Thursday, April 9, 2015

Thursday Movie Picks: Dance Movies


It's Thursday and I've got my dancing shoes on. No, really. At this time every week I take part in the Thursday Movie Picks meme hosted by Wanderer at Wandering Through the Shelves. It's a great weekly activity that is growing by the week. Hop over to her site and see how you can get involved. Jeez, I sound like an infomercial. Just check it out.

Anyhoo, this week the theme we're working with is dance movies. My wife and two daughters just love dance movies so I've seen way too many. And too many bad ones, no doubt. However, there are some that I enjoy. Granted, these tend to be the type of dance movies that my family doesn't like, or even watch in some cases. On top of that, I like to dig deep and suggest something you haven't watched. With that in mind, let's dance on over to my picks.

Okay, bad joke. Let's cut a rug...

Never mind. Here are my picks, chronologically, as always:

The Josephine Baker Story
(1991)
The person most consider the first African-American to rise to the level of international superstar was a dancer. She rose to fame by becoming a dancer abroad, mostly in Paris. If you've ever seen a picture of a topless black woman wearing a skirt of bananas chances are it was either Josephine Baker, or the woman who plays her, Lynn Whitfield. Whitfield is an actress who has been around for quite some time and this is her career-defining role. Much less dance movie than one about a dancer, but I'm going with it.


Rize
(2005)
Sometime in the earliest years of this century, a hybrid of break dancing and traditional African dance known as krumping came into our collective consciousness. This documentary is a large part of the reason why. It explores the history of the dance as well as chronicles the krumpers themselves and tells their stories. There are plenty of high-powered dance sequences, most at local competitions featuring the people we're getting to know rather intimately.


Tony Manero
(2008)
Set in Chile in 1979, we follow Raul. He's a bit of an oddball. He's 52 years old, and is obsessed with the American movie Saturday Night Fever. He goes to his local theater to see it every day. He practices all the moves and has even created a dance troupe out of his co-workers that performs a Saturday Night Fever revue.Of course, he himself plays the role of Tony Manero, the same one made famous by John Travolta. The prize Raul wants most, though, is to win the upcoming Tony Manero lookalike contest on a local TV show. This is all weird, but seems harmless, right? It would be if things stopped there. Unfortunately, to go with all of this, Raul is homicidal sociopath  Dance flicks tend to be happy-go-lucky affairs. Um...this ain't that. Don't come into this looking for polished, high energy routines performed by lithesome twenty-somethings. This is a dance movie for people who don't like dance movies, but dark, twisted character studies with social commentary thrown in. The commentary is aimed at the Pinochet dictatorship in Chile. And maybe at us in the States. Maybe. (click here for my full review)


32 comments:

  1. Tony Manero is in my watchlist as it's something I want to see as I heard it's part of a trilogy about Pinochet-era Chile.

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    1. Do it. Definitely. It's an excellent, dark movie to watch.

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  2. Tony Manero sounds very interesting, I'm not particularly proud of my country's relationship with Pinochet, especially during the Thatcher years (horrible women). Slightly related, but have you seen Nostalgia for the Light? A remarkable Chilean film about the Pincohet years.

    I'm going slightly off topic here, but what I found almost funny in a way is when the Soviet Union played Chile in the a 1974 World Cup qualifier, the Soviet Union refused to play on the pitch a few days previously a number of socialist prisoners were shot, The Soviet Union actually took the moral high ground! Anyway, the game had to be started at least and Chile kicked off and, of course, rolled the ball into the empty net and the game was eventually awarded as walkover win for Chile.

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    1. I've not seen Nostalgia for the Light. I'll have to see if I can find it. Fyi on Tony Manero, it never directly mentions Pinochet, I don't think, but as someone who lives there I'm sure you'll pick up on it. And that is a great World Cup story.

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  3. I haven't seen any of these, but all three sound very interesting. I think I'm going to throw Tony Manero in my Netflix queue if it's there.

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    1. Tony Manero is the best of the three. Just take a deep breath before you start.

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    2. Everything Britt just said!

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    3. Cool...just don't forget that deep breath.

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  4. How did I not know the Josephine Baker Story exists?!?!? MUST WATCH. Rize is incredible. And Tony Manero has been on my watchlist since it came out.

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    1. The Josephine Baker Story is very good. Need to rewatch it, myself. Yup, Rize is incredible. Check out Tony Manero when you get the chance.

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  5. I haven't seen any of these, but Tony Manero sounds very interesting.

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  6. Your list always have th unexpected ones, but it's good.
    Great picks!

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  7. Haven't seen any of these I'm afraid. But I'm intrigued by The Josephine Baker Story!

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    1. Hope you get to watch it. Would love to see it. Love to hear what you think.

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  8. Great picks! Haven't seen any of them but they all sound interesting!

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  9. I can always count on your contributions to make my watch list bigger than it already is! I haven't seen any of these, but am now intrigued to see THE JOSEPHINE BAKER STORY and TONY MANERO, can't say the same about RIZE as it doesn't interest me any. Great list.

    Mike's Cinema

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    1. Cool. Glad to make people aware of some lesser known or forgotten titles.

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  10. I haven't seen any of these, and they all look quite interesting.

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  11. I haven't seen any of these sorry to say and I'm trying to figure out how the hell I missed The Josephine Baker Story because damn that sort of thing is right up my alley. Now I'm on the hunt!! Thanks!

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    1. Unless you knew about it when it came out, it's easy to have missed. Love to hear what you think of it when you see it.

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  12. Oh by the way I just wanted to say I took your suggestion and watched "Black Dynamite". It was fun so thanks again for the tip.

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    1. I'm really glad you enjoyed it. It's one of my favorite spoofs. Thanks for letting me know.

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  13. I've not seen any of them. I need to see more movies!

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  14. Because the picture is dark, I thought your pick was Saturday Night Fever until I read the summary.

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    1. Lol. Has lots to do with SNF, but completely different. You've no idea how apt a description you gave when you wrote "the picture is dark."

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