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The Runaways – The Girls (and Boy) Are Back in Town

Before the Twilight phenom took hold of Kristen Stewart’s star status, she was once considered an up-and-comer. She is, without a doubt, the main attraction at Sundance this year. The combination of youngish male bloggers wanting a glimpse or a handshake, combined with her general star power created what most have described as a frenzied mob. So how is The Runaways doing? Here are some reviews.

From Cinematical:

I’ll be blunt about this: I really wasn’t looking forward to this movie. I’m not the biggest fan of lip-chewing, hair-twirling Kristen Stewart, or the wide-eyed, blank face expert Dakota Fanning. I love rock and roll (so put another dime in the jukebox, baby) as much as the next person, but these two starring in a movie about an all-girl, teen sensation, flash in the pan band from the 1970s? I just didn’t think they could pull it off. Hey, at least I’m big enough to admit I was wrong. The Runaways rocked the Joan Jett / Cherie Currie backstory’s pants off (literally), and I’ll be buying the soundtrack, which features K-Stew and D-Fan singing the blasts from the past.

K-Stew and D-Fan are well, Kristen Stewart and Dakota Fanning in gossip-site webspeak.   Meanwhile, on Michael Shannon:

Although he’s not given as much screen time as Fanning and Stewart, Michael Shannon takes this movie, straps it to his back, and walks away with it completely.

But wait, Alex at First Showing disagrees:

I never would’ve thought I could dislike a movie about a badass rock band. I caught the world premiere of The Runaways last night and while it’s a very loud and very energetic movie, it’s not good at all. It felt very rushed, skipping over all the important moments of the band’s creation and throwing in concert scene after concert scene and an occasional streets-of-LA moment. Former photographer Floria Sigismondi makes both her writing and directing debut with The Runaways and is unfortunately the weakest link in the film. She should stick with photography, because it seemed obvious that she doesn’t know how to direct a feature.

But wait, MTV’s Josh Horowitz liked it better:

Sex, drugs, rock n’ roll and the girls from “Twilight”?!? Don’t have too big a laugh though because Kristen Stewart and most especially Dakota Fanning rock the house with the best of them in “The Runaways,” an electrifying if formulaic account of the brief rise and fall of the titular band.

Forget the executive producer credit for Joan Jett, the true telling credit for the film is where director Floria Sigismondi found her source material–lead singer Cherie Currie’s memoir.

Indeed, “The Runaways” is owned and just about swallowed up by Fanning’s riveting portrayal of the singer (not too dissimilar from the way Currie overwhelmed the group). First glimpsed as a teen literally transforming into a woman, this is the performance that seems sure to launch Fanning into a new thrilling phase of her career. From a sulking broodish David Bowie enthusiast to a howling rock goddess Fanning sells sells sells. I’d watch that band. Hells yeah.

Stewart as Joan Jett physically embodies the role and curses and growls as the part demands. It’s Jett of course who first launches the band under the manic watchful eye of Michael Shannon’s Kim Fowley. But the film find’s its legs and central mesmerizing performance when Fanning’s Cherie auditions for the band in a crappy trailer. Shannon’s Fowley knows he’s hit paydirt with Currie’s look but he needs to coax the sex vixen out of her. Watch in awe as in the space of a few moments the band’s signature “Cherry Bomb” is created and Fanning transforms into the front woman she’s destined to be. It’s the scene of the movie.

Speaking of Shannon, attention must be paid to him here (as it should in all of his work)–Fowley is at once a “SNL” caricature of a monstrous manager and a recognizable fascinating human creature. Shannon turns it up to 11 for the role and it works. Who else could go toe to toe with these women?

Collider’s Steve Weintraub:

With fantastic performances from Kristen Stewart, Dakota Fanning and Michael Shannon, The Runaways delivered the goods at this year’s Sundance Film Festival. Based on the book Neon Angel: The Cherie Currie Story by Cherie Currie, The Runaways tells the coming-of-age story of the teenage rock band The Runaways and how they came together in the mid 1970’s. Kristen Stewart stars as Joan Jett, Dakota Fanning is Cherie Currie, and Michael Shannon stars as the über-eccentric Kim Fowley Рthe man who put The Runaways together.

And finally, Jeff Wells, Hollywood-Elsewhere:

For the most part Floria Sigismondi‘s The Runaways (Apparition, 3.19) is an absorbing, highly charged, better-than-average ’70s rock saga. I’m giving it a solid B. Maybe a B-minus. The reasons for the voltage are Kristen Stewart‘s scrappy performance as Joan Jett, the Runaways co-founder who went on to become a solo rock legend in the ’80s, and Michael Shannon‘s as L.A. rock impresario Kim Fowley. And the music, of course.

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