Joel Siegel Movie Reviews

Now in theaters: School of Rock, Out of Time and Concert for George

School of Rock

School of Rock is the real thing. It's a coming-of-age movie, and what makes it so wonderful is that Jack Black is the one who comes of age.

Jack Black is an out-of-work rocker who assumes his roommate's identity and becomes a teacher because he needs a gig. Who'd a thunk he'd be a great teacher? Who'd a thunk this'd be a great movie?

Director Richard Linklater has made some great independent films. He shows Hollywood how to go mainstream. The first thing he did right was cast kids who were real musicians.

The second thing he did right was cast Black, who played selfish, annoying, characters so well in High Fidelity and Shallow Hal. Here, there's also joy, passion, and even the innocence of rock 'n' roll.

The band rocks. So does the movie. And Jack Black is going to be a star. This is the movie Daddy Day Care dreamed of being. I had to ask why it's rated PG-13. It's because of one drug reference. Keep that in mind, but I think it's fine for school-age kids. Grade: A-

Out of Time

Denzel Washington is a police chief investigating an arson and double murder in the Florida Keys. With $485,000 of state's evidence missing, he's got to keep a few steps ahead of his own police force, before he falls under suspicion.

Carl Franklin is a great cops-and-robbers director, and in Out of Time, we're not really sure who's the cop and who's the robber.

Washington is a two-time Oscar winner for his dramatic roles and I'm just as big a fan of his when he plays the easy-going, unaffected everyman things happen to — like in this film when he's swinging from a Florida terrace with a guy who's trying to kill him.

The movie's Out of Time. Denzel's out of sight. Grade: B

Concert for George

George Harrison's great friends and his son, Dhani, celebrate the legendary guitarist's life on the first anniversary of his death.

This is a perfect concert film because it never gets between you and the music. There are no MTV pass-the-Dramamine special effects.

I didn't know whether to cheer because the music is so great, or cry because our loss is so great. So I did both. Grade: A