Wednesday 16 Apr

Holy Ghost People

Holy Ghost People examines two sisters whose bond is torn — but by what? After her sibling has been missing for more than a year, Charlotte (Emma Greenwell, TV's Shameless) intends to find out.
04/15/2014 | Comments 0

No Holds Barred

RLJ Entertainment's new Blu-ray for No Holds Barred begins with what seems like dozens of trailers for movies starring pro wrestlers from the WWE talent pool. Each flick went direct to home video, but once upon a time — aka 1989 — one had to go to the multiplex to catch such a spectacle.
04/15/2014 | Comments 0

Knights of Badassdom

In 2008, the third act of the guy comedy Role Models used LARPing — live-action role-playing, that is — as a backdrop for our protagonists' lessons learned. Today, Knights of Badassdom extends that half-hour into a full feature, to the point where viewers are left not smiling, but exhausted. 
04/02/2014 | Comments 0

Switched on

Not everything on television has to appeal to mass audiences. In fact, with the further fractioning of viewership thanks to alternatives like Netflix and VOD, more series can afford to become more niche. Here are five examples of shows both past and present — and new to DVD and/or Blu-ray — that encompass some of the more outrageous ideas ever to go beyond boardroom discussion.
04/02/2014 | Comments 0

Confession of Murder

Seventeen years after slaying 10 women and getting away with it, the charismatic serial killer Du-sok (Park Si-hoo) comes clean with a Confession of Murder, in this 2012 South Korean crime thriller. He does so by publishing a book that dishes all the grisly details.
04/02/2014 | Comments 0
Home · Articles · Movies · Drama · The Runaways

The Runaways

Doug Bentin April 14th, 2010

"The Runaways" is an entertaining rock 'n' roll biopic, but I wouldn't bet on its factual accuracy. The script, written by first-time feature director Floria Sigismondi, is based on Cherie Currie's autobiography, "Neon Angel," and doesn't suggest that the band ever contained anyone but the five founders, and completely collapsed before it actually did.

Cherie (Dakota Fanning, "The Twilight Saga: New Moon") and Marie Currie (Riley Keough, in her first feature film) are a pair of vacuous teens in Los Angeles. Cherie is the more disaffected of the two, relieving the boredom of life by hanging out at rock clubs and lip-syncing David Bowie.

Record producer Kim Fowley (Michael Shannon, "Revolutionary Road") sees her one night while on the prowl for a young woman with the right look for an all-girl, hard-rock band he's putting together with the help of drummer Sandy West (Stella Maeve, "Brooklyn's Finest") and singer/guitarist Joan Jett (Kristen Stewart, "The Twilight Saga: New Moon").

When he finds out that Cherie is only 15 years old, he is delighted: "Jail-effin'-bait! Jack-effin'-pot!"

So the band forms, the girls learn to play and develop the right look — underage pouty/slutty — and they all come to enjoy the rock lifestyle. But the lifestyle — sex, drugs and booze — is too much for Cherie, who breaks down and leaves the act. The film suggests that this means the end of everything for all but Jett, who has a great career as a singer backed up by The Blackhearts. Truth is, The Runaways lasted for another three years after Currie left.

The three central performances — Fanning, Stewart and Shannon — are terrific, with Fanning and Shannon taking top honors. Fanning was only 15 when she shot this one, but she's easily in control of the material. If she doesn't go all Lindsay Lohan on us, her reign will be a long one. Her age makes it interesting to note that while 13-year-old Chloe Moretz is garnering so much negative attention for her gutter vocabulary in "Kick-Ass," no one seems to mind the same words coming from 15-year old Fanning. Kids, now you know at what age you can start talking like a mule skinner in public: 15.

Perhaps the most startling aspect of the story for many people will be the calculated way in which "sound" and "look" were shaped. Like much of early punk style, at least in England, what Cherie wears is not an outgrowth of who she is, but a deliberate attempt to manipulate her audience. Even the band's most popular song, "Cherry Bomb," was created on the spot for a specific purpose.

"The Runaways" is not a good movie — the direction is occasionally nonexistent and the script is sloppy and too reliant on clichés — but Fanning and Shannon are real standouts, and the songs, if naive when experienced through the hearing aid of late middle age, are expressive of feelings most of us can remember.

"Hello, Daddy, hello, Mom / I'm your ch-ch-ch-ch-ch-ch ..." —Doug Bentin

  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5