ELVIS Review — A Hunka Hunka Burning Love

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Lisa Johnson Mandell’s Elvis review says director Baz Luhrmann delivers a kaleidoscopic musical artist biopic that sets the genre on its ear.

Elvis reviewCould tragic icon of fabulousness Elvis Presley be in any better hands than those of writer/director/producer Baz Luhrmann, another icon of fabulousness in his own right?

I think not.

The king of lush, glam, eye popping cinematic splendor (Moulin Rouge, 2013’s The Great Gatsby, just to name a few) takes on the King of Rock & Roll, and casts Tom Hanks as Presley’s nefarious agent “Colonel” Tom Parker?

The nerve! The audacity! The brilliance!

This is not just another rags to riches to overdose musical biopic. Luhrmann tells us The King’s story through the eyes of his much maligned manager, the evasive and bombastic Colonel Tom Parker, played by Tom Hanks wearing remarkable prosthetics to enhance his weight.

The result is an immersive experience in a story many of us have not heard before, making every one of its 159 minutes riveting. That’s no easy feat—many of you know I’m not easily beguiled by films that last well over two hours.

Casting a relative unknown, Austin Butler, was a wise move as well, as audiences see him as Elvis, rather than as their favorite actor playing Elvis. I’m curious, however, about why the famous Elvis sneer seemed to be missing. It seemed an unlikely omission.

But that can easily be forgiven from the very beginning, when we see a mesmerizing portrayal of a young boy’s baptism by fire into the music of the day, to emerge as the rock god Elvis Presley.

It’s magical, it’s mystical, it rocks!

Rating: PG-13

2 Hours 39 Minutes

Lisa Johnson Mandell’s Elvis review says director Baz Luhrmann delivers a kaleidoscopic musical artist biopic that sets the genre on its ear.

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Lisa Johnson Mandell

Lisa Johnson Mandell is an award winning journalist, author and film/TV critic. She can be heard regularly on Cumulus radio stations throughout the US, and seen on Rotten Tomatoes. She recently founded the new lifestyle website ReallyRather.com, where celebrities and experts share their 5 favorite things in the fields of entertainment, lifestyle, wellness, home and food & drink.

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