The Lion King (2019)

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Photo from Rolling Stone

The Lion King is a CGI animated version of the 1994 original Disney film. The star studded cast includes Donald Glover as Simba, Beyoncé as Nala, Seth Rogen as Pumbaa, Billy Eichner as Timon, Chiwetel Ejiofor as Scar, and James Earl Jones returning as Mufasa. Everyone already knows the plot for the most part, it’s Hamlet with lions.

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Bohemian Rhapsody (2018)

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Photo from Geek Tyrant

Bohemian Rhapsody surrounds the life of Freddie Mercury (Rami Malek) as he first joins the band, Queen, and their rise to fame. Freddie however struggles with connecting to people including his band members because of his flamboyancy and his sexuality. He turns to drugs and later gets diagnosed with AIDS. Now Freddie must get the band back together to do a Live Aid performance at Wembley Stadium that will later go down in history.

What is perfect casting? Rami Maleck as Freddie Mercury. He really gives a great performance in this film and is the highlight for sure. The other band members however didn’t have much to do, and while this film is focused on Freddie Mercury, it would be nice for the other characters to have more depth.

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A Star is Born (2018)

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Photo from Pioneer Press

A Star is Born surrounds Southern, rock star Jackson Maine (Bradley Cooper) finding Ally (Lady Gaga) at a drag bar and being transfixed by her singing talent. They start to fall in love and Jackson helps Ally get footing in her singing career, but as she rises to pop stardom, he cannot stop spiraling downward.

This is Bradley Cooper’s directorial debut and what a feat this was. Kudos to him because every shot in this film was deliberate and the film was extremely well made. He also does a great job on the acting side of things and is believable as an aging rock star. Lady Gaga was also outstanding in her role and I was very impressed because even though I knew she acted before, this is her first leading role in a film and she delivered. They had really great chemistry together and I knew that they worked together a lot in pre-production to do this film right, which they succeeded in doing.

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Flight of the Conchords (HBO)

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Flight of the Conchords is a show about a struggling New Zealand band in New York City. They make quirky and hilarious songs, try to pick up girls, and try to make it big (but keep failing to do so).

The show stars Bret McKenzie and Jermaine Clement, two talented songwriters that make original yet parodical music. The premise of the show is simple – the audience simply follows these two musicians who are barely surviving New York. But since the musicians are from New Zealand, the show has a sort of awkward humor that I really enjoy and it makes the show very quirky. Jermaine being the one who especially nails this.

Believe it or not but the band manager, Murray (played by Rhys Darby) is my favorite character in this series. I don’t know why but I just think he’s relatable and damn hilarious as the enthusiastic yet inept manager. And I like his accent the best. It’s also great to see Kristen Schaal who plays Mel in the show, the band’s only fan, and Eugene Mirman who plays their landlord (both are on the TV series Bob’s Burgers). You’ll also get to see some familiar comedian faces throughout the series as well.

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The Greatest Showman (2017)

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The Greatest Showman revolves around the life of P.T. Barnum – a typical rags to riches story but one that celebrates diversity and creativity.

As many people know, P.T. Barnmum is a very controversial figure and this movie did not delve into that side of him, instead they focused more on how he chased after what many people considered “crazy” ideas and brought together different types of people. This film also has incredible songs and I couldn’t help but enjoy and be impressed by the song and dance numbers.

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Coco (2017) – in English & Spanish

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I was really excited for Coco and being from a Mexican family, I am so happy to see the Mexican culture being more represented in Hollywood. This movie surrounds the Day of the Dead or Dia de los Muertos. Miguel (voiced by Anthony Gonzalez) is a young boy who has dreams of being a musician, but he has a family who has banned music. He looks up to a famous musician named Ernesto de la Cruz (voiced by Benjamin Bratt) and once he strums his guitar that he finds himself in the Land of the Dead and must find a way to get back.

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Baby Driver (2017)

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So this weekend I re-watched Baby Driver and I think I loved it even better than the first time. This time I was really able to pay attention to the music, easter eggs, and mise-en-scene in general. For example when Baby, played by Ansel Elgort, is walking to the coffee shop, he is listening to the song “Harlem Shuffle,” and during his walk we see lyrics of the song graffitied onto different poles and buildings behind Baby. Music is absolutely vital to this film as it captures not only the character’s mood at certain points, but it also heightens the stakes or captures the atmosphere in which the characters are in.

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