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StreetDance 3D: Britain’s Version of Step Up 3D
In StreetDance 3D, a group of London street dancers lose their main dancer to a rival dance gang and subsequently lose their rehearsal space. After trying to find a new location and raise money, they manage to secure a rehearsal space at a ballet school, thanks to one of its teachers, Helena (Rampling). The rehearsal space comes at a cost, though; Helena insists that the street dancers have to work with the school’s classically trained ballet dancers and include them in their dance routine, which they plan on performing at a street dance championship.
The clash between the classical dancers and street dancers is as predictable as it comes. Throw in a romantic relationship between street dancer Carly (Burley) and ballet dancer Tomas (Winsor), add a few dance battles in underground clubs; and you’ve got the basic formula of this standard dance film.
To be realistic, no one goes to these dance films for the story or acting. Instead, it’s the dancing show-offs that are the real case. A solid example of so, are the Step Up series that are very popular despite the awful acting and watered down plots. Last year’s latest instalment, Step Up 3D, is similar to what you’ll be seeing in StreetDance 3D – but with different settings and dance moves, and maybe even slightly better acting.
There haven’t been many British dance films in recent times; the most famous being Billy Elliot, but this film is definitely worth watching. StreetDance 3D is full of non-stop dancing scenes, which are quite enjoyable to watch. The actors and directors seemed to have learned from previous dance films that the winning ticket is to skip all the pointless drama, and focus instead on the choreography of the dance sequences and the filming techniques that show off the dancers’ talents.
The cast’s vehicle is full of young actors, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Apart from Rampling, the most recognizable face might be George Sampson, a 17-year-old dancer who appeared more than once on the popular TV show Britain’s Got Talent and also was the winner of the show’s 2008 series. This is promising evidence that there are indeed real talents in the film.
Enhanced by clever cinematography, the dance sequences really shine. The film was shot carefully to allow for the smallest details to be noted, with wide shots provided, using some of London’s landmark areas and sights as scene locations.
The 3D effects in StreetDance 3D aren’t that impressive, but still a suitable presentation since the film seems to be mainly targeting teenagers. Also, the lighting in the underground club, where the street dance battles take place, is quite disconcerting and can distract the viewer from enjoying the film to its fullest.
StreetDance 3D doesn’t take itself too seriously, which is the main key for its success. Younger audiences who enjoy dance films will surely enjoy watching this film. Still; it’s not that much different from the other recent dance films.
Marking the fifth instalment in the Underworld franchise, Blood Wars rests in the hands of a first-time feature director, Anna Foerster who, although managing to create a few notable moments of action, fails to bring any ingenuity or freshness to its now exhausted vampires-versus-werewolves narrative.
The story begins with a brief recap of events from the last four films where we learn that everyone’s favourite vampire death dealer, Selena (once again fully embraced by the leather-clad, forever sulking Kate Beckinsale) has been betrayed and banished by her kind.
Still trying to cope with the pain of having given up her vampire-werewolf hybrid daughter Eve for everyone’s safety, Selena is surprised to be summoned back into the vampire community - now led by the scheming Semira (Pulver) - who wish to make use of her skills in order to train the new generation of fighters, while still escaping her own chasers and searching for her daughter.
Taking quite a bit of time to get going, Blood Wars – written by Cory Goodman – is filled with lots of politics and nonsensical dialogue between characters who seemingly have a hard time in conveying any emotion, thus, making it all that difficult for the viewer to get invested in what they have to say. Drenched in a seemingly cold, metallic-blue tint, Blood Wars – although certainly not heavy on the action front – does manage to offer a couple relatively exciting action set-pieces. However, considering that this is a vampires-verses-werewolves kind of a movie, there just isn’t enough of that that specific mythology to set it apart from any other action movies – no wooden stakes or silver bullets to see here folks, just plenty of swirling swords and guns that can’t hurt anyone.
Another problem here is that the mythology behind the franchise in general – something the keeps spinning around aimlessly with no real focus or ending in sight – is a little hard to take seriously.
All of the characters, including the PVC-wearing Kate Beckinsale, who thinks that scowling her way through the scenes will get her anywhere, are all without an ounce of charm or personality – which sadly, brings us to a conclusion that there is no fun to be had in this rather forgettable cinematic offering and generic continuation of a franchise which, perhaps, might be ready now to close its doors and call it a day.
What can you say about the seemingly unstoppable force that is Nicolas Cage that hasn’t been said before? A magnet for the most troubled, muddled and just generally exasperating films to hit cinemas in the last five years, his latest work in USS Indianapolis: Men of Courage does nothing to change his fortunes.
Despite being based on one a true story that has all the makings of a war epic, the Mario Van Peebles-directed USS Indianapolis bleeds all and any gravitas and emotion out of its incredibly dramatic source material.
The story goes as thus: the eponymous US Navy cruiser delivered the first parts of the atomic bomb that would go on to devastate Hiroshima, before being torpedoed by the Japanese navy, leaving some 300 of the 1000-plus crewmen dead and the rest stranded in shark-infested waters. Said sharks, along with dehydration and salt water poisoning, leave just over 300 survivors to be rescued.
At the centre of the ensuing hubbub is Cage’s Captain McVay, who many, very unreasonably, blame for the death of the 700 or so victims – so you see, it’s a very complex story, but one that very quickly descend into and exercise on how not to make a war film.
The occasional laughable CGI aside, Cage is oddly sedate, bordering on placid, in his role – yes, the central character is possibly the flattest element of the film, while seasoned actors, Tom Sizemore and Thomas Jane, are given little to chew on in their respective roles.
While starting exactly as one would expect a war film to, the wreckage part of the film turns into cheap disaster movie, before turning into a courtroom drama in the final act. It’s a muddle of a film that fails to really drum to the beat of McVay’s potentially brilliant arc as a firm commander that eventually buckles under the unjust pressure he receives back at home.
Bad CGI, a mammoth two hour-plus running time and Nic Cage can be forgiven, but what’s at the heart of this film’s mess is the script. Jumping from event to event, plotline to plotline, at a whim, with Cage’s soft murmured speech used to pave over the transitions, USS Indianapolis’s pacing is that of a film hurrying to stuff as many ideas and threads as possible – expect that’s not the case. Van Peebles tries so hard to build the layers of an epic, when, actually, all he needed to do was tell this simple but stirring story as it is.