High School Musical (2006) – Exploring the Past

TL;DR – Much more serviceable than I was expecting, but with some very odd narrative and production choices that hold it back 

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Post-Credit Scene – There is an end credit scene

Disclosure – I paid for the Disney+ subscription that viewed this movie.

Zac Efron and Vanessa Hudgens has some Karaoke

High School Musical Review

When it comes to cinema, we all have our blind spots. Whether that is films, we just have not been able to see or films that we presumed to be not great and never gave a chance. For me, one of those films is the one we will explore today. When it first came out, I was a touch older than the demographic it was looking at, while I also ran youth events for people who were 100% its target demographic, which gave me a very skewered view of the film. But now that I am older and wiser, it is time to take a look back and explore the film on its own merits.

So to set the scene, it is New Year’s Eve at a ski lodge, and while Troy Bolton (Zac Efron) would rather be playing basketball and Gabriella Montez (Vanessa Hudgens) would rather be reading a book, their parents independently suggest that they go to the young people’s party. They had never met before, but that did not stop them from getting lumped together in a surprise karaoke duet. While they exchanged numbers, they never saw each other again until on the first day back at East High School in Albuquerque, New Mexico, when Troy discovers that Gabriella has transferred to his school and that there is a new musical about to audition.

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Space Jam (1996) – Exploring the Past

TL;DR – A blast from the past that has unfortunately lost a bit of its sheen. 

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Post-Credit Scene – There is an End Credit scene

Disclosure – I paid for the Netflix subscription that viewed this film.

Space Jam. Image Credit: Warner Brothers.

Space Jam Review

When Space Jam first came out in cinemas, I was in primary school, and I can remember that it was a film that teachers would put on when they needed a break from us but not that much more. It has been over a decade since I have seen the film, and besides the occasional look at the old website, I hadn’t thought about it much. However, then they went and made a sequel. I felt I had to give it another watch for due diligence to see just what it was that captured people all those years ago.

So to set the scene, in 1973, a young Michal Jordan (Brandon Hammond) is practising at his home well after midnight. When talking to his dad, the one thing he wants to be is a champion and play on a championship team. One montage of Jordan’s career later, and a now champion Michael Jordan (Michael Jordan) is retiring from basketball to join baseball. But on a planet in deep space, a theme park boss is Swackhammer (Danny DeVito), is trying to find a new attraction, and he decides to steal all the Looney Tunes. But instead of being captured, Bugs Bunny (Billy West) cons them into playing a basketball game for their freedom.   

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Movie Review – The Way Back (Finding the Way Back) (2020 film)

TL;DR – A film that feels more personal than I have seen in a while and at the very least a loot messier     

Score – 3.5 out of 5 stars

Post-Credit Scene – There is no post-credit scene

The Way Back. Image Credit: Warner Brothers.

Review

There are many things that make reviewing The Way Back a difficult prospect. Part of that comes from intentional narrative devices that help the film in some ways and hinder it in others. Also, this is just a really raw film at times looking at a subject material that is both important but also deeply relevant to the lead actor. Which gets us into the realm of how much of this is performance and how much of this is reality thrown up on the screen. All of these are difficult things, but they were because in many respects this is a difficult film.

So to set the scene, Jack Cunningham (Ben Affleck) spends his days alone, even when he is surrounded by people. He wakes up with a beer, he showers with a beer, he drinks on the way to work, he hides booze while he is working, and he drinks himself silly when he gets home. After Thanksgiving dinner with his sister Beth (Michaela Watkins) who is clearly concerned that he is not seeing anyone after his marriage with Angela (Janina Gavankar) fell apart he arrives home to find an odd message on his phone. His old school wants him to come back and be the new basketball coach.

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