Disney’s Let It Shine (DVD)/LOL
(Lionsgate Blu-ray)/Never Stand Still
(First Run DVD/all 2012)
Picture: C+/B-/C+ Sound: C+/B/C+ Extras: C-/C-/C Main Programs: C-/C-/B-
performing arts can be a great thing, but sometimes they are sold short and the
results can be lame. Let’s look at two
examples on how this can go wrong and then see the work it takes to make them
Disney’s Let It Shine (2012) is their latest attempt to
do a musical with dancing and singing… well, sort of. This is the company’s attempt to jump on the
Tyler Perry bandwagon by making this Gospel/Urban romp an all tween/teen
affair, but as always, the only things street about this only resemble Sesame Street.
James Williams’ plays a young man named DeBarge (all thiiiiiiis love is waiting
for you) who plays in the church by day, but also wants to get involved with
other music, especially when a pop singer Coco Jones) introduces him to a new
rhythm of the night. And a contest is
taking place where all performing hope the judges will say “I Like It!”
didn’t like it because I never believed it.
The singing-at-people strategy is always annoying and resembles an old
Pringles TV ad. This is technically a
backstage musical, but the idea that the male and female leads have music that
is that different and only if they unite their music can they unite is very
weak here. Yes, the cast has some
talent, but it is too straight-jacketed (you don’t wear it well) and this is so precalculated that Texas
Instruments might sue for copyright infringement. Shine
hardly does and is worth skipping. An
extra music scene and Digital Copy for PC and PC portable devices are the only
worse is the fallen Disney Angel (some say devil) Miley Cyrus (well, let’s
blame her dad too) trying a turn at dramatic acting (OK… HEY!!!... Stop
laughing! No, your going to hurt
yourself. Wait ‘til your stomach hurts.)
in Lisa Azuelos’ really, really bad LOL
(2012) with Demi Moore (yes, it gets worse) as her free-wheeling mother where
Cyrus’ character gets involved with several guys who are “cute” (read made to
be as pretty as her and yes, we can see the make-up and unusually bright
lighting on them, even at Cyrus’ expense; a female director showing her shallow
hand) but it gets much worse.
talks like this (the director co-wrote the would-be screenplay) and this just
gets worse and worse and worse, so much so that you cannot believe how bad, but
definitely an early candidate for multiple Razzie Awards. Cyrus was never that great (life father like
daughter) and you will not find any real laughs or real anything else about
include three featurettes and a feature length audio commentary track (ugh!) by
Director & Cast.
we have a project that takes its audience seriously. Ron Honsa’s Never Stand Still: Dancing At Jacob’s Pillow (2012) which tells us
how a great generation of dancers, especially men, came out of the title locale
created by the legendary classical dancer/choreographer Ted Shawn as a way for
all dancers to find their way into the art.
However, he wanted to encourage more men to do so and in 1930 when the
place was built, that was rare indeed.
is always considered (even to this day) a parlance of females only by stereotyped
standards, but it turns out this has become a legendary Mecca and each year,
they even have a festival for performers who live there with others as a
functioning community. It is one of the
great untold stories of dance in America and worldwide, which is why even at a
too-brief 74 minutes, Never Stand Still
is a solid documentary on the subject, especially by and for people who take
the art seriously and not just as a joke or commodity.
include several performance clips, The Carter Family Farm at Jacob’s Pillow and
an extended interview with Merce Cunningham.
anamorphically enhanced 1.78 X 1 image on both DVDs are a little soft, but Still has an excuse for being a
documentary with various location shots and understandable motion blur, while Shine is a studio effort and should
look better than this. The 1080p 2.35 X
1 digital High Definition image transfer on LOL is a little better by default, in part because it is the only
one here on Blu-ray, but it can still look strained, have color limits and
Dolby Digital 5.1 on Shine is too
much towards the front speakers and dialogue (and even vocals) too much in the
center channel, so it is truly no better than lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo on
Still, even when location audio
limits are noticed. That leaves the
DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 7.1 lossless mix on LOL which is not any kind of demo for a 7.1 sound mix by a
longshot, but has a consistent soundfield, could have been a competent 5.1 mix
and is a very unimaginative mix.
- Nicholas Sheffo