In Memoriam 1942 – 2013 “Roger Ebert loved movies.”

RogerEbert.com

Thumb_5tzuowodx4f3ngozwzozwmdy9ze

War Story

Director Mark Jackson’s drama is a chilly study in grief starring Catherine Keener as a war-zone photographer shattered by her experiences in Libya.

Thumb_hercules

Hercules

Dwayne Johnson tries, but he’s surrounded by poor CGI and a terrible adaptation of yet another comic book. Ian McShane steals what little movie there…

Other Reviews
Review Archives
Thumb_xbepftvyieurxopaxyzgtgtkwgw

Ballad of Narayama

"The Ballad of Narayama" is a Japanese film of great beauty and elegant artifice, telling a story of startling cruelty. What a space it opens…

Thumb_jrluxpegcv11ostmz1fqha1bkxq

Monsieur Hire

Patrice Leconte's "Monsieur Hire" is a tragedy about loneliness and erotomania, told about two solitary people who have nothing else in common. It involves a…

Other Reviews
Great Movie Archives
Other Articles
Channel Archives

Reviews

High School High

  |  

High School High” opens with a big laugh (“Produced by the producer formerly known as David Zucker”) and goes downhill. Zucker, associated with the “Naked Gun” movies, wants to do the same thing here for the urban high school genre, but the movie makes two mistakes: (1) It isn't very funny, and (2) it makes the crucial error of taking its story seriously and angling for a happy ending.

Jon Lovitz stars as Mr. Clark, a teacher at the posh Wellington Academy (the switchboard operator answers the phone with “Are you white?”). He finds himself at the inner- city Marion Barry High School, where on the statue out front the flag has been replaced with a crack pipe. Bumper stickers boast, “Proud Parent of a D-Average Student.” Career Day offers two choices, the Marines or the Michigan Militia.

His only friend in the school is Victoria, played by the fetching Tia Carrere as an optimist who believes in education and even in Mr. Clark. The classroom is the usual collection of rebellious louts, and of course the principal is an uncaring martinet (played by Louise Fletcher, the original Nurse Ratched). But through the help of one student who cares (Mekhi Phifer), Clark is able to inspire great changes.

Movies like this depend on wall-to-wall laughs, and more laughs on the back walls. In the best of the genre, almost everything is a joke in one way or another. Here the targets are easy, and after some potshots, the movie begins an inexorable drift into actually trying to follow its plot to its logical conclusion. You get the feeling with some of the Zucker films that after each draft, David he cracked a whip over the writers and said, “More! Fifty percent more gags!” Not here.

Popular Blog Posts

Who do you read? Good Roger, or Bad Roger?

This message came to me from a reader named Peter Svensland. He and a fr...

Exploring Israel-Palestine through Movies: Part 1

The first part in a four-part series on what film can teach us about the relationship between Israel and Palestine.

Able-Bodied Actors and Disability Drag: Why Disabled Roles are Only for Disabled Performers

Scott Jordan Harris argues that disabled characters should not be played by able-bodied actors.

Simply Do it: Talking with Woody Allen About Directorial Style

An interview with Woody Allen about his new film, "Magic in the Moonlight."

Reveal Comments
comments powered by Disqus