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Watch One Direction This is Us Online Good luck scoring concert tickets to the latest teen-steam sensation to trundle off the boy-band assembly line, One Direction. They're as hard to come by as a rainbow-colored unicorn.
Fortunately, both Hollywood and the British quintet's money-minting Svengali, Simon Cowell, have hatched a backup plan: a behind-the-scenes 3-D extravaganza called "One Direction: This Is Us." The film is part of a new breed of movies, like "Katy Perry: Part of Me" and "Justin Bieber: Never Say Never," that pretend to give rabid fans (and their heel-dragging parents) a privileged peek behind the curta
Watch One Direction This Is Us Online The musical group known as One Direction inspires feelings, intense feelings. Just in the last week alone, the band has been applauded and booed, honored, put down and defended. All of which seems about right for a group that has ridden to fame as a byproduct of the hard-edged, all-or-nothing interactions of the social-media age. The new documentary "One Direction: This Is Us" is not the raw confessional that title might imply but rather both a primer and new product presentation.
Watch One Direction This Is Us Movie Online The group is both a purposeful, manufactured phenomenon and a somewhat spontaneous occurrence, because the five individual members were all booted from a televised British singing competition only to be assembled by Svengali producer Simon Cowell as a group in 2010. They then lost again, but not without starting a wave of fan adulation that put them on tour before they had released any music. And they have been on a worldwide whirlwind of touring, recording and new releases ever since.
Watch One Direction This is Us Online The movie steers clear of dealing with the boys' lives as tabloid stars, with no mention, for example, of Styles' short, intensely documented romance with musician Taylor Swift. The film's most honest moments come from time spent with the boys' parents, as Malik buys his mother a house and Styles' mother and stepfather marvel at being flown around the world by their son. On the flipside, other parents speak to feeling that their young sons left one day for an audition and never came back, meaningful moments in their lives together lost in the interim. But the emotional reality of contemporary fame is simply not what "This Is Us" is about, and so such moments are relative B-sides to the film's breezy camaraderie and flashy concert numbers.
The Brit sensations pride themselves on being, as one member calls them, "a cool boy band" mocking choreographed dance moves and playing a rock-oriented pop over the more typical boy band pop-flavored R&B. They conform to certain personality archetypes, with Harry Styles the pin-up leader, Zayn Malik even referred to by the others as "the mysterious one" and then Niall Horan, Liam Payne and Louis Tomlinson frustratingly difficult to distinguish for the uninitiated. The boys, ages 19 to 21, project a playful, irreverent image, slightly dangerous but safe to bring home to the folks. To paraphrase the '60s girl group the Shangri-Las, they're good-bad, but they're not evil.
All of which makes documentary filmmaker Morgan Spurlock a theoretically inspired choice to make the combo-pack concert doc and band history of "This Is Us." Spurlock's documentaries such as "Super Size Me" have a subversive sensibility and showman's panache that should match up with the behind-the-scenes horseplay of the boys' adventures on tour, but ultimately, the film feels anonymous. Interchangeable somewhat with other recent concert docs surveying the likes of Justin Bieber and Katy Perry, the film shows that perhaps the technical apparatus of shooting an arena-scaled concert in high-gloss 3-D simply leaves little room for personalization.
The group's latest hit single declares itself the "Best Song Ever," and that sort of odd predetermination seems to percolate throughout One Direction's story. The boys don't dance, they aren't particularly interested in their singing, and they seem only nominally invested in their music. So what do they do? Can youthful cuteness be a skill and vocation? "One Direction: This Is Us" leaves the larger questions it points toward teasingly unexplored, making the film little more than a harmless keepsak
So much more than mere celluloid press releases, these were real movies made in an era less defined by iron-fisted publicists and corporate-friendly images, when access wasn't a four-letter word. That all changed in 1991 with Madonna's "Truth or Dare," which, similar to the Material Girl herself, pulled off the brilliant balancing act of allowing you to feel like you were witnessing something intimate (such as her and her dancers' racy backstage high jinks) while never making ticket buyers feel like they were saps — submissive cogs in her will-to-power machine.
The talent of the five likable best mates in One Direction can't be denied. They harmonize like a chorus of impossibly cute angels. And on songs including ''What Makes You Beautiful'' and ''Up All Night,'' they ooze so much stage presence that every teen and tween girl in the audience feels like the lads are singing directly to her and only her. But is "This Is Us" a good film? Well, that's another question entirely.
Directed by Morgan Spurlock, the merry prankster behind 2004's fast-food exposé "Super Size Me," the movie is a chronicle of the rise of five young kids who hit the pop culture lottery. They each tried out individually for the British TV competition "The X Factor," didn't make the cut, and were saved by Cowell, who had the commercial genius to recognize that the sum of their golden voices was greater than the parts. He alchemized them into boy-band gold.
But all they really offer are sanitized, squeaky-clean affirmations of what these pop juggernauts' fans already know. They exist solely to stoke the furnaces of commerce and move more units.
It wasn't always this way. Back in the '60s and '70s, revelatory music documentaries like "Don't Look Back" and "Gimme Shelter" gave us warts-and-all portraits of Bob Dylan and the Rolling Stones that those artists couldn't have been happy with. Dylan came across as a petulant jerk, while the Stones were painted as hapless co-conspirators in the death of one of their fans at Altamont, where they'd hired the rowdy Hells Angels as security.