Okay, I watched The Runaways - mostly to see Michael Shannon - but also to give lil' Kristen Stewart (aka Twilight's Bella Swan) a chance to show me something REAL as Joan Jett. Unlike others, I like Stewart's look. She is unconventionally pretty with a soft angularity and I even like her front teeth. Though, I could never keep my mouth open as much as she does. I tried this during the screening and I felt uncomfortable after 45 seconds. But I understand why she does this. Part of her technique includes many sharp intakes of breath which clues us, the audience, that she is about to say something - and then...and THEN!!!..... nothing. She never says anything! She hardly has any dialogue in this film at all - and when she does, we expect it to be magical, warm, breaktaking, pure - something that would indicate that this is Snow White, the legendary beauty with the fairest, purest heart - completely irresistable to all, save Charlize Theron. Her awkwardness doesn't work in this role, despite being locked away for years in a tower. Instead, her curiosity should shine boldly and her interactions with people, with land and with animals should be heart-breakingly courageous. What's with all the Snow Whites being so wooden? Ahem...
Apart from Monster, I've never been the biggest Charlize Theron fan - she has some great Queen beats in the first 20 minutes of the film, but then we see those same rhythms and notes replayed over and over and over. She is stunning to look at, she does have a good emotional reserve in her acting locker, but I've never thought Charlize has truly risen to the occasion of Meryl Streep greatness (is that a fair comparison?). Look at Young Adult - good, not great. But go see her yourself, you may disagree entirely. She does take risks and I highly admire that.
The seven dwarves, however, were EXCELLENTLY cast and slightly underused. I relished identifying each and every actor - all adding so much real depth to parts that could easily be caricatures. (Psssst: one of them is Nick Frost!)The writing - meaning the dialogue - was pretty mediocre. I am peeved when a particular character is the appointed one to "tell the audience exactly what is happening". It undermines the audience. Why do writers do this?!
The saving grace of this film is to see the absolute magnificence of visual effects, costume design, and production design. I have NEVER seen such stunning visuals - so incredibly creative, so beautifully executed and - I imagine - so expensive. You can't help but be in awe. You also can't help but notice there isn't one real animal - outside of a horse - used in this film. Amusing.
This movie suffers from a casting standpoint - and perhaps then....from a directing standpoint. It is difficult to tell whether the fault lies with the actor or the director. However, it IS a visual feast as well as a wonderfully dark, violent twist on the classic fairy tale.
Here is a different point of view from JAMES FRANCO AND HIS NANA.