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Justin Bieber: Never Say Never: For Bieber Fans Only
Directed by Jon Chu (Step Up2 and 3D), Never Say Never is a 3D documentary that follows the young pop star Justin Bieber with some footage of performances both on and off stage from his 2010 concert tour. It also features some of today’s famous pop artists, such as Usher, Miley Cyrus, Jaden Smith, Ludacris and many more.
Following the huge success of Michael Jackson’s This is It, it was no surprise to see that this project was more than ready to launch. The film allows audiences a closer look at Justin Bieber’s journeys behind the stage. At times, they can be more entertaining as you discover who’s responsible for such amazing shows, whether it’s the choreographers, voice coaches or even the background dancers.
However, it’s not mainly a rehearsal showcase of Bieber as much an indirect publicity stunt for him. As if he wasn’t overexposed enough on YouTube (his video ‘Baby‘ has over 500 million views and still counting) and on radio waves in general, this will definitely fill in the gaps – if there are any.
To be clear, nothing in this film works: from the characters’ debatable charisma and the cinematography that tires you by the first half to Bieber’s annoying vocals in surround sound, this could easily have been a free online documentary instead of a decent theatrical release. It’s obvious that this film is just an excuse for making more profits out of the Bieber mania spreading these days.
Furthermore, this film doesn’t use 3D well; it’s just not impressive. Sure, you will feel the 3D effects of the dance and rehearsal scenes as you did in Step Up 3D. However, the shots are just not as colourful as the trailers promised – a negative element that also didn’t help in carrying the film, even for younger audiences.
While it’s definitely not for everyone, Justin Bieber fans will still be pleasantly surprised by this rich production, which is filled with the material that drove millions of fans to fall in love with him. Nevertheless, if you simply get annoyed by his voice, don’t even bother watching the preview.
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.