Be careful what you wish for. That’s the rather rote message at the heart of Adam Shankman’s long awaited sequel to noughties favourite Enchanted. It’s also a warning. A caution that all those that have clamoured for this moment these past fifteen years might well have heeded. Disenchanted is no outright flop and yet it is a film that comes perilously close to living up to its title in all the wrong ways. The poisoned apple doesn’t fall far from the twee. Perhaps a lack of faith behind the scenes at Disney has let the film down. Ambition curtailed. Cinematic potential stifled in favour of streaming and a trimmed budget. Disenchanted is sweet in the moment but little more than the a modern day’s ‘direct-to-DVD’ follow up.
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Things don’t exactly get off to a promising start with Black Adam. It’s all a bit Scorpion King – and not only because of the Dwayne Johnson connection. There’s an oddly echo laden narration. The grading is dire. As for the narrative itself, it all feels immediately suffocated by its grandiose sense of self importance. The mythos is as nonsensical as the setting is bizarrely groundless. Somewhere Middle Eastern, potentially but inconclusively on a different planet, and yet in an age long before the pyramids were built. Not that you’d think it from the fashion. A more adventurous romp will eventually ascend from the hogwash but only in the sense that it’s prelude achieved such a sterling feat in crippling expectations.
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Bros is the first mainstream Hollywood romcom to feature a gay couple in the leading roles. Even seeing it written down strikes an off note. An urge to contradict bubbles to the surface. But what about…? And yet, it’s true. A fumble through the classics may find a dozen gay best friends, each one more cliched than the last, but the finale is always the same. They all lived heterosexually ever after. Not so here. While the weight of expectation and historical significance do at times bear a heavy burden on Bros, it’s a winning starting shot for a much queerer future of funny at the multiplex.
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