Last year, between the two of us, we watched an average of 317 movies.
This year our goal is to top that by watching at least one a day.
And as an extra special torture, we've decided to write about all of them.

07 December 2008


Director: Mabrouk El Mechri
Writers: Frédéric Bénudis, Mabrouk El Mechri, Christophe Turpin
Released: 2008
Cast: Jean-Claude Van Damme, François Damiens

NIKKI says:
I can admit it: About 1992, when Universal Soldier came out, I had a slight obsession with Jean-Claude Van Damme. I had to watch all of his movies -- my favourite, of course, was Double Impact, probably because there were TWO Van Dammes. I even once let a guy flirt with me at a B&S because he looked exactly like JC. Height and all.


Well, now it all comes full circle. JC, turns out, isn't such a big weirdo as his pseudo-existential, emotional ramblings in the press might have us believe. Yes, he's slightly out there in terms of his philosophies and life choices, but this movie demonstrates that he's not completely insane. He's actually kind of endearing. This movie gives him a platform to change the public record and to reveal actual human depths.

Aside from all the Van Damme revelations and love, this is actually a good film. JC is trying to get some cash from a Belgian bank to pay off some guys and to help rebuild his relationship with his daughter, but the bank isn't co-operating. Seems JC has just stumbled into the middle of a hold up. He is dragged into the back of the bank where he stays with the rest of the hostages while a tense negotiation plays out between cops and robbers.

The genius thing here is JC has been placed into a situation very much like one of his films. He's the underestimated tough guy placed in supposed peril who wham-bams his way out of of the place and saves the girl. But that doesn't happen here. He's still underestimated, but he's hardly a tough guy, and his drive to save himself let alone anyone else is extremely low.

So, what does Van Damme do? Well, that's the key to this story. Its smart, funny, brave, and actually really tense and well-constructed. You will root for JC, and you will see him a new light, and if you don't come away respecting him... well, you just have no heart.


High School Musical 3: Senior Year

Director: Kenny Ortega
Writer: Peter Barsocchini
Released: 2008
Cast: Zac Efron, Vanessa Hudgens, Ashley Tisdale, Lucas Grabeel, Corbin Bleu, Monique Coleman

NIKKI says:
Why was I so excited for this? I may have gone mad, but I just could not wait to see a High School Musical movie on the big screen. My excitement was all held over from the rush I got when we saw the preview ages ago before Wall-E. The curtain, the sparkles, the basketball, stepping noises... Wildcats WOOH!

I am so lame.

So, it was okay. Actually, it was huge fun and I loved it. However, I did have some issues with it. Many, of course, are the same issues I have with all these movies. I was hoping some of them would have been fixed this time around but no such luck. Here now are my top four Problems With High School Musical 3:

4. Sharpay's redemption
Or lack thereof. Sharpay spends the whole movie being an utter cunt to everyone that threatens her dreams of starring in the final East High Super-Mega-Show. She, like Natalie Sands (bitch!) before her will stop at nothing to make sure poor Gabriella misses the final show allowing Sharpay to step in and be the star. Well, she sabotages Gabriella's role, and almost ruins her relationship with Troy and completely overrides and shits on all her East High friends.

BUT! At the end of the movie, at graduation, who should be sitting next to Gabriella, both smiling at each other, but Sharpay! I didn't see them make up. I didn't see anyone spill red wine on Sharpay's expensive white dress as comeuppance. I saw no redemption whatsoever for bitchy Sharpay. Not good enough!

3. Gabriella's icky sweetness that makes me want to punch her
Can we get this girl some edge? Can't someone dig up some cell phone pics of her dancing around with an ex-boyfriend from her old school? Can we find out SOMETHING about her that doesn't make me think she's as soft as jelly? Ugh.

2. Gabriella's utter lack of character development
So, she goes to pre-college or whatever it is and decides a few days later to leave Troy and not come home for prom or the big final show. Umm... how did she come to this conclusion? These movies have this awful guy-centric thing, or Troy-centric, maybe, that utterly discounts the women. Look at Sharpay -- between these two protags, you'd think the writers here know only of two kinds of girls: sweet-natured Gidgets or bitch-ass beauty queens. This, of course, is so not the case. I was hoping to see Gabriella in her own "Bet On It" moment, getting out her aggression somehow -- throwing candy canes? horseback riding? -- but, alas. It was not to be.

1. The look in Troy's eyes that is supposed to say "I love you, sweet Gabriella" but really says "Man, can we just FUCK already?!"
Was it just me, or did Troy have raging hormones where his eyes should have been? Watch him every time he dances with Gabriella. He is flat out screaming with his face: "I want you!" And, of course, the little tease denies him, which just made me want to take him home all the more to put him out of his freakin' misery.


Still, it was the best of the series with some great songs and some big cool dance numbers. I loved "Scream" and "The Boys are Back". It was just bigger and better as far as production goes. Pity they couldn't have ironed out some of my niggly issues. If only they were doing a fourth one...