April 2009 Reviews
By Shawn McKenzie 4/10/2009
Here are my reviews of the movies that were released in April of 2009. Check back later as the month progresses for more reviews.
In 1957 in a small town in California’s Mojave Desert, renowned astronomer Dr. Ted Lewis (Eric McCormack) is cooking a special dinner for his sexy wife Lana (Jody Thompson) to celebrate their wedding anniversary, when a meteorite falls out of the sky. Meanwhile, in another part of town, waitress Tammy (Jenni Baird) sees the same meteorite and takes it as a sign of good fortune. What both don’t know is that it wasn’t a meteorite…but an alien spaceship that crash-landed on Earth. Teens Dick Perkins (Andrew Dunbar) and his girlfriend Penny (Sarah Smyth) see the crash up close while making out on lover’s lane, and they later tell their greaser friend Cody (Aaron Brooks) about it. A tall, metallic alien named Urp (Roy Campsall) comes out of the ship unharmed, but a rubbery tentacled, one-eyed creature called The Ghota (Jovan Nenadic), who was also on board, has escaped. Urp was supposed to take The Ghota to its planet for justice, but the creature made the ship crash. Urp knows how to stop The Ghota before he turns humans into sticky goo for the purpose of multiplying and conquering the world. Unfortunately, to do so he has to take over the body of Dr. Lewis (who had decided to investigate the “meteorite” after Lana had fallen asleep) and solicit the help of Tammy…the only person who seems to believe his story. Others, counting the local police…which includes Chief Dawson (Dan Lauria), Officer Vern Watson (Robert Patrick), and Junior Deputy Stu (Sage Brocklebank)…don’t want to help, because they believe Urp is just as dangerous as The Ghota. Television producer and director R. W. Goodwin, best known for his work as senior executive producer of FOX’s long-running “The X-Files,” produced and directed this movie that was supposedly lost in 1957, but found 50 years later by construction workers for us to enjoy today. The reason why it looks so good and not aged in its film quality is that it was apparently filmed in “Gold-O-Vision,” which is like Technicolor, but it was named after studio head Louis Q. Goldstone. See, it wasn’t Eric McCormack who starred in the film, but his grandfather, Merrick McCormack, who looks exactly like him. Obviously this movie is fake, but the fun of watching it is that, unlike Tim Burton’s 1996 movie Mars Attacks!, Goodwin and screenwriter Steven P. Fisher (who wrote the script based off a story written by himself and James Swift) take the movie seriously. If you watched one of those cheesy ‘50s sci-fi movies today, you couldn’t help but laugh (I dare you to check out the DVD’s of the old Comedy Central/Sci-Fi Channel show “Mystery Science Theater 3000” and not be hoarse with laughter while watching them.) If it weren’t for the recognizable stars and the pristine color, I’d swear it was actually a movie from the 1950’s. Check it out and pretend you are at a double feature at the drive-in with your sweetie (though drive-in’s are virtually extinct now…and good luck finding a theater that will charge you one price for two movies.)
I think that virtually any critic watching this movie won’t be amongst the core audience for the sensation that is “Hannah Montana.” I’m certainly not an exception. The hit Disney Channel show doesn’t appeal to me anymore than the other current Disney Channel shows (“The Suite Life of Zack & Cody,” “Wizards of Waverly Place,” etc.) or current Nickelodeon shows (“iCarly,” “The Naked Brothers Band,” etc.) The problem is that those shows remind me of the lame sitcoms of the ‘80s targeted towards younger audiences, like NBC’s “Punky Brewster” and ABC’s “Full House.” I will admit that I’ve only seen a few episodes, but it was on while I was hanging out at an ex-girlfriend’s house while her daughter…who is amongst the “HM” converted…watched. When I saw the big screen version, I will say that it wasn’t nearly annoying as the show…which doesn’t mean that I loved it. If you are a fan, you know the basic story…Miley Stewart (Miley Cyrus) is an average teenage girl by day, but at night, she is the superstar pop phenomenon Hannah Montana. She has a few people that know her secret…her widowed dad Robby Ray (Billy Ray Cyrus), her best friend Lilly (Emily Osment), her older brother Jackson (Jason Earles), her other best friend Oliver Oken (Mitchel Musso), and her publicist Vita (Vanessa Williams.) After getting in a fight over shoes with model/talk show host Tyra Banks (as herself), and later showing up to Lilly’s Sweet 16 birthday party hosted at Rico’s (Moises Arias) Surf Shop as Hannah to avoid paparazzo Oswald Granger (Peter Gunn), Robby Ray decides that Miley is getting a little too diva-like. He tricks her into going back to their hometown of Crowley Corners, Tennessee to celebrate her grandmother Ruby’s (Margo Martindale) birthday rather than taking her to the New York Music Awards to fill in for an ailing Beyoncé Knowles. He says that it’s only for two weeks in order for her to reconnect with her country roots and where she came from. This town is apparently more hopping than you’d think, with Rascal Flatts casually hanging out at Ruby’s house, and Taylor Swift and fifth season “American Idol” eighth place finisher Bucky Covington performing at a local fundraiser. Miley complains about being back home at first, but then she runs into her former childhood friend, Travis Brody (Lucas Till), who’s now a cowboy working for Ruby…who of course immediately becomes a love interest. Also getting a love interest is Robby Ray, because he is attracted to Ruby’s ranch foreman Lorelai (Melora Hardin), though he never forgets his late wife Susan (Brooke Shields, appearing in a picture only.) Ruby is trying to save Crowley Corners from developer Mr. Bradley (Barry Bostwick) who wants to build a shopping mall there…and it may take a big star like Hannah Montana to raise enough money to save it. I had a couple gripes about the believability of the story. First off…Rascal Flatts…the actual group (not them playing a fictional group)…shows up at Ruby’s house and sings their hit “Bless the Broken Road” on her front porch? Where did Ruby get such famous friends? (Unless this movie takes place in an alternate universe when the members of Rascal Flatts are just regular Crowley Corners locals.) Also…are you seriously telling me that Travis didn’t know that Miley and Hannah were the same person? She’s only different by putting on a blonde wig. Not a mask…a wig. It makes you wonder what the boy was focusing on when he looked at both girls. I could understand why people were fooled in the Superman series when they didn’t know that Clark Kent was Superman because he has telepathic abilities to wipe people’s memories (as displayed in 1980’s Superman II), but Miley doesn’t have that same power. Otherwise, I didn’t mind the movie in whole. Miley is sadly a better actress than her dad. The lack of a laugh track severely points out how stupid the characters of Jackson, Oliver, and Rico are. I have enjoyed the music of Miley (both as herself and as Hannah) because she is a little more versatile than other pop princesses are. She can do rock, pop, and country very well. Other than some of the bad acting, you won’t mind the music if you happen to be the parent of a tween girl who has to take her to see the movie. Hey…at least it’s not as bad as the first big screen version of a Disney Channel show…2003’s The Lizzie McGuire Movie.
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