Tuesday, September 6, 2022

Elvis - HBO Max September 2, 2022 - 3 Stars

 In Elvis, over the top director Baz Luhrmann turns the life of Elvis Presley into a rise and fall grand opera. Austin Butler's performance as the iconic singer completely satisfies.  Butler looks good, does his own singing, and convinces us.  The story boils down to a struggle between Elvis, his family, and Elvis's equally iconic manager "Colonel" Tom Parker.  Tom Hanks turns Parker into the self-serving, self-dealing villain of this opera.  Hanks looks ridiculous in his make up as "Colonel" Parker, giving the old man a Nazi accent, which makes things worse.  Essentially a carnival promoter and con man, Parker recognizes Elvis' mix of Black rhythm, White country boy good looks, and gyrating movements spell success.  Elvis runs too long.  It bogs down in the middle.  The opening third, (Elvis' rise to fame) establishes a hard to sustain excitement.  Fortunately, the finale regains some of the early energy.  Now streaming on HBO, the new format has the advantage of allowing the viewer to stop and take a rest.  That's a good thing.  I won't call it a great movie, but I can't deny I loved watching this thing, in pieces.  Anybody interested in a candy-colored guilty pleasure?