While on my way to Peru last week, I decided to pop on the headphones and watch the Delta Airlines broadcast of August Rush. Even for a free airplane movie, this is one of the worst movies I have seen in a long time.
First, let's just say that whoever decides for Delta which films to show should be fired. Perhaps the airline is getting an amazing discount, but when the selection - of which the passengers have no choice whatsoever - consists of Balls of Fury, Rush Hour 3, Martian Child and August Rush, you know the passengers' interests are not the first consideration. Of those movies, August Rush is by far the worst.
The movie, which stars Keri Russell, Jonathon Rhys Meyers and Freddie Highmore, is one of the cheesiest, sappiest, fluffiest films I have seen in a long time. Honestly, it is nauseating. Let's see... August Rush starts out with Russell, a prodigy cellist, having a one-night but highly romantic fling with rocker Meyers on a rooftop. The next day, however, she is pulled away by her rich and protective father. Both devastated, the two decide to stop playing music, because that's what happens to musicians when they aren't allowed to see someone anymore a day after the meeting that person. Eleven years later, the son neither of them knew they have (um... yeah) sets out from his orphanage to find his parents, using his own musical gift to lead the way. His talent leads him from being a street musician to a Juliard prodigy - but is that enough to reunite him with his parents?
By basic concept, August Rush is guaranteed to be silly. After all, the movie is about three people who, by complete coincidence, are drawn together by music. The movie, directed by Kirsten Sheridan, is full of cliches, slow motion shots, forced dialogue, strained emotion and more. It's like the screenwriters studied every feel-good romantic and family film ever created, extracted the most overused and under-inspiring moment from those films and shoved them together in a hardly comprehensible sapfest.
Words cannot even describe how ludicrous this movie is; more than once, my friend and I exchanged eye contact just to express to one another that what we just watched really happened. At times, we were laughing at how bad this movie was. In fact, August Rush is so cheesy Warner Brothers should be sued by the FCC.
To compound problems, the acting is so over the top it's hard to handle. Russell and Meyers ham it up to compliment the pathetic script, shouting their emotions to the screen with the sincerity of clowns on meth. Freddie Highmore, who plays the title character, is the worst of the bunch, turning in an almost-creepy performance as a kid who, in the real world, would be beaten from sun-up to sun-down, and for good reason. His weird presence is impossible to relate to.
The movie's only saving grace is the music, which, at times, is pretty good. Its Oscar-nominated song is quite good, as is the musical sequence near the end that brings the film altogether.
Unfortunately, the music isn't nearly enough to save August Rush from being a disastrously lame family drama. Avoid this one at all costs.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.
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