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Leaping Youth Breaks Day, Year Revolts

That title has a surprisingly grim New Year ring to it, as if baby-2010 snapped January 1st’s spine with a Tony Jaa elbow attack and scared old-man-2009 away.  That slightly morose image was meant to be consistent with this weekend’s films, given that they deal with angry (and mildly schizophrenic) teens, corporate vampires, and a woman who’s frustrated she’s not a fiancee.  These must be the kind of movies we get when the holiday cheer tank is down to fumes.  That being said, there are also a lot of familiar elements to this week’s releases that tie back to some classic film/television concepts.
For example, Youth In Revolt (Rotten Tomatoes Metacritic) tells the story of a young man who’s desire to rebel manifests as a devious and mustache-clad alter ego.  If you’ve experienced popular culture from the 70’s/80’s you know that adding facial hair is a common sign that a character has ‘gone dark’ or is an evil twin.  Are there any other classic elements being incorporated/updated here?

“Has a strong Dickensian flavor, blending slapstick with social satire…You’ll laugh at Cera’s off-rhythm delivery and casual sharpness wrapped in the softest possible tones.” Marshall Fine Hollywood & Fine

Those Facebooking kids of today love their Dickens – It was the best of posts, it was the worst of posts.

"If there were no bad people, there would be no good lawyers." -Charles Dickens

“Timing is everything. And Youth in Revolt is late — arriving not just at the tail end of the star’s sell-by date for this particular kind of character, but more importantly at the tail end of the intended audience’s attention span for an inconsequential Sundance-y tale of sexual coming-of-age.” Entertainment Weekly Lisa Schwarzbaum

Okay, but hold on.  Does this mean that watching the movie later (say, on DVD) will make it better because Sundance will have faded from memory?  Sometimes when you’re late, you’re really just early for something else, like going to the theater and missing one showing, but having another one start soon.  Or is it late in the gets-worse way – like with spoiled milk?

“From the beginning, it’s apparent that there’s something “off” about Youth in Revolt. It’s not that the film is fatally flawed, but the tone is uneven, the satire is blunt, the comedy rarely generates more than feeble laughs, and the lead character never comes fully to life.” ReelViews James Berardinelli

Is there something off about him because he has a mustache, or does having a mustache mean there's something off about him?

“Cera can be winning enough, with his flat-toned goofiness, in films like “Superbad,” but there’s only just enough of the guy to fill out one dramatis persona; two at once prove to be beyond him.” The New Yorker Anthony Lane

““Punk” and “rebel” don’t belong in the same sentence with “Michael Cera.” But somehow, they connect in the few-holds-barred teen comedy Youth in Revolt.”  Roger Moore Orlando Sentinel

The more I read, the more it sounds like Michael Cera is the film’s X-factor.  However, the film is based on three books and the premise is something that gets explored in every generation (From Rebel James Dean to Cry Baby Johnny Depp).  Is this the Millennial’s film about youth against authority?

“This red state versus blue state daringly offbeat chucklefest elevates that notorious dumb and dumber genre known as teen comedy, into fresh and verbally tangy territory. Enough so, to easily earn this movie informal bragging rights as Juno II.” Prairie Miller NewsBlaze

I think our next movie has informal bragging rights as this month’s The Ugly Truth or this year’s PS I Love You: Leap Year (Rotten TomatoesMetacritic).  Adams plays a woman who follows her boyfriend to Ireland to propose, but ends up traveling across the country with an irritating, but sexy, Irishman instead.

“There’s no emotional undercurrent, just saccharine sentiment shared by two unlikable characters; one a clichéd Irish Paddy-O-Everythingsfineafterapint, the other a clichéd American boob.” Brian Orndorf BrianOrndorf.com

Okay, that’s the downside, is there an up?

“This is a full-bore, PG-rated, sweet rom-com. It sticks to the track, makes all the scheduled stops and bears us triumphantly to the station. And it is populated by colorful characters, but then, when was the last time you saw a boring Irishman in a movie?” Chicago Sun-Times Roger Ebert

Colorful? Check. Facial Hair? Check. Boring Irishman? Notsomuch.

“This film is unquestionably the most unromantic and downright despairing romcom since “Made of Honor” or, possibly, “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?”” Austin Chronicle Marc Savlov

“Leap Year belongs to the Prada backlash subgenre of women’s pictures–epitomized by “The Proposal”–in which smart, stylish women must be muddied, abased, ridiculed, and degraded in order to get their man.” Village Voice Brian Miller

It sounds like a romantic comedy that deserves the ire of women.  It’s like the opposite of a good idea.

Another opposite of a good idea: Evil doughboy choosing a lair made of fire

“Leap Year is like most relationships: You keep waiting for it to get better, until you finally accept that it won’t.” Ed Gonzalez Slant Magazine

Let’s pump the brakes on the despair mobile, at least it has a cute and talented lead in Amy Adams.

“This isn’t Amy Adams totally jumping the shark, but it’s at least hopping a jellyfish.” Matt Pais Metromix.com

I would have thought leaping over a Leprechaun would have been more Irish-appropriate, but it doesn’t matter.  Our final movie tries to vault vampire cliches: Daybreakers (Rotten TomatoesMetacritic) by supposing that if vampires really existed, they would bite everyone and take over the world, making humans into fugitive feasts.

“Daybreakers is more serious, from its A-list cast to its political commentary, with blood as a metaphor for oil. Like the best genre films, it has something on its mind.” Charlotte Observer Lawrence Toppman

Since that quote is missing context, I will assume that this movie is more serious than a heart attack; or at least a heart attack brought on by the stress of a vampire eating you.

“The pacing misses a few beats and the satire never pops, but “Daybreakers” comes as a welcome retort to the vampire bubblegum genre that horror fans have had to tolerate.” Cole Smithey Daily Radar

Vampire bubblegum?  If there was one cause all vampires would support, it should be promoting healthy teeth.  You’d think a vampire society would outlaw vampire bubblegum until someone invents Nosferatu Nutrasweet.

Cavities? She said her love was sugar-free!

“The script doesn’t wring many surprises or much character involvement from the premise, and the brothers’ helming, while slick, is short on scares, action setpieces and humor.” Variety Dennis Harvey

That’s okay, the Twilight movies don’t have any of those things either and they’ve made over half-a-billion-bucks.

“Daybreakers, despite the star presence of Ethan Hawke and Willem Dafoe, is a B movie, with all the disreputable low rent, lowbrow pleasures that implies. I’ll take that over pompous any day.” Rolling Stone Peter Travers

Why do unchallenging action movies earn B’s while pompous flicks tend to get higher grades?  Never mind, that’s probably not a question that gets answered during Oscar season.

“In the end, Daybreakers doesn’t really want to make anyone think too hard. If that were to happen, they might stop to wonder why all the human survivors out there hiding in fear of their lives don’t just become garlic farmers and call it a day.” Washington Post Michael O’Sullivan

PDJ would rather be a stake-oil salesmen

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3 Responses

  1. Nosferatu Nutrasweet is the best kind there is.

  2. Nosferatu Nutrasweet: lolz

  3. But I want a lair made of fire. 😦

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