How She Move – DVD Review

Available at Amazon.com

Dance movies are like any other formulaic genre: you take all the familiar elements, some camera friendly folks, add in a predictable happy ending, rinse and repeat. How She Move is Paramount Vantage’s contribution to the genre, yet another underdog story involving dancing and urban music.

Raya (Rutina Wesley) used to be in a private dance academy until her sister’s addiction to drugs wiped out the family, with it her tuition. Pinning her hopes on a private dance scholarship, Raya lives and loves while joining a dance crew for the big dance-off at the end. Buoyed with a soundtrack ripped from the Top 40 of hip hop, the film can be exchanged for any number of other films in the genre in terms of its plot, story and characters. There’s nothing new, original, interesting or exciting about How She Move, but that’s not the reason why to see it or any other film the genre. You watch it for the dancing and the music, which should be its two calling cards.

Both are quite good, in both presentation and in substance. The dance sequences have a lot of credibility and there’s not a lot of gimmickry when it comes to their cinematography. The music is pretty good, too, as everything is set up around the dancing. The entire sequences are top notch, especially in an era where they have to be significantly better each year.

However, the problem (as always) is that everything that leads up to the sequences is so laughably bad that the dance movements don’t matter that much. It looks great, but there’s absolutely no reason to care about any of it. For all the buildup, a lot of amateurish acting and a poor story can only be compensated for so much. How She Move is more crap than anything else, giving nothing of substance back.

Presented in a Dolby Digital format with a widescreen format, the film has a wear and tear on it that’s only seen on films 30 years older than it. The transfer is pretty shoddy, muddied and relatively poor for a film released in the last decade. The audio is solid, though, using the format effectively enough.

The Characters of How She Move is about the film’s characters, including the cast members who portrayed them. Focusing on the nine main characters of the film, the piece mainly serves to exist as a vehicle for the film’s “stars” to mug for the camera as often as possible.

From Rehearsal to Film focuses on the film’s dancing sequences. Working seven hours a day, six to seven days a week, the five weeks of rehearsal made the cast quite close and helped them develop their characters a little bit as well. Apparently bad acting is only helped by little actual “acting” rehearsal, as the art of dancing cures all cinematic ills according to this piece. It is interesting to see the cast talk about one another, as they obviously enjoyed each other’s company.

How She Move: Telling Her Story focuses on Step Dancing as a form of art and how the film came to be based around it. The film’s writer did a documentary on two step dancing teams and thought it could make a great fictional movie.

The film’s Theatrical Trailer is included, as well as Previews for the DVD releases of Cloverfield, Blackout and Norbit as well as the upcoming theatrical releases for The Duchess, Defiance and Son of Rambow.

If you’re a fan of bad movies involving dancing, or like step dancing and will sit through anything to see it, then this is your film. If not, avoid it like the cinematic plague that it is.

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Paramount Vantage presents How She Move. Directed by Ian Iqbal Rashid. Starring Rutina Wesley, Tre Armstrong, Kevin Duhaney. Written by Annmarie Morais. Running time: 98 minutes. Rated PG-13. Released on DVD: April 29, 2008. Available at Amazon.com

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