LISTED Film Previews – November 2011

Now, by this point, you’re probably wondering to yourself “How come there have been all these previews of films coming out, and yet we’ve hardly seen ANY actual reviews of these films? Whats going on, Mister? Why are you doing this to us? Whywhy?” Well, I’ll tell you – I’ve been massively busy on other projects in the works (mostly being that I need an actual job so I can afford things… like food…).

One such project I mentioned in a previous post, and that is the new Film Review Radio Show/Internet Podcast I am now a part of called May Contain Spoilers! We go out live every week on Thursday nights at 9, and our podcast follows shortly after in the week so you can catch it even if you didn’t hear it live. To keep up with our shenanigans and stay up to date with our fantastic competitions and news, you can add us on Facebook by searching May Contain Spoilers, on Twitter through @FilmSpoilers or you can e-mail us for information or to suggest a Soundtrack of the Week at maycontainspoilers@thebayradio.com. So come along, have a listen and get involved in the action yourself – its guaranteed to be 100% better than trying to eat a shoe!!

Now that’s done, shall I tell you about what to see this month? Yes. Yes I shall…

THE RUM DIARY (15) (Dir. Bruce Robinson)

Johnny Depp is Paul Kemp, a freelance journalist writing for a newspaper in the Caribbean who finds himself at a critical turning point in his life. As he tries to carve out a niche for himself in the journalistic world of Puerto Rico, he begins to fall in with crowds of lost souls. And if you notice that it bears a resemblance to Fear and Loathing In Las Vegas then you might not be surprised that The Rum Diary is also adapted from a novel by Hunter S. Thompson and written and directed by Bruce Robinson, so you can expect a few trippy scenes here and there. Possibly not for the faint of heart, but definitely for those that enjoy a bit of madness mixed in with their drama. Released November 4th.

IN TIME (12A) (Dir. Andrew Niccol)

Starring Justin Timberlake in an altogether different role, this sci-fi thriller is set in the near future where people stop aging at 25 but can only live for one more year, meaning time is used as currency so the rich stay young forever and the poor die early. But when a young man (Timberlake) finds himself with an abundance of extra time, he is swiftly on the run from an elite police force lead by Cillian Murphey called The Time Keepers. While the trailer seems like Logan’s Run, there may be more to offer than first meets the eye. Released November 1st.

IMMORTALS (15) (Dir. Tarsem Singh)

Appearing at first a bit like 300 Again, Immortals tells the tale of Theseus (Henry Cavill), a mortal man chosen by Zeus (Luke Evans) to lead a fight against King Hyperion (Mickey Rourke), a ruthless leader who is on a rampage through Greece with his disfigured army on a quest to find a weapon that could destroy humanity. While you can expect the action and effects to be just as stylised as 300 or Clash of the Titans, you can also expect more references to Greek mythology and the Greek Gods. While there might be a few reasons to see this in 3D, it’s also a good opportunity to see Henry Cavill in action before he takes on the Superman mantle in next year’s Man of Steel. Released November 11th.

THE TWILIGHT SAGA: BREAKING DAWN – PART 1 (12A) (Dir. Bill Condon)

Those cash-cow teens (and the one that can’t keep his shirt on) are back again for the first part of the final film of the saga. In Part One of Breaking Dawn, we see Bella (Kristen Stewart) finally tie the knot with her sparkly Vampire lover Edward (Robert Pattinson), much to the dismay of muscly wolf-boy Jacob (Taylor Lautner). Only thing is, after returning from their steamy, private honeymoon, Bella discovers she’s pregnant and the Vampire sprog inside of her not only poses a threat to the Quileute Wolf tribe and the Volturi Vampire coven alike, but could also be killing her from the inside. Perhaps it’s a message about abstinence, but at the same time this movie has taken the giant leap from being a cult phenomenon to becoming just a tad ridiculous. Expect lots of teenage angst drama in the build-up towards next year’s final conclusion. Released November 18th.

As published in Listed Magazine and online at http://www.listedmagazine.com. Search “May Contain Spoilers” in Facebook for information on all these films and more.

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Oh, the funnies…

So I got to my computer this morning and, as many people do, flicked on Facebook. Only, to my horror, everyone was raving about the first trailer for the new Twilight saga movie Breaking Dawn Part 1. I want to admit up front that, out of a morbid curiosity for the storyline (and because Vampire/Werewolf fiction is normally pretty badass, but in this case proved how wrong I could be), I have read all the books. Cover to cover. Yes, I know, you may be saying right now “Why do that? Why waste the time? Are you a girl??” No. But, its better to have read them and know what you’re talking about than just outrightly disliking them. Anyway, this is besides the point…

I went straight to IMDB and checked out the trailer after the disappointingly mundane last film to see how they’d handle the level of raunchyness of this book. SPOILER ALERT FOR ANYONE THAT CARES – there is a lot of Vampire sex on the honeymoon. Oh, yeah, and no Vampire contraceptives either. I’m not exactly what constitutes a Vampire contraceptive really… perhaps something made of garlic or silver?… Anyway, the result is that the shockingly empty vessel that is Bella gets up the duff. Funny? This is just the start.

The trailer, first of all, shows part of the first love-making scene. Yes, you heard, a full on love-making scene in a 12A MOVIE. WHAT?! How will they handle that? Now, forgetting the inappropriateness of it for a second, it does open up opportunity for plenty of bad jokes on the title: Breaking Dawn Part 1 – Breaking Skin? Breaking Bella Part 1 – No Time for Contraceptives and Part 2 – Attack of the Stretchmarks? Feel free to chip in any time…

Secondly, the strapline is giving me no end of giggles. Let’s think about this closely for a second and think about how many films in a series can use the word “Begins” in a strapline for EACH film. That’s right, none. Except Twilight Saga. Let’s recap, shall we?:

New Moon: The Next Chapter Begins

Eclipse: It All Begins… With a Choice.

Breaking Dawn 1 – Breaking Bella’s Virginity: Forever is just The Beginning.

By this point, it does beg the question how many things is this series of films actually trying to start? But the question on everyones mind by this point is, more rightly, when will it stop? Am I being too critical, or is it time these films manned up a little? Discuss.

The Last Airbender (Contains Spoilers)

There are certain films that directors or writers create that define their careers within the industry. Some win Academy Awards, some break bold new ground in film-making and some are achieved through minimal budgets and grow to success through their great storytelling. Some are even the brainchild of one person at the helm who creates all the parts of such a successful film single handedly, which then becomes their shining moment in the film-making industry. Unfortunately for M. Night Shyamalan, The Last Airbender is not this film. In fact, it’s probably the furthest thing from it. He has written, produced and directed The Last Airbender and it really shows that he’s bitten off more than he can chew by himself.

I did actually have rather high hopes for this film when I first saw that it was being made into a live action film – after all, the original series Avatar: The Last Airbender (or The Legend Of Aang if you’re outside the USA) was a pretty good attempt at an American-made Animé series. It had plenty of layering and a concept that was pretty cool and original. There were a lot of things going on in the series that weren’t always pointed out, like the way that each Nation uses a different style of Martial Arts reflective of what Element they can bend (i.e. Tai Chi bends Water because of the flowing motion, the Fire element uses lots of jabs and sweeps, etc), it was dramatic and comedic in all the right areas and generally had a lot going for itself. However, it’s a shame to say that a lot of what made Avatar: The Legend of Aang good did not translate well onto the screen.

To start with, M. Night Shyamalan has tried to condense an entire series into a one-and-a-half hour long film, which obviously makes more sense than trying to condense all THREE seasons into one film, but this still means you’re likely to lose a lot of impact if you’re not very careful with what parts you cover. Everything gets introduced very quickly, and as such it means that characters announce themselves so that everyone knows who all the characters are straight away in a completely untactful manner (i.e. “My name is Prince Zuko, and I demand you give me your elderly.” – actual line of dialogue. True fact.), and from this point on there is a lot of untactful announcements of actions that are to come (i.e. “We should go to these small cities and liberate them. Shall we do this?” “Yes.” – more actual dialogue. Yes, it keeps going…). The whole script, from start to finish, seemed to have whole sections of disjointed lines of dialogue that didn’t have any point.

M. Night Shyamalan’s coverage of the events of the first season definitely manages to get all of the important bits in, that’s for sure. Only thing is that it completely at the expense of any kind of coherency of any kind. The storyline doesn’t so much progress, but more jumps about from bit to bit. One scene, the characters will be doing something in one place, and then the next they’ll suddenly be somewhere else without any explanation of how they got there. The plot starts becoming so full of holes, Shyamalan might well have written it on Swiss cheese. As well as this, he’s managed to write in this annoying narration that keeps cropping up at inappropriate times during the film. Sure, the series is narrated in part by the character of Katara (played here by Nicola Peltz), but in certain scenes during the film such as when they arrive at the Northern Water Tribe, it’s no longer a narration but a full-on audio description. Literally, the narration is telling the audience about things they are ACTUALLY WATCHING. It doesn’t enhance the viewing or tell us anything we don’t know, but instead is purely annoying and not much else.

Despite this, The Last Airbender did have some good effects going for it – the way they managed to achieve the bending of the elements was very well pulled off, but it was clear that a vast majority of the budget had gone on that as Aang’s flying Bison Appa made all of about 3 appearances throughout the entire film, even though in the series he’s pretty much part of the main cast. Obviously, there was a bit too much to animate there, and instead Shyamalan spent the money on cool Fire and Water effects instead. Even with this in mind, seeing the film in 3D wasn’t all that much more impressive as there were no real bits throughout the film that really made very good use of the 3D effects technology. Instead, you end up seeing the film with slightly better depth perception rather than having huge towering flames or water pulses flying out the screen at you like I would have expected.

On top of this, the acting left a lot to be desired. Newcomer Noah Ringer plays Aang (here pronounced “Arh-ng” instead of the original “Aa-ng” for some reason) and does as good a job as can be expected from someone relatively new to the big time, but being the central character you would expect Shyamalan to work with him to be as believable as possible, and that didn’t seem to have happened. Jackson Rathbone’s character of Sokka (again, now pronounced “Sow-kah” instead) was made out to be this serious hunter-warrior type when he’s actually more of the comic relief in the series as well as that. It’s easy to see why he’s becoming more successful for his role in The Twilight Saga, because the writing of the characters here didn’t help him much.

What I also couldn’t understand and generally confused me throughout the film was why the Fire Nation were suddenly all Indian. Shyamalan may be Indian in origin himself, but casting an entire nation of evil guys bend on enslaving the rest of the world as entirely Indian when the other nations are American or Asian has GOT to be a little Un-P.C., right? It wasn’t like that in the series (all the nations were generally Asian), so why is it suddenly like that now? More to the point, why is it that Uncle Iroh (Shaun Taub) looks nothing like the character he’s meant to play, and is part of the Fire Nation and speaks with a SPANISH accent? Its parts like these that generally make less and less sense as the film goes on. The only saving grace is Dev Patel as Prince Zuko. He plays his part with conviction, even though his character is written into doing actions that have no explanation other than setting things up for stuff that happens after the film has ended, such as his sister being favored over him for her Firebending skills.

Generally, I felt that not unlike the visual effects of the film, the script and the characters were surprisingly two-dimensional. Not only that, but it is now confirmed that there are to be another 2 films (at least) to follow this one in order to complete the storyline. If these are going to take off in any way, then Shyamalan is going to have to do considerably better than what he’s done with this film. It’s not even that the film wouldn’t have done well anyway – in fact, with the right approach to it, The Last Airbender could have been something really great. Only, it hasn’t, and there’s no changing that now.

Perhaps I’m being a bit harsh considering that this IS a film directed mostly at a younger age group, but I’m giving The Last Airbender a 4 out of 10 and that’s mostly just because I liked the series for its originality and because just a little of that made it through to the film, but probably not enough to make me go back for more.

LISTED Film Previews – August ’10

Once again, here be another bunch of cinema releases happening soon that I’d really like to go and see, but will probably not actually get the chance to do so. *Sigh* oh well, such is life I suppose. HOWEVER, I have made special arrangements with people as far as Scott Pilgrim goes, so expect me to be jumping around like spring on E by the time that gets released! Anyway, enjoy…

THE LAST AIRBENDER (PG) (Dir. M. Night Shyamalan)

Based on the kids cartoon series Avatar: The Last Airbender, Aang (Noah Ringer) is the last of the Air Nation Nomads and the successor in a long line of Avatars who have the ability to control all four elements. After being frozen, he is found by two siblings from the Water Tribe (including Jackson Rathbone from Twilight Saga), and his training begins for his ultimate task – to defeat the Fire Nation Lord and the scarred Prince Zuko (Dev Patel), and end their century-long war on the other three nations. This film might not be the most substantial release of the year, but it will definitely provide some cool effects and entertaining fight scenes, as well as being the biggest 3D release of the year alongside Toy Story 3, so it’s worth checking out for fun. Released August 13th.

THE SORCERER’S APPRENTICE (PG) (Dir. Jon Turteltaub)

The second film of the year (along with Prince of Persia) which will further make Jerry Bruckheimer a formidable force in Hollywood, this film also comes from the same director/producer team as National Treasure. Nicolas Cage is Master Sorcerer Balthazar Blake, who recruits a seemingly average guy (Jay Baruchel) to assist him in his quest to keep New York City safe from his arch-enemy Maxim Horvath (Alfred Molina). Expect kids and adults alike to be thoroughly entertained by the storyline and visuals of this film, to the extent that it might be successful enough to earn itself a sequel and Nic Cage a better reputation. The tagline reads “It’s the Coolest Job Ever”, and from the trailers that seems all too true! Released August 13th.

SCOTT PILGRIM VS THE WORLD (12A) (Dir. Edgar Wright)

Quite possibly the sleeper hit of the year, Scott Pilgrim is adapted from the series of comedy anime books centred on the layabout musician of the same name (Michael Cera) who falls for the new girl in town, Ramona Flowers (Mary Elizabeth Winstead). Only thing is, in order to properly date the funky-haired girl of his dreams, he must first fight (and defeat!) her Seven Evil Exes. Trust me when I say that this is going to be a comedy unlike anything else you have seen, combining together the best parts of the comic (literally, with “comic” text accompanying actions throughout) with awesome effects and the director of Shaun of the Dead backing it to make one single epic entity! Definitely catch this if you like quirky comedy of a different kind! Released August 13th.

THE EXPENDABLES (15) (Dir. Sylvester Stallone)

A film directed by Sly Stallone himself doesn’t sound like the deepest, most thought-provoking film in the world. But when it’s one that stars pretty much every significant action star of the last few decades, how can you really NOT be tempted to watch it? Stallone, Jason Statham, Jet Li, Bruce Willis, Mickey Rourke, Steve Austin and Dolph Lundgren are a team of mercenaries dispatched to South America to overthrow a dictator. Don’t be mistaken – this is going to be a big film! Released August 19th.

As published in Listed Magazine Issue 30 and on www.listedmagazine.com

The Twilight Saga: Eclipse (Contains Spoilers)

Essentially, this is almost the same deal as last time, except there’s no awesome story of how I took back both of the tickets I had and yet still managed to sneak into a fully packed cinema and find a seat near the people I came there with this time. We did it the legit way this time – booked our seats ahead of time and then turned up and sat in them. Only we also didn’t do the whole midnight screening thing either – I think one overdose of Twilight Fever is enough really! Instead, we just went to one the next morning, which is WAY less extreme, right?… Right?…

Anyway, after seeing the film the whole way through and not once laughing at any bits that were meant to be serious and poignant, I can safely surmise that The Twilight Saga: Eclipse is probably the most interesting of the Twilight series so far. The book, I personally thought, did not have much going on, as it is obviously from Bella’s point of view, and therefore you only see whats going on through her perspective. And what does go on is mostly her STILL having trouble choosing between her sparkly Vampire true love boyfriend Edward Cullen and super-tough macho Wolf friend Jacob Black, until the short pay-off at the end with all the fights happening. As such, I figured that the film would be much the same, and would consist mostly of static mid-shots of angsty looking teens trying to be all dramatic.

However, as with New Moon, all of the predictably dramatic scenes are broken up with exposition that isn’t part of the original book. This basically means that at the points that everything is getting very same-y and dramatic, the script gets broken up a bit with extra exposition that, in this respect at least, is actually pretty cool – namely scenes with Riley (played by newcomer Xavier Samuel) and Victoria (now played by Bryce Dallas-Howard), and their creation of the Newborn Vampire army that comes to attack Forks. And it’s exactly these scenes that add a more sinister element to what would otherwise be a pretty sappy teenage drama film. I’m not saying it completely redeems it or turns it around into something else, but it does provide some new viewing elements than what would otherwise be a film taken straight from the book.

On top of this, The Twilight Saga: Eclipse does provide something else alongside the main storyline that brings another interesting element to the film, and that is the exposition behind more of the main characters, in particular Jasper (Jackson Rathbone), and Rosalie. Their background stories are strong and compelling ones, and to get the insight behind them on the screen is more interesting than having it in the book as (again) it is from their perspective and done as they see it. The results of these background expositions is that you finally end up liking these characters a lot more than before. Up until this point, they have been part of the main cast but have also been kept mostly in the background – we were introduced to them in Twilight, and then in New Moon they were only in it at the beginning and at the end. Finally, we get the explanation behind their characters and start to like them more as they should have been from the first one!

As well as the Cullen family exposition, there is also the history behind the Quileutes and how they came into existence, providing even more exposition behind the characters we already know. This device of the film adds that extra amount of substance that means it ends up being a lot more than just a static viewing experience that you might expect from these films.

The other aspect of Eclipse that makes it mostly worth viewing is the huge fight sequence at the end. Surprisingly, it’s a lot more epic than one might imagine of a film of this ilk. It’s fast paced, it has Vampires and Giant Wolves ripping each other apart, and it’s pretty much the most entertaining bit of the film. Even the part where Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson) ends the existence of the malicious Victoria ends up getting a bit gruesome and thusly making everyone cheer, because finally these Vampires are actually killing things like they’re meant to! It’s also worth mentioning here that Bryce Dallas-Howard’s Victoria is far more entertaining to watch than Rachel Lafevre’s Victoria of the past two films, especially as we see a lot more of her in Eclipse. It’s no wonder they originally offered the part to Bryce Dallas-Howard, only for her to turn it down and then get it re-offered once Rachel Lafevre lost her job.

Generally, there are more aspects of Eclipse that make it a lot more interesting than the other two films. Twilight started it all, and New Moon introduced the Wolves and more bad guys, but Eclipse introduces more background behind the characters and more action sequences which means you’re not just watching a love triangle for 2 hours. Eclipse also had the most kept in from the book – there were no scenes of any importance from the book that got skipped over, and there were all the right things in the right places. And the fact that director David Slade manages to work some outside humour into the film as well (such as Edward’s comment about Taylor Lautner’s Jacob “Does he not own a shirt?”, or the awkward “sex talk” between Bella and her dad) means that at least this time round, they are a few more elements toward a well-rounded film.

But, this does not mean that its obvious appeal toward daydreamy teenage girls is any less deniable. Although Eclipse does have its moments of undeniably compelling scenes (like the aforementioned fight scenes, cut-aways and expositions), it is still at its heart a film about a love triangle centred around Kristen Stewart’s Bella who still just can’t make up her mind, even though a majority of the audience would happily make it for her. And still, Stewart has that one look of confusion that she seems to wear on her face for the majority of the film even though they have obviously and undeniably prettied her up to make her less plain than the other two film, even though that’s the major part of her character. The fact that they’ve prettied her up that much obviously means that they are trying to go for the proper actress look for her, and the fact that she’s obviously wearing contacts throughout the entire film to darken and widen her eyes just goes to prove this.

At the end of the day, anyone who knows the books well enough knows that Eclipse is likely to be the last one with any kind of action in it of any kind considering the storyline yet to come in Breaking Dawn, which is now officially going to be in 2 parts considering how long the book is, thus making them even more money. And considering that Eclipse has made $121 million dollars just in its opening weekend, this series is clearly a money-making machine whether you like it or not. Overall, The Twilight Saga: Eclipse has some good bits in it that I did enjoy, but for the most part I still felt the unshakeable feeling that I wasn’t watching a Vampire movie until the end. Worth a 5 out of 10 for the effects and the fight scene at the end, but it’s still best to go and form your own opinion!

LISTED Film Previews – June ’10

Ok, so these may be a tad late, because I thought I had put them on already but wasn’t sure, and also because I’ve been working on the next month’s ones as well as all my normal work, which has all been building up to the final few days which are still yet to come. And yet I still find time to do these film previews for you lovely people. Because I’m just awesome like that. Wrap you’re dirty great eyelids around these then!

GET HIM TO THE GREEK (15) (Dir. Nicholas Stoller)

Somewhat of a spin-off from Forgetting Sarah Marshal, Russell Brand returns to reprise his role of the outlandish rock star Aldous Snow. Jonah Hill (from Superbad) plays a lowly intern at a record company who is given his big break when he has to accompany an out-of-control Aldous and get him to LA’s Greek Theatre in time for his concert. Get Him To The Greek looks set to have some great performances from its cast, mainly because Jonah Hill is naturally very funny, and Russell Brand only has to be himself to play this part. This could well be choke-on-your-popcorn comedy! Released June 4th.

KILLERS (12A) (Dir. Robert Luketic)

Playing the rather unexpected role of an international super-assassin Spencer, Ashton Kutcher takes the leading role alongside Katherine Heigl who plays his newly wedded wife Jen. They live quite happily in domestic bliss, until the morning after Spencer’s 30th Birthday, when they discover he is the target of a multi-million dollar hit. And if that wasn’t bad enough, the hired killers have been stalking the happy couple for years, and they begin to suspect each of their neighbours! This could easily be hollow entertainment for the masses, a la The Bounty Hunter, but if you’re in the mood for simple comedy then this could prove to be ideal. Released June 16th.

JONAH HEX (12A) (Dir. Jimmy Hayward)

Delving even deeper into the world of comic books, Josh Brolin plays DC Comics’ scarred colonial bounty hunter with supernatural powers, who gets hired by the US Military to take down a terrorist (John Malkovich) who is preparing to unleash Hell on Earth. Many original fans are amazed that such a little-known DC Comics character is getting his own film release, despite how much potential Jonah Hex has as a hero character. The two things that will likely bring this film down is a bad case of Ghost Rider­-itis in the script, and Megan Fox’s flat acting. Hopefully, the character and the action will be enough to carry this film on their own. Released June 25th.

THE TWILIGHT SAGA: ECLIPSE (12A) (Dir. David Slade)

Although the first trailer for the third instalment of the infamous Twilight Saga made it look more like “Static Mid-Shots of Miserable Teenagers 3”, the second trailer released on the internet managed to gain back some credibility with the promised story of a pack of newborn Vampires led by vengeful vamp Victoria (now played by Bryce Dallas-Howard, who was originally offered the part in the first film) moving to attack Forks, and teasers of mass-vampire slaughtering courtesy of the Giant Wolves. Interwoven in this is the continuing conundrum of Bella’s (Kristen Stewart) decision of her love between super-buff Wolf Jacob (Lautner) and sparkly Vampire dream-boy Edward (Pattinson). It’s likely, though, that some of us might start wishing she’d just make up her mind so we can see some vampires get torn apart… On the whole, though, this film WILL be a success, whether you want it to or not! Released June 30th.

The Runaways (Contains Spoilers)

After seeing her play what I can only describe as a one-note role as Bella in the Twilight Saga films, I was all too prepared for Kristen Stewarts role as Joan Jett in this film to be a bit more of the same. But, after having seen promising trailers that changed my mind, and then going and seeing The Runaways on its opening night, I can honestly say I was totally surprised at how she has broken way out of her acting shell and come out with something totally different. Forget being a Vampire’s love interest, this is where Kristen Stewart is making her proper mark in her acting!

The Runaways is a biopic that tells the story of the fledgling band of the same name, the first ever all-girl rock band of their time. Its 1975 when all of this takes place, and straight away, I was totally convinced by everything down to the type of decorations people have in their homes. Everything about The Runaways is centred on the music, and the drama that surrounds it. It doesn’t pretend to be something that it’s not, and thankfully didn’t go off on a total tangent about their private lives (well, none more than was necessary to the story), or focus on how they made their first big hit and then stop. The Runaways was dramatic, intense, and filled with the kind of rock-and-roll attitude that they themselves became famous for.

Whilst you might be mistaken for thinking that Kristen Stewart has the centre role here, it’s actually Dakota Fanning’s portrayal of Cherie Currie that the main story follows. This could be, in some way, done in an ironic way as it was her media attention that split her off from the band originally, but I’m pretty sure that it’s down to the fact that this film is based (in part, at least) on the novel “Neon Angel” by Cherie Currie herself. It makes sense, then, that most of the drama we see comes from her failing home life and her dwindling relationship with her sister and divorced parents. Whilst we don’t get much of an insight into the lives of the other members of the band, The Runaways still has enough of the drama needed to successfully carry the film without either overdoing it or underwhelming us and leaving us bored. Kristen Stewart’s Joan Jett, obviously, takes a lot of the storyline too, but that’s because she’s Joan Jett! None of the “family drama” seeps into her character too much, but instead we follow Joan Jett as she starts out worshiping her idols and picking up a guitar for the first time, to putting together her band and leading them on to success.

The thing that I liked most about Stewart’s acting as Joan Jett is that she only does the annoying, stutter-y, shy, “Bella” character once throughout the entire film. The rest of the time, she is rock and roll personified, like Joan Jett was. She cuts the figure of someone who is a determined leader, focussed on what she wants and how to get there. And it that kind of convincing acting that shows just how much more Kristen Stewart is capable of.

Something that truly surprised me, though, is how much older (and yet, no more mature) Dakota Fanning has been made up to be in this film. Again, since she is the main focus of the film, we see her gradual progression from a shy, retiring hopeful young girl to a rebellious front-woman of a world conquering band and slowly slips into the sex, drugs and rock-and-roll lifestyle that comes with it.

There was very little about this film that I didn’t like, and I think that is mostly down a lot of the little things that make an overall bigger effect on the film. It would have been all too easy for the people behind the film to focus on the songs that The Runaways became most famous for, but in fact the soundtrack is so varied that you get a mix of a lot of their original material as well as other songs that influenced the band and were huge at the time. It also would have been easy to focus on the success of Joan Jett and the Blackhearts that came after the disbanding of The Runaways, but instead this is only touched on at the very end of the film, which means that The Runaways STAYS as a story about The Runaways. The fact that the main cast got together for a month before the film began shooting to practise and record The Runaways’ songs clearly made a difference, because it shows during the performance scenes when they all act as a band together and are able to sound like one too. The fact that Kristen Stewart doesn’t just look the part (and she truly does!), but that she totally projects Joan Jett onto the screen as well is awesome. The fact that (though I was unsure during the film) the events that take place are somewhat accurate to those that went on originally in the 70’s amongst the band means that the subject source is more reliable. And this comes mostly from the fact that not only is the film based on Cherie Currie’s novel, but also that Joan Jett herself was an Executive Producer on the film. It is all of these kinds of elements that truly make The Runaways what it is.

All in all, I thought that The Runaways was an entirely satisfying film filled with rock-and-roll mentalities, good music and a well-written story behind it. For these reasons I’m giving The Runaways a 9 out of 10, and will probably have “Cherry Bomb” in my head for days to come now!