with any believability. But if their performances are often almost comically stiff, their dance moves are thoroughly entertaining. It's impossible to watch this film without enjoying every ridiculous moment, even if much of the enjoyment is in laughing at the corny script. "We can go anywhere," emotes Natalie, urging Luke to run off with her, "even California!" Oh come on, who would want to go there?
The summer after her high school graduation, rebellious Ronnie (Cyrus) and her precocious little brother Jonah (Coleman) are driven by their mum (Preston) from New York to the Georgia coast to stay with their estranged father (Kinnear). After sulking around in a huff, Ronnie starts to soften a bit, befriending shirtless volleyball hunk Will (Hemsworth). And as their romance grows, she starts warming up to her dad as well. But dark rumours, Will's snobby parents (Vernon and Searcy) and Ronnie's troubled friend Blaze (Chaikin) create various problems, as does the dreaded C-word.
Continue reading: The Last Song Review
That was back in 1989. Twenty years later, Mike (now Matthew Perry) finds himself regretting some of those choices. He's now in his thirties, and life has fallen apart. He hates his dead-end job and wishes he would have gone to college. His two teenage kids (Michelle Trachtenberg and Sterling Knight) have nothing to do with him, and Scarlett (Leslie Mann) is in the process of divorcing him. All the while, his nerdy best friend, Ned (Thomas Lennon), has become an inventor and has more money than he knows what to do with. If only Mike could turn back the clock.
Continue reading: 17 Again Review
It helps that Step Up 2 is a sequel only in the sense that it, too, is about dancing teens -- so really, you could make a case for You Got Served, Stomp the Yard, Save the Last Dance, and all the rest being a single franchise with more titles than Freddy or Jason, and closing in on James Bond. The near-complete turnover both in front of and behind the camera is healthy for the energy levels, and fans of this type of movie, too, who at least deserve more than the heavy-handed romance of the original (and I use that term loosely).
Continue reading: Step Up 2 The Streets Review
Immediately, the music kicks in. The day-to-day sounds of the bustling town melt with Marc Shaiman's infectious doo-wop score and the camera swoops toward the modest bedroom of typical teen Tracy Turnblad, who is played to perfection by newcomer Nikky Blonsky. Another star is born. But though the angle may descend rapidly, Shankman's movie remains airborne for two full hours, bolstered by the incomparable high that accompanies the raucous joy of musical rebellion.
Continue reading: Hairspray (2007) Review
Tangled purports to describe the complicated love triangle among three college kids: She's All That hottie Rachael Leigh Cook, mysterious Jonathan Rhys-Meyers, and slack-jawed yokel Shawn Hatosy (Outside Providence). Tough choices all around, for sure.
Continue reading: Tangled Review
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