Elvis Revew

I don’t remember much about my mother, except that she was a very sick woman who died very young. One of the things I do remember about her was she would load all the kids — my brothers, my sister, and I — into whatever car we had at the time, usually a station wagon, and we would take day-long trips throughout New England. Sometimes to Vermont, New Hampshire, or Maine. Those were good memories of a childhood filled with trauma. Gas was cheap back then, unlike today, a dollar and change. While we were driving, we played the oldies station. In the ’70s and ’80s, the ’50s and ’60s channel was considered “the oldies.” Elvis’s songs played quite a bit, and we sang along with them. My mother was a huge Elvis Pressley fan. That makes this film very special to me, a long-time fan of his growing up. Finally, we’ve got what seems like a genuine Elvis Pressley film worth talking about.

Elvis Pressley (Chaydon Jay, Austin Butler) is a young kid growing up in Memphis, Tennessee in Black neighborhoods, so he gets exposed to soul music and country music at the same time. He gets inspired to become a singer and entertainer. Using what he learned from his childhood, he goes out with his band. While playing a little Hayride show, he gets noticed by Colonel Tom Parker (Tom Hanks), a music agent. Together, they change the music industry and create a style of music no one has ever been able to duplicate. 

Baz Luhrmann has been a pretty prolific director. He has made some pretty good films in his career and some bad ones. Elvis might just be the best film of his career. His district style is at the forefront of this biopic. He creates a world that Elvis exists in that is pretty cool and unique. I don’t think anybody could have made the story of Elvis like Luhrmann did. It has some black-and-white sequences, animated sequences, and even the words and title sequences pop off the screen in cool and amazing ways. His style for this film is second to none.

The editing of this film by Jonathan Redmond and Matt Villa is phenomenal. It is the best editing I’ve seen in a movie in years, with no comment about another biopic that won an editing Academy Award. This film deserves an Academy Award nomination in this category. More editing isn’t always better, but in the case of Elvis, it definitely is. As much editing there is in this film, there are also a lot of costume changes. The costumes by Cathrine Martin are another aspect of this film that is amazing. She had her hands full with all the different outfits Elvis wore and the rest of the cast. She deserves an Academy Award nomination as well. These costumes were unbelievable.

I always wanted a great Elvis biopic. Sure we got 10,000 Miles to Graceland and another tv Elvis biopic starring Kurt Russell as Elvis, but we never got a true Elvis biopic for the big screen until now. I could never have imagined an actor who could portray Elvis as good as Austin Butler. He’s a relative newcomer to acting, but this role will put him on the map. He gives the best performance of the year by an actor and is the frontrunner for Best Actor at the Academy Awards next year. He embodied Elvis in a way that can only be described as perfection. He gets the voice down and nails the gyrations and dance moves the King has become known for. He also sings all the songs Elvis has become known for as well. He is going to be hard to beat for that Best Actor Academy Award, that’s for sure.

If Austin Butler is considered the best lead performance of the year, then Tom Hanks might just give the best supporting acting performance of the year as a villain. This character helped Elvis become who he is, but not without thinking about himself. He makes decisions to help Elvis, but that benefit him as well. His sinister ways are very subtle and reserved until he has to give the character some spunk and a southern drawl that seems so spot on. Hanks could be up for his first best-supporting actor win, which would be his third win overall. Right now, he’s the frontrunner.

The set production and songs in the film are fantastic as well. The soundtrack supports the already iconic Elvis catalog of songs and mixes in very nicely. Along with Butler and Hanks, the supporting cast compliments them very well. Kelvin Harrison Jr. plays BB King, Dacre Montgomery is Steve Binder, Luke Bracey is Jerry Schilling, and Olivia Delonte is Pricilla Presley. These are just some of the fantastic actors and actresses who co-star opposite the two main stars. These actors could have gotten lost in this with such great performances by the two leads, but they complement them perfectly.

Elvis is the best musical biopic I’ve seen since Rocketman. Austin Butler and Tom Hanks give phenomenal performances to anger this amazing film. This film is filled with men and women who deserve Academy Award nominations, especially the editors and the costume designer. So many aspects of this film are terrific, and Baz Luhrmann deserves a lot of credit for that. He has made a film that rivals his best films, such as Moulin Rouge! and The Great Gatsby. His style comes to the forefront and compliments Elvis’s life perfectly. This film is phenomenal and is one of the best of the year. Will it stand the test of time and get all the Academy Awards it deserves? We will see. My mother would be proud of the film we got. I surely am.

5 stars

Dan Skip Allen

Sean Boelman Founder/EIC disappointment media

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