This week, Cineast previews the new movies One Chance, Alexander and the Terrible Horrible No Good Very Bad Day and Dracula Untold.
James Corden and Julie Walters star in One Chance, a biopic about British singing sensation Paul Potts. Potts was brought to international prominence after he was chosen by Simon Cowell for Britain’s Got Talent—that’s the British program that served as a model for American Idol. Although a born singer and self-admitted “opera psycho,” Potts’ working-class upbringing meant that he was constantly among people who were either ignorant of his talent and who were often hostile to the very idea of opera. While his mother is encouraging, his father, played by the great Colm Meaney, is dismissive of Potts’ aspirations. Early rejections, including a devastating master-class where none other than Luciano Pavarotti dismisses Potts’ dreams of singing professionally, seem to leave Potts little choice but to bite the bullet and give up singing. Then he enters the Britain’s Got Talent contest, and the rest is history. Sure to warm many a heart.
Alexander and the Terrible Horrible No Good Very Bad Day
Alexander and the Terrible Horrible No Good Very Bad Day, based on the young adult classic novel, takes off from a premise that pretty much anyone can agree with: the worst days of our lives happen in middle school. Middle school is when kids gang up on each other every day and seem to feel no compunction about ridiculing their own best friends if it’s expedient. Middle school is when you’re supposed to act tough but in reality you’re actually so thin-skinned that the slightest suggestion that you’re abnormal can send you into a red-faced fit of mortification. Needless to say, the problems that seem so devastating to middle-schoolers seem trivial to adults, but their impact on middle-schoolers is nonetheless huge. Now, none of that is any fun, and would be thoroughly unpleasant to read about or watch, but Alexander and the Terrible Horrible No Good Very Bad Day mixes things up so that one day all of the bad stuff happens not to middle school-aged Alexander, but rather to the other people in his family. These are people who, from Alexander’s perspective, seem to lead lives of ease and unbroken success compared to his own. Of course, in order for his brother and parents to experience the same devastation Alexander feels everyday, seriously bad stuff has to happen to them—and it does. But this is a Disney film, so it never gets that bad. With Steve Carell and Jennifer Garner.
It had to happen sooner or later. Vampires are so cool these days, it’s time to rehabilitate the original bloodsucker himself. Dracula Untold retells the story of Dracula as a handsome, misunderstood hero, fighting to save his adorable son, his knockout wife, and his kingdom.