Category Archives: Media: Music

What’s On: Austin & Ally

Austin & Ally starring Ross Lynch, Laura Marano, Raini Rodriguez, and Calum Worthy

Disney Channel, Premieres Sunday 8/7c

Synopsis: Shy Ally works in her father’s music store, Sonic Boom, and dreams about going into the music business. Ally’s father believes she has a one in a million chance to make it in the music industry, but this doesn’t stop Ally from writing songs on her piano. Austin is a talented singer who is also hoping to make it big in the music industry, and after he finds one of Ally’s songs in her practice room, he becomes the next big thing. Angry that she is not given credit for the song, she confronts Austin about stealing her song. Austin tells her that he can’t write his own music and that he needs her help and talent. Ally reluctantly agrees, and the two work together to write Austin’s next big hit.

This new Disney Channel series is cute, funny, and has a lot of potential. Because of the lack of adults in the pilot episode (we see Ally’s father briefly at the beginning as well an adult female talk show host), I have a feeling they are not going to have a huge role in this new series, and if they do, it will be partially for comic relief. Marano and Lynch play well off of each other and the two have great chemistry. The dynamics between the girls (Marano and Rodriguez) and the boys (Lynch and Worthy) are equally enjoyable, and I also had to laugh at Marano’s characterization of being ‘the reasonable one’ in contrast to Lynch’s happy-go-lucky. The show has the feel of a cool teen sitcom about kids who are doing everything to follow their dreams (I am sensing a theme in Disney Channel shows, here….) and hope the show continues to blossom into a promising new series.

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Feature Presentation: Lemonade Mouth

Lemonade Mouth Starring Bridgit Mendler, Adam Hicks, Hayley Kiyoko, Naomi Scott, and Blake Michael

Walt Disney Studios, 2011. Rated G.

Synopsis: When five freshman meet in detention and decide to mess around with some of the musical instruments, they find they at least have a passion for music in common. Competing against the school’s more popular student band Mudslide Crush and a principal more concerned with sports, Olivia, Stella, Wen, Mohini, and Charlie set out to find a way to create a sense of equality and go for their dreams.

Based on a book of the same name, Lemonade Mouth takes a story about a high school garage band to a different level promoting a sense of friendship and the desire to follow one’s dreams despite life’s setbacks. Disney alums Bridgit Mendler (Good Luck Charlie) and Adam Hicks (Zeke and Luther) lead the cast of teens trying to overcome high school stereotypes and make the most of what little the school has to offer them. I was impressed with the cast’s singing and playing abilities (or, at least the ability to make it look like they knew how to play their instruments) and the musical numbers were catchy and positive. The friendship that develops between the five band members was intriguing in the sense that they realize they have things in common, but some of the scenarios felt forced and fake. The secondary characters were likable, but mostly seemed two-dimensional in relation to the rest of the cast – they have a purpose on helping to move the story along, but have no function in really helping the band realize what they have to do to achieve their goals. The movie slows down dramatically at the end, which was disappointing, but the ending scene is energetic and engaging.

Other movies like this one: Soul Surfer, Sharpay’s Fabulous Adventure, Gnomeo and Juliet, Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Rio: The Movie, Monte Carlo, Prom, Justin Beiber: Never Say Never, Phineas & Ferb the Movie: Across the 2nd Dimension, Camp Rock movies

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What’s On: Big Time Rush

Big Time Rush Starring Kendall Schmidt, James Maslow, Carlos Pena, Logan Henderson, Ciara Bravo, Stephen Kramer Gilckman, and Tanya Chisholm

Nickelodeon, Fridays at 8:30/7:30c

Synopsis: Four best friends from Minnesota suddenly find themselves transported to LA to become the next big pop group, but fame is definitely not what it seems. Kendall, James, Carlos, and Logan have definitely traded up from math tests and hockey, but hair and makeup coupled with an eccentric producer makes life much crazier. The boys struggle with their efforts to balance show biz with real life, but is it too much or really a dream come true?

I’ll be honest: I don’t know what about this show appeals to me – the boys, the humor, or the story – but I can’t seem to stop watching. Maybe it reminds me of the boy bands I grew up with – N*Sync and the Backstreet Boys (wow, I’m totally dating myself) – or maybe it reminds me of that desire we all have to be famous. Either way, I like it. Granted, not everyone likes it, nor do they particularly care for the band, but Big Time Rush has managed to make its mark in the music world and in television. Each boy has their own personality and sense of humor, but what I like the most is the way they play off of each other’s strengths and weaknesses. The four boys are also quick to support each other and stand up for each other no matter what crazy schemes they seem to get themselves into. Fame may not be everything, but the friendship of Kendall, James, Carlos, and Logan is something definitely worth watching.

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