Cinema Crazed's Top 10 of 2012

2012 was filled with so many surprises, and it’s a year we may be talking about for a while. The big screen adaptation of “21 Jump Street” we were convinced would be pure swill ended up being the funniest comedy in the last few years. Ridley Scott’s return to science fiction “Prometheus” which we were sure would be an epic masterpiece ended up being sub-par genre fare that didn’t exactly re-invent the wheel in spite of causing a rift between genre fans who either loved it or hated it. However, the comedy movie about a foul mouthed talking teddy bear pretty much met our rock bottom expectations. Disney and Marvel Studios took a gamble on a movie that assembled a group of superheroes from film franchises of varying success entrusting the task to a director and storyteller primarily beloved by cult fans, and ended up conquering the box-office, and the world.

Disney’s gamble on another fantasy film entitled “John Carter” also made history as one of the biggest flops in movie history. A movie based on a board game was crucified by movie fans all over the world, while the director of “The Avengers” made waves with his cult horror comedy “The Cabin in the Woods.” Quentin Tarantino introduced one of the rare African American Western heroes to mainstream cinema,  and The Dark Knight made his return to the screen unfortunately being forever linked to a horrific killing spree inflicted by a heartless monster, prompting Hollywood to re-think their stance on film violence causing an uproar among movie buffs. 2012 was a rather eventful year in the world of cinema and storytelling, and without further ado we introduce our Top 10 and Worst 10 Films of 2012.

Be sure to send us your own Top 10 and Worst 10 of 2012! We can likely begin a conversation that’s human and polite.

10.5. Comic-Con Episode IV: A Fan’s Hope
Directed by Morgan Spurlock
Magnet Releasing
Release Date: April 6th
I was disappointed in the reviews for “Comic Con Episode IV.” They were mostly positive, but I was disappointed in just how condescending and patronizing they were. Even the rave reviews were kind of snarky about the subject material for Morgan Spurlock’s documentary about the biggest pop culture event in the world. Truth be told, “Comic Con Episode IV” is a documentary that deserves to be part one in a trilogy. In its current form, while it’s absolutely entertaining, it only scratches the surface in to the appeal and magic of the San Diego Comic Con, and why people flock there every year to be among their kinds. I wish the stigma against comic book fans would stop. Comic Book, Video Game, and Anime fanatics are no different from sports fans.

Instead of painting out face for a team, we paint our face like a superhero. Instead of wearing Jerseys and hoodies, we wear costumes and fan shirts. And at the end of the day we have as much passion as sports fans do for their teams. Our teams are DC, Marvel, Mass Effect, Deadpool, you name it, we love it. And we support it with money, time, and love. Just like sports fans do. “Comic Con Episode IV” reveals that fanatics that flock to comic con are all average people who work hard and are law abiding, sane individuals. Some are creative, some are sexy, some are average folks, some are artists, some of them have fulfilling and loving relationships with breathing women, some of them have career goals and desires to express themselves, and some of them just want to escape for a while in the guise of their favorite comic book character to feel apart of something.

Comic Con has definitely become too commercial and corporate over the years, but the magic is still retained as fans find a home at the yearly event that allows them to be comfortable among a mass of fans, all of whom never care about sexual orientation, skin color, or religion. “Battlestar Galactica” fans flock to celebrate the show together, “The Walking Dead” fans celebrate the series together, and at the end of the day they realize deep down they’re just fans with no racial or class barriers between them. There’s interviews from noted celebrities, and a great appearance from Stan Lee who knows the magic of the event, and humors every single fan who praises him, like a reverend at church. Thank you, Morgan Spurlock. Now begin working on the sequel. Stat!

Best of the Best:
The interviews with comic company talent scouts with potential artists was grueling. Honest criticism can be terrifying.



10. The Innkeepers
Directed by Ti West
Magnet Releasing
Release Date: February 3rd
Buy It Now!
It’s fun to believe in scary stories. I have a good time looking up videos of ghosts, and pictures of apparitions. But fandom, like anything, can only be taken in small portions and can not become an obsession. Obsessions are dangerous and potentially fatal if we’re not careful. “The Innkeepers” is another in a series of director Ti West’s slow boil horror films that delivers an excellent punch to the gut. And while many categorize this as a ghost film, I tend to look at it more as a warning to folks about the dangers of obsession. Especially to the easily impressionable.

Pat Healy and the adorable Sara Paxton play Claire and Luke, two innkeepers for a dying hotel on the verge of closing. As a means of saving money, they hole up in the hotel’s empty rooms and sleep over, while attempting to investigate the strange hauntings of the famous landmark. While there, a noted psychic stays over at the hotel and warns of delving in to the mysteries of the hotel and its secrets. This only inspires Claire and Luke to continue digging deeper, and inevitably things take a turn for the worse. Based around mood and incredible tension, “The Innkeeepers” builds its characters and its core premise slowly within chapters, and only vaguely hints at what the ending is leading in to. Though he doesn’t outright explain to the audience what the big surprise was, it’s a very memorable and brutal final sequence that displays Ti West’s innate ability to tell a story and build wonderful characters we can root for, and feel for, in the end.

Best of the Best:
The Easter Egg in the final scene is a stroke of genius.



9. The Aggression Scale
Directed by Steven C. Miller
Anchor Bay Entertainment
Release Date: May 29th (DVD & Blu-Ray)
Buy It Now!
Don’t people do research anymore? If you’re going to invade a home, at least make sure there’s not a psychopathic pre-teen Macgyver lurking inside. Director Steven C. Miller is two for two in 2012. Delivering a raucous and ridiculous remake of “Silent Night, Deadly Night” with the furiously fun “Silent Night,” he matched it up with the vicious and extremely excellent “The Aggression Scale.” It’s a horror movie! It’s an action movie! It’s a thriller! It has dark comedy! Family drama! How can you not enjoy this?

It’s “Home Alone” meets “Straw Dogs” with a hint of “I Spit on Your Grave,” director Steven C, Miller works with a noticeably small budget to deliver what is really one of the most entertaining action horror films I’ve seen all year. Four armed hitmen are on a campaign of terror across the country to find the lawyer that stole a half a million dollars from mob boss Bellavance (as played with delirious relish by Ray Wise). Bellavance wants the money so he can flee the country, and in effect, he can promote his second hand Lloyd, who is hoping to rise in the ranks. If Lloyd doesn’t find the money in time, he will have a hit out on his head. Meanwhile Bill has just taken his new family on the road for a getaway that they’re not completely informed on.

His stepdaughter Lauren, is an emotional an angry young girl who is defiant in her role in the new family, while new younger brother Owen spends most of his time gazing silently, and exploring the house. Owen is at peace with his dad Bill’s efforts to keep him medicated and promises a bright future. Unfortunately, Lloyd and his henchmen invade Bill and his family’s home and before long blood begins to pour. Much to their surprise, not only does seemingly submissive Owen fight back, but he manages to inflict inhuman pain on them that is genius, clever, and utterly entertaining. With some shocking scenes of brutality, and a very sharp eye on editing and pacing, director Steven C. Miller just keeps topping himself from the entertaining “Automaton Transfusion,” the delirious “Silent Night,” and now this. I really can’t wait to see what he serves movie fans next.

Best of the Best:
Poor Derek Mears gets a hell of a beating that will make viewers laugh out loud and cower in pain.



8. Room 237
Directed by Rodney Asher
IFC Films
Release Date: December 7th
It’s not exactly news that Stanley Kubrick was in fact a genius. The director was known for being impossible to work with, incredibly demanding, and meticulous in detail, and yet it always paid off in masterpiece after masterpiece. Described in “Room 237” as a man who’d mastered movie making and was looking for a challenge after “Barry Lyndon,” director Stanley Kubrick assuredly gave movie fans a cinematic rubiks cube that movie buffs are still decoding to this day. Stephen King fans still rumble their bellies about how director Stanley Kubrick only loosely adapted the King horror novel and barely touched upon any of what made the novel so terrifying, but the four movie analysts in “Room 237” explain that it was never Kubrick’s intention to adapt a book.

It was his intention to lay the groundwork for his own tale. Within layer after layer after layer of subtle symbolism and hints of subtext is a riddle left by Stanley Kubrick that movie fans will be exploring forever. A book adaptation would have gotten the job done, but Kubrick found a way to obtain immortality, he found a way to keep fans talking about him forever. It’s every human beings desire to stay relevant, and Kubrick found the formula. Whether he embedded hidden messages within the confines of the cinematic horror masterpiece “The Shining” or just found a lot of random props to include in the background and foreground as a means of feigning genius has yet to be actually determined, but we do garner four view points on what the film represents. With clothing, props, architecture, keys, costumes, and even clouds, Kubrick seems to have encoded his own voice within the film cells, and it’s tough not to believe everything you hear in this film. Some movie fans may be inspired to throw their hands up and think “It’s just a movie!” but you can’t deny much of what occurs in “The Shining” is beyond the norm of typical filmmaking. It achieves a level of supernatural storytelling that’s tough to ignore, and you’ll enjoy the various theories about “The Shining” that you’ll either laugh at, ponder on, or just gaze in disbelief to. This is a treasure trove for the respective movie buff.

Best of the Best:
I just did not see Kubrick’s face in the clouds, during the documentary. I’m not convinced



7. Chronicle
Directed by Josh Trank
Twentieth Century FOX Film Corporation
Release Date: February 3rd
Buy It Now!
Director Josh Trank’s “Chronicle” isn’t just a one shot found footage film about what happens when three individuals are granted amazing super powers, but what happens when the absolute power corrupts absolutely. Something of a superhero movie in a year filled with caped and masked marvels, “Chronicle” is a downbeat and excellent look at a trio of high schoolers who get everything they wanted in one shot, and have no idea how to comprehend the consequences of altering the environment around them.
Though the premise is fantastic, writer Max Landis grounds the film in reality as much as possible. Centered on high schoolers Andrew, Matt and Steve, “Chronicle” pictures the school mates during a party whom, while attempting to leave, discover a mysterious sink hole.

Exploring it and delving inside, they find something otherworldly and beyond description that begins to interrupt their camera equipment and their brain waves, knocking them out cold. After they awaken from their comas, they learn that their experience with the being inside the sink hole has granted them powers. And soon what begins as horse play with moving objects, escalates in to life or death situations. Dane DeHaan is excellent as Andrew, the social misfit who finds solace in treating the world around him like his playground. Before anyone realizes, he begins mastering his abilities, and his search for love in a cruel world sours him in to a literal super villain who would rather bring the world down with him, than heal. Tranks and Landis turn a potentially cheesy premise in to a gripping and compelling science fiction film with rousing performances, and a riveting climax that aches for a sequel. “Chronicle” is a superb genre entry for fans who love superhero mythology.

Best of the Best:
The spider scene is a great look at the God complex that can easily arise from immense power.



6. Amour [Love]
Directed by Michael Haneke
Sony Pictures Classics
Release Date: December 19th
Director Michael Haneke is known for his unflinching realism and emotional torrents that bring audiences through a swath of reactions and sensations. With “Amour,” Haneke offers no exception with a relentlessly crushing look at two lovers desperately trying to hold on to one another in the face of fading life and the inevitability of mortality. Jean-Louis Trintignant is incredible as husband Georges, an artistic and mild mannered man who wakes up one morning for breakfast with his wife Eva, to learn that their lives have changed for the worse. Eva has suffered a horrible stroke that has left her paralyzed on her right side, and now Georges is devoted to caring for her, even in the face of her fading dignity and relapses.

Though Georges is mostly a man of stern resolve through most of “Amour,” he’s clearly a man who has been crushed and pounded in to a pulp by the sight of his ill lover, a woman who once spent her hours charismatically expressing herself, now finding herself incapable of operating a wheelchair without Georges’ help. “Amour” is an utterly grueling drama to sit through, one that pictures a man unwilling to let go of his wife, even when she begs to die, and pleads for him to end her existence. As faith becomes thinner and reality eventually takes its toll, Haneke puts these two devoted individuals through the ringer, and depicts simple but gut wrenching moments between the pair, both of whom want to believe everything will be better, when reality continues defying their faith in love and persistence. “Amour” is a wonderful romance and one that will leave audiences appreciating every minute with their own loved ones.

Best of the Best:
Georges recollection of his childhood to calm his wife is painful to endure.



5. Argo
Directed by Ben Affleck
Warner Bros. Pictures
Release Date: October 12th
I really hope Ben Affleck continues his streak of powerful works of cinematic art, as he’s managed to re-invent himself wonderfully from a mediocre actor, to a director with something to say. He has something to contribute to the art of filmmaking, and he’s proven it with “Gone Baby Gone,” “The Town,” and now “Argo.” This is Affleck’s more downbeat and less visually epic thrillers, and one that borders on the turmoil of a world war that could bring down a group of innocent individuals with it as blood pours. The politics of the revolt ensuing in 1980 that took seven workers of an embassy prisoner, while six fled.

Affleck gives a restrained and absolutely unassuming lead performance as Terry Mendez. A specially trained CIA exfiltration expert for years, he is assigned to go in to Iran and sneak out the six workers, all of whom are at risk of being held prisoner and executed as the hours tick away. Devising a plan to build a fake movie production, Mendez experiences a whole other world, one that is anxious for blood and desperate to prove it’s a force of political power, and Mendez has to retain his own anxiety while training the six fugitives in their respective roles that could mean sanctuary or immediate death if they do not step lively. Filled with rousing supporting performances from Alan Arkin, John Goodman, Victor Garber, and Bryan Cranston, respectively, I admire Ben Affleck’s ability to prove himself as a man who can tell a story for mature movie goers alike.

Best of the Best:
Good luck watching the utterly nerve wracking final twenty minutes without digging your nails in to the person watching the movie next to you.



4. The Cabin in the Woods
Directed by Drew Goddard
Release Date: April 13th
Buy It Now!
It’s often said, when a movie series or sub-genre begins to spoof itself, it’s time for something to change or completely revamp the property altogether. Director Drew Goddard and writer Joss Whedon pinpoint every horror cliche in the book in this met-horror film that it’s about time that perhaps the genre of horror as a whole should be changed. If you can’t adapt to the changing idea of modern times, the horror genre will die, and “The Cabin in the Woods” doesn’t just have fun with its idea, but offers the chance for studios to do something about horror and what we know as the clichés, in general.

Where as 2010’s “Scott Pilgrim vs. The World” was the ultimate meta romance comedy, Drew Goddard’s collaboration with Joss Whedon is the ultimate meta-horror film. It’s so meta that it really isn’t a horror film, when you slice it down and examine it thoroughly. The studios were horrified of “The Cabin in the Woods,” hence why it was shelved for a few years before finally storming the theaters and becoming a hit with horror fans that could appreciate its story within a story within a wider story. “The Cabin in the Woods” pictures a world where the horror movie is the reality, and the baser instincts of the youth are needed to keep the world in order and prevent mass destruction. “The Cabin in the Woods” is about building a machine based around blood shed to feed sentient beings who thrive on it. If that’s not a summary of the horror movie industry, I don’t know what is.

Best of the Best:
The Blood bath in the finale is probably the most creative sequence ever filmed in a horror movie in decades.



3. Django Unchained
Directed by Quentin Tarantino
The Weinstein Company
Release date: December 25th
Tarantino has always dabbled in the western genre in the past with writing “From Dusk Til Dawn,” and appearing in “Sukiyaki Western Django.” This time he offers his own tip of the hat to the Western genre with a wonderful and absolutely rip roaring tale of revenge, justice, and unabashed defeating of tyrants who enslave their fellow man. Controversial as all hell as is typical Tarantino, “Django Unchained” skirts the edges of drama and exploitation, by reveling in brutal payback of a slave named Django. A defeated man who has been reduced to a life of slavery, he’s bought and saved by King Schultz, a charming and swift warrior who takes a liking to Django’s predicament and quiet dignity, and presumes to help him hunt down his bounties, and save his long lost wife Broomhilda.

Though the film itself does lead in to the confrontation with the evil Calvin Candie, Tarantino assuredly paces himself by telling the story of Django, and painting a picture of the relationship between the broken Django, and the wise King Schulz who despises the age of slavery that currently resides in. Christoph Walz is an amazing performer and steals scenes from literally everyone he shares with as the ultimate anti-hero who seeks money first and foremost, and then looks to find a way to live with his conscience as he watches poor African American people be brutalized. While the film has been criticized for being exploitative, Tarantino never flinches away from the brutality of the slave age, and depicts gruesome moments of carnage toward slaves that present this fantasy with a dash of realism that will make it tough for many viewers to endure. Near flawless, and filled with a slew of incredible turns from excellent actors, Tarantino is a man who has contributed a wonderful western and a sheer masterwork of cinema that will live on like “Pulp Fiction” has.

Best of the Best:
Franco fucking Nero. Nuff said.



2. God Bless America
Directed by Bobcat Goldthwait
Magnet Releasing
Release date: May 11th
Buy It Now!
Humans exploiting humans exploiting humans. That’s all the world has become. And what’s so interesting about “God Bless America,” is that while it does in fact explore destroying the exploitation and mean spirited nature of America, the characters themselves never quite realize they’re in fact cogs in the machine. They bitch about the materialism of America, but character Roxy is too imbued in her i-phone searching for online news about their murderous tirade to actually note the irony. Frank murders a reality show shrew in cold blood for becoming famous for being mean, but Roxy is very interested in executing their victims in as cruel a manner as possible.

Roxy and Frank spend most of the film bashing hipper than thou folks like Diablo Cody, but can’t catch on they’re falling in to the same pit as the folks who still use “edgy” or “the man” in their lexicon. And they’re too concerned with snuffing out fifteen minute celebrities to realize they’re watching the news on television to see if they’re becoming celebrities themselves. Ultimately it’s the snake eating its own tail and Bobcat Goldwaithe notes the irony backwards and forwards to where the avengers for sanity are just as loony as the folks who thrive on being mean, cruel, and consuming that glowing box called Television. Director Goldthwaith’s “God Bless America” is a wonderful indictment on the fall of American culture. It’s convenient this film was shown before the massacre at the Colorado theater, or else we likely wouldn’t have seen “God Bless America” for another four years. “God Bless America” is too valuable to be tucked away.

Best of the Best:
The movie ticked off “American Idol,” and Diablo Cody. I think the work here is done.



And The Best Film of 2012 is…

The Perks of Being a Wallflower
Directed by: Stephen Chbosky
Written by: Stephen Chbosky
Starring: Logan Lerman, Ezra Miller, Emma Watson, Nina Dobrev, Paul Rudd, Mae Whitman
Summit Entertainment
Release Date: October 12th
Pre-Order It!
When I was done with “The Perks of Being a Wallflower,” I found myself almost incapable of catching my breath. I thought about it, and thought about it, and thought about it. And I even found myself near tears remembering certain scenes hours after viewing it. No film this year has affected me as much as the adaptation of “The Perks of Being a Wallflower.” It’s a film so void of self-awareness, hipper than thou nonsense, and superficiality, that it is just a welcome addition to the pantheon of rare great teen oriented dramedies. It even features a walk on role from Tom Savini as an infamous shop teacher, but never over plays his appeal to pander to the audience.

Even Paul Rudd who plays a small role in the film, has potential to steal scenes, but is mostly down beat, and a graceful side character who helps build main character Charlie’s confidence with his own respect for literature and classic novels. Not since John Hughes, has a film captured the ferocity of the world through the eyes of a teenager before. Every performance is charismatic and memorable, but never over the top. Without a doubt out of the trio of powerful performances from Emma Watson, Logan Lerman, and Ezra Miller is Miller. Going from playing a despicable monster in “We Need to Talk About Kevin” to transforming in to such a likable supporting player, it’s shocking to see how Miller can take on a new form and completely win over an audience.

Miller is in no risk of being pigeonholed. Miller is of course the leader of his pack of misfits, a very outgoing and enthusiastic homosexual senior student in his school going through a coming of age of his own. He has ever chance to be written as a pandering snarky homosexual character, but the writing matched with Miller’s subtlety makes the character’s presence in the world so natural and captivating. His problems are real and life changing, his obstacles are traumatic, he has needs and wants, and desires like everyone else. He’s never a broad cliché pandering to a niche audience. Emma Watson is the dream girl that dream girls are made of. The abundantly charismatic and caring girl who is still trying to figure herself out while fighting to outrun her reputation of being promiscuous thanks to an incident in her freshman year. Watson’s performance is natural, and beautiful, and often times she looks like a butterfly with a broken wing desperately trying to regain flight and show the world how gorgeous she is. The fantastic Logan Lerman leads this film like a champion, with a character who has experienced so much misery and pain that he’s forced it down and become a shell of a person who finds it impossible to emote during times of emotional crises. He feels everyone’s pain and turmoil around him, he absorbs it like a sponge and sees their pain, but has no idea how to process. He doesn’t know if he should process it.

Lerman as character Charlie is a protagonist I could completely connect with. He’s been scarred and thrashed by the world and has decided to not let the world see how much pain he’s in. No matter how much the world knocks him down, he gets back up and never lets it see his tears. So he endures it. He sucks it up. All at the cost of his mental health. Lerman’s plight and conflict is incredible, and I never wanted to reach out to a character and talk to them like I have with Charlie, before. ” Why do nice people choose the wrong people to date?” Charlie asks his teacher Bill, trying to make sense of a violent confrontation he witnessed earlier in the film. ” We accept the love we think we deserve,” Bill sighs saddened. Charlie and the people around him rely on bad and hurtful relationships because they don’t feel as if they warrant true love. Charlie? He just doesn’t love. He stands back and allows everyone else, even Sam, the girl of his dreams, to fall in and out of love. Because he doesn’t think he should have love. Charlie is a very familiar character. I’ve seen him in the mirror. And that one aspect kept me glued to ” The Perks of Being a Wallflower” for its entire run time. I might watch it two or three more times just to remember how much I love it.

Best of the Best:
I’m still having trouble getting “Come On, Eileen” out of my mind. Establishing relationships through music is often implemented in film, but rarely mastered as it is here.

Justice League: Doom, The Loved Ones, Haywire, 21 Jump Street, Compliance, Rise of the Guardians, The Grey, Bully, The Borrower Arrietty, The Avengers, The Raid Redemption, The Dark Knight Rises, Beasts of the Southern Wild




Directed By: Chul-soo Jang
Buy It Now!
Every animal on Earth has a breaking point. Even when you think you’ve broken and crushed the spirit of an animal, eventually it will rise up and tear your throat out. Even dogs that have been beaten all their lives eventually bite their owners back once or twice. Released in 2010 and finally given a stateside release on Blu-Ray and DVD, by way of Well Go USA, the South Korean “BeDevilled” is a slow boil drama thriller that shows what happens when you push someone way too far, and the fall out that can occur from years of being treated like a lower than dirt animal.

Yeong-hie Seo gives a riveting performance as Bok-Nam, a village wife and field worker who has begged her best friend Hae-Won to come back to the island they grew up on, to visit. Hae-Won is a normal city worker who spends her time minding her business, and enduring her work place, while accidentally taking part in an attack. When she refuses to point out the attackers, she’s harassed, ultimately taking a toll on her work. When she retreats back to the island she grew up on, she’s met by long lost best friend Bok-Nam, a subservient house wife, who doles after Hae-Won and lovingly thinks back to old times. An island dominated by women, Bok-Nam has been reduced to being a servant for her husband, and is beaten and raped often by he and his sexual deviant brother.

Soon enough, events begin to escalate in horrific ways with Bok-Nam and her young daughter, and Bok-Nam has decided she’s had enough from the violent men who victimize her, and the elder women who stand by and refuse to do nothing about it. Though filled with incredible performances, star Yeong-hie Seo is magnificent as this wide eyed woman who has been broken by the people around her, and decides to finally strike down the demons that have caused her nothing but pain and misery. With a merciless gore soaked finale, and a gut wrenchingly beautiful final scene, director Chul-soo Jang’s “BeDevilled” is a grueling horror drama you’d be wise to explore.




Step Up Revolution
Directed by: Scott Speer
Summit Entertainment
Buy It Now!
We respect the fact that even though Channing Tatum and Jenna Dewan made the first “Step Up” a success, the producers realized that people only gave a crap about the dancing by the time the sequel popped up. Adam Sevani is charismatic, but clearly not an actor, so he really brings his A game as a dancer, so it’s wise to center the rest of the series on dancing and the art of dancing. There’s something infinitely entertaining about these dance movies. Their artifice and faux thug demeanor is just so much fun and the dance sequences are pretty damn fantastic to sit through over and over.

It’s pretty shameful that the dance scenes in the “Step Up” franchise are usually more coherent in their editing and direction than most modern action films in America. Sue us, but we enjoy this series. If you really do expect to sit through a “Step Up” movie and look for rich characterization and complex storylines, you’re going to be devastated to find not much there. However, “Step Up” is an attraction for its incredible dance choreography, all of which are typically set to catchy dance and hip hop music. “Revolution” is the closest to an eighties dance movie imaginable, as the film involves a dance crew protesting evil business men. There’s some really fantastic performance art present here, as well as ace direction, and these musical dance movies are just raucous crowd pleasing fun from beginning to end. They keep upping the ante with each film, and I expect more fun from the inevitable “Step Up” fiver, and the planned television series. Clean, inoffensive, but memorable fun! And let’s face it, the women are great.