Rosario Dawson is Maya, a quiet college student who meets good-looking football jock Jared (Chad Faust, The 4400) at your typical frat party. Excessively confident, Jared makes a quick play for Maya, droning on lyrically about the first time he saw her. A couple of conversations later, Maya softens. As this dance continues, Faust and Dawson are excellent; he's the slimy "tell 'em what they wanna hear" player, and she's the protective but hopeful girl, using her natural sex appeal skillfully.
Continue reading: Descent Review
Tamara raises the stakes: it throws in even more teen hormones than House of Wax. Tell me if this sounds familiar: an ugly duckling named Tamara (Jenna Dewan) is accidentally killed while being bullied about uncovering steroid usage at school. But death, of course, never keeps a good girl down. She returns as a cleavage-sprouting hottie with an axe to grind against the kids who put her in the ground, using her new-found power to make people do what she wants. She also makes time to try to get close to Mr. Notally (Matthew Marsden), the dreamy teacher who ignored her before her death. Don't get me started about how Tamara drives her dispatchers to self-mutilation and homosexual tendencies. Oh, and her father is a booze hound, in case you didn't know.
Continue reading: Tamara Review
This is all just prelude to a by-the-numbers story wherein Mary, a member of the coolest clique at American Eagle Christian High - the Christian Jewels, who have a band and their own pendants - gets booted from paradise by the clique's leader, Hilary Faye (Mandy Moore), as tan as she is vicious, after Mary starts questioning their judgmental attitudes. Fortunately, there's a pair of rebels to cushion Mary's fall: Hilary Faye's wheelchair-bound brother and a secret non-Christian, Roland (Macauley Culkin), and his girlfriend, the school's "only Jewish," Cassandra (Eva Amurri). While Culkin's sly, sleepy asides provide some of Saved!'s better moments, Amurri is just as much a shambling, bug-eyed, and hyperactive mess as she was in The Banger Sisters (if it's not overacting, it ain't acting, apparently). Mary has to hide her pregnancy from the school's eagle-eyed Biblethumpers, enduring Hilary Faye's hypocritical assaults, and hoping that the cute missionary skater and pastor's kid Patrick (Patrick Fugit) will ask her to prom. Will Mary keep the baby? Will Hilary Faye be allowed to be such a bitch? What would Jesus do? And will there be a shopping montage?
Continue reading: Saved! Review
Never mind that. If you're willing to suspend disbelief -- completely and utterly -- you might find The Ranch a curious diversion.
Continue reading: The Ranch Review
Convinced she was doing God's work by sleeping with her fey ice-skater boyfriend to keep him from "turning gay," blissfully naive and blindly devotional Mary (Jena Malone) is now a knocked-up senior at American Eagle Christian Academy -- and suddenly having dark-comedy doubts about everything she's been taught to believe.
This is the foundation of "Saved!," an incisively wry, low-key indie that almost -- almost -- manages to deliver its sardonically tart message of tolerance without making one-dimensional cartoons out of its judgmental, Bible-beating antagonists.
Co-written and directed by first-time filmmaker Brian Dannelly (who attended a Catholic elementary school, a Jewish summer camp and a Baptist high school while growing up), "Saved!" is narrated from Mary's point of view as she navigates a snake pit of high school gossip dangerously coupled with religious self-righteousness.
Continue reading: Saved! Review
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Convinced she was doing God's work by sleeping with her fey ice-skater boyfriend to keep...