THE SOCIAL NETWORK * * * * *
Cert 12A, 120 mins
Good films with young actors are like gold dust. All too often, we simply get formula genre movies like Scream and Twilight – or silly spoofs from Scary Movie to Vampires Suck.
For every Tobey Maguire flying in a Spider-Man blockbuster, there’ll be someone struggling to bridge the credibility gap between adolescence and manhood. Think Zac Efron in the current release The Death & Life of Charlie St Cloud.
But fear not.
Seven years after Hayden Christensen was so memorably fabricating stories in Shattered Glass, another film has finally dared to disprove the old adage that youth is wasted on the young.
The Social Network is an intoxicating portrayal of the formation of internet phenomenon Facebook, 500 million friends and counting.
A spellbinding reminder that business opportunities still exist all around us if only we can see them.
Director David Fincher (Fight Club) has created a timeless story of friendship and betrayal which illustrates how our appetite for more can become insatiable, regardless of the consequences.
Surprisingly wordy in an old-fashioned way, this is also an ultra-modern film brilliantly shot on a digital RED camera.
The genius of The Social Network is that it feels like we’re watching a group of fortysomethings at their zenith, not a relatively inexperienced cast.
At the tender age of just 27, Jesse Eisenberg (Zombieland) is unmissably brilliant in the title role of Mark Zuckerberg, a kid who becomes the world’s youngest billionaire in less than 350 weeks.
Justin Timberlake is a match in his supporting role as Sean Parker,
Having predated the success of iTunes by founding Napster he senses more excitement to come elsewhere in a neat little reminder that new fads rarely last forever.
Interestingly, while Timberlake’s character advises dropping the ‘The’ from Facebook to make the site seem cooler, The Social Network has kept its own.
This 12A-rated film is wholly unsuitable for under 12s, not least for its language, sexual content, drug use and legal complexity. GY
DESPICABLE ME * * * *
Cert U, 94 mins
Cute little yellow creatures called minions are the main stars of this fun animation, although it’s also notable for casting Julie Andrews in a role a world away from Mary Poppins.
She’s the nasty, disapproving mother of Gru (Steve Carell) and partly responsible for turning him into such an evil man.
He’s a criminal mastermind who considers himself the number one villain in the world.
But he has competition. His arch rival Vector (Jason Segal) has stolen the Great Pyramid of Giza and replaced it with an inflatable copy. Gru is forced to up his game and set his sights on an even more daring theft – of the moon.
He works with boffin Dr Nefario (Russell Brand) and all his minions on plans to capture the moon using a shrink ray and hold it to ransom.
To stop Vector getting in the way, he infiltrates his fortress by using three sweet little orphan girls, whom he adopts – and who uncover his softer side.
This is a clever, funny, exciting and touching film which looks great in 3D.
Although it’s not up to Toy Story 3 standards, it’s still an enjoyable watch.
Gru is a good creation but the squeaking, one and two-eyed minions pretty much steal the show.
Kids will like the visuals, action scenes, daft humour and dancing. Adults will like the sly touches, such as the way the Bank of Evil, to whom Gru goes for a loan, is ‘formerly Lehman Brothers’. RL
VAMPIRES SUCK *
Cert 12A, 82 mins
And so does this film. The Twilight Saga is an obvious target for parody, but this crude and unfunny movie makes a hash of it.
Hardly surprising considering it’s from Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer, the ‘‘talent’’ behind such terrible films as Meet the Spartans and the Disaster, Epic, Date and Scary Movie franchises.
This movie is a little different to their usual format. Normally they throw in as many references to as many films as they can, hoping some will be recognised.
But Vampires Suck sticks, pretty much scene for scene, to the first two Twilight films, with just passing references to True Blood, Buffy and the Vampire Diaries.
Becca (Jenn Proske) moves to the town of Sporks, Washington and meets the Sullen family of vampires and Jacob (Chris Riggi), who chases cats, has fleas and gets increasingly hairy before changing into a chihuahua. Naturally, she falls for Edward (Matt Lanter). Vampires Suck is a lot more blatantly sexual than Twilight but a whole lot less erotic.
Proske is good at replicating Kristen Stewart’s tics and grimaces, and I admit I may have almost chuckled once or twice, but this film is not good. I can’t see who it’s aimed at. To get the jokes you need to have seen the Twilight films, but I doubt the Twihard fans will see the funny side. RL