Who's in It
Freddie Highmore, Keri Russell, Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Robin Williams
The Basics: Is it just me or does "August Rush" sound like a porn name? Maybe it's just me. Anyway, it's the name of this orphan kid who's such a magical little musical prodigy that he can literally hear music in the wind around him, even though when he does that it looks like he's sniffing the wind and the music is going up his nose. He also believes that if his birth parents could hear (and also perhaps smell) the music that he makes, then they'd come running back to him.
What's the Deal? Look, I understand that this is supposed to be a heartwarming fairy tale. But how do you watch a film that you know is a fairy tale, but that somehow the creators don't always know that it is? Because all the way through, there's a genuine sense of "No, really, this is totally all really happening the chance encounters, the Cinderella/Oliver Twist set-ups, the weird supernaturalisms even though we've used up all the fake magic and loony coincidences any single person is allowed in a lifetime. Seriously, it's really going down like this!"
Who Deserves Better: Young British actor Highmore, who was really affecting in Finding Neverland, especially if he's going to survive the post-cute years that all kid actors go through.
Who Doesn't: Williams. But I will say that as the Fagin-like leader of a gang of street kids, he plays it straight-up evil and completely turns off that infuriating twinkle he usually seems physically incapable of spreading all over the screen like it's butter on a biscuit. That doesn't mean I forgive him for License to Wed or any of the other 327 crap movies he's almost single-handedly destroyed, but he almost gets a pass here.
How I Spent My Time in Between Inappropriate Chuckling at the Onscreen Dorkiness: Making up sequel titles like August Rush 2: September Looms, August Rush 2: What Are All These Bewildering Changes Happening to My Body? I Mean, You Know, Down There, August Rush 2: The Deafening.