Monday, August 11, 2008

Screening Log.

I never keep this damn things up, but that ain’t gonna stop me starting again. No sirree. Alright, films I saw this weekend.

High School Musical 2 (Kenny Ortega, 2007)
Hilarious, but for all the wrong reasons. Terrible acting, predictable plot, contrived characters… it was neither a step up nor a step down from its predecessor. Actually, one thing it did lack was catchy songs. HSM had “We’re All in This Together” which I’ll never forget because we sang it because we sang it in our Sixth Form Revue, as well as “Getcha Head in the Game” and “Stick to the Status Quo”. Only “Bet on it” from HSM2 will linger in my memory, and that was for Zac Efron’s dodgy dancing as much as anything. One thing that really brought the lolls, however, was how that girl was always conveniently around to play the piano whenever Troy and Gabriela needed it. Ffs.

Never Been Kissed (Raja Gosnell, 1999)
Oh, ♥. It may be because I’m feeling amorous because of the season, or me feeling soppy because I believe I’m in love, or pure nostalgia for my secondary school (cringey days and all), but practically everything about this film was endearing to me. 

Firstly, you’ve got Drew Barrymore at her loveliest, as newspaper copyright editor Josie. In order to make it as a reporter, she needs to go undercover in a high school. She, like most of us, had a pretty torrid time at high school, and after some initial failures in trying to be cool, her brother (played by David Arquette) helps her make it with the cool crowd. 

There’s a great supporting cast (including the ever-lovable John C. Reilly), some hilarious moments (the bananas…lol) a cute soundtrack, but what I loved most about this film was the chemistry between Barrymore and her teacher Michael Vartan. 

The ending, though broaching morally dubious territory, considering he thought she was a student the whole time, was still lovely, and I was so happy for Josie.


Ballad of a Soldier (Grigori Chukhrai, 1959)
Continuing with my “watching a film ‘cos it’s Russian”, I went for this minor masterpiece. Ballad of a Soldier points out how single minded and silly it would be to beef on the Russians and the beauty that an individual is capable of. Like Turtles Can Fly, Ballad of a Soldier captures the detrimental effect of war toward the country and the individual. It’s about one soldier, who possesses all the attributes that a good person should have, and is granted 6 days to go on leave: 2 to get there, 2 to spend with his mother (wherein he plans to fix her roof) and two days to return. However, in his journey, he comes across a range of people that need help, and in helping them, delay his arrival. He also develops a romance in the film, but we’re not even treated to a kiss… :( We’re told from the off that he doesn’t survive the war, but that didn’t stop me crying my eyes out at the end. Completely moving and heart-breakingly beautiful, this is highly recommended.


Fox said...

I know it wasn't intended - and it's really just my own distracted eyes - but the still from Never Been Kissed cutely looks like it's attached to the Ballad of a Soldier review.

But then you say this:

"He also develops a romance in the film, but we’re not even treated to a kiss…"

Hmm... maybe the still fits after all. Ballad of a Soldier (Never Been Kissed). :)

Anonymous said...

Ballad of a Soldier is one of my favourite films ever. So glad to have found someone else who has seen it!

Anonymous said...

ALSO if you're into watching Russian films at the moment, try The Cranes are Flying. It's amazing.

Farzan said...

Good reviews Emma, I somewhat enjoyed Never Been Kissed the last time I saw it on TV. I found David Arquette to be pretty entertaining

Carl Joseph Papa said...

oooh i love me some barrymore. this movie was cute and very good. I can't remember how many times I've watched this film hehehe

Just a girl said...

I agree, HSM 2 didn't live up to any expectations, it was only funny because it was so terrible. I only remember the song on the baseball field (I Don't Dance?) and one on the golf course I think, and the pool, though I don't remember the tunes or the words the way I do HSM 1. And they're making an HSM 3...dare we hope for anything worth watching?!

I've not seen Never Been Kissed in it's entirety - only the end - but I can relate. ;-)


Anonymous said...

Emz... A-level results?

I got an A in English lit and an A in History, amazingly. German was a B (2 marks off an )... scheiße. I'm calling UCL as soon as the phone lines clear.

anahit said...

EMMMMMAAA!!! Results!! Mine are probably much shittier than do tell!! xxx

Emma said...

@ Martin and Anahita:


AAAB for me. B in Physics. So I'm going to Bath!

Anahita, what did you get?

anahit said...

*squeals* oooh weellll DONE!!! Mine are on my blog. Prepare for a bitch. xxx

Anonymous said...

Ugh they said they'd "think about it"

You gonna call up Imperial?

Xx-Vicky-xX said...

I disagree about HSM2 i think its much better than the 1st...Actors are awesome.

Please check out my blog. thank you

Marcy said...

In retrospect, I think I like HSM2 better than the first movie. It's growing on me, haha. I mean, the songs were a bit more terrible and the choreography pales in comparison to the first film, but...I liked how the story focused on Troy rather than a predictable high school romance.

Oh yes, my friend and I kept re-watching "Bet On It" because it was just too funny.

As for Never Been Kissed, I actually thought that David Arquette had better chemistry with Drew Barrymore than Michael Vartan did.

Anonymous said...

I got AAB, which wasn't enough to do the course I wanted, so I'm also going to my insurance, Manchester.

*dreads the thought of mingling with Manchester Utd fans*

Emma said...

Bung, it's only people in London that support Manchester Utd, bb! People from Manchester tend to actually support Man City.

Anonymous said...

Oh really? Good to know!