The Screening Room
High School Musical 3: Senior Year – Rated G ***
The youth of America (and the parents they dragged with them) have spoken to the tune of $43 million opening weekend, and they say Go Wildcats!
Onetime choreographer (Dirty Dancing, Xanadu) Kenny Ortega has struck gold in them Hollywood Hills with this effervescent, squeaky-clean, big screen finale to Disney’s High School Musical phenomenon.
For those not familiar with HSM territory, the story has revolved around a multi-ethnic group of students that populate the fictional East High School in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The universal message of all things HSM is not to judge a book by its cover, and teens should be themselves to attain their dreams.
Stylishly old-fashioned and outlandish perfectly describe this cinematic concoction. Thanks to the capable hands of Ortega, Zack Efron (Troy) has become a bona fide breakout young star, the proof being he will be illuminate the lead in next year’s fast tracked remake of Footloose!
Many were worried that the Disney Channel TV movies would not translate to the big screen, but the over-the-top musical numbers, along with happy bright settings work very well to bring a bigger-than-all-of-us feel to the whole production.
It’s evident that the kids who made this movie are all accomplished dancers and should be applauded for making what surely were killer numbers look effortless.
Hopefully, Tinsel town’s yes men will clue into High School Musical 3: Senior Year’s success and realize that a G rating doesn’t mean a sacrifice of quality. Too much of a good thing, and audiences will follow.
W. – Rated PG13 ***
If any one director had the power to improve the President’s approval rating, well known Democrat Oliver Stone (JFK, Born On the Fourth of July) would be the last on that list.
However, as much as he most certainly tried to have it read the other way, George W. elicits a certain air of likeability in W., the movie. The end result is an understanding, albeit skewed, vision of a siting President and how he got there.
One can’t help but feel for a guy who by all counts has spent his entire life trying to live up to an impossible standard set by his father. Along with a healthy dose of favoritism to his younger brother Jeb, we see G.W.’s excessive drinking being fueled until he finally finds the Lord and is born again in faith.
The B story in W. is the events that lead to the Iraq War. We as viewers are left to ponder many questions, one of which is why it was ever allowed to happen in the first place. To say that George W. Bush comes out of this whole thing smelling like a big yellow rose of Texas could not be further from the truth, but at least he doesn’t come off as the smug individual that sometimes pervades real life.
Features notable co-starring roles by Elizabeth Banks as Laura Bush, Richard Dreyfus as a dead-on Dick Cheney, Jeffrey Wright as Colin Powell and an amazing turn by Thandie Newton as Condo-leezza Rice.
Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa: The zoo crew is back for more fun and adventures.
Role Models: Paul Rudd (The 40-Year-Old Virgin) and Seann William Thomas (American Pie) co-star as buddies who get forced to become big brothers as part of their community service plea bargain. Let the toilet jokes begin!
Soul Men: Comedian Bernie Mac and Samuel L. Jackson play 1970’s soul singers who must successfully reunite for a gig at the famed Apollo Theatre.
Quantum Of Solace: Hot brit Daniel Craig is back in the service of Her Majesty with this latest 007 installment. Word on the street is this may be the best Bond movie yet. Could it be?
Twilight: Millions of pre-teen fans of the smash hit book series have been waiting all year for Edward and Bella to become bigger than life on the silver screen. Here’s hoping for the next Harry Potter!
Australia: Aussies Hugh Jackman (X-Men) and Nicole Kidman (Invasion) star in this epic tale of the land down under.