Tag Archive: high school musical


The Death and Life of Charlie St. Cloud was a best selling novel when it was released back in 2004 and as is the trend these days it was soon made into a film. Charlie St. Cloud tells the story of the title character trying to come to terms with the death of his younger brother until he ultimately must make the choice between keeping a promise to his dead brother or saving the life of a girl that he feels very strongly for. The official synopsis calls it a gift that Charlie can see his deceased brother in the forest but I’m not sure that’s what I would call it, it seems more like a curse not being able to get over the grief or the guilt of such a tragic event happening.

Zac Efron takes the main role as the pretty much perfect guy: he loves and really cares for his mum, he has a very strong bond and friendship with his little brother, he’s one of the best young sailors in the country and has a scholarship to university, he’s got good friends and pretty much his pick of the girls. It’s easy to cast a pretty boy in this type of role but the storyline requires some acting talent too and Efron may have his doubters but I think that he is actually a pretty good actor (he just gets tarnished as rubbish by people who don’t like High School Musical without basing their opinions on anything else). His performance here is pretty good and he gives you a real sense of conflict inside his mind. Charlie Tahan is acting way beyond his maturity in the role of Charlie’s dead little brother Sammy. This duo is supported by Tess Carroll and the surprisingly funny Augustus Prew: there are small appearances from Kim Basinger, Ray Liotta and Dave Franco (complete with the unmistakeable Franco smile).

The opening scene shows Charlie and his brother winning a sailing competition and while it does little to get the adrenaline pumping it sets up the story nicely and the next twenty minutes or so help to build up the sense of brotherhood, friendship and respect that the two brothers share. The death of Sammy wasn’t actually the most emotional part of the film. I felt that Charlie’s trips to see his brother in the forest were very touching and really nicely dealt with and really showed the conflict and guilt that Charlie was suffering from inside his head while he wouldn’t let anybody else know about it. His relationship with Tess seems to move pretty quickly which is understandable once you have seen the film all the way through.

The big twist comes about two thirds of the way through and while it isn’t quite as big as The Sixth Sense, which is obviously had some effect on making this film, it is still a good and pretty powerful one I thought. However, I don’t think the film dealt with the twist as well as it could have done and the third act unfortunately lets the film down after a very promising first two acts. The ending is pretty corny as you would expect from a romance film aimed at teenage girls because corny and cheesy sells so well that studios don’t feel the need to do anything else any more.

Saying that though, I really enjoyed Charlie St. Cloud and would certainly watch it again.

My Rating: 6/10.

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UK Release Date: 11th January 2013.

Plot: Prisoner 24601, Jean Valjean, is released from prison and breaks parole to create a new life for himself while evading the grip of the persistent Inspector Javert. Set in early 19th-century France, the story reaches resolution against the background of the July Revolution of 1832.

Stars: Tom Hooper (director), Hugh Jackman, Russell Crowe, Anne Hathaway, Amanda Seyfried, Sacha Baron Cohen, Helena Bonham Carter… quite a few then.

Les Miserables, affectionately referred to as Les Mis, is one of the all time classic stage productions and musicals. It has been performed for years and won a string of awards in its time in the theatres; it is one of the most well known productions of our time and now comes to the cinema screens of Hollywood. I have seen a stage production of this as well as a school production and the story is great so I anticipate big things from the cast and crew of this film.

This is only a teaser trailer but everything about Les Miserables screams ‘oscar bait’. The timing of its release will not be coincidental by any stretch of the imagination, giving it perfect timing to be considered for awards season. Hooper won last years Oscar for best direction with The King’s Speech and there is no shortage of big hitters among the cast. It has been confirmed by Hooper that all the actors and actresses do their own singing and did it live on set so there is no dubbing over with vocals later on which will make Les Mis all the more authentic.

Musicals conjure up horrible thoughts usually in the mass audience but when done right amazing things can be achieved. The Les Mierables trailer doesn’t give much away in terms of plot but I think the trailer looks really good and gives a great idea of what to expect. I will certainly be very surprised if this movie gets ignored by the Academy Awards.

Thankfully, Les Miserables looks more ‘The Sound of Music‘ rather than ‘High School Musical‘.

Bandslam (2009) Review

Bandslam is an American musical romantic comedy set in a high school. The film centres around Will, a teenager with an unhealthy musical obsession with David Bowie, and his move to a new school. Here, he meets Charlotte and the pair form an unlikely bond and friendship through their appreciation of music. Together they assemble a like-minded group of misfits to form a rock band and compete in a battle of the bands competition names Bandslam.

In the main role of Will is Gaelen Connell and this was his first main part. It’s a part that he isn’t bad in but he doesn’t actually do anything all that good either and is outshone by other members of the cast. Aly Michalka and Vanessa Hudgens play the two love interests and were both praised for their performances upon original release. This surprised me as I didn’t think either of them were particularly fantastic although Hudgens did pull off her character pretty well and Michalka manages to convey the two sides of her character Charlotte’ personality very well. Lisa Kudrow puts in a humorous performance as Will’s caring mother but has limited screen time.

It would be pretty easy to sit there and nit pick what is wrong with Bandslam. The movie has a strange quality in that it seems to move at a pretty fast pace with nothing of note actually taking place throughout many of the scenes; the character’s have very little to them for the first three quarters of the film and we are left in a position where we don’t really care what actually happens to them because we don’t know anything about them. The relationships between Will and both Charlotte (Michalka) and Sa5m (Hudgens) seem to come from nowhere and have absolutely no substance to them, although as the movie progresses the relationships do get more attention and become more personal which is a good point.

For a comedy, Bandslam is not very funny and has very very little laugh out loud moments. Other than a brilliant scene showcasing Will and Sa5m’s first kiss there are no other real funny moments in the film, which is a shame because if every scene was of the same quality as this one Bandslam would have had some serious potential. However, the musical aspects of the film are fantastic and the songs written specifically for Bandlsam are actually really good and really well written. They provide great story telling devices and provide further, much needed insight to the characters.

Thankfully, despite a poor start Bandslam has a pretty good ending which manages to save itself from being a poor film all round. The final half an hour finally gives us some back story of the characters and actually makes them seem like real people which we could have done with a lot sooner. The climatic battle of the bands scenes are okay but nothing to really shout about but a great little cameo from Will’s idol David Bowie at the end really concludes the film in a nice way.

Bandslam is by no means a classic but if you have nothing else to do one day it might be worth a watch. It’s an all round enjoyable film that provides light relief without ever challenging anything.

My Rating: 6/10