Film: The Breakfast Club

1985, Written/directed by John Hughes, starring Emilio Estevez, Anthony Michael Hall & Judd Nealson

The Breakfast Club is one of the best-loved films of all-time. For one reason or another, the 1985 ‘brat pack’ feature has seeped into the public memory. While other ’80s school dramas have died and gone to bargin bin heaven, The Breakfast Club continues to be pushed in luxury Blu-Ray packages. It makes favourite list after favourite list, constantly peddled as a ‘classic’, or a ‘film to see before you die’. While it would probably be worth sliding it in somewhere if you’ve got another 60-odd years to go, if you’re planning on jumping into a river this evening, I wouldn’t go wasting your final few hours on what, in the modern light of day, is little more than a fairly solid teen drama. Continue reading

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Film: Pitch Perfect

Pitch PerfectThe cast/crew bit: written by Kay Cannon, directed by Jason Moore, starring Anna Kendrick, Brittany Snow & Rebel Wilson

The ten-word synopsis: Girl ends up on all-female singing troupe. Love ensures.

It’d be easy to dismiss formulaic pictures as being easy to make and lazy. However, that’d be to undermine the craftsmanship needed to successfully slot what is, essentially, a pre-prepared film together. Some of the upbeat, school-set bubblegum musicals that have plauged cinema and TV alike over the past five years have been able to do this. High School Musical is such a good example of assembly it’s now used as an instructional manuel for all others. Pitch Perfect chooses to ignore the manuel and put the flat-pack musical together by simply looking at the front of the box. Pitch Perfect also happens to be the best example of the genre I’ve seen to date. Continue reading

Film: So Undercover

So UndercoverThe cast/crew bit: directed by Tom Vaughan, written by Stephen Pearl & Allan Loeb, starring Miley Cyrus

The ten-word synopsis: PI is sent undercover in a high school. Not sure why.

Well, Anne Hathaway did it. There’s still hope lingering somewhere that Disney Channel star Miley Cyrus might, somehow, pull off a fitting Cinderella-like transformation into a good actress. If we’re going on the basis of Hannah Montana’s latest film, though, that hope is slipping away with every passing second. Continue reading

Film: The Perks of Being a Wallflower

The cast/crew bit: written & directed by Stephen Chbosky, starring Logan Lerman, Emma Watson & Ezra Miller

The ten-word synopsis: Sad, lonely teenager makes friends. Angst by the bucketload ensures.

You can tell a lot about a film by it’s choice of Smiths song on the soundtrack. Shaun of the Dead goes for Panic- a jaunty but heartfelt piece, a bit of a rush, with contrasts rife throughout, with elements that logic dictates shouldn’t slot together instead melding wonderfully. (500) Days of Summer picks There is a Light That Never Goes Out. Passionate, tragic and yet oddly upbeat and charming. The Perks of Being a Wallflower plumps for Asleep- perhaps the musical embodiment of the depressing reputation that Morrissey, Marr & co have garnered over the years. Continue reading

Film: Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days

The cast/crew bit: directed by David Bowers, starring Zachary Gordon, Steve Zahn and Robert Capron

The 10-word synopsis: Boy finds himself in constantly awkward situations over summer holidays.

HEY! YOU! Do you like WINCING? How do you feel about watching behind your hand as somebody does something so stupid you can’t help but CRINGE? Do you revel in seeing people do exactly the wrong thing, time after time, causing you to CREASE YOURSELF? Well if all this sounds like your idea of fun, you’ll love the Diary of a Wimpy Kid movies! Continue reading

TV: The Inbetweeners – Series One

The cast/crew bit: Written & directed by Iain Morris & Damon Beesley, starring Simon Bird, Joe Thomas, James Buckley and Blake Harrisson

The ten-word synopsis:┬áMisadventures of four Sixth Form boys who don’t fit in.

The Americans have spent the past 50 years doing variants on the high school theme. For too long, they’ve been pigeonholing and overexadurating characters that just don’t feel real. So it’s alarming that in what is virtually Britains’ first high-profile shot at an equivalent series, they seem to have fixed the problems that so often linger in similar programs over the pond. Continue reading