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Retro Review: Jailhouse Rock

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On Jan. 8 of this year, I was driving home from work and flipping through the local radio stations when I stayed on the oldies station. The DJ mentioned it was Elvis’ birthday and they were playing some of his hit songs. After a couple of songs, it went back to their standard music programs playing some of the biggest hits from the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s. Elvis’s music was groundbreaking and was in a league of his own. He merged the songs and style that people of all race and gender could enjoy.

He was the king of rock and roll and his music continues to be listened to and appreciated even after decades since he has long since been gone. Although his music still lives on in great appreciation, the movies that starred Elvis isn’t remembered too fondly. A lot of the movies are campy, silly and was not the best written kind. Many were treated like drive-thru films to attract the youth of the day to see the films. Jailhouse Rock is the first Elvis film I ever watched. I have no previous knowledge of many of his films, but I know this launched the song and his stardom to the next degree after it was released. With that being said, is the movie any good or enjoyable? Well, I’ll be reviewing the film based on plot, acting ability and musicality. Does Elvis back up his music talent with acting talent or will he fade in the cold Kentucky rain. Let’s sit back and review Jailhouse Rock.

The story of this film features Elvis as a blue-collar man who ends up in jail when he kills a man with his bare hands while defending a woman from being harassed by some of the local gentlemen. While in jail, his cellmate (a former country singer), would lull the cellmates to sleep with his acoustic guitar. He tries his hand at it and even performs at a local jail variety show. The cellmate tells his to pursue music, so, once he is released, he tries his hand at becoming a musician and singer.

Along the way, he meets a woman who happens to work for a music company and she and his start their own business and become famous. Elvis learns about growing pains, his immature attitude and eventually becomes what the typical Hollywood star is thought about; becoming vain, uninterested and selfish. The film is the rise and slight dip in Elvis’s portrayal of a singer becoming famous, going to Hollywood and becoming self indulgent. The plot is simple and not really the most interesting. Elvis never really struggled in the music business once he was out of jail. He meets a beautiful woman, wows her with his look and some singing prowess and ultimately becomes a heartthrob to many younger woman who fancy his singing and dancing ability. The plot is all about Elvis adjusting to each new obstacle in his life and making as much money as he could, which comes out in the middle of the movie for some reason that is never addressed.

The acting is mediocre but Elvis’s style of acting is “unique.” When he is singing as a bar/burlesque style club, a guy in the audience isn’t paying attention and is laughing when talking to a woman. Elvis sees this, hops off the stage, mock laughs at him, slams the guitar on the table and storms off. When I first saw this, I busted out laughing. It was sudden and out of nowhere and it was something seeing Elvis having a temper tantrum. Granted I thought that, but, throughout the movie, he does that a couple of times and each time comes out of left field and it wasn’t needed.

At a party he was invited to, an older woman asked him a question about music and he said he didn’t know what the hell she was talking about and stormed out of the house. These weird tantrums and sudden bursts of insecurity was very distracting and the main problem was that it wasn’t needed and served no purpose besides Elvis wanting attention to subjects only he knows, which makes his character immature and pretty pretentiously annoying. Although he does have his charm, his character is pretty unlikable and when I see Elvis, I want to like him. I want to root for him but, watching him in this film, and his acting ability, makes me want to just see him get punched (spoilers, that does happen). Another thing about his acting in the film, whether it was all on him or the director, is that when a new woman would catch his attention, he would have creep face on. He wouldn’t look at their eyes, just their body and his mouth would be open and he turns into a mouth breather. It was creepy and just shows the females in the movie that they want Elvis to stare at them like that because when he does that, he wants and desires you. How poetic.

When you talk Elvis, music is a factor. Jailhouse Rock is the hit song that came from the movie and one of his most famous hits. The actual song is played and it is fantastic. It has some rock and roll and rockabilly styling that was entertaining. The rest of the songs, well, they’re boring. They’re country style and slow. They don’t have personality and they sound like songs you sing when you want to serenade someone. Granted this film was made in 1957 and rock and roll was still a new wave of music, I wish some of the songs still had some personality. A good country song isn’t bad for the movie but the main situation is that they played the same songs over and over again. Elvis’s audition tape was sung over 5 times throughout the film and it was not jailhouse rock. His slow songs are good once in a while but after getting amped up with the title song, I wanted to see and hear more and not downplay his oomph and singing personality. The rest of the songs in the movie are forgettable and don’t leave an impression with me.

Overall, this movie isn’t how I want to remember Elvis. Granted, some of his beach movies look campy also, but maybe they will offer more likability out of him. Based on what I saw of this movie, it wasn’t what I was hoping for. Elvis is a immature baby and treats people like dirt except when he pursues his various women just based solely on looks and not because of capability. His character is so unappealing that I wondered what it was that made him so interesting in the film that women would be desiring him. It was the fifties and people often say it was a much more simpler time. I wasn’t alive and my parents were still babies, so, I cannot get a reference from them for how it was. Regardless, the film had some okay moments but, in the overall plot, musicality and acting ability of our star, it was lackluster and monotonous. I will honor Elvis by listening to his music and hearing his soulful voice break through the speakers and get me feeling good or melancholy based on which song I hear from him.

 

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Caesar’s Reign Comes To The Big Screen With New Trailer For Kingdom Of The Planet Of The Apes

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Director Wes Ball breathes new life into the global, epic franchise set several generations in the future following Caesar’s reign, in which apes are the dominant species living harmoniously and humans have been reduced to living in the shadows. As a new tyrannical ape leader builds his empire, one young ape undertakes a harrowing journey that will cause him to question all that he has known about the past and to make choices that will define a future for apes and humans alike. “Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes” is directed by Wes Ball (the “Maze Runner” trilogy) and stars Owen Teague (“IT”), Freya Allan (“The Witcher”), Kevin Durand (“Locke & Key”), Peter Macon (“Shameless”), and William H. Macy (“Fargo”). The screenplay is by Josh Friedman (“War of the Worlds”) and Rick Jaffa & Amanda Silver (“Avatar: The Way of Water”) and Patrick Aison (“Prey”), based on characters created by Rick Jaffa & Amanda Silver, and the producers are Wes Ball, Joe Hartwick, Jr., p.g.a. (“The Maze Runner”), Rick Jaffa, p.g.a., Amanda Silver, p.g.a., Jason Reed, p.g.a. (“Mulan”), with Peter Chernin (the “Planet of the Apes” trilogy) and Jenno Topping (“Ford v. Ferrari”) serving as executive producers.

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Masterchef Is Back! For Halo Season 2

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A quick recap – Halo is set in a war-torn 26th century, where humanity led by the United Nations Space Command or UNSC and their supersoldiers known as Spartans, fights against the onslaught of the alien conglomerate known as the Covenant. The full dust-up of Halo Season 1, can be found here. Onward into the introduction of Halo Season 2!

It’s been six months since the forced separation of Spartan Masterchief John (Pablo Schreiber) and Cortana (Jen Taylor), and the Silver Team has been sent on a mission to evacuate residents of the planet Sanctuary before the Covenant glasses the whole thing. This comes with its own set of challenges, given the resistance of the planet’s inhabitants, and it doesn’t help that Masterchef starts seeing things right in the middle of trying to save some marines. Or is he? Those energy swords the squad of Elites were carrying looked worryingly real.

Back on Reach, the Silver Team is entirely dismayed to learn they have a brand new Office of Naval Intelligence (ONI) representative come in as the new boss, to finally replace the traitorous Halsey, James Ackerson (Joseph Morgan). And of course, Ackerson manages to immediately get under Masterchief’s skin, by not only expressing far too much interest in John’s relationship with Cortana but also apparently disbelieving of John’s report of his encounters on Sanctuary. That just means Masterchief has to go around, if not entirely over, Ackerson’s head.

Elsewhere, Soren (Bokeem Woodbine) is trolling the slave markets in his boredom, only to stumble across a soon-to-be indentured servant who claims he knows the whereabouts of the UNSC’s most hunted human, Catherine Halsey (Natascha McElhone). That should bring a huge bounty, but really, Soren should’ve known better by now.

Halo Season 2 premieres Thursday, February 8th, 2024, and will continue to air every Thursday, only on Paramount+!

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Reborn as a Vending Machine I Now Wander the Dungeon’: I look forward to your next use!  

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If the title of this delightful little isekai anime entry didn’t give it all away, our nameless protagonist is a vending machine fanatic who, after being killed by a vending machine, gets reincarnated in another fantasy-style world as one! 

Japan has a tendency to give birth to all sorts of crazed fads that can last for decades, and no one does better when it comes to the vending machine industry, too. These days there are vending machines that will serve you sushi you can actually eat, hot pizza in the box, wagyu steaks, freshly popped popcorn, and a whole mind-boggling array of tasty treats, and other non-edible but still useful items! Umbrellas! Condoms! Oxygen masks, sterile bandages, shoes, and emergency clothing! Actually, far more things that we use on an everyday basis, could be considered as technically a vending machine, and the anime explores that beautifully. Into the world of vending machine fanaticism, we dive! 

So our poor protagonist never gave a name, and inevitably when he’s discovered by his first official friend the starving hunter Lammis, she dubs him “Boxxo”. Like many isekai that seem to take inspiration from video games and RPGs, Boxxo discovers he ways he can communicate, level up his existence, and even evince magic-like powers and attack and defend against monsters and enemies. Though in the beginning, and as an underlying theme throughout the show, Boxxo is primarily concerned with providing unique never-before-tasted-in-this-world food and drink to the amazed folk, human and otherwise. 

Boxxo’s prices are entirely reasonable and hey, he can even choose to give out his wares for free on occasion, so his popularity immediately skyrockets. Lammis with her awkward charm and prodigious strength blessing, introduces Boxxo to other friends of Clearflow Lake Village and associates along the way – Director Bear, an actual bear-monster who’s the head of the Hunters Association; Lammis’ friend Hulemy, the insane genius magic item engineer; the Bearcats Suco, Pell, Short and Mikenne, cheerful hunters with astronomic appetites; even suspicious Kerioyl, leader of the Menagerie of Fools party. 

The show approaches the practicality and versatility of the true vending machine with amusement, but also with the love true fans display for things they’re passionate about. Certainly, things like a brothel needing a condom vending machine exist in our world, but to toss them into a potentially more innocent other-world isekai is a welcome and often hilarious treat. The show celebrates the cheerful idiocy and devotion of the fans to their chosen fandom, in this case, yes vending machines, but also the spirit of the lonely otaku finally finding their Tribe! 

Pay your coins to watch ‘Reborn as a Vending Machine’ on Crunchyroll now! 

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