Wednesday, July 23, 2008

The Weekend Watcher: DJG


High School Musical
(Movie & Live Production) * * * 1/2

A real man admits his liking for Disney's "High School Musical". I saw the movie a couple weeks ago and forgot to write a proper review, so I waited until after I saw the live production of it too. So, real men admit that they've shed a tear during the inspirational end ballad, "Breaking Free (Soaring-Flying)" on screen and live. Since the movie's 2006 inception, I thought I'd heard enough from Troy, Gabriella, Sharpay, Ryan and the whole school without even spending time with them. Well, actually I did by way of rolling my eyes at their faces stuck to everything in the department store aisles or having to hear my young niece babble on and on about her crush for Troy. I had become stuck-up just like Sharpay at East High School. Up until recently I had written it off as NOT FOR ME. This is where I bite my tongue and give my eyes to somebody who deserves them. I was wrong. I admit it now. I happen to really like and appreciate "High School Musical" A LOT. Sure, it comes with a fist of cheese and camp, but most movies do…especially musicals, which I happen to enjoy. Sure, the kids have a wealth of talent, but are obviously lip-syncing. At first all I could think about is what do these rich and good looking kids have to sing and complain about? Why are little kids into this so much? Then, it hooked me. Not only the immediacy of the song writing, but the universal message for all ages about just being the real you, taking risks, respecting and helping others. I get tired of people like I used to be. People who slap in the face such solid song writing, themes and entertainment…but, I forgive them. Some stretch it far as to say it's all about materialism and unhealthy role playing for children and blah blah blah. People are always quick to destroy anything DISNEY as well. I'm guilty on occasion. Anyway, what about almost EVERYTHING on television or movies today being unhealthy for children AND adults!? Actually, "High School Music" is about breaking molds and showing tolerance and love. Oh, and it's also a modern day "Romeo & Juliet" and way better than "Grease" could dream of being. Though, I'm still baffled as to why the little kids have embraced this to the global extent that they have...and enough to produce two sequels and loads of backpacks, lunch boxes and karaoke machines ($$$$$$$). And I'm sure it's baffling to most people who know me when they find out I'm not "sticking to the status quo and sticking to the stuff I know". All I can say is that I like it a lot and who cares? And see it before you rip it. I've now got my "head in the game" and I'm rooting for the Wildcats.

Gonzo: The Life & Work of Dr. Hunter S. Thompson * * * * 1/2

Acclaimed writer and '60s-'70s counter-culture powerhouse figure Hunter S. Thompson, lived life at a chaotic and productive rate. His 2005 suicide left behind one heck a unique American original, a patriotic legacy in his own right and a creatively scorched paper trail that is rarely matched. He just may be one of our finest thinkers. Though, sometimes genius gathers many demons and vices. I feel that Hunter's chaotic run had him as his own God and with no rules until he bit the bullet. America's current climate could really use Thompson's wit and wonder, his ability to see the darkness and the light all in one observation of the underlined details. This is another fascinating, inspiring and tragic tale of mad genius at full-throttle with gas still left in the tank before death's official say-so. (See the full review in a previous post)

The Wild Blue Yonder * * 1/2

Acclaimed and daredevil director Werner Herzog has fashioned a unique career of fascinating studies. Whether it’s the subject of man or nature and the darker, mysterious depths of both, Herzog's camera is on target. He documents the gutsy and shocking truth or just something unbelievably-believable concocted from his own imagination. "The Wild Blue Yonder"shows us some of both fact and fiction. With storytelling in chapters, Herzog culls and splices many shots from NASA, underwater landscapes, scientists and vintage films to mix with his unique take on aliens and time travel. The shots are fascinating, as the odd realities Earth and space alone have to offer is very alien in it's own right. However, the film comes with a laborious price in pacing on the viewer. Not known to play with conventional filmmaking, Herzog stretches the patience even more with this one. Though, I'm always appreciative and interested in his nose to the grindstone studies. It's a shame for me to get a little exhausted with such beautiful non-everyday film footage he's put together here, and gorgeously scored as well. I'm just glad "The Wild Blue Yawner" clocks in at under 90 minutes, yet it feels like 3 hours.


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