Currently browsing the "coming of age" tag.

Review: Paper Spiders

I’ve always enjoyed the performances of Lili Taylor starting with Mystic Pizza. And reading her bio on IMDB probably explains why. One of her quotes reads, “I guess the characters I play may be at the more destructive edge of the spectrum, more damaged or whatever, but I find a lot of female roles uninteresting. I would rather play someone who’s fucked-up and deep than someone who’s one-dimensional and invisible. I would rather drive something and be crazy than be forgotten and nothing.” And her latest role is totally in that vein. In this mother-daughter, coming-of-age drama she plays Dawn, a woman with delusional disorder who’s convinced that the new next door neighbor is out to get her. Meanwhile her daughter Melanie (Stefania LaVie Owen) with whom she has a close and loving relationship is just trying to get through her senior year so she can head off to college. And as Dawn spirals out of control, Melanie tries to find a way to save her from herself despite her complete denial.

Review: Good Boys

Good Boys. From the creative minds behind Superbad, Pineapple Express, Neighbors and Sausage Party

Need I say more?

Actually, I do. ‘Cause this movie isn’t nearly as outrageous, raucous and raunchy as I expected it to be, given its pedigree. Sure, it has lots of sex jokes, alcohol and drug references, and squirm-inducing moments involving tweens. But it’s also surprisingly sweet – and very funny. It’s a bit like watching Stand By Me, without the spectre of death.

The Way, Way Back

I first saw The Way, Way Back way back in early May. I loved it then. And I think I love it even more now (considering the array of films I’ve seen since). It’s a good, solid coming-of-age indie that has the mainstream appeal of a Little Miss Sunshine or The Descendants. As it happens, The Way, Way Back is made by the same people who brought you those two gems. It’s sweet, funny, poignant, sappy, sad and hopeful – with an excellent cast to boot.

The Kings of Summer

The Kings of Summer is no Stand By Me. But it does try to be. So two points for effort! The Kings of Summer is a pleasant little coming-of-age dramedy about three friends who spend the summer building a house in the woods and ‘living off the land’. The ramshackle house is their escape from the typical perils of teendom: parents who don’t understand, bullies at school, girl troubles.

The Art of Getting By

The Art of Getting By is another one of those small movies that may get lost in the summer swarm because it’s good, but not good enough to generate much buzz.

Flipped

Meathead makes some pretty good movies, and while I didn’t completely “flip” over Flipped, I definitely did like it. Director Rob Reiner delivers a sweet, simple, yet entertaining movie that provides a nice break from all the highly-hyped, big-budget, sensory-overload movies that tend to dominate the summer box office.

The Young Victoria

To look at The Young Victoria for historical accuracy would be the wrong way to approach it. Screenwriter Julian Fellowes (Gosford Park) admits to taking dramatic license in many places for effect. And it is effective as a coming of age love story set inside that gilded cage known as the British monarchy. The story begins with 17 year-old Victoria a heartbeat away from being crowned Queen, as her mother, the scheming Duchess of Kent (Miranda Richardson), along with her power hungry advisor (Mark Strong) attempt to set up a regency thereby taking power themselves until she is 25. (Mark Strong is also the villain in Sherlock Holmes, set in the same time period. Hmmm.) They control her every move, making someone walk her up and down the stairs, deciding what she can and cannot read, making sure that she is kept away from her uncle the King, everything designed to dominate her. But she is strong enough to resist them, though she falls instead under the control of Prime Minister Lord Melbourne.

Whip It

Whip It is a good little chick flick. Sure, it’s predictable and thin on story. But it’s fun – a theatrical joyride on skates. Think Juno meets Roller Derby.

When Ruo Ma was Seventeen

This sweet coming of age story is almost worth seeing just for the scenery alone. Shot in southern China’s Yunnan province, When Ruo Ma was Seventeen uses the beautiful landscape of terraced paddy fields as a reminder that we are not in any place we know. It is far removed from our world. But Ruo Ma has lived here all her life with her old grandma, working these terraced fields with her fellow Hani (aka Xiani.) Now 17, she goes to town to make some money selling roasted corn on the street.