Who's In It: Amanda Seyfried, Gary Oldman, Virginia Madsen, Billy Burke, Lukas Haas, Shiloh Fernandez, Max Irons
The Basics: You know the story, and will be nonplussed by the embellishments that are making it "hip" too. There's a cute girl torn between two dreamy suitors, an iron elephant-shaped torture device, and a frowny face on a big pole in the town square to indicate how dire the situation is. There are catty girls, illegitimate children, a half-assed neighborhood orgy, and a computer generated wolf that occasionally eats the townspeople.
What's The Deal: When I was a little girl, my mother would read me stories, breathing life into every character and creating a tangible world that I could live in for the time it took her to share the beginning, middle, and end of a tale. But despite her spectacular matriarchal performance, I was left asking many burning questions she couldn't answer. "But mom, where did the wolf come from? Why did he eat people in the first place? Do you think this whole grandma thing was an isolated incident? And was Red Riding Hood just begging for it?" Today, our simplest and most elegant tales are swollen into 90-plus minute long tripe that completely eradicates any kind of dignity or lesson from the content. And if you couldn't help but notice that this is Twilight with more wolves and less shirtlessness, you were right. It's even directed by the same woman, Catherine Hardwicke, whose other more interesting movies did not prepare me for the boredom induced by these vampires and wolves. This movie is just a lot of people staring at each other by the light of a fire.
The Fundamental Problem: The heart of the film is a question similar to those I had as a child: Who is the wolf? The only problem is, the movie is so boring and unoriginal that I didn't care--it wasn't killing enough people and when it showed up, it looked kind of like the cat on the Simpsons. There are tons of red herrings, misdirections, and scanning people's eyes for wolf similarity, and when you add it up, it's still a total zero.
Father Knows Best: Billy Burke is quickly becoming my favorite dad of all time--he is definitely one of the best actors in the Twilightseries, and in this movie he plays Amanda Seyfried's shifty pop Cesaire. Also catapulting him to the top of my list is his recent role in Drive Angry as a really charismatic cult leader. Nice work, Hollywood! Cast him in more stuff! He's often the most compelling person on screen.
To Cleanse Your Palate: If you ignore my warnings and go see the film anyway, you can erase it from your memory by watching some of the spectacular movies from the film's talented cast: Amanda Seyfried, the unofficial Queen of Side Boob 2010, made a great film called Chloe. Virginia Madsen was amazing in Electric Dreams, Sideways and Candyman. Gary Oldman is spectacular in anything--with some of my favorites being Immortal Beloved and True Romance. Or maybe just read Call of the Wild again.
Take That, Atkins: The only part of the movie that really stuck with me is the line "All sorrows are less with bread." That got an amen from me.