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The Greatest Showman Hugh Jackman, Zac Efron, Michelle Williams, Rebecca Ferguson, Zendaya, Keala Settle, Sam Humphrey, Paul Sparks, Paul Sparks,

The Greatest Showman: an original musical loosely based on the life of P.T. Barnum and his “abnormals assemble” crew. You have two choices with this film: enjoy it as a (very) lightweight piece of entertainment, or thumb through the catalogue of issues with its presentation as an actual ‘movie’. My biggest gripe is the songs – they’re all too similar and formulaic; designed by committee – starting with a quiet talky bit, rapidly build into a punch-the-air, feelgood and uplifting sing-a-long major-key chorus, then ending with a more emotional talky bit. Granted, they’re perfect for a musical, but each one is about twice as long as necessary and the core numbers are continually repeated throughout the entire picture. While it makes the most of the cinematic medium through scale and visual effects, it’s unbelievably stagey and theatrical; essentially begging for a live action theatre run. The story is wafer thin; it is the most positive spin on Barnum’s life told through very broad brushstrokes, and whenever someone is about to do a bit of real acting (starting to get vaguely emotional) they spontaneously burst in to song! The critic character is a laughably knowing pre-emptive jibe at how the film itself would obviously land; engineered to be popular with the masses but sneered at by critics – and I can understand both sides. Every family member, friend, and colleague that’s seen this has gone to the cinema for multiple viewings and subsequent sing-a-long viewings, yet the critical response is lukewarm at best. The Greatest Showman is hammier than a hog roast and cheesier than a fondue: it’s unashamedly naff, but is clearly plugging a massive gap in the popular and musical markets.

Score: 5/10

The Greatest Showman Boozy Bar Drunk Mumford Song Hugh Jackman, Zac Efron, Michelle Williams, Rebecca Ferguson, Zendaya, Keala Settle, Sam Humphrey, Paul Sparks, Paul Sparks,

The Greatest Showman Bearded Lady Cleavage Hugh Jackman, Zac Efron, Michelle Williams, Rebecca Ferguson, Zendaya, Keala Settle, Sam Humphrey, Paul Sparks, Paul Sparks,

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Turkey Shoot (aka Escape 2000 / Blood Camp Thatcher): citizens that defy the futuristic totalitarian government (branded ‘deviants’) are sent to prison camps for re-education; but this camp-master has other plans. The scene’s set well with an opening montage of violence / police brutality. The contrast between the scrawny camp workers and the decadent, pipe-smoking, cognac-sipping, liberty-takin’ fat-cat elite is simple, but effective. The direction, production, sets and action are all way above scratch – particularly the striking imagery throughout and budget busting finale. Putting this DVD in I was expecting a cheap, schlocky B-movie and although this meets all of that criteria, it doesn’t hurt that it’s also a well-made, smart, political, exploitative, black-comedy, prison-camp action thriller. Boiled down, it’s a futuristic take on ‘The Most Dangerous Game‘ – Turkey Shoot is also, undeniably, 24 carat trash.

Score: 7/10

Freedom is obedience.
Obedience is work.
Work is life.