movie

Johnny Dangerously – Michael Keaton With An Adverb!

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Oscar season is upon us and it is a fantastic time to be a film fan. The other day I was sat with some friends discussing the nominated actors/pictures etc. when I brought up a little known gem tied to Michael Keaton. People sat, confused faces twisting when I mentioned it. Johnny Dangerously, the 1984 gangster parody film that almost kick started Michael Keaton’s career as a film actor. When I found out that no one I knew had seemed to even hear of this film my heart sank, It’s sad that when people think of Keaton they only think of Beatlejuice and Batman (And now Birdman) but never bring up this little beauty. So here I am giving it a little bit of attention and affection.

Johnny Dangerously Is a tale about a young immigrant trying to make money for his family and ends up joining a local gang. However this film is so much more than just a simple tale of rags to riches, the comedy in this film is not only incredibly funny but timed and executed perfectly by the like of Michael Keaton. It’s use of breaking the fourth wall is reminiscent of films like Blazing Saddles or Airplane. The characters are memorable and there are some rather good performances from the likes of Danny Devito, who makes a small appearance. With jokes ranging from sight gags, to slap stick to satire this film epitomises what parodying really is, and shows us just how dead it has become.

Filled with quotes and one liners, especially from Johnny’s rival Danny Vermin, this film will have you beside yourself laughing. Even over 30 years since its release the comedy and jokes are still easily accessible and funny due to the nature of the film. Honestly I can’t really say enough about this film without spoiling it but all I would say is that you haven’t seen it then go out and grab yourself a copy. It’s sad that such a funny and well put together film doesn’t ever seem to get the credit it deserves and with Keaton getting nominated for an Oscar it couldn’t be a better time to see where he started his career.

 

-Grand Pickle

88. Magnum, "It shoots through schools."

88. Magnum, “It shoots through schools.”

 

The Hand That Rocks The Cradle – a review

the_hand_that_rocks_the_cradleReleased in 1992, this is not a movie which many of my peers may have heard of before now, much like my sister and I hadn’t. My dad, however, has been raving about it for years now, so my sister and I sat down to watch it with him a few nights ago, and let me say, this film is not for the faint-hearted.

Set in your typical suburban neighbourhood, the film opens like many others – we meet Mr and Mrs Bartel, a middle-class family with an adorable six-year-old daughter, Emma, with another baby on the way. But it soon becomes apparent that this is not going to be your run-of-the-mill happy-go-lucky romcom; during a routine check-up with her gynaecologist, Claire Bartel (the mother) suspects the doctor, Mr Mott, of being a little too hands-on during her session. We, as the audience, actually see him molest her (although I got the creeps as soon as he appeared on screen, and his awful act only reinforced my earlier suspicions about him), and this scene fuels the first of many emotions that I’m sure will sparks within the viewers of this film as it goes on.

As soon as her check-up is over, Claire races home in tears to tell her husband what happened. Going on a slight tangent, I find that it is utterly refreshing to see him believe her without a moment’s hesitation – too many people these days are sceptical when they hear something like this, but he accepts her story without question and immediately informs the police. Soon after, the story breaks on local news, announcing that since Mrs Bartel’s confession, a further four ladies have come forward and have also admitted to being sexually abused by Dr Mott. All of this then seems to become too much for the doctor, who is being harassed by the press and faces a major punishment for his crimes, for he then takes his own life.

In a shocking turn of events, we then discover that he was in fact part of a family – composed of his wife, who we meet shortly after, and their unborn baby. Sadly, Mrs Mott has an accident very soon after her husband’s death, and she loses her baby. Left with no one, she seeks out the person that she blames for her life falling apart – Mrs Bartel, who she sees as the cause of her husband’s suicide, and, in turn, the loss of her baby.

And this is where the film gets really intense.

Six months after the death of Mr Mott, a woman turns up at the Bartel residence, enquiring about their nanny position. She introduces herself as Peyton Flanders – but we immediately recognise her as none other than Mrs Mott. Armed with a vengeance and a yearning for the family that she believes was taken from her by Claire Bartel, she soon sets a plan in motion, with disastrous consequences for all who stand in her way.

Now, don’t worry, I’m not going to spoil anything else for you – trust me, I want you all to watch this movie with fresh eyes so you can experience the same feelings of devastation and frustration and upset that comes with watching it.

But, I will take a moment to talk about this film in its entirety, not just the story it tells. The film itself is brilliantly executed – it encompasses the importance of vital shots that may be a clue to an upcoming event, but it implements these in a way that is subtle and sometimes barely even noticeable, if you’re not paying attention. Also, the entire feel of the movie is utterly gripping – it is enthralling and terrifying all at the same time, and it fully embraces that time-old dilemma of “I can’t look, and yet I can’t look away.” With tense moments that grow into scenes of utter panic and anger, this film is definitely one for the books, and the musical score just adds to its brilliance.

The cast, too, is an excellent facet – in particular, Solomon, a mentally handicapped man who starts work in the garden for the Bartel’s and soon befriends their young daughter, is a wonderful character and it is impossible not to fall in love with him and his gentle nature.

All in all, this film is just spectacular, although I don’t think I’ll be able to watch it again for a little while, for it’ll take me some time to recover from the tidal wave of emotions it evoked in me. I will say, however, that the film does ultimately end on a happy note, so don’t let my rambling dissuade you from giving it a watch.

5/5 – You should definitely have a Disney film ready to lighten the mood once you’re done with this rollercoaster of a production.

~Steph.

Guardians Of The Galaxy: Review- Not A Disney Castle In Sight!

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Hey everyone! doing my review a little early this week as for once I am prepared. I know right! bet you’re glad you were sitting down for that bombshell. Anyhoo If you haven’t guessed by the title (Then I’m seriously worried about you. Get some help.) this is a review about the latest Marvel film Guardians Of The Galaxy.

Now I’m a big comic fan boy and even I was surprised when Marvel announced that this film was going to be made especially when there are many other, much more popular, characters just waiting in the wings, *cough* Deadpool *cough*, but the more that emerged about this film the more I started to get really excited. The film looked like it was taking the Marvel universe to new plains and was going to open the gates to all the Sci-Fi story lines and characters Marvel has in its locker. The cast choices, while at first left me confused, were fantastic and after seeing trailer footage I was ready to see what was in store. Then I remembered Disney owned Marvel and I cried a little inside. Yes Avengers was epic and set the standard for the genre but since that first outing I have to be honest Marvel films have been a little hit and miss for me. Cap’ America 2 was decent, nothing to shout from the roof tops but stood its ground well, Thor 2 was a little meh but then again so was the first and Iron Man 3 was like watching a child fail at sport while their overly aggressive parent shouts at them to keep going. I was apprehensive.

Now this movie puts all those others to shame. After the little BSA ticket it’s just like BAM! right into the film. No logos or nothing. After a short set up the Marvel logo flashes and the film carries on and introduces the main character, his name’s Peter Quill(Chris Pratt) by the way, all the while doing the obligatory opening credits of who worked on the film. Luckily they don’t stop what’s going on and shove it in your face who made this movie, instead they put the names in corners and at the bottom of the screen to leave you to enjoy what you’ve paid to see. Now this may seem small but I feel like it sets the tone for a film. It says “Hey! We ain’t fucking around with your fancy pantsy ego boosting shit! We’re here to entertain you so you’re gunna need to pay attention from the get go! Capiche?” and I love it.

Now this is a spoiler free review so I won’t tell you any story specifics but this movie actually has a rather good one. The story is neat and tight and constructed rather well. You’re given enough information that it’s easy to follow but not so much that it becomes overly predictable (granted there are a few clichés dotted here and there but they’re forgivable). The ending to a lot of comic films I feel are where they get let down the most with the majority not having the satisfying feeling that films should have, in particular with final/boss battles. This film, and this is just my opinion, doesn’t suffer from this at all. The finale is just as epic as it should be and the ending is incredibly satisfying! Oh and for all of you that are reading this wanting to know the after credit sequence all I will say is that Guardians takes to the comic book trope like a duck to water.

The acting is some of the best I have seen in a comic book movie and every character feels real and really brought to life. I was most apprehensive about the WWE wrestler Dave Bautista being cast as Drax as wrestlers haven’t exactly made the best actors but He does incredibly well in the role and, other than the fact his arms are the size of my head, you wouldn’t have guessed that acting (don’t start with that wrestling is basically acting crap) wasn’t his first profession. Vin Diesel does incredibly well in the role of Groot with, and this isn’t sarcastic, some well delivered subtle voice acting. Same goes for Bradley Cooper as Rocket(Racoon). Zoe Saldana shows us again that she’s a fantastic actress in her role as Gamora . And not forgetting Chris Pratt who brings it all together in with a performance of the highest calibre.

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A lot of the time during this film I couldn’t help but feel that I was watching this generations Star Wars. God I’m going to get slaughtered for that comparison but its honestly true. The epic scale of everything and the level of detail in the different races and species that feature was very reminiscent of episode 4-6. It has the same strange charm about it as well. The film did something that most films of this genre can and that’s fill the viewer with that sense of wide eyed wonder. Sure super hero films do that for kids but kids get that same sense when they discover that the light in the fridge turns off when the door shuts. I’m talking about that feeling in Adults. Honestly try and think back to the last film that left you with the feeling of amazement. I have to go pretty far back. That makes me sad. The visuals were just brilliant especially(and I can’t believe Im saying this) in 3D. Yeah, really. It genuinely does add a depth to a lot of the action and sequences and there were a few moments where I was just like “3d was made for this kind of shit!”. The CGI was some of the better ones that I’ve seen and the mixture of practical props and CGI really work well.

Guardians Of The Galaxy Is quite possibly my favourite Marvel film to date and is definitely worth the price of a ticket to go and watch. I would give it a solid 8.5/10. It really does entertain but it still can’t shake the knowledge that you’re watching a good comic book movie not just a good movie and for that reason I can’t score it a 9. So very close though.

Oh and the soundtrack is fucking awesome!

 

Thanks for reading!

-Joe

Adult World – a review

Adult-World-Poster-438x650 After devouring every current season of the brilliant American Horror Story, I took a very strong liking to two of the stars of the show, Emma Roberts and Evan Peters; so, I decided to do some digging and unearth some other productions they had starred in so I could feed my growing adoration of them. Somewhere along my search for new movies, I stumbled across the curiosity-spiking ‘Adult World’, and after reading a synopsis, I knew I just had to watch it.

Focused on the plight of young Amy Anderson, an aspiring young poet who has just graduated from college, the film looks into her desire to become a published writer and to receive the praise she believes she deserves. However, her road to fame is rocky, to say the least, and after numerous rejections from a plethora of literary platforms, she is forced to find a job in order to pay off her mountains of student debt. After much fruitless searching, she reluctantly applies for a job at Adult World, a dingy adult bookstore/sex shop in downtown New York. There she meets Alex, a budding artist with a kind heart and a great sense of humour, and who adds a touch of joy to her life [which is currently void of much happiness at this point in the movie] because Amy’s character encompasses a lot of the melancholy and narcissism that is often associated with writers; but instead of it being clichéd or irksome, it is done in such a way that it comes across as humorous and entertaining, and is a part of what makes the movie so good.

The film then picks up the pace when two other major characters are introduced – the first being Rat Billings, a poet who had his time in the limelight quite a few year ago, but is now a recluse who enjoys nothing more than his own company. Amy, being a passionate fan of his, pursues him relentlessly until he agrees to be somewhat of a mentor to her in helping her with her poetry, and their journey from awkward strangers to kind-of friends is utterly brilliant to watch. The other character we meet is Rubia, a transgender woman with a sharp tongue loaded with hilarious quips and surprisingly heart-warming words of advice, and who takes Amy under her wing and offers her a friend at a time when she needs it most.

The introduction of these new people and experiences into Amy’s life truly opens her eyes, and she then begins to find inspiration in the most unlikely of places.

Led by a great cast [Emma Roberts, Evan Peters, John Cusack, Armando Riesco], ‘Adult World’is a fantastic movie about pursuing your dreams and how life doesn’t always happen the way you expect it to; sprinkled with comedic moments guaranteed to make you laugh, this film is definitely high up on my list of recommendations.

4/5 – Any writer will relate to Amy’s desperate [and countless] attempts to be recognised for her work, and this alone gives the movie a real and authentic feel.

~Steph.

Ruby Sparks – a review

12_ruby-sparks_poster2Ruby Sparks was one of those movies where I saw the trailer in the cinema when it was first released a few years ago and I vowed that I would watch it as soon as I could, but other things got in the way and it got pushed to the corners of my mind until late last week, when, in need of a new film to watch, I chose this one. But, the saying “better late than never” has proven apt when paired with this movie, because it was certainly worth the wait.

The film starts out in a similar manner to a lot of others – we meet Calvin, a 30-year-old writer who had his time in the spotlight at the tender age of 19, but hasn’t written anything he deems worthy since the publication of his first hit novel. We soon learn that he is an introvert, living alone with his dog, and that he has weekly visits to his psychiatrist to try and muddle through his immense writer’s block. During one of the sessions with his shrink, the doctor advises Calvin to go home and write something to try and get past his block – something bad, explicitly. Calvin reluctantly agrees, and writes a short piece involving a woman meeting his dog and not minding that he is slobbery and messy (the dog, that is, not Calvin). He does this, and then, strangely enough, a woman approaches him in the park a day or two later and practically parrots back to him what he has written in his story. Believing this to be pure coincidence, Calvin continues to write, adding in the mysterious woman from the park as a permanent character; the story soon morphs into a love story between the woman, now called Ruby, and Calvin.

Now here’s where it gets really interesting – a few nights later, Calvin falls asleep at his desk, only to jolt awake in a panic the next morning as he remembers a meeting scheduled for later that day. He rushes to get ready, but his plans are soon brought to a halt when a woman appears at the top of the stairs – the same woman, in fact, as the one he has been relentlessly writing about for the previous week.

This scene is definitely a stand-out scene in the movie – Calvin’s utter shock and denial is amusing, to say the least, and his panic is entirely relatable – we, as the audience, are just as flabbergasted as he is, wondering how on earth something like this could be possible.

Without delving too much into the rest of the plot – I want you all to watch the rest of the movie with eager anticipation! – the story unfolds in a wonderful way, at first. Calvin and Ruby embark on an adorable journey, one which Ruby is entirely unaware did not exist until mere weeks before. Calvin, though still a little wary of the whole situation, is ecstatic, until things begin to sour – arguments spark, tempers flare, and Calvin begins to worry that he might lose Ruby. Until he does something he swore he would never do – he rewrites Ruby. By typing a single sentence, he can erase her anger, make her happy, and essentially make her do anything he wants, no matter how absurd or wrong. And this aspect of the movie was what really made me stop and think, because while Ruby began as a character, she is now a living, breathing woman – so, regardless of the fact that she once was a creation of his mind, does Calvin have the right to change the things he doesn’t like just by typing a few words onto a page? The whole idea of him being able to control her, almost as if he owns her, really stuck out to me, and this notion of ownership and power is deftly challenged as the movie reaches its most dramatic point.

Aside from the fascinating moral issues involved in the plot of this movie, as a whole, the film is engaging and entertaining to watch. The cast is great, and although it is a movie about ‘dream girls’ and ‘clichéd ideas of love’, the film itself is not clichéd at all – I just wish I had watched it sooner, but, like I said, it’s better late than never.

5/5 – It is a love story, but one like you’ve never seen before.

ruby sparks

~Steph.

The Fault In Our Stars (movie) – a review

fault-in-our-stars-movie-poster-fullSo I’ve been writing these reviews for a few months now, and I’ve come to realise that I have yet to write anything even slightly negative about anything that I’ve reviewed. Well, brace yourselves – in this instalment, I’m going to jump right into the deep end and review a movie that has greatly disgruntled me and has left me with more complaints than I’ve had about a film in a long time.

[And before I get any angry comments about anything I’ve written here, remember that all of this is my personal opinion and I’m not trying to convert anyone into sharing my views, I’m just writing this for myself and anyone else who may share my thoughts].

Okay, so, The Fault in Our Stars. Wonderful premise – two teenagers who are suffering from cancer find love and happiness in each other, if only for a brief time. When I first heard about it, I thought it sounded sweet and promising; not just for the love story, but for the way that it was shedding light on people suffering from long-term illnesses and the struggles and pain that they endure – I got the book, devoured it in a few days, and found it entertaining enough. So I was understandably excited when I heard about the movie adaption – however, I soon discovered that my excitement was unnecessary and, frankly, undeserved.

First of all – the acting. As you may imagine, acting is a crucial part of what makes a film great or not, and while some people raved about the cast selected to portray the protagonists in TFIOS, I personally did not share their enthusiasm. Shailene Woodley and Ansel Elgort, playing Hazel and Gus, respectively, give performances which I would classify as wooden and unconvincing; this gives the movie an all-round mediocre feel, with the ‘love’, which I expected to be apparent between the characters, falling flat and coming across as awkward and clunky at times.

This then translates over into the ruining of the powerful quotes that have since been taken from the book and adopted by fans everywhere – while the words are beautiful on paper and should leave the audience mesmerised, the delivery of these quotes are often tedious and dull, so much so that I actually felt quite awkward when watching the characters deliver these lines, as it all just felt false and oftentimes pretentious. This made the romance in general lack that spark of ‘realness’, and this sentiment was shared by the friends I saw the movie with, who also expressed feeling a lack of connection to both the characters and their apparent feelings for each other.

Acting aside, the movie itself was basically a dud – scenes which I had been eagerly anticipating did not live up to my expectations and it all seemed a little forced from beginning to end. Nothing about it seemed genuine – I felt no emotion or sorrow throughout the film, which says a lot considering the fact that the majority of the young girls in the cinema were sobbing uncontrollably by the end. However, their tears seemed a little futile, mainly because they were moved to tears by something as simple as Gus smiling, so I don’t really think their thoughts would be a very valid source of opinion in terms of criticism or pointing out the movie’s flaws.

Also, there was one scene in particular which really stood out to me and made me really wonder why I’d paid to see this film in the first place – in which Hazel is soliloquising about how much pain she is in after losing Gus, and she compares losing him to the pain she has experienced while suffering from cancer. She then goes on to say that losing him was in fact more painful than her cancer, and this really made me blanch for a moment, because I couldn’t help but wonder how that might make someone with cancer feel, to see their pain and suffering reduced to being less painful that suffering from heartbreak – don’t get me wrong, heartbreak is a horrible thing for anyone to endure, but I don’t think anyone is justified in saying that it is worse than a terminal illness which so many unfortunate people suffer from – and to then spread that message via such a globally prominent franchise that has such a large audience, I mean, it’s just wrong.

All in all, this film disappointed me in so many ways, and while it makes for a decent love story for adolescent girls who like swooning over arrogant guys, I found it to be lacklustre and disengaging, and not compelling in the slightest.

1/5 – Just save yourself a few hours of boredom and read the book instead.

~Steph.

PicklePants’ not so much review, but major MAJOR rant- Every Jason Friedberg & Aaron Seltzer film.

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“Watching one of Friedberg’s or Seltzer’s hideous monstrosities is like bowl surgery without pain killers.”

I’ve been going through a spat recently of watching films that are so bad they’re good, some could even rather ironically be dubbed a cult classic. Films such as Birdemic, Megashark Vs Giant Octopus, and sharknado fall into such a category. They are bad low budget, badly made, badly acted films, which know they’re crap and so don’t take themselves so seriously. In short, these films are just a bit of fun. Then there’s a Friedberg Seltzer film.

 

My original intention was to do a review of the “eagerly anticipated” Birdemic sequel, when by chance I happened to stumble across a film titled “Meet The Spartans.” This film has indeed been directed and produced by Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer- the same people who brought Epic Movie, Disaster Movie and God knows how many other films with the name Movie in the title. Clearly there has been no creative expense spared in naming their works. Nevertheless these films, despite their varying focuses, all share one similar thread. They’re completely and utterly awful. Each film had little to nothing in the way of a coherent story, and did nothing more than out of context spoof references to other films, topping it off with gags that made a terminal illness look like a leading act on “Live at the Apollo.”

 

Taking this into account, I didn’t hold high (if any) expectations for Meet the Spartans, but still I tried to brave it. So on one particularly rainy day, I grabbed a packet of pickled onion Space Raiders crisps- that were reduced from one pound to a more competitive 75p, and fired up the film. I expected linear plot, crude and badly written jokes, and more inane out of context references than I could shake a Space Raider at. What I actually experienced was unrelentingly torturous 90 minuets of sheer eye and cranial agony. Watching this movie was like having my brain sodomized by Quasimodo’s afterbirth. Where do I begin with this truly dreadful excuse of a film? For starters, there was no plot. It was just a string of (surprise surprise) badly done movie references, terrible dialogue, all as expected and worse. I didn’t think it possible, but this movie really was everything I had expected and less. There were cheap jibes about famous celebrities, random ideas being pulled out of nowhere (which included imitation Judges of American Idol judging a man kicking a singer into a pit.) It really was a pile of bo**ocks. Every terribly acted word to fall from the casts mouths were strained and so unfunny, I wept as I thought of all the wonderful things I really could be doing with those precious 90 minuets rather than watch this tripe. Self harm and genital mutilation seemed preferable to this completely unbearable film. Not only were the spoofs bad, but also there was an abundance of awful product placement, which was gratuitously slapped into the film to try and make it funny. In Meet the Spartans I’m don’t think Friedberg and Seltzer were even trying. In one scene when they were describing the evil Xerxes emperor (which is stolen from the film 300) they cant even be arsed to describe him with any form of humorous wit. They instead sum him up by stating that “He looked like the fat guy from Borat.” Rest assured watching this film is a truly woeful experience.

 

My faith in the world has also dropped significantly since seeing this film when I heard that it was a financial success, grossing $80,000,000 in America and thus rendering it a huge success. Many of their sales came from people who saw the movie AND brought the DVD. Who would buy such a film? A film so bad it is ranked in IMDB’s list of “100 worst films ever made.” A film so bad that there have since been numerous petitions for the Director’s careers to end, some even going as far as to wish for them to die from Anal related illnesses!

 

My advice to anyone who is offered to see a film- If the names Jason Friedberg or Aaron Seltzer appear anywhere on the movie, run. Just run.

 

 

Verdict

 

Watching one of Friedberg’s or Seltzer’s hideous monstrosities is like bowl surgery without painkillers. Do not watch under pain of death.

 

0/5

 

Luke

Thirteen – a review

One of the most intense movies I’ve come across in a very long time, Thirteen is a journey that creates a roller coaster of emotions within its audience from start to finish. thirteen

Focused on the life of thirteen-year-old Tracy Freeland, the movie was written by Catherine Hardwicke and Nikki Reed, who also stars in the movie as the other protagonist. It is a semi-autobiographical film inspired by Reed’s life at age 12 and 13, with, interestingly enough, the character of Tracy being loosely based on Reed, as opposed to her own character, Evie.

The film begins by giving us a brief glimpse into Tracy’s life – living at home with her brother and her mother, who is a recovering alcoholic and who isn’t very involved in her daughter’s life, Tracy is quiet and reserved. This doesn’t seem to bother Tracy at the start, however, as she seems content to spend time with her young-minded friends doing homework and being typical thirteen year old girls. This is until Evie Zamora, one of the beautiful ‘popular’ girls at school, makes a negative comment about Tracy’s outfit – this upsets Tracy, who immediately races home and throws away anything she deems ‘uncool’, in an attempt to rid herself of her childish things. She then begs her mother to buy her better clothes, which she does – this results in Tracy receiving a compliment from Evie at school a few days later, which sends her spirits soaring. She relishes feeling accepted by the girls who are admired by everyone else at school, and so sets out to impress them further, hoping to win their friendship, and, in turn, obtain some of the shine that seems to surround Evie and her friends.

But then, what begins as a little scheme to get noticed blossoms into something much more serious – Tracy ends up falling into a pattern of bad behaviour, and adopts the attitude to go along with it. Encouraged by Evie, and her own desire for acceptance and praise, Tracy starts spiralling downwards into a whirlpool of theft and violence. This soon escalates to severe drug and alcohol abuse, and even results in Tracy having sex with a boy who is much older than she is.

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Tracy (played by Wood) and Evie (played by Reed).

All of this starts to have an effect on Tracy as a person, and this definitely does not go unnoticed by her mother. She sees Tracy stumble in at all hours of the night, always with Evie tagging along right behind her, and this then puts a strain on their relationship as mother and daughter. Tracy herself gets lost somewhere along her journey, and we see that the pressure to grow up too fast becomes too much for her at times, and she becomes self-destructive as a way to cope with that. Everything then comes to a boil when the truth is revealed, resulting in Evie moving away and Tracy’s mother being left to pick up the pieces of Tracy’s broken soul.

This movie caused much debate during its release, due to its addressing of topics such as substance abuse, underage sex, and self-harm. However, from the moment it begins, it is simply breath-taking – featuring scenes scattered with a rawness not often seen in bigger Hollywood-style productions, this film goes the extra mile in telling a story in a way that is tragic and yet, utterly enthralling. The cast, too, are exceptional – Nikki Reed is brilliant as the enigmatic yet manipulative Evie, while Evan Rachel Wood is captivating as Tracy. Tracy’s mother is also a role that deserves bountiful recognition – portrayed by Holly Hunter, she is the perfect example of a mother who is simply desperate to find the girl she once knew to be her daughter. While trying to get through to Tracy and get her back on the right track, we see her also struggle with issues of her own, with her dependency on her ex-drug addict boyfriend causing a major rift between her and Tracy.

While Thirteen may not be a typical movie for a group of friends to watch together on a Friday night, it is definitely a film that encompasses depth, emotion, and honesty throughout. And in no way does it glorify the illegal activities carried out by the young teenagers – instead, it portrays them in a way that is true, and showcases just how lost a person can get when they’re trying to find themselves. This is a movie that I think everyone can relate to in some way or another, because really, it’s all about the lengths people will go to in order to fit in and feel accepted. This film is astonishing in its deliverance, and while it can be a little unpolished at times, this only adds to the realness of it.

4/5 – A brutally honest film that will stick with you for a very long time.

~Steph.