THE HEART IS DECEITFUL ABOVE ALL THINGS **
This hipster sensationalism maintains a harrowing, uncomfortable tone for the first hour or so but it finally goes “stark raving naked” ridiculous near the end. An extra 1/2* for referencing THE LONELIEST RUNNER.
Noir conventions dropped onto a Southern California high school sounds like an eye-roller. But it works – the kids are in the land of Marlowe after all. Clever without being knowing, atmospheric but not at the expense of (or to mask the absence of) character or plot, and it looks pretty good for digital video.
SHE’S THE MAN **
“Inspired” by Twelfth Night, though it takes away the sibling separation anxiety and leaves behind standard who-am-i/why-is-my-body-chaningism. But for all it’s Hollywood ‘tweener conventions I kinda liked it. What little of Shakespeare’s language that’s left is shoehorned in; Malvolio is played by a tarantula; but why not turn the play’s ideas of transformation and identity into a coming-of-age story? It’s not a fresh angle but it’s valid enough. Finding your voice: Amanda Bynes’ male impersonation is half-Elvis.