The spirit of Rob Reiner’s Stand By Me lives on in Jordan Vogt-Roberts’ coming-of-age drama, in which two best friends abandon civilisation and opt to spend the summer living on the woods. Together with eccentric classmate Biaggio, Nick and Patrick build a house in a clearing and eke out a modest but adult-and-responsility-free existence, but their utopian dream is short-lived. All three young male leads do a fantastic job here, and are ably supported by familiar faces including Nick Offerman and Alison Brie. However, it is Vogt-Roberts’ direction that really ties the film together, skirting just the right side of sentimental to deliver a film that is genuinely touching and frequently hilarious.
I had no interest in watching what appeared to be yet another post-Twilight supernatural romance actually turned out ot be one of the best examples of the genre. Aidan Ehrenreich plays Ethan, a frustrated Southern lad, who escapes his mundane small-town life by incessantly reading. When the mysterious Lena (Alice Englert) moves into town, Ethan is instantly smitten, but as Ethan soon discovers, Lena’s entire family is coven of witches – and Ethan’s own family has its fair share of secrets too.
The leads are likable, but its the heavyweight thesps in the supporting cast – namely Jeremy Irons and Emma Thompson – who prove the real treat. Special mention must also go to Emmy Rossum, as Lena’s seductive cousin Ridley. The film was sadly overlooked at the time of release, but in this realm of YA fantasy, it proves a refreshing surprise.
After being introduced to Ethan Embry by his Cheap Thrills director Evan Katz, I made a mental note to myself to watch his breakthrough role in 90s teen comedy Can’t Hardly Wait as soon as possible. The gods were clearly shining on me as the film was playing in the classics section on my flight home from NYC.
It’s the last day of high school and the seniors are gearing up to enter the big bad world, after the party to end all parties. Embry plays the lovable lead who is determined to finally make his move on school sweetheart Jennifer Love Hewitt, who has just been dumped by her jock boyfriend. Seth Green, Lauren Ambrose, Freddy Rodriguez, Jaime Pressly and numerous others appear in this amusing and heartfely ensemble romp.
Robert Redford is reliably strong as the reclusive Weather Underground member who resurfaces decades later to get his daughter to safety and clear his name. Brit Marling continues her ascendancy into the big leagues, while Susan Sarandon offers strong support, but Shia LeBoeuf struggles to convince as an ambitious young reporter looking to bust open the case and uncover the truth once and for all. Behind the camera, Redford keeps things interesting, but the film never really rises above the competent-yet-conventional.
The world is tiring of Vince Vaughn, and his reluctance to change up or expand his schtick isn’t helping his case much. Here he re-teams with his Wedding Crashers cohort Owen Wilson to basically rehash the best parts of Old School – albeit as interns at Google. The result is a gag-inducing 2-hour commercial for the Internet company, where all the best moments come from other actors – namely Max Minghella and Josh Brener – while the “talent” does little more than show up and collect their paycheck.