CHICAGO – When faced with adversity, the best way around it is to somehow break into song. That is the feeling behind the Brown Paper Box Co.’s “Positively Present: An Uplifting Cabaret,” running April 7th and 8th at Mary’s Attic in Chicago’s Andersonville neighborhood. The event features company member Kristi Szczepanek as host, and presents song stylings by other company members, including Anna Schutz, plus some special guests. For details and ticket information, click here.
Film Review: Despite Cast, ‘Sing’ Fails to Strike a Chord
CHICAGO – Singing is something that everyone can do. I tend to do it while in the shower or sitting in traffic. I’ve been told I have the singing voice of an angel… of death. Okay, I’m exaggerating, but the point is that while everyone can sing, not everyone should. The same extends to creating films like “Sing,” which is loud but seldom harmonious.
This territory has been well-trodden, especially in the last decade. Musicals that lack the creativity to make original songs specific to the film’s plot and emotional points. These films don’t always turn into karaoke clusterfucks. Sometimes the plot perfectly mirrors the emotion of whatever top 40 pop song is being used as exposition. “Sing” suffers from the disconnect created by these kinds of songs. Being limited to contemporary-ish music, you have to make whatever songs are available work, even if the fit isn’t perfect. Doing this continuously within a movie creates tiny fractures every time a song doesn’t perfectly align with a situation. If this happens enough, the fractures turn into fissures that can end up collapsing the foundation the film was built on.
This might sound like a daunting task, but “Sing” showed it had promise during one dramatic scene. One of the most genuine moments in the film is when punk-turned-pop porcupine Ash (voiced by Scarlett Johansson) performs the only piece of original music in the entire film. By the time we are shown the true potential of “Sing” it is close to the end of the final act, and our interest is long gone. Everything about this film screams conventionality, not offering a single note of originality.
Matthew McConaughey plays the eccentric Buster Keating in ‘Sing’
Photo credit: Universal Pictures