High School Musical (2006)

Hold your nose, we're going in.
Hold your nose, we're going in.

Now for something really horrible: Disney’s vision of adolescence.

Meet star basketball player Troy (Zac Efron) and lonely bookworm Gabrielle (Vanessa Anne Hudgens), two teens as far apart as you can be without breaking the Stepford mold Disney’s live action movies use to create characters. Through pure happenstance, both are forced to sing Karaoke together at a gutless, New Year’s Eve “kids” Party. As they do so, both manifest the strange and fantastic powers possessed by all major characters in musicals, singing a song they’ve never heard before perfectly, complete with overproduced, generic “oooh”s and “yeah”s that inspire cheering accolades from all the dumbshits in their audience. Said dumbshits drop whatever it is they’re doing to form a pan-worthy tableau behind our two leads.  Here I thought audiences typically gathered in front of performers. I didn’t count on this being Opposite Day is Disneyland. Or the fact that Disneyland is a such a demon-haunted world. Continue reading High School Musical (2006)

Green Lantern: First Flight (2009)

Yeah, Hal...you should be scared.
Hey, Jordan…Clark Kent wants his cowlick back.

I’ve always liked Green Lantern in theory, but I’m one of those annoying bastards who only started paying attention to the title after annoying bastard de jure Kyle Rayner began leaving a trail of dead and depowered girlfriends across the DC Universe. For the longest time I only knew Hal Jordan, the Silver Age Green Lantern of the 1960s and still (apparently) a fan favorite to this day, in his Darth Vader persona, Parallax.

Then Hal died and came back to life again, as popular characters are so wont to do, and by 2005 he’d returned to his former role and his own book with nary a “Sorry about that little attempted genocide.” Gotta love those Cosmic Reset Buttons. Couldn’t have happened at a better time. Back in 1994, when Hal first went power-mad, superhero movies were a punch line…especially if they stared Alec Baldwin. The year after Hal died (that first time) Joel Schumacher killed Hope itself with a little atrocity called Batman and Robin. Ah…but today… Continue reading Green Lantern: First Flight (2009)

Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter (1984)

At least the ax wound is well-done.
At least the ax wound's a nice touch.

The presumptively-named Final Chapter opens with a highlights reel, reminding you (by which I mean me) of an editor’s power to twist truth into previously unthinkable of geometries. Intercutting Paul’s campfire recap of series’ mythology from Part 2 with shots from Jason Voorhees’ Greatest Murders might give the uninitiated a false impression of this series’ quality.

That could be dangerous, so let me state plain: Quality has to scrape Friday the 13th off its shoes every time it visits its aging parents. Don’t want to track things across the “family” room carpet, now do we? Continue reading Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter (1984)

Iron Man 2 (2010)

Rhode Island Red
Tony, sporting the Rhode Island Red

Given that Iron Man 2‘s already a Designated Hit of the Year, nothing I can say will make the least bit of impact on the film’s bottom line. I find that rather freeing, because I don’t have to pretend the film is some amazing stand-out example of its genre. It’s not bad, but it’s still a fuzzy-headed rehash of tropes that should be familiar to anyone who’s watched a superhero sequel. The Villain Hypertrophy, the mawkish sentiment, the origin of A Sidekick, the Hero striving against his Fate, trying to shore up his Legacy against Death’s inevitable encroachment while simultaneously learning how to play well with others – it’s all here. And it’s all so mind-numbingly safe I had to slap myself with a Netflix envelope just to recall why I was here. Continue reading Iron Man 2 (2010)