Young Adult


Viewed – 31 July 2012  Blu-ray

I don’t know why I haven’t seen more movies starring the simply quite delicious Charlize Theron.  Despite her wealth of accolades, an Oscar nod and a healthy fan base, her talents have  so far (for the most part) passed me by.  So this latest entry to her quite prolific cannon sparked my interest.

Theron plays Mavis (!) a writer on a series of successful ‘young adult’ aimed novels, who following a divorce and in the middle of a mid-life crisis, chooses to return to the small town where she grew up with one clear aim – to win back the boy she fell in love with in high school.  Only one catch – or two actually.  He’s happily married, and his wife has just had a baby.   Co starring the underrated Patton Oswalt as the nerdy guy who had a crush on Mavis in high school, and Patrick Wilson as ‘the one’, this is an instantly likable and entertaining comedy-drama.

Penned by current Hollywood go to gal Diablo Cody, this is full of the kind of sharp dialogue and clever one-liners that were so memorable in Juno.  Although the idea gave me a feeling of deja vu, and some of the stronger langauge felt a little unnecessary … Theron holds proceedings together with what should have been an Oscar-nominated turn (tutt tutt), making what is essentially a marriage wrecker, someone I ended up liking.  She was the girl who was meant to have it all, make it big, become somebody.  Yet approaching forty, it hasn’t quite turned out like that for Mavis – so who can blame her for trying to turn things around?

A quality evenings viewing.

Verdict:  4 /5

Juno


Viewed – 06 December 2009  DVD

Seriously, how interesting can a teen movie about pregnancy really be?  Well I rented this as it had garnered great reviews and built a steady cult following … and well I’ve always had a soft spot for teen movies, at least back when they were really good (Clueless, anyone?).  So I thought, what the hell.

Ellen Page plays tom-boy schoolgirl Juno, a smart-talking, street-wise girl who one night gets a little too friendly with her favourite ‘boy’ friend and falls pregnant.  With no interest in raising a child, she seeks out the perfect couple, that will give the child the future she feels she can’t.  Thankfully this isn’t too navel gazing and ‘message’ filled, as written by Jennifer’s Body writer Diablo Cody it is full of sharp, quotable dialogue, some genuinely funny moments and plenty of interesting, cookie characters – all wrapped up with a soundtrack so hippie brilliant you’ll have the songs stuck in your head for weeks.  Ellen Page is excellent as Juno, building on her audience grabbing turn in low-budget shocker ‘Hard Candy’, and making for one of the more interesting young female actors in the biz.  Michael Cera, hot off Superbad is also perfectly cast as her on/off boyfriend, as is pretty much everyone else – including an always dependable J K Simmons as Juno’s protective but un-smothering father.

So to conclude, this is one of the more effective and heart-warming teen movies for some time, and is mature enough not to thrust its more deeper themes down your throat – and you still get the point.  Class stuff.

Verdict:  5 /5

Jennifer’s Body


Viewed – 10 November 2009  Cinema

This is an easy thing to admit – Megan Fox is hot!  Ok, that’s out of the way, so what is this latest horror all about then?  Well, Megan plays super-hot cheer leader Jennifer who is the object of every guy’s fantasy at the high school she attends in a small town.  She also happens to be the unlikely best friend of class nerd ‘Needy’, a book-worm always living in Jennifer’s shadow.  Yet when we first meet Needy, she’s a bad-ass juvenile offender in a borstal, and it’s clear some bad shit has gone down.  Flash back to high school, and now be-spectacled Needy watches as her sex bomb friend drags her to a sleazy bar where a goth rock band are performing, with her mind set on boinking the lead singer.  Yet something goes horribly wrong and Jennifer ends up possessed by a demon, and is soon using her obvious womanly charms to lure high school jocks to their gruesome end and dining on their innards!

This funky little movie has plenty of personality, sharp dialogue, a stand out performance by Amanda Syfried as Needy and some decent jump-scares and messy effects work.  It all resembles (a little too closely) the much darker ‘Ginger Snaps’ from a few years back which had a similar premise but threw werewolves into the mix rather than demonic possession.  Yet saying that, this has plenty of good moments, with an eye catching girl on girl snog that has MTV’s best-kiss award written all over it, and enough shots of Megan Fox in her underwear to get any guy shifting uncomfortably in his cinema seat.  Also worthy of note is an appearance by The OC’s Adam Brody as the goth band’s slightly unhinged lead singer, and proves to be an actor to watch – as he has a knack of stealing any scene he appears in with his talent for quality dialogue delivery.  Some of the violence does come across a little amateurish and not particularly well staged at times, and naturally if you have watched the Transformers movies, Megan has no real talent beyond her looks, so doesn’t deliver a particularly menacing villian … but thankfully this is all masked with loud rock music, fancy editing and an energetic pace – meaning you should enjoy it anyway.

Verdict:  3 /5