Homefront movie
7.25 out of 10
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire movie
8.75 out of 10
Disney's Frozen movie
10.0 out of 10
Delivery Man movie
6.75 out of 10
8.25 out of 10

Saturday, April 14, 2012


The Future, and Past, is at Stake

Rated: R  Some teen drinking, language, bloody violence, drug use, crude and sexual content and nudity
Release Date: April 13, 2012
Runtime: 1 hr 29 mins

Director: Joseph Kahn
Writers:  Joseph Kahn, Mark Palermo
Cast: Josh Hutcherson, Dane Cook, Spencer Locke, Shanley Caswell, Aaron Perilo, Will Wallace, Parker Bagley, Marque Richardson, Alison Woods, Aaron David Johnson

SYNOPSIS: Based around the self-proclaimed sucky high school life of a girl named Riley, the girl and her friends have to deal with the threat of a supposed serial killer ripped from the silver screen named Cinderhella.

REVIEW: Joseph Kahn, a busy music video director with video shorts under his belt from Blink 182 and Garbage, plus the 2004 bike flick Torque, co-writes Detention with The Killing of Kings short scribe Mark Palermo. Filled with 90s references, space ships, magnetic stuffed grizzly bears, possible time-travel, a serial killer copying a popular film franchise, teenage angst, and more, Detention has all the crazy ideas of a music video rolled up into a 89 minute film.
A copy cat serial killer using the guise of Cinderhella takes down the most popular girl Taylor Fisher (Alison Wood, Superhero Movie) at Grizzly High as she tries to educate the audience as to the list to follow to become like her. Once dispatched, Riley Jones (Shanley Caswell, Snow White: A Deadly Summer) takes over the narrative. Personally plagued by the same serial killer, she cannot convince her friends or the authorities that she is a target. Her former best friend Ione (Spencer Locke, Resident Evil: Afterlife) has taken up with Riley's best guy friend Clapton Davis (Josh Hutcherson, Journey 2: The Mysterious Island) while Ione's former boyfriend Billy Nolan (Parker Bagley, A Nightmare on Elm Street - 2010) looks to beat the crap out of him. Sander S. Sanderson (Aaron David Johnson, Finding Hope) pines away for Riley. Toshida (Jonathan Park) tries to complete an absurd class project to build a time machine. Along the way, body-swapping, fly-infused blood, spacecraft, and time-travel all come together to try and combat Cinderhella before she takes any more victims.

Detention is a one of those film that will probably achieve cult status one day. The characters break the fourth wall a la Ferris Bueller's Day Off, speaking directly to the audience with helpful hints and witty asides. Adding to the visual style as if Judy Moody and the Not Bummer Summer and Zombieland had a child riddled with A.D.D., Taylor take a break to secretly fill us in with important information assisted by colorful graphical list presentations. And if mentored by Quentin Tarantino himself, we are treated to title cards such as 'The Lonely Ballad of Elliot Fink' to kick off various vignettes that either fill in the blanks of the story or confuse us even more.

In order to not be confined to any specific genre, Kahn and Palmero spin us a tale filled with time-travel, serial killers, all-too-self-aware teens, craft from outer space, unrequited love, a highly magnetic taxidermy bear, and a kid who has been in detention every school day for nineteen years. Does the story seem plausible? One would think not, but the writers and director manage to put together a story as believable as anything that came out of Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure. But where Bill S. Preston, Esq. and Ted Logan had only deal with the issues of space/time along with rampant historical figures, Detention weaves a tapestry where nothing makes sense but works out somehow at the end.

It could be that I am getting too old for films like this. I did laugh out loud a few times, but the younger girls in the quarter-occupied theater seemed to enjoy it quite a bit more, as well as understanding its spot in the cinematic canon. I do remember wanting my MTV, but I am probaly out of the loop as to the current trend in music videos. I can relate to Kahn's references of The Breakfast Club, and other 90s John Hughes films, but some of the visual gags and dialogue went by so quick, I could not catch up to it before the next setup was already in place.

I will have to say, though, that Kahn, Palermo and DP know how to frame and move a shot. In the detention scene in the library, when Elliot Fink (Walter Perez, Inhale) says he has been in detention every day for nineteen years, his flashback through the years shouts out the styles and musical anthems of each era, making us realize that what the Beautiful, Intelligent, Talented, Charismatic, Hoobastank loving Taylor at the opening of the film was trying to tell us. She talks about how her favorite band on the poster above her bed is uber-hot at that moment of shooting the film, but will be selling out toilet stalls with mops in hand by the time the film releases. The generational gap is giving ways to ever increasing changes in fashion, style, music and technology within a single generation, as I am sure that Joseph Kahn is aware.

Kahn completes a seemingly disjointed, spacey film. But when the smoke clears and the blood stops dripping down the school lockers, Detention is a clever effort. I may be reading a more poignant message from the film than Kahn was looking to deliver, but the campy self-aware hodge podge seemed to speak to me as if my older self had traveled back in time to educate me of Detention's cultural significance in the future.

WORTH: Rental

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