Thursday, April 9, 2015

Thursday Movie Picks: Dance Movies (excluding all musicals or movies based on musicals)


It's Thursday, so that means it's time for another Thursday Movie Picks!  This week was a fun one, and I'm going to let you know now...I cheated a bit (it's not really cheating, I don't think...but sort of...for me...whatever).  

Let's just get into it!

This week's theme is:



So, the first thing I decided to do was to avoid all Step Up films or variations of the franchise because, like, there are just too many of those Stomp the Yard, You Got Served, same story different nameless actor type movies and I wanted to try something a little different.  So, I went with Oscar fair, the film that started it all and a documentary that I...haven't seen yet (that's where I semi-cheated).

Here we go!

Billy Elliot
I heart this movie so much.  It's one of my favorite films of the aughts, and one of those rare movie gems that continues to astound me every time I see it.  Rich performances and a beautiful tribute to tolerance, acceptance and aspirations...not to mention BALLET!!!  

Save the Last Dance
The film that started it all!  Yup, this is such a fun and inspired take on the genre, and while so many have tried to mimic it in years to follow, it remains one of the best.  It's also the reason that Julia Stiles should have a bigger, better career and the fact that she doesn't continues to PISS ME OFF!!!  Oh, and the HIP HOP here is just so much fun to watch.  Love this soundtrack...SO MUCH!

Pina
So, like I said, I haven't seen this yet...mostly because it took FOREVER to hit DVD and by the time it did I was past the year in question and forgot about it...but it's #1 in my Netflix queue now because this documentary from Wim Wenders (LOVE HIM) featuring CONTEMPORARY dance numbers honoring the late choreographer Pina Bausch just looks so incredibly outstanding!

40 comments:

  1. Wim Wenders, eh? I'm interested. That is quite a stunning image for PIna.

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    1. Reviews were pretty great, and it was nominated for Documentary film at the Oscars, I believe. Netflix actually just mailed it off to me today.

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  2. Save the Last Dance is awesome. I think I've seen it a dozen times or so. Completely agree with you about Julia Stiles. At least Kerry Washington made it big. Sidenote/name drop - I went to high school with Fredro Starr who plays the thuggish/bad influence.

    Haven't seen Billy Elliot even though I've been meaning to forever. Haven't even heard of Pina, but that does sound amazing. Great picks!

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    1. No way! That's pretty cool. What was he like?

      Also...Billy Elliot is a MUST SEE! UGH, that movie just hits me so hard in the heart. LOVE IT!

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    2. Honestly, his personality wasn't much different than it is here and in most roles he's played. From what I remember, that is. I knew him...but I didn't know him if that makes sense.

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    3. Complete sense...and it's not surprising :-P

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  3. Yaas Save the Last Dance! I love that movie. We have two of the same picks this week, I've never seen Pina though (obviously) I can't wait to hear what you think of it.

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    1. I'll certainly review it here :-D

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  4. UGH. PINA. That movie is AMAZING. Or, at least, it was in 3D. I haven't seen it otherwise. But oh my GOD was it stunning in the theater!

    Save the Last Dance is a goddamned CLASSIC and I will not hear a word against it. Yes, Julia Stiles should absolutely have a bigger career in movies. I also love that Kerry Washington is in it!

    And Billy Elliott... <3

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    1. Kerry Washington is a gem and I'm so glad she was able to turn her sharp tongued scene stealing supporting role into a career that is so diverse and lovely.

      But poor Julia Stiles.

      And I'm so jealous you saw Pina in the theater. Our local (not so local) art house theater had it for like a week and the wife and I really wanted to go see it but we couldn't get a sitter and wound up missing it thinking "oh, it'll get here on DVD soon" and then...NO!

      But tomorrow!!!

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    2. I left work early and stayed late in NYC one day in order to see it. SO WORTH IT. And thank God for Criterion. One day I will be rich and have a 3D TV and will be able to pop in the 3D version at home and experience the genius whenever I want.

      Life goals. They're important.

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  5. I still need to see Save the Last Dance! I'm not participating this week, so I don't even know which movies I'd pick.

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    1. Wait...what?!?! See it NOW!

      I have a funny story about seeing Save the Last Dance in the theater. My girlfriend at the time looked a lot like Julia Stiles, no lie...like she would get approached in the mall while we were together and asked if she was Julia, thanks in large part to this movie's popularity. We saw this together in a packed theater where we were the ONLY white people (no exaggeration AT ALL) and after the movie was over and the lights came up I heard a bunch of gasps and quite a few people in the theater thought Julia was there...LOL...in some small Florida town...with 'this guy'...BAH!

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  6. I love Billy Elliott-great pic and I have seen Save The Last Dance but I don't recall much about it-oops must not have made an impression on me. Sorry. I have not heard of the last film. I think of the film "shall We Dance-not the remake with Richard Gere which is fun but the much better Japanese version which is the original. I would pick "The Turning Point" with Shirley MacLaine and Anne Bancroft which is a great film about 2 former friends who are/were ballerinas-Shirley became the wife and mom who gave up the stage. So much is in this film about friendship, rivalry and bitterness. The third is the film "Take The Lead" with Antonio Banderas which is not a great film but one that is enjoyable and somewhat based on the life of a teacher. I don't buy the ending but it is enjoyable

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    1. I hated The Turning Point so much...but I know it has it's champions.

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    2. I enjoyed it but it has been years since I have seen it. I liked the style though-what do you now like about it?

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  7. Gosh, I really should watch Save the last dance. I don't know why, but I always mix that film wity another dance movie.

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    1. So many have come after it with intentions of capitalizing off of it, so you've essentially seen the movie 100 times over...but, the original is the best :-D

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  8. Uh, why is the first 'Step Up' on this list?? And 'Take the Lead' with Antonio Banderas?!

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    1. I knew that Step Up would be featured on quite a few lists (or at least I thought it would...which shocks me that it wasn't), and I haven't seen Take the Lead...

      :-O

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  9. Ha, I still haven't seen Pina either. I should do that, really.

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    1. I have a feeling it may shake up The Fistis...

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  10. Great picks! Haven't seen the last one, but it sounds interesting.

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    1. I'll be sure to let everyone know what I think once I see it!

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  11. SAVE THE LAST DANCE is one of my guilty pleasures, I've seen that movie at least a dozen times.
    Looks like BILLY ELLIOT and BLACK SWAN are the notable contenders for this week's most popular picks. Haven't seen the latter, but recall Billy Elliot being good when I first saw it -unfortunately it's been awhile since I last watched it.
    I've never heard of Pina but that screenshot looks impressive, kinda wish I had Netflix...kinda.

    Mike's Cinema

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    1. Netflix is a cinephile Godsend...for sure.

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  12. It is nuts how much love Save the Last Dance is getting. I imagine if I saw that again, I'd cringe all the way through it. Buuuuuttttt....at the time? It was pretty good. The chick I went with seemed to like it, if you know what I mean, huh? Huh? (elbow nudge + eyebrow raise)

    Wow. I'm stupid. Anyway...

    Must. See. Billy Elliot.

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    1. LOL, I still love it...and I know what you mean...my girlfriend liked it too.

      ;-)

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  13. Nice list. I look forward to checking out Pina - but did you just say Netflix mailed it to you? They still do that?

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  14. The 2nd time I saw love for Billy Elliot which is a good movie as it's probably the only film of Stephen Daldry that I can actually tolerate.

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    1. It's his best film, by a pretty large margin...but I do also like The Reader more than most.

      The less said about The Hours and Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close the better.

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    2. No, no, no, no, no, no, no, it's called Excruciatingly Ludicrous & Inexecusably Cloy.

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  15. Pina's actually really g ood, I was amzed at some of the dances and my iTunes is full of songs I discovered watching it.
    I should give Save the Last Dance another try. I watched it in preparation for this week and did what I never do- gave up after 45 minutes.

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    1. I have a serious soft spot for Save the Last Dance :-D

      I can't wait to watch Pina. Came home from being out of town this weekend to find it in my mailbox, so I'm all for watching it tonight!

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  16. I haven't seen the last 2 movies on your list. Save the Last Dance looks like fun, and the other one looks interesting.

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    1. I hope to be weighing in on Pina soon!

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  17. I was away so I'm late to the party this week. I really like Billy Elliott, it's such a sweet story with so many layers. I think I've admitted before that I'm not much of a fan of Julia Stiles, sorry, so I avoided Save the Last Dance like the plague but I have caught bits and pieces at different times and it looks pleasant enough. I've never heard of Pina but it looks interesting.

    Our little back and forth about Liza Minnelli earlier in the week inspired one of my choices this week, and the film also includes Billy Elliott's Julie Walters.

    My three for the week:

    Stepping Out (1991)-Liza Minnelli plays a former Broadway dancer who moves to Buffalo and opens a dance studio where a disparate group of women take her tap class. As the movie moves along they find new strengths as a group as they prepare for the big show. Great cast, Andrea Martin, Jane Krakowski, Julie Walters, Shelley Winters and of course Liza pep up this little known drama.

    Bootmen (2000)-Story of a man who works in a steel mill whose ambition to dance professionally looks like it can happen when he tries to organize his own troupe but might be derailed by conflicts caused by his troubled brother. Director Dein Perry, who conceived the stage show Tap Dogs, based this on his early life. Set in New South Wales, Australia the cast includes a pre-fame Sam Worthington and talented dancer Adam Garcia.

    The Turning Point (1977)-Anne Bancroft and Shirley MacLaine play long time best friends who had met as promising ballet students but whose lives have taken them in different directions. Anne has stuck it out and is now a prima ballerina nearing the end of her career while Shirley married, had three children and runs a dance school in Oklahoma City. When they are reunited and it seems one of Shirley's daughters has what it takes to make it to the top old rivalries re-emerge. Somewhat hackneyed story is bolstered by strong performances by the main pair, Anne is better than Shirley, and wonderful ballet performances including some by Mikhail Baryshnikov at his peak.

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    1. I've only seen The Turning Point of your picks...and I kind of hated that one :-P

      BUT, I do rather love both MacLaine and Bancroft in the film, even if the film itself made me want to punch myself in the face.

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