Bright Light: Teen Critic on Ellen Page
Tuesday, April 15, 2008
Patrick Wilson and Ellen Page in Hard Candy (Lionsgate)
Ellen Page first stomped into my heart with her controversial role, Hayley, in the movie Hard Candy. In the film she is a thirteen-year-old girl who manipulates a pedophile into taking her home, where she tortures him. The dialogue is ultra chic with lines like "I f*ing hate Goldfrapp," and "Or not." But as you can see these lines don't stand up with out Ellen Page's fiercely cold eyes staring back at you. With her intense performance and lack of fear she does something unprecedented in modern Hollywood. She gives us a psychological thriller with a truly astounding female character. But I do question the ethics of the DVD cover art in which Page's name shares equal billing with Sandra Oh's. Oh is in the film for all of three minutes (selling girl scout cookies) and she doesn't merit getting her name on the cover. Then again Sandra Oh was the reason I picked up the movie in the first place.
Now onto Page's more popular, more recent, and more acclaimed movie. You all know what's coming. Yes, Juno. Juno was part of a triplets set last year. Three movies came out in 2007 about unwanted pregnancies: Juno, Waitress, and Knocked Up. Juno stood out like a shining star, with Waitress at a close second, and Knocked Up coming in dead last. I wonder if the fact that Juno and Waitress were pregnancy movies written from a woman 's perspective (and by women screenwriters), while Knocked Up was penned by a man. Anyway, Juno is a story of young high school student named Juno, who gets pregnant on her first try with her best friend Paully Bleeker (played by the most amazing young actor of today, Michael Cera of Superbad and Arrested Development). The movie follows her through the her pregnancy and what she goes through meeting the adoptive parents. It truly captures what it's like to fall in love with your best friend and to be in denial about it. I watched the trailer every night for four months until I finally got to see the film. Maybe it was the smart dialogue -- real to the point of scary situations -- or just the awesome soundtrack that made me fall in love with it. Or maybe it was Ellen Page. No matter what it was, this movie sent me dancing out of the theatre.
Ellen Page is an overachiever in Smart People (Miramax)
But Ellen Page's most recent film, Smart People, crushed my dreams of a completely flattering review of Ellen's work. This movie IS funny but it is so formulaic that it left me nothing but the desire to go see Sideways since Thomas Haden Church stars in both Smart People and Sideways. His performance is amazing, even if I did see his butt one too many times. (I also got a cool background for my cell, because I passed the movie poster for The Dark Knight at the theater where I saw the preview screening.) But still I do not blame Ellen for this slight movie mishap. But I do find something interesting about all three of her films. Why is it that every movie she's in she has to have an awkward sexual run in with a guy twice her character's age? Hmmm interesting.
Ellen Page joins X-Men 3... shouldn't that be X-People??? (20th Century Fox)
As for all of you X-Men 3 fans -- I'm sorry but I will not be talking about her role in that film. In my opinion that movie belongs in a personally detested section of Hollywood comic book movies that turn themselves into chick flicks. But once again I do not blame Ellen Page for that misstep either.
Ellen in her fetching shower curtain in The Tracey Fragments (ThinkFILM)
Now all there is left for me to do is wait for her newest American flick to come out -The Tracey Fragments, a rival to Hard Candy for the most intense movie of her career with images of her riding a bus wearing only a shower curtain. I bet she will get into more awkward older men situations. Then there is the one film I truly can't wait to see, An American Crime. This film stars another one of my favorite actresses, Catherine Kenner ( The 40-Year Old Virgin). The film switches the Hard Candytables on Ellen, and tortures young Ellen after finding her in her car. I can't wait.
Ellen Page and Catherine Keener in American Crime (First Look)
Companion viewing: Lovely and Amazing, Friends with Money, Thank You For Smoking
Candace Kavanagh spends her life absorbing celluloid images. She loves every type of film from so-called "chick flicks" such as My Fair Lady and Legally Blonde, to mind bending thrillers like Mulholland Drive and Hard Candy -- with every zombie movie, action flick, musical, and comedy in between.
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