Camp Rock and Camp Rock 2 – WMR

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Hello Cinephiles,

Today we’re talking about the 2008 and 2010 Movies Camp Rock and Camp Rock 2: The Final Jam.

Story

Camp Rock 1

The story in this couldn’t be more cliché if they tried. I’ve been over the “lying to be popular” since I did it in first grade. It always blows up and it rarely ends as happily as it does in this movie.

Score: 0

Camp Rock 2

Just as cliché a the first but much less angst.

Score: 0

Characters

Camp Rock 1

The characters are so cookie cutter as to be boring. However the young actors manage to bring something watchable to their characters.

Score: 0.5

Camp Rock 2

The characters have changed, if not evolved, to suit the story. Once again the actors are much too good for the script.

Score: 0.5

Dialogue

Camp Rock 1

The majority of the movie made me cringe, however the Mom and the two romantic leads manage to make the dialogue acceptable.

Score: 0.5

Camp Rock 2

I can’t tell if the dialogue got better because of the writing or because the actors grew. It wasn’t enough to make this movie memorable though.

Score: 0.5

Visuals and Music

Camp Rock 1

There’s a camp and it’s filmed in standard Disney Channel style for the late 2000’s. It’s not as colourful as it could be and most of the shots are either frantic or boring.

The music is barely okay. It’s not bad but it shows that other then the main cast, these are not singers.

Score: 0

Camp Rock 2

This is where the sequel starts to get better. It’s better shot and has more coherent musical numbers, actually using the dancers in the cast.

The music for the main cast is catchy and likeable while the rest is still hum-drum.

Score: 0.5

Fun

Camp Rock 1

I spent the majority of the movie groaning or sighing. It’s not much fun.

Score: 0.5

Camp Rock 2

The story was predictable but in a fun way and despite a few lulls, I enjoyed this one.

Score: 1

Overall

Camp Rock 1

This movie is angsty and cliché. I really hope my daughter doesn’t want to watch it too often. The only thing that makes it anything beyond truly boring are the main actors.

Final Score: 1.5 Stars

Camp Rock 2

It’s not great but it’s fun and if I want a camp movie that has music I might consider it.

Final Score: 2.5 Stars

George of the Jungle – WMR

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Hello Cinephiles,

Today we’re talking about the 1997 movie George of the Jungle.

Story

The story is riddled with puns, fart jokes, 4th wall breaking, and silly slapstick. Some of that is good, some of that is bad. It’s a story that doesn’t take itself seriously but has some interesting things to say as subtext. Great moments where the script flips the tropes on their heads, especially those of toxic masculinity and ignorance.

Score: 0.5

Characters

George is a lovable idiot with a better understanding of how to respect others then the rest of the characters.

Ursula was the stand in for the every man-character and bland because of it. The rest were a mixture of tropes and silliness.

Score: 0.5

Dialogue

The dialogue in this, specifically the narrator, makes me laugh every time. Despite the silliness, the movie does a great job at not overdoing the dialogue. It’s not perfect but it’s certainly quotable.

Score: 0.5

Visuals and Music

The visuals were okay. Scenery was pretty and the special effects held up well.

The music was so 1990’s it hurt. Even the theme song was a punk rock late 1990’s cover.

There was nothing special here but nothing terrible.

Score: 0.5

Fun

I have fond memories of this movie as a kid. Brendan Fraser is charming (as always) and the movie still has some of my favourite gags, but also has a lot more crotch punch and fart jokes then I remembered.

Score: 0.5

Overall

This is a fun movie, not great, not terrible but definitely fun. It has less awkward sexism or racism than a lot of movies from it’s time, and even has some good feminist messages.

Final Score: 2.5 Stars

The Spy Next Door – WMR

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Hello Cinephiles,

Today we’re talking about the 2010 movie The Spy Next Door.

Story

The story is cute. Sort of a Uncle Buck meets Jackie Chan. It was just as formulaic as you can expect from a “fighting guy takes care of kids” type of movie.

You don’t watch this for the story.

Score: 0

Characters

Nerdy boy, angsty teen, and cute little kid. They all did well and their was some surprising depth in the characters. Although I did get annoyed at how young the 4 year old acted and was frustrated by the old trope of the Hispanic character being the mole.

Score: 0.5

Dialogue

Overall it was stilted and awkward. Some of it made me cringe.

However Jackie Chan was both adorable and hilarious.

Score: 0.5

Visual and Music

The fighting was top notch, the rest was okay.

The music wasn’t great and sometimes jarring.

Score: 0.5

Fun

This movie had Jackie Chan signing a lullaby and using stunts to get kids ready for school. It had him beating up a future MacGyver. It had heart, humour, and great action.

Fun for everyone.

Score: 1

Overall

The movie isn’t great cinema but it is a lot of fun and if you’re looking for a cute action movie, or if your child is currently in a spy obsession, this a great choice.

Overall Score: 2.5 Stars

Josie and the Pussycats – WMR

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Hello Cinephiles,

Today we’re talking about the 2001 movie Josie and the Pussycats.

Story

Let me start by saying this is the most 2000’s movie ever. This is a movie that predates smartphones, 9/11, and MTV no longer playing music videos.

The plot could have been pulled straight from a comic book from the 90’s, the main message is literally explained, and it can’t seem to decide if it wants to be family friendly or not.

The movie is riddled with sex jokes (I mean really ‘backdoor lover’?), puns (the band ‘Dujour’), and patented 2000’s anti-commercialism (buy stuff to make you unique not to be like everyone else).

This is thoroughly a pre X-men and Spiderman comic book movie. Hammy, fourth wall breaking, and terrified it’s audience won’t get it’s messages.

Score: 0

Characters

After 15 minutes I turned to my wife and said, “Ah the 2000’s where female characters were finally allowed to be 2 stereotypes.”

The three protagonist are: Josie (Rock Star, mechanic), Valerie (Activist best friend), and Melody (Animal loving Ditz).

The rest are pretty much the same, Allan Cummings eats up the scenery as does Parker Posey. They ham so much and seriously make their characters work.

Are they balanced? No. Are they an attempt at social commentary? Maybe… Are they likeable? Yes mostly.

Score: 0.5

Dialogue

Trite, silly, and downright hilarious. The dialogue in this movie is written to both date it and make it wallow in it’s own silliness. From the code words based off of old rock songs, to the puns, to the line, “I’m here cause I was in the comic” This movie doesn’t pull any punches when it comes to silly dialogue.

Somehow it manages to skirt quotability.

Score: 0.5

Visuals and Music

The movie goes out of its way to push the anti-commercialism by including over 70 brands as product placement. It’s coloured and shot like a comic book and genuinely pretty.

The music is good, if repetitive. I’m sad that none of the cast actually performed the songs.

Score: 0.5

Fun

This movie is a condensed feel of my teen years and brings back good and bad memories. It was a more innocent time and because of that I really enjoyed re-watching this.

There’s a little cringe in there but overall the music and corniness make it a lot of fun.

Score: 1

Conclusion

This movie is a snapshot in time of what the late 1990’s early 2000’s was like. Before the world was changed by 9/11 and everything thing else the 2000’s brought.

It’s fun, but not the greatest movie. I feel the messages and lessons get drowned out by the ham.

Final Score: 2.5

The Ghosts of Buxley Hall – WMR

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Hello Cinephiles,

Today we’re talking about the made for TV movie from 1980 The Ghosts of Buxley Hall.

Story

The story is pretty simple, but feels like it lacks depth. We don’t really get to know much about the characters backstories or motivations, beyond the ghosts. Even the “In Your Face” feminist story line feels a little flat.

It is however a nice linear story that follows through with its promises and foreshadowing.

Score: 0.5

Characters

This has all the stereotypes but made more human than I expected. The military man, the independent woman, the troubled boy, the troubled girl, the tough guy who doesn’t like kids, the bully, and the mad aunt who wants money.

They all have tender moments where their human side is shown. Unfortunately the cast is much too big for the movie. It means we are constantly moved between the kid’s story, the adult’s story, and the ghosts. Sometimes forgetting about one of the others.

Score: 0.5

Dialogue

The dialogue is pure 80’s and pure cheese. Most of the best lines are given by the Sargent or the general’s wife.

Score: 0

Visuals and Music

This movie might have been about ghosts but it could have seriously used some colour. The shots however are very well designed and clean. Both the music and the visuals are effective if not inspired.

Score: 0.5

Fun

This is a fun movie. You know everything will end well and you get a combination ghost story, coming of age, and boarding school story.

Score: 1

Conclusion

This is a fun fluffy movie that is now 40 years old and is showing it’s age. It’s not offensive but it’s definitely shallower than it could be. However, it is a lot of fun.

Final Score: 2.5 Stars

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker – WMR

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Hello Cinephiles,

Today we’re talking about the 2019 film Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.

Warning Spoilers!

Story

This is marked as the end of the Skywalker Saga (AKA numbered Star Wars movies) and was meant to tie up the loose ends and stories of the old, new, and middle characters in the series.

Although the story was pretty coherent, it was meandering and often got marred down by awkward nostalgia. Treating things like the fallen death star or Luke’s old X-wing as near magical artifacts of nostalgia.

As much as this felt like a love letter to the old Star Wars, it also felt like a massive set up for the future of that universe. Introducing so many new elements into the last movie that some from previous movies faded into the background. (Poor Rose.)

Overall, it was hopeful, anyone can be redeemed, the force is with us, you aren’t your parents, etc etc. (What’s with American entertainment and the obsession with hereditary power and competence.)

It was fun, but overly self-indulgent in it’s own mythos. Also “Wonder-Force-Twins” ex-machina.

Score: 0.5

Characters

I’ll have to watch the whole trilogy again but I felt that the characters changed a lot between movies. Poe’s character seemed to have the least consistency between movies, but even Rey felt different.

The only completely consistent character was Kylo.

It was nice to see the old crew, but overall it was frustrating to see the inconsistencies.

I did love Leia though.

Score: 0.5

Dialogue

The dialogue was exactly what you’d expect from a post-Lucas Star Wars. Hammy but not to the point of cringe. Lots of throwbacks and the actors genuinely delivered emotion.

Nothing stood out as infinitely quotable and a lot of it was whiny.

Score: 0

Visuals and Music

This was Star Wars. Visuals and Music are essential the best parts. When the Star Wars theme starts playing during the opening exposition crawl, I get shivers.

This is genuinely beautiful. From lightsaber fights on a storm-wracked wreck, to jungle planets, and the Sith homeworld. It was wonderful to watch.

Score: 1

Fun

There was a part of the movie near the end where Rey has gone off on her own and the others are feeling helpless that I just got bored. From that part onward, it felt like the ending was both rushed story-wise and slow pacing-wise.

Score: 0.5

Conclusion

This was a Star Wars movie. It had all the Star Wars stuff, both good and bad. I can see why some people loved it. I can also see where some people hated it.

Final Score: 2.5 Stars