movie review

School of Rock (2003)

School of Rock (2003)

Director:

Richard Linklater

Writer:

Mike White

Starring:

Jack Black

Mike White

Joan Cusack

Sarah Silverman

Miranda Cosgrove

Blurb:

After being kicked out of his rock band, Dewey Finn becomes a substitute teacher of an uptight elementary private school, only to try and turn his class into a rock band.

Review:

I watched School of Rock way back when it came out, but I have never had a desire to watch it since. However, scrolling through Instagram, as you do, I came across some people talking about it, and I decided to re-watch with new eyes. Thankfully, it was streaming on HBO, so I was able to.

My feelings on School of Rock remain the same. The movie is fine, I don’t find it funny, but it’s kind of cute. Jack Black’s character is mainly a positive influence on the kids, and the ending is the best outcome, but I’m not sure if his actions outweigh the lies he told. I guess I’m not rock n’ roll enough.

It’s a sweet film, and I enjoy Jack Black and the kids, but sadly it’s not a movie for me.

3/5

The Good Liar (2019)

The Good Liar (2019)

Director:

Bill Condon

Writer:

Jeffrey Hatcher

Starring:

Helen Mirren

Ian McKellen

Russell Tovey

Jim Carter

Blurb:

Consummate con man Roy Courtnay has set his sights on his latest mark: the recently widowed Betty McLeish, worth millions. But this time, what should have been a simple swindle escalates into a cat-and-mouse game with the ultimate stakes.

Review:

**Trigger warning for rape**

I’ve had The Good Liar on my to-watch list on HBO for a while. Mainly because I love Helen Mirren, and with the inclusion of Ian McKellen, I knew the movie had to be good. I was not wrong.

You discover fairly quickly that McKellen’s character is a con man. It takes you a little bit longer to learn just how far he’s willing to take it. I was shocked to see it, but it made the twist at the end absolutely believable.

Mirren’s character, Betty, came off as smart and capable. She seemed to be looking more for companionship than love. She wasn’t a pushover, but she was trusting. Still, I loved that she noticed when he slipped up in his con. It was always little things that could easily be explained away, but she noticed them. She was sharp.

I won’t reveal the twist, but I definitely didn’t see it coming. The ending was a great payoff after the twist was revealed, too, so things weren’t ended on a sour note. The Good Liar was an entertaining film that I’m glad I could take the time to watch.

4/5

Barb and Star Go to Vista Del Mar (2021)

Barb and Star Go to Vista Del Mar (2021)

Director:

Josh Greenbaum

Writers:

Annie Mumolo

Kristen Wiig

Starring:

Kristen Wiig

Annie Mumolo

Jamie Dornan

Blurb:

Lifelong friends Barb and Star embark on the adventure of a lifetime when they decide to leave their small Midwestern town for the first time – ever.

Review:

At this point in quarantine, I’m starved for new entertainment. Disney+ TV shows are nice, but I need movies. Movies that I enjoy. Barb and Star Go to Vista Del Mar hit that mark and then some. It was over the top hilarious, and I can’t count the number of times I laughed out loud.

Barb and Star, Annie Mumolo, and Kristen Wiig, are able to maintain the heaviest Midwest accent out there with ease. They lean hard into the stereotype, and just when it could get boring, they throw you for a loop by doing something completely unexpected. All the while, taking it in stride like it was no big deal. The comfort they have with who they are and the fact that they don’t try to change their base selves is perfect.

The movie is about them getting their groove back, so to say. They’re in a rut after losing both of their husbands. When they were young, they were fun-loving and spontaneous, and that’s missing from their lives.

Barb and Star isn’t just about them rediscovering themselves. There is a mass murder plot and a romance. Seriously, the film has it all, and yet it doesn’t feel like it’s trying to accomplish too much. It doesn’t feel rushed and hits all the comedy beats. I hope to see more from Wiig and Mumolo in the future. They seem like a match made in heaven.

I watched this movie through Amazon’s Prime video rental.

4/5

The Wizard of Oz (1939)

The Great Movie Re-Watch

The Wizard of Oz (1939)

Directors:

Victor Fleming

George Cukor

Mervyn LeRoy

Norman Taurog

Richard Thorpe

King Vidor

Writers:

Noel Langley

Florence Ryerson

Edgar Allan Woolf

Starring:

Judy Garland

Frank Morgan

Ray Bolger

Bert Lahr

Jack Haley

Billie Burke

Margaret Hamilton

Blurb:

Dorothy Gale is swept away from a farm in Kansas to a magical land of Oz in a tornado and embarks on a quest with her new friends to see the Wizard who can help her return home to Kansas and help her friends as well.

Thoughts:

If you don’t have a horrible story to tell about working on The Wizard of Oz, did you really work on it? Margaret Hamilton, the Wicked Witch, got third-degree burns on her face and hands. Her stunt woman was horribly injured as well. Buddy Ebsen, the original Tin Woodman, was admitted in critical condition to a hospital when he had an allergic reaction to the aluminum dust they used for his costume. Jack Haley, the Tin Woodman in the movie, ended up getting an eye infection from the aluminum paste they switched to. Ray Bolger, the Scarecrow, received permanent lines to his face caused by the glue they used for his mask. To top it all off, they sprinkled asbestos all over the set to look like snow and Judy Garland, Dorothy, got to lie in a pile of it.

All of that and so much more happened with this movie. When you read back over it all, it feels like a miracle that it was even made. That could be my ignorance of the behind the scenes of making movies, though.

I was introduced to this movie by my grandmother when I was relatively young. I loved it. Unlike my sister and brother, the flying monkeys never bothered me. I was too caught up in the music and bright colors. I loved Dorothy. I honestly think this movie may have been what started my love of fantasy.

It is yet another movie that has been added to the US Library of Congress. This might make my movie taste basic, but I don’t care. This movie is a classic and should be watched by everyone.

The Nine Lives of Christmas (2014)

Nine Lives of Christmas

The Nine Lives of Christmas (2014)

Director:

Mark Jean

Starring:

Brandon Routh

Kimberly Sustad

Stephanie Bennett

Plot:

After a stray cat adopts Zachary, he meets Marliee and realizes the single life is not as fulfilling as he thought it was.

Review:

So if I was ever an actress one of my goals would be to star in a Hallmark movie. That and a Law and Order episode. But I’m weird. What are the odds that Brandon Routh is weird too? I feel kind of bad for him, I thought he was a good Superman, but I haven’t watched him in a movie since then.

A fair amount of product placement going on here. They weren’t in your face about it, so that was nice. But it was still very much there. Hmmm…maybe I need to go shop at Wal-Mart.

The story was cute and not as bad as other made for TV Christmas movies. The relationship moved fast, but then who could blame her? They did kind of push the cliche being in a relationship negatives that Routh was afraid of, but I kind of see what they were going with there.

I liked this Christmas movie but probably not enough to add it to my Christmas routine.

3/5