The Great Wall
Unlike any American blockbuster you've seen, a conservative movie with action set pieces that are actually inventive and thrilling enough to be worthwhile.
The roots of “Sing” can be found firmly planted in the cliches of the past, in all those Rooney and Garland pictures where they rented the old barn and put on a show, or in the Beach Party movies where they held a rock 'n' roll benefit to rescue the teen center. This time, a Brooklyn high school is going to be closed, and the school board has refused permission for the students to hold their traditional spring talent show.
No reason is given for the ban on the show, but of course none is needed. It is necessary for the show to be prohibited in order for the students to defy the ban and put it on anyway. If there is one absolutely obligatory shot in a movie of this sort, it's the one where the evil fuddy-duddy comes bursting into the back of the auditorium and demands that the show be halted - only to be squelched by a triumphant song-and-dance number.
Since absolutely everything in “Sing” is completely predictable, I was surprised how much I enjoyed the movie. It's a victory of style over substance, and its energy owes a lot to Lorraine Bracco and Patti LaBelle, who play two of the teachers in the high school. Both of these women are absolute individuals, and the confidence with which they present themselves has a lot to do with the movie's whole tone.
Bracco is a thin, intense brunet with a Brooklyn accent and a face full of character and humor. She's wry and tough, and she has a key scene early in the movie where she stares down a tough kid who tries to assault her and offers him a choice: Go along with my program, or go to jail. The power of this scene carries over to the whole movie, really giving the material a weight it might not have had otherwise.