Sunday, March 20, 2011

Red Riding Hood - A Film Review by Kate

Tonight I went on an excursion to my local theater to watch the film Red Riding Hood, a film about a medieval village terrorized by a werewolf. It was a terrible film, for many reasons - wooden acting, airhead dialogue, lame plot, etc, etc, but that is not why I left the theater feeling disappointed and deeply wronged.

Don't let this picture fool you...
I went to see Red Riding Hood under the premise that it was going to be juicy and raunchy, filled with the same teen angsty, throbbing hormones hungriness that Twilight had. If you watch the preview, you see scene after scene of forest sex, bodice ripping, and breathless grinding - all things I love! But be forewarned- those are the ONLY sex scenes in the entire movie, they just deceptively showed all of them in the preview and when you see the film you realize that they aren't really sex scenes at all, just fully clothed, PG grinding that lasts a few seconds and leads nowhere. The fact that Catherine Hardwick (Twilight director), who is quite capable of producing high calibre teen smut scenes, also directed this film raised my hopes even higher.

Male Model Sneer
 So this is my main beef with this movie. There are many others, but all would have been overlooked if Catherine Hardwicke had delivered the raunchiness that was promised to me in the previews.
It doesn't help that there is ABSOLUTELY NO SEXUAL CHEMISTRY between the two main characters, Valerie and Peter, played by Amanda Seyfreid and Shiloh Fernandez. In fact, the two seem rather disgusted with each other - Peter looks like an Italian male model with a constant sneer and Valerie just seems bored during the "romance" scenes, like she's trying to fantasize about someone else - I know that look, sister! You can't fool me. This could, in part, be because Peter turns out to be more of a bodice un-lacer than a bodice ripper type, although more likely he is gay and they both know it.

The only scene that possessed an ounce of sexual tension was a brief conversation between Peter(Valerie/Amanda Seyfried's love interest) and Henry (the man she is supposed to marry but does not love). While Valerie has been arrested for witchcraft by the authorities, Peter and Henry put their rivalry aside and join forces to plot her rescue. They gaze at each other intensely and throw dialogue back and forth like a horny game of squash - its very hot and very gay and at this point in the film I would just be happy with a hot, gay scene. But alas, they part and the film returns to its neutered, asexual ways.

Moving on to the films other weaknesses, I found myself being continually reminded of the 90's show Xena: Warrior Princess. The clothing had a real halloween costume vibe and seemed kind of over the top and the village where the film takes place had the feel of a stage set for a corny play. The characters clothing also seemed very weather inappropriate - it was often snowing, yet everyone was skipping about in thin cotton shirts and short sleeves. All of this would have made the film campy and fun, had there been some campy sex thrown in, but since there isn't, you are left asking yourself  "If there are no hot guys or pounding sex why am I watching this piece of crap?" Smallville has more beefcake than this movie.

The strangest part of the film takes place when the townspeople are celebrating with an outdoor village dance - there are people in pig masks, rolling around and banging on pots and pans and drinking and vomiting. Suddenly, Valerie spots Peter dancing all nasty with the village skank. Not to be outdone, she drags one of her homely girlfriends up and starts grinding all up on her and then this modernish dance music starts up, and they start busting out moves that seem like they are coming right out of a Britney Spears or Miley Cirus Video. It's a Gaelic dance off!

However, the most disturbing aspect of Red Riding Hood, is that there are some big name actors in it. Virginia Madsen (Sideways) plays Valerie's mother, Gary Oldman is the witch-hunter, and the grandmother is played by Julie Christie. I don't know why or how the creators of this film managed to get so many names, but I am guessing they convinced everyone that it was going to be the next Twilight.

And then there's the wolf....

I don't know what to say about the wolf, really. The wolf in this movie just seems cheesy, as does all the special effects. How cheesy? you ask. Think Taylor Lautner's wig in the first Twilight movie cheesy - yes, its that bad! I will leave it at that.

There isn't really much to like about this movie. I came to the theatre with low expectations - I was hoping to see a solid B movie with some glimpses of skin, a little cleavage and chiseled abs peppered here and there between steamy makeout scenes and unbridled passion. I really wanted to like this movie.
I want to emphasize that all of the films flaws would have been generously overlooked (perhaps even enjoyed on some level) had there been some campy sizzle between the actors - just something hotter than the limpdick romance scenes I was subjected to tonight. This movie made the Twilight movies look like Oscar contenders.

Skip it!

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