Movie Review: Detention

Detention

Title:  Detention
Rated:  R
Genres:  Comedy, Horror, Sci-fi
Director:  Joseph Kahn
Writers:  Joseph Kahn, Mark Palermo
Stars:  Josh Hutcherson, Shanley Caswell, Spencer Locke, Dane Cook
Rating:  4 Stars

Synopsis from Redbox:

17-year-old Riley Jones must survive her final year of high school. The problem is that she has been sentenced to detention on the night of her prom, her friends are apparently being murdered by the fictional villain of a horror film series, and worst of all, the boy with whom she’s in love is infatuated with her biggest rival. It becomes a race against time to save the world as she knows it.

My Thoughts:

Based on this description, I was expecting a B-horror movie. Detention turned out to be so much better than that expectation.

Detention is a meta-tribute to teen comedy and horror films, as well as the 90s. There are clear references to The Breakfast Club, Scream, The Fly, Freaky Friday and so many more. I love when films (or any media) lovingly, and jokingly, reference other things. It gives the film another layer, and a game I can play during a second (or third, or fourth) viewing.

Detention texting

Not only does Detention make tribute to previous films, it also captures the quick, ADHD nature of today’s youth. Characters spew rapid-fire references and quips as the story careens at texting speeds. While I enjoyed this for the most part, sometimes things moved a little too fast to catch everything.

Overall I found Detention to be hilarious and not scary at all. I will definitely be purchasing this film and watching it several more times. However, I find it difficult to recommend to a general audience. Detention is destined to become a cult film. I know many people will tire of the references. Others will despise the overall attitude and ridiculousness. And some people are looking for another Josh Hutcherson movie—which is much different from his previous work. If you enjoy comedy-horror benders, or cult films, I give a tentative recommendation.

What were your thoughts on Detention? What do you think of cross-genre films? Let me know in the comments below.

Event: Maggie Stiefvater Signing

Even though I haven’t read any of Maggie Stiefvater’s books (yet), I would definitely see her in person again. Here’s why:

Maggie Stiefvater telling stories

A slightly blurry photo of Stiefvater in animated storyteller mode

The first part of her signing at Red Balloon Bookshop was like a one woman show. Stiefvater began with stories, not surprising for someone who writes for a living. But her stories didn’t come from behind a table or droned out because it’s the nth time repeated. She was animated. Using the entire space, Stiefvater played the roles of herself, her agent, her sister, a flight attendant, and others as they appeared throughout the stories. I was chuckling along with the other audience members as ‘killer goats’ and other completely logical yet ridiculous things surfaced.

After she told her stories and answered audience questions, there was a raffle for a Stiefvater original colored pencil drawing that was featured in the book trailer for The Raven Boys. As someone who only recognized Stiefvater’s name and a couple of book titles, it was neat to find out that she was also an accomplished artist (as well as bagpipe player). It was even better to find out that her drawing was the prize of the raffle and not the typical ‘this is a copy of what I’m currently promoting.’ And can you guess who won?

Stiefvater colored pencil drawing

My pretty raffle swag

Stiefvater kept her humor throughout the signing as well. She chatted and took pictures with her fans. She was unperturbed by the few of us who hadn’t read her books yet, chatting with us as much as her diehard fans. Seeing her in person and interacting with her has made me excited to read The Raven Boys and Lament.

Maggie Stiefvater

Photo by Robert Severi

If you have the opportunity to attend a Maggie Stiefvater signing, do it. Even if you haven’t read her books, she’s highly entertaining. This was a great way to spend an evening.

Find Maggie Stiefvater online: 
Website
| Blog | Twitter | Facebook

 

 

Have you been to a signing? What was your experience? Tell me in the comments below!

Book Review: The Melancholy Death of Oyster Boy & Other Stories by Tim Burton

The Melancholy Death of Oyster Boy & Other Stories

Title:  The Melancholy Death of Oyster Boy & Other Stories

Author:  Tim Burton

Rating:  4 Stars

Genre:  Illustrated poetry

Synopsis:
From Amazon:

From breathtaking stop-action animation to bittersweet modern fairy tales, filmmaker Tim Burton has become known for his unique visual brilliance — witty and macabre at once. Now he gives birth to a cast of gruesomely sympathetic children — misunderstood outcasts who struggle to find love and belonging in their cruel, cruel worlds. His lovingly lurid illustrations evoke both the sweetness and the tragedy of these dark yet simple beings — hopeful, hapless heroes who appeal to the ugly outsider in all of us, and let us laugh at a world we have long left behind (mostly anyway).

My Thoughts:  I love Tim Burton’s distinctive style. And this has been the case for . . . always. I grew up with The Nightmare Before Christmas and Edward Scissorhands. He was definitely one of my introductions to the odd. The Melancholy Death of Oyster Boy & Other Stories (MDOB+) sits squarely in the odd and stylized world of his creation. One look at an illustration and you know it’s by Tim Burton. There are very few modern artists I can pick out that easily.

The illustrated stories (Or poems? They’re kind of both.) are very reminiscent of The Nightmare Before Christmas–not in content, but in the simplistic rhyming and unique turn of phrase. The cast of children in MDOB+ often suffer because of a small twist. For example, Staring Girl needs to rest her eyes. That’s not done by napping, but by them jumping out of her skull and lounging by a pool. In these instances I kept returning to the “Town Meeting Song,” where sleigh becomes slay, and Santa Claus becomes Sandy Claws, a “big red lobster man. “ These ‘misunderstandings’ are fun and interesting, especially since they seem like such logical mistakes. It makes me wonder what similar misunderstandings I made as a child not yet fully versed in the language.

Character Toys

Tragic characters in all their plastic glory

The images are what make this book so great. Without them, the poems lose a lot of their charm. If the poems were as wonderful as the drawings, MDOB+ could have easily captured all 5 stars in a review. But with some feeling too short, or a little incomplete, I must give it 4 stars.

Tim Burton

Photograph: Patrick Rideaux/Rex Features

 

Find Tim Burton online:
Website | IMDB

 

 

 

Do you like Tim Burton’s visual perspective? What’s your favorite Tim Burton work? Let me know in the comments below!