Tiffany Paulsen

Tiffany Paulsen

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Nancy Drew Review


Good
After watching the postmodern teen-detective stars of Brick and Veronica Mars, reviving Nancy Drew, girl detective, might seem a redundant, backwards task. The trailers for this project appeared in line with those expectations, casting Nancy in what looked like a snarky, reductive fusion of The Brady Bunch Movie and Mean Girls: the '50s-style sleuth adrift in cynical modern (which is to say, imminently outdated) high school.

But Andrew Fleming's take on Nancy Drew turns out to be a snappy charmer. Though the film takes place in the present, Nancy's life could still be described by the MPAA tags on a trailer for a PG movie: mild peril, brief teen partying; she hasn't been glammed into 2007. But the film uses this mildness to its advantage, starting with the decision not to play Nancy's old-fashioned virtues -- lawful curiosity, modest fashions, and an unfailing politeness even in the face of peril -- for satire. That is not to say that Nancy (Emma Roberts, niece of Julia, son of Eric) isn't oblivious to modern life; she knows about iPods and laptops. She's just old-fashioned (she prefers vinyl and books), which makes her dedication to old-timey detecting (or "sleuthing," as she calls it) all the more individualistic, even touching, as well as sweetly funny.

Continue reading: Nancy Drew Review

Friday The 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan Review


Unbearable
Utterly appalling, as Jason finds himself a stowaway on a cruise ship bound for New York (contrary to the popular description, he isn't dragged there), after being awakened by an electric shock to his watery grave. Then he, well, takes Manhattan -- and that means leather-clad gang members and shag-haired rockers, to wholly unfunny effect. Most of the film is spent on the ship, however. Watch for Kelly Hu in her first motion picture appearance. (She gets a garden-variety strangling.)
Tiffany Paulsen

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