High School Musical 2

High School Musical is a phenomenon. I don’t know else to say it. It is a weed, a huge weed that has spread through the whole garden. It truly is a mystery of it’s huge popularity. At the time of it’s debut on television, it was just another of the 7-odd movies made for Disney Channel yearly. But not only has it attracted a golden soundtrack and over 100 million viewers, but a huge fan base of 8-year old Zac Efron-wannabes.

Given Disney’s hyperkinetic need to cash in on everything, not only did we get this TV-movie sequel, but next year we get High School Musical 3 – in theaters. The songs in this film are catchy as ever, and the plot is plodded and predictable as ever. It’s actually more entertaining, dramatic, funny, and zippy than the first. And that’s saying something.

School’s out, much to the joy of East High School. Now all of our favorite characters are back, which means that Troy and Gabriella are still together – boytoy and galpal, much to Sharpay’s dismay. When just about everyone at East High gets hired at Sharpay’s favorite country club, it presents an open opportunity for Sharpay to finally win over Troy, who wrestles with the fact that his friends are losing respect for him.

It’s no masterpiece, and really if you buy the soundtrack you buy the whole movie. But it is a made-for-TV-movie of the highest order, and dare I say it?

It’s better than the original. B

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Rush Hour 3

Rush Hour 3 is rushed, under-written, stupid, over-acted, and lacking in creativity. Oh, and 4 years too late. It’s the perfect opposite of recent, superior threequel The Bourne Ultimatum. Jackie Chan and Chris Tucker are back, and while their chemistry is the best part of the movie, Chan’s way too old, and Tucker hasn’t been in a movie for 6 years and probably did it for the paycheck.

Rush Hour was a nice surprise, if only for the fact that no one ever really expected much of it. Rush Hour 2 was entertaining, even if it was a cash-in on the first. But this…It really just kills the franchise. Most of the film is just unwatchable, with dialogue that makes you laugh out loud. It’s hilarious for all the wrong reasons. The acting is terrible, there’s only two or three gags that work, and the best two scenes are the ending action sequence and the credits.

Hmm…I’ll try to divulge a plot. A criminal organization is after a list which names several crime bosses. And, as always, Chief Inspector Lee and Detective Carter are assigned to the case, taking them from the underworld of France, to the slums of L.A., to the top of the Eiffel Tower in a massive showdown.

Really, this is a terrible movie. I feel so disappointed. Ranks with Evan Almighty as the worst movies so far this year. Miss it. D+

The Bourne Ultimatum

(Note: I’m beginning to think, myself, that I am writing too many positive reviews. So as is such, after this review, I will begin to look for movies to dislike, not movies to be entertained by. So yes, that does mean another positive review. Boo-hoo. 11 positive. 2 negative.)

Matt Damon is back for his third outing as amnesiac super-spy Jason Bourne in The Bourne Ultimatum. I haven’t seen the first two films but not only does The Bourne Ultimatum explain the back-story of the first two excellently, but, I vow, with the 20 bucks in my wallet, to buy the first two.

No, it isn’t the best summer blockbuster so far, though my title for most realistic goes to this. It’s essentially a two-hour chase movie with excellent performances and a desperate need for a SteadyCam. Yes, the camera work is still jittery and unstill as the second one, and in the action scenes half the time you have no idea who’s hitting who.

But, despite the movie keeping you grasped from start to finish, the best scenes are with the corrupt CIA agent, played well by David Straithairn. He’s doing wrong, he knows it, and uses it to embolden him. And, similar to last year’s Casino Royale, the driving force of the movie is the principal actor, Matt Damon. He has long been one of the best actors in the business, and the Bourne series really started his reputation as an action hero. He handles the dramatic material with a really fierce intensity – and also dukes it out to the baddies very well.

In the beginning of the first film, a man named Jason Bourne is found adrift at sea. He doesn’t remember who he is, and through out the series he gradually attempts to find out who he was. All he knows is that he volunteered for an CIA assassination program, and they have been out to kill him. The film begins, with a wounded Bourne attempting to find refuge in Moscow. He reads an article from The Guardian on him and an Operation Blackbriar. He goes to London to go to the journalist who wrote it, and find out the source.

But – ah-ah-ah. Our friends from the CIA gun down the journalist, but not before he gives his source. And another man with vital information is blown up – a la The Godfather. And once again, but not before the man with ALL the information is given away. So Bourne must go to New York City to find out the truth about who he is. He recieves help from local operative Nicky Persons, and old friend Pamela Landy. But with the entire CIA and several assassins after him, can Bourne stay alive another hour? Another day? B+