David Denby, one of two film reviewers for the New Yorker takes a look at the teen step-dancing film “How She Move” this week. Denby is usually a fusty old stick-in-the-mud, but like a blind squirrel, he occasionally stumbles into an excellent piece of analysis. He begins the review with a fantastic summation of everything that is wrong with recent film musicals.
Again and again, directors like Adrian Lyne (â€œFlashdanceâ€) and Rob Marshall (â€œChicagoâ€) broke dance movement into fragmentary closeupsâ€”furiously tapping feet or thrusting elbows or churning thighs. Dance is devoted to the splendor of the body, but these movies turned bodies into pistons, pumps, cylindersâ€”at times, we might have been watching a Soviet documentary on milk production. The shots yielded repetitive movement for film editors, who, with the directors sitting over their shoulders, rechoreographed the dance into rhythmically stimulating but humanly nonsensical patterns.
That crack about Soviet milk production is pure Anthony Lane – apparently his bitchy colleague at the New Yorker has been rubbing off on the old man. More importantly, he’s put his finger right on the pulse of the editorial process that dehumanizes movement into blurs and hype-machined parts. It’s a nice reminder that the art of film isn’t solely the province of pompous “art films”, and a good take at a film that seems destined to be overlooked.