Saturday, May 14, 2011

Bay, Frey, Hughes and Caruso combine for a not-bad I AM NUMBER FOUR

Just a short post today, as I've spent the rest of my alloted time trying to trans-cribe a long interview, with those fabulous Topp Twins -- who proved just as sweet an interview as they are performers and movie subjects. I'll have that up tomor-row. Meanwhile, here's a heads-up not to necessarily by-pass a movie -- I AM NUMBER FOUR -- that got trounced by many critics yet is a perfectly pleasant time-waster with smart performances and very good special effects. No great shakes in any department, the film is perfectly-OK shakes in most of them. If the boring and slightly-above-imbecilic level Twilight franchise could make hundreds of millions of dollars, why not this story of an alien in the form of a hunky high-schooler?

So far, the film has earned nearly $150 million worldwide, with around $60 million of that coming from the USA. Not bad. (But not great, given its budget.) Although our cutie-pie, played with a nice sense of mystery and reticence by Alex Pettyfer (below, left), does not possess Twilight's popular fangs or claws, he does have some very unusual hands, a decent back-story and an alien mentor played by the also hunky and ever-reliable Timothy Olyphant. The distaff side is nicely limned by Teresa Palmer (above, in shades) and Dianna Agron (below, right.)

The story/screenplay is based on the best-selling novel credited to Pittacus Lore, but in actuality penned by a "duo" consisting of Jobie Hughes and everyone's favorite liar/writer James Frey -- which could very well account for some of the nastier-than-needed reviews. (That, and the fact that its producer is Michael Bay.) In any case, the film itself is full of incidents that interest, directed with energy by D.J. Caruso.with cinematography by the wondrous Guillermo Navarro. While I don't think there's much much talk of a sequel, I'd certainly watch one if it appeared.

Due on DVD and Blu-ray May 24, don't go out out of your way to avoid this one, particulary if you just want to watch something relatively mindless but pretty, energetic and fun.

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