You guys, Craig Brewer is a badass. The director of Hustle & Flow and Black Snake Moan may not have been the first person I thought would be signed on for the 2011 remake of Footloose, but he was definitely the right man for the job.
Devin's already reviewed the film for the site, but let me just add that what Devin calls the "small, observant character work" actually all adds up to a much stronger understanding of the world the story is set in. Yes, it's cheesy to think that there could be a town anywhere that's actually backwards enough to ban dancing, and it's ridiculous to imagine that a kid trying to fight the city council would break in to an old factory to do gymnastics. But opening with the kids dying brings an intensity to the crisis that wasn't there in the original, and the death of Ren's mom gives him more grieving to do as well. The presence of Death hovers around all of the characters and works as a strong yin to all the the burgeoning sexual energy's yang.
I'm sure that same shadow side will work against this movie being a hit with the core teen demographic or whoever it is that watches Nancy Grace on the dancing show, but it makes this remake at least worth one viewing.
But don't take my word for it, check out Craig answering the question someone in the audience at the Alamo Drafthouse asked him about why he chose to sign on to this project: