Shelby Stone, Lili Fini Zanuck, Shakim Compere, Randi Michel , Ron Schmidt - 2015 Creative Arts Emmy Awards at Microsoft Theater- Press Room at Microsoft Theater, Emmy Awards - Los Angeles, California, United States - Saturday 12th September 2015
And it's just bright and sunny enough to work.Will (Connell) is a nerdy music obsessive who is thrilled when his mother (Kudrow) announces that they're moving from Cincinnati to New Jersey. He plans to reinvent himself at his new high school, and quickly gets caught up in the upcoming BandSlam competition, helping hot girl Charlotte (Michalka) turn her talented but scruffy bandmates (Saxton and Jo) into a first-rate band with the addition of a few more members (including Donowho, Yost and Chung). Meanwhile, Will is falling for his moody study partner Sa5m (Hudgens). The 5 is silent.The formula dictates the plot, as we know things will fall apart before they come together in the end. And where this film surprises us is in the way it approaches teen life with a blast of intelligence. The characters are recognisably complex, with some pretty serious issues in their lives and relationships that feel relatively organic and real. And the conflicts feel vaguely authentic as well, even though we know the smiles will be back before too long.
These teens are all overachievers with a lot of talent, and it's clear that the same can be said about the cast, although the rampant overacting may grate on older audience members. It's mainly Michalka's show; Charlotte is by far the most interesting, magnetic character. But everyone else gets a chance to cut loose as well, including Porter as Charlotte's cool-kid ex. Meanwhile, Kudrow adds class, and some fine comic timing, to the whole thing.Of course, this is a Disneyfied fantasy version of high school, where everyone is virginal and straight, and even the geeks are cute. And this blanding-down makes the whole thing feel less like a proper film than a pilot for a TV series that combines harmless adolescence with an introduction to rock history. But the music is terrific, and director-cowriter Graff resists the temptation to indulge in the usual hackneyed moralising. He also stirs in some terrific moments along the way that subvert the genre just a little bit.
Brewer's debut feature Hustle and Flow took open-minded viewers on a realistic foray into the world of do-it-yourself hip-hop, proving how hard life can be out there for a pimp (unless, of course, you are a member of Three Six Mafia on Oscar night). Moan continues to bathe in Tennessee hardship and failure as it alternately convinces us that life isn't much easier for backwoods Southern skanks and the men they love but who done them wrong.
Continue reading: Black Snake Moan Review
Hellraiser #4 took place in outer space. Number 5 went straight to video.
Continue reading: Hellraiser: Hellseeker Review
Hellraiser: Deader is the impossible seventh film in the increasingly staid Hellraiser franchise (and believe it or not, an eighth DTV title is due out in September).
Continue reading: Hellraiser: Deader Review
The BBC drama starring Aidan Turner returns to BBC One on September 4th.