Rather than officially release a good-quality image of Jem and the Holograms, Blumhouse and Universal have let a pixelated nightmare take a tortured route to the screen. I found this picture on an Italian Facebook fan page for the film; they saw it on an Instagram post by director Jon M. Chu; he had photographed it from Elle magazine, in terrible quality. But it's at least good enough to reveal that the movie Jem and the Holograms hardly look any more realistic than the cartoon, comic book and doll versions. Dotty as they are, that seems to be Aubrey Peeples as Jerrica Benton, aka Jem, the lead singer of the band; Stefanie Scott as her sister Kimber the songwriter and keytarist; and Hayley Kiyoko as Aja Leith, the lead guitarist and Jem's.. I think the term is BBF, right? The film has apparently reworked the original cartoon to make it more modern, layering in lots of references to social media and the like. The filmmakers will have to work hard if they want to compete with Kaplan and Elfont' Josie and the Pussycats movie, though. That film's under-discussed, too rarely appreciated and a lot sharper and smarter than people might give it credit for, bringing a lot of acid and bite to an ostensibly teen-friendly comedy musical. It would be lovely if Jem turned out to be such a gem, so I'm crossing my fingers. It will certainly be good to see Chu let loose on some musical sequences again; it's where both his tastes and talents are centred. Jem and the Holograms will be released in the US on October 23rd.
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Brendon Connelly has been a film writer since the early 90s, with time on the staff of Orbit Magazine, Slashfilm, Bleeding Cool, Den of Geek and many more. He's a long time teacher of film studies and practical filmmaking classes, and has directed music videos, commercials, short films and more. His favourite film is Terry Gilliam's Brazil, his favourite food is pancakes or crepes, and he tries to live his life by the teachings of Kermit the Frog.