New Release Reviews - Jack & Diane / Silent Night / Dollhouse

Jack & Diane
Directed by: Bradley Rust Gray
Starring: Juno Temple, Riley Keough, Kylie Minogue, Dane DeHaan
The titular characters, essayed by Keough and Temple, are two star-crossed lesbian teens who fall in love after a chance encounter in one of New York's hipper districts. "Hip" is the keyword for this film. Characters carry skateboards, hang out in tattoo parlors and generally look disillusioned, but in, like, a "hip" way.

Just for the hell of it we get a few dream sequences involving some sort of werewolf creature. I'm guessing this is meant to represent the girls' burgeoning sexuality ala 'Company of Wolves' but don't quote me on that. Despite this injection of weirdness, it's the straightest gay drama you'll see this year. Our heroes even have their own song, The Flying Pickets' 'Only You', used to far greater effect in Wong Kar Wai's 'Fallen Angels'.
If the characters weren't so damn irksome it wouldn't be a bad little romantic drama. Temple gives a great performance and is one to watch in the coming years. Unfortunately, director Gray seems intent on alienating as large an audience as possible.
5/10
Jack and Diane (2012) on IMDb 4.3/10

Silent Night
Directed by: Steven C. Miller
Starring: Jaime King, Malcolm McDowell, Donal Logue
This purports not to be a remake of the controversial eighties slasher 'Silent Night, Deadly Night', but it certainly owes that film a large debt. There are scenes which are practically lifted from the older film, such as a girl staked on antlers and a monologue about the dark side of Christmas delivered by a geriatric. The eighties film was fun thanks to it's clever use of black humor but this movie can't decide what tone it's after. For the most part it's played like a straight cop drama and when it does interject humor it fails to raise even a snigger.
The only interesting thing about this non-remake is the fact that it's characters are all named after former players of Leeds United soccer team. I don't think Johnny Giles would approve.
2/10
Silent Night (2012) on IMDb 5.1/10 

Dollhouse
Directed by: Kirsten Sheridan
Starring: Seana Kerslake, Kate Brennan, Johnny Ward
When a gang of working class Dublin teens break into a plush suburban home, they discover it's the former home of Kerslake, a middle class girl who we learn ran away from home a year previous. As a night of debauchery unfolds, it becomes evident she is with-holding another secret.
After 'Charlie Casanova', it seemed Irish cinema had hit a low. Now, thanks to Sheridan's latest feature, it's got some company at the bottom of the barrel. The only thing to distinguish 'Dollhouse' from the aforementioned film is the semi-professionalism on display here. The acting is quite good with the young performers convincing us of their working class origins. The camerawork is slightly above average for an Irish feature. All the problem's lie with Sheridan's script. There's really no story here so unless you enjoy watching unlikable teens smash up a home and shout insults at one another, there's nothing to engage you. After the screening I was shocked to see the running time had only been 95 minutes as it felt twice as long. 
'Dollhouse' is a gruelling experience and yet another national embarrassment for us Irish cinema lovers. How did it get made? Sheridan is the daughter of none other than acclaimed Irish film-maker Jim, that's how!
1/10
Dollhouse (2012) on IMDb 6.3/10


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