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A movie directed by Chris Columbus

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A Committed Cast Salvages Rent

  • Feb 22, 2006
Having seen RENT on the stage with the eardrum assaulting, miked sound from each performer's head mike coupled with the small but deadly 'pit band' this viewer rented this film with trepidation. And after paying close attention to the transfer of the play to the screen little has change in feelings about this work.

Loosely based on Puccini's 'La Boheme' (with some direct quotes in the score) this musical drama has much to say about AIDS, kids as artists, survival, all forms of gay life, extended family - many subjects that make it worthy of production. The cast performs extremely well from the opening 'Chorus Line' takeoff through the intimate and blaring production numbers. The pacing is excellent, the cinematography is good, the mood is right. So why the three star rating? For this viewer/listener the score is so thread bare and trite that it is difficult to understand why it has attracted such huge success. There is one song (which opens the show) and otherwise the rest of the score melts into an indistinguishable mélange of repetition. The cast carries it off admirably, but at the end of the work the impact is more in the idea than the execution. Overrated. Grady Harp, February 06

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More Rent reviews
Quick Tip by . August 04, 2010
posted in Music Matters
I have seen this show multiple times. Once with Niel Patrick Harris as Mark. It was awesome.
review by . May 12, 2009
Pros: music, cast, clear DVD detail     Cons: none for me     The Bottom Line:   I think they meant it  When they said you can't buy love  Now I know you can rent it  A new lease you are, my love  ~Jonathan Larson     I wasn’t exactly sure what I was going to see when I started Rent but I had heard so much about it I figured it was going to be a good experience. I would imagine the …
review by . November 22, 2008
I watched this movie late last night   Watched it again today   I've never seen a better film   It took my breath away     Music, dancing, drama, love   The acting is intense   And when I reached the "tango" scene   I gave up all pretence     Towards the end I dropped my guard   I sobbed, and then I cried   The tears poured down upon my cheeks   And they would not subside …
review by . February 18, 2007
Pros: Great performances; Jesse L. Martin can sing!     Cons: Scattered; dance numbers could have been better.     The Bottom Line: Rent is good a Saturday night with friends when your first choice has been taken.     Plot Details: This opinion reveals minor details about the movie's plot. I didn’t quite know what to expect when I sat down to watch Rent (2005); it was not what I expected. I have of course heard of the smash Pulitzer …
review by . February 12, 2007
posted in Movie Hype
Pros: truly emotional performances, fantastic music, solid adaptation     Cons: It's only 2 hours long     The Bottom Line: Rent is one of the best movies of last year. Featuring fine music and wonderful performances, this is a must-see.     Plot Details: This opinion reveals minor details about the movie''s plot. Operas are a unique art form. Either you love them or hate them. And when they deal with controversial subject matter, that …
About the reviewer
Grady Harp ()
Ranked #96
Grady Harp is a champion of Representational Art in the roles of curator, lecturer, panelist, writer of art essays, poetry, critical reviews of literature, art and music, and as a gallerist. He has presented … more
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About this movie


Rent, the show that in 1996 gave voice to a Broadway generation, has finally become an energetic, passionate, and touching movie musical. Based loosely on Puccini'sLa Bohème, it focuses on the year in the life of a group of friends in New York's East Village--"bohemians" who live carefree lives of art, music, sex, and drugs. Well, carefree until Mark, an aspiring filmmaker (Anthony Rapp), and Roger, an aspiring songwriter (Adam Pascal), find out they owe a year's rent to Benny (Taye Diggs), a former friend who had promised them free residence when he married the landlord's daughter. Roger has also attracted the attention of his downstairs neighbor, Mimi (Rosario Dawson), while Mark's former girlfriend, Maureen (Idina Menzel), has found a new romance in a lawyer named Joanne (Tracie Thoms). Philosophy professor Tom (Jesse L. Martin) finds his soul mate in drag queen Angel (Wilson Jermaine Heredia). But because this is the late-'80s, the threat of AIDS is always present.
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