written by: Griffin Brammer
Rating : 1.5/5
We’ve all seen the TikTok: the hair flip, the smirk, Debby Ryan’s… questionable acting choices, and you may have thought “Radio Rebel can’t be THAT bad, right?” It is. Our titular character, Tara, played by Debby Ryan, does not understand subtlety. For a character who is ‘shy and bashful,’ Ryan portrays Tara as an “awko taco uwu” caricature that embodies the teary eyed, two index fingers pushed together emojis (you know the ones). Her line delivery also suffers and the strange pauses and enunciation make her sound like she’s constipated.
Every other character is tragically copy and pasted from any other movie: the bitchy popular girl, the ‘not like other boys’ love interest, the strict no-fun principal, and more.
The themes of this movie suffer as well. They really thought the overarching theme of “be yourself” was new, fresh and groundbreaking. That isn’t to say there aren’t redeeming qualities. The ending is genuinely sweet, and I approve of a positive step-parent/step-child dynamic. Everything else, however, is just like the TikToks: fun for the first five seconds, then immediately insufferable. All in all, I did not vibe with it.
Wendy Wu: Homecoming Warrior
I would like to start off this review by saying I am so glad this movie isn’t nearly as racist as the title would have you believe. In fact, the movie pays a lot of respect to Chinese tradition and culture (granted, the ‘Chinese legends’ of this movie are all made up, but it’s still nice to see them not make a complete mockery of Chinese Buddhism).
In fact, a main theme for not just Wendy, but her entire family, is embracing and being proud of the culture you come from. Brenda Song fits the role as Wendy flawlessly, as her previous role as London Tipton on Suite Life of Zach and Cody really helps cement her character as the ‘dumb popular girl’.
Mix that with some surprisingly good fight choreography and a couple references to Jackie Chan and Wang Chung, and you have a pretty solid movie that kicks some serious butt.
As much as I love both Demi Lovato and the Jonas Brothers, this movie is painfully average. If you asked me to recall one single plotpoint of this movie, I don’t think I could. Keep in mind that I’m writing this a solid 10 minutes after finishing the film.
Other than that, for a movie about a literal summer camp for future rockstars, every music number is bland and not much to write home about. I remember everyone’s acting being passable, with extra points going to Maria Canals-Barrera who does a stellar job as Mitchie’s mom.
Princess Protection Program
I never would have thought Disney would be able to write such a strangely complex story about a military coup that the average middle schooler could understand. Lovato and Gomez’s performances are pretty spot on, and while their chemistry isn’t immediately fantastic, it quickly evolves throughout the movie.
Gomez’s character, Carter, and her relationship with her unrequited love, Donny, feels underrealized, and other over the top characters sometimes made it hard to watch. That, mixed with the movie having an overall genre identity crisis, makes it just shy of being truly great.
High School Musical 2
2, 1, 3… That’s the correct order. There is absolutely nothing wrong with this movie. Sharpay is at her best and the sexual tension between Ryan and Chad in “I Don’t Dance” is immeasurable.
Every dance number is lively and perfectly over the top. The songs are immensely catchy, too.
The only bad thing I could even say about this movie is how quickly Troy turns on his best friends… but “Humuhumunukunukuapua’a” completely makes up for that in a split second.
High School Musical 2 bop bop bops its way to the top (and yes, I know that song was from the first movie, but come on, it’s a pretty good pun).
You’d think with a name like Lemonade Mouth you’d be left with a sour taste in your mouth; however I’m pleased to announce that this movie is just as good as we remember, if not better. First off, every song is straight bars. If the doctor told me I only had 40 and a half minutes left to live, you better believe it’s dedicated to the Lemonade Mouth original soundtrack.
I’m pretty sure just about any high school student could find some degree of relatability to one of the band members’ stories and find a positive role model. From first generation American students to children of divorce, this movie covers some fresh topics in a thoughtful and effective way.
This movie surprised me; needless to say I find it pretty… super. The performances were spot on and I found myself cackling at most of the jokes… maybe sometimes unintentionally, but nonetheless.
The movie had some pretty fun usage of superpowers and subverted some of the usual comic book cliches, not to mention there is a surprisingly good twist towards the end of the film.
As the cherry on top, the entire Sky High universe felt well thought out and fleshed out to its entirety. My only other criticism is that, while they tried to spring a message of inclusivity between heroes and sidekicks, some of Will’s sidekick friends are admittedly useless (looking at you, Zach and Magenta).
Sharpay’s Fabulous Adventure
Move over, Regina George. Make way for the queen, the drama mamma herself, Sharpay Evans. You know from the very first song that everything about this movie will be bigger and better and best. First off, and this might sound cruel, but it’s kind of nice to see Sharpay fail in a substantial way.
In High School Musical, everything was handed to her on a silver platter, so it’s fun and engaging to see her enter the real world and grow for once. Now, I will be the first to admit that this movie isn’t perfect- the entire movie could be summarized by the term ‘campy’-but goddamnit if it isn’t a guilty pleasure.
This movie is simply fantastic. Not perfect in any way shape or form, but great nonetheless. Whether she’s playing a stressed out mom or an angst filled teen, Jaime Lee Curtis does a fantastic job portraying Tess AND Anna. Lohan, on the other Lo-hand, in my opinion fails to deliver, specifically as Tess trapped in Anna’s body.
The ending almost legitimately sent me into tears, which is not an easy task. However, I do have to take away some points for the oftentimes on-the-brink-of-being-racist depiction of Chinese characters Pei-Pei and her mother. Also, the fact that the bad boy senior love interest, Jake, is creepily obsessed with not only Lohan, who is just 15, but also her mom, a woman almost 30 years older than him that is about to be married is a bit of a yikes.
This movie holds up as being one of the best continuations of a TV show to ever hit the film industry; simply put, this film hits all the marks. It’s full of humor and effortlessly swaps to drama when necessary.
Do y’all remember Archie? The street magician who was in love with his evil parrot? Love that man. Notably, because this is a movie, the tone and mood is much darker and less silly than the show. However, the growing bond between Justin and Alex makes up for some of those nitpicks, and I literally cheer every time Alex wins the family powers.