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|Index||27 reviews in total|
Like many films starring teens or pitched to a teen audience, Cherry
Crush falls short on intrigue and plays long on wrought dialog and
narration. What Cherry Crush has that say, Cruel Intentions, doesn't
have is a languid and saturated visual feel that distracts from the
film's occasionally empty writing. The film has a similar feel to The
Virgin Suicides, which also focuses its artistic energies on creating
rich landscapes and detailed portraits of its characters (rather than
character development). Director Nick DiBella's choice to prioritize
style is a good one given his strength with the camera. It's no wonder
that the protagonist in his co-writing debut is a photographer.
Because of its sophisticated cinematography and laudable go at film noir in color, Cherry Crush deserves to be offered to an art house audience. The story of a rich kid bewitched by a mysterious pauper isn't a terribly sympathetic, but putting the failures of the plot concept aside, DiBella captures his subject well.
This movie is beautiful to look at. Rochester has been transformed into
a real live movie venue but that's where the professionalism ends. The
story line and characters are under developed and poorly written.
Despite the voice over you never learn what dastardly deed the lead
character did to turn him into a bad boy and get expelled from private
school. The photos he shoots of his love interest are slick,
professional and commercially beautiful but don't reveal anything more
than a glam shot from a slick magazine does. I kept wanting to see some
gritty, 18 year old's idea of honesty, something cutting-edge, and I
never got it. I never believe that his family is pressuring him into a
life he doesn't want and the women around him look an awful lot like
they're from Greece, NY not some fantasy Film Noir landscape.
The entire film noir aspect of the film is only defined by the great music track. The script and visuals are in constant conflict with the premise of the murder mystery. The writing never gives the viewer enough details to provide a great ahh-ha moment at the films end.
The amused audience seemed more interested in catching their own faces and spotting Java Joe's product placement than on the quality of the story. The film looks great but just doesn't deliver.
Not bad at all, but not quite as good as I was expecting from the
comments here. Jonathan Tucker does his best Toby Maguire in this story
about a privileged young photographer who gets mixed up with a girl
from the wrong side of the tracks.
As I watched this movie I tried to figure out what separates it from The Crush with Alicia Silverstone or Devil in the Flesh with Rose McGowan. While not directly analogous, those movies have the same type of noir lite feeling to them. But the difference is, aside from the fact that this movie really strives for believability and has decent writing, that those movies had lead actresses that really crackled on screen. I mean, you knew you were going to be seeing more of Alicia Silverstone after The Crush, or at least you should be.
Not so with Nikki Reed. She does a nice enough job and there's a restrained quality to her performance--to this whole movie really--that works well. (Too often this type of movie veers toward gushy melodrama and Cherry Crush manages to rein that in.) But again, Ms. Reed is not a show stopper. In fact, I found myself more interested in Julie Gonzalo on screen, even though she's got the boring, goody two shoes role.
What's worse is that there's no real chemistry between Reed and Tucker.
With that said, this movie has some nice touches. The high school seems especially real. The idea of being privileged is handled with respect, not given a superficial treatment. The second half of the movie becomes more involving than you expect and the ending is believable.
Overall, I liked it. But I wouldn't be surprised if I see it in the video store soon. It's better than some USA movie, but it's not quite ready for movie theaters either.
Although CHERRY CRUSH involves murder and cops, it is not a crime thriller or murder mystery. Instead, it is a character study of an affluent teenager who aspires to a career in photography until he falls for one of his subjects, a fellow student from the wrong side of the tracks looking for the big score. In order to make the big score, she needs to bump off her current lover, a married adult who should know better. She involves the photographer in her scheme and before you know it, we're looking at a teen-oriented reworking of DOUBLE INDEMNITY, or for you younger readers, BODY HEAT. No suspense, unfortunately. And the gal with murder and larceny in mind is played by a nonactor named Nikki Reed. In fact, the girl next door in this movie, played by Julie Gonzalo, was far more intriguing. The young photographer is played by Jonathan Tucker, who gives a passable performance. A couple of the adult actors were instantly recognizable: Frank Whaley is the philandering adult with lots of money, and Michael O'Keefe is a corrupt detective with money and murder on his mind. The art crowd might enjoy this; it clearly was not intended for cineplexes.
I liked the story and would recommend it to almost anyone. It's not a romantic comedy, but there is some dark comedy and some suspenseful romance. The movie is a suspense overall and has some unique plot twists. It was great to see this movie in the theater. It definitely enhanced the scenery and suspense. The characters were edgy. The movie left me with an eerie feeling. It was impossible to know whether the two main characters, Jordan and Shay, would pull out of their destructive situation or dig themselves in deeper. The characters are in high school, but put themselves in circumstances that would lead you to believe they are older. This isn't that far fetched given the background of the two. Jordan is a rich kid, who's been kicked out of his previous high school photographing his coeds naked and he has a controlling, demanding father that just wants to groom him for success and power. Shay lives with her sister who is rarely home and is apparently a junkie. The two are intelligent and scheming; with Shay being more of the later, but it is Shays stunning looks and aloof demeanor that attract Jordan.
Nikki Reed (American Gun, Thirteen, "The O.C."), Jonathan Tucker (In
the Valley of Elah, Love Comes to the Executioner, "The Black
Donnellys"), and Julie Gonzalo ("Veronica Mars") come together in this
indy film that has some interesting twists and fascinating characters.
There is nothing you haven't seen before in a film reminiscent of classic noirs of the 40s. People aren't who they seem to be, lying and distrust abound, and the final twist is predictable, but getting there was fun as we follow Jordan (Tucker), a rich kid, and Shay (Reed), as they do their dance, with D (Gonzalo) as the ignored friend who is called upon only when needed, and who comes through as a true friend in the end.
Not DiBella's first film, but certainly the first to get any notice. Looking for more in the future.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Here's the deal: the movie starts with a high school student and hobby
photographer (Jonathan Tucker) coming from a wealthy home getting
busted for putting up nude girl pictures on the web. Thanks to his
father's contacts, the only consequences are him having to change
school and getting involved in some charity work. At the new school
though he meets some girl (Nikki Reed) who is supposed to be
mysterious. The mystery in the first instance is that she's involved
with an adult (Frank Whaley), allegedly because he promised her a
scholarship. She wants Tucker to make photos from meetings with Whaley
though, which somehow suggests there might be a blackmailing scheme
involved either, and as it turns out we there unfortunately already
reached the bottom of her mysteriousness. It's at one of these
occasions that something not exactly legal is taking place. We're forty
minutes into the film now until something happens.
From this point on, Tucker and Reed avoid meetings to not arouse suspicions, and we are invited to again see him struggle complying with his charity duties. Then, after about another thirty minutes again something happens. More precisely, a detective (Michael O'Keefe) with knowledge about recent events approaches Tucker to blackmail him, and it's now that Tucker finally understands that it was all about money. He has some difficulties contacting Reed again, but finally succeeds and a kind of final showdown follows, after which the money - 1 million dollars - stays with either the detective, Turner or Reed.
Boring read? Sorry guys, but I can only be as involving as the story is, and in this case it's not more involving than any Veronica Mars episode stretched to ninety minutes. The cast and performances are disappointing either. Tucker's character exhibits close to none personality and is utterly meaningless, and Reed's performance way too shallow to project the mysteriousness expected from her. Both failures are likely due to poor direction either. What personally annoyed me the most though is Tucker also giving the narrator, the story being told from his perspective, so that an almost constant and totally uninspired voice-over ruined those few moments in which I might have settled for simply enjoying some imagery. I finally just ignored it, which gave me some relief.
Final verdict: best be avoided wherever possible. Four stars for the camera though and the Audi Tucker's driving around.
Here's a different movie. Two murders in an understated plot without the obligatory gore and more. Hmmm....a bit of Hitchcock, but without Grant or Stewart, it relies heavily on cinematography and editing. Good idea. Cherry Crush was terrific and surprising in a number of areas. Beautifully filmed from the photo stills at the beginning to the closing shot. Of course, it didn't hurt to shoot scenes of attractive people in attractive settings. Might have been a 'ten' except..... (I can't believe we're going here).... the lead actor's neck became longer and larger as the movie progresses. OK, shallow shallow me, but you go see the movie and tell me just how distracting the neck is. If you can ignore the neck, you'll find this movie head and shoulders above the usual fare.
I liked Cherry Crush very much. Wonderful writing, with a cast filled with known and up and coming stars. Nikki Reed(Shay) from the O.C. and Jonathan Tucker(Jordan) from The Black Donnely's give memorable performances within dialogue that makes you think as well as entertains. Michael O'Keefe(Detective Griffin) was the perfect choice. He calmly delivers piercing lines and commentary making you feel uncomfortable like a good detective should. Cherry Crush grabs your attention right from the opening credits and never lets go. I also love where the movie title comes from. Nice touch! Cherry Crush is a job well done for a film company new to the scene.
Teen-orientated neo-noir Cherry Crush comes complete with most of the
expected genre ingredients (ie., clichés): a twisty-turny narrative
involving murder and blackmail, an unsuspecting chump targeted by a
manipulative femme fatale, a corrupt attorney with huge stash of cash
for the taking, and a crooked police detective out to line his own
pockets. But despite having all these essentials in place, the film is
only a partial success thanks to director Nicholas DiBella's rather
mundane execution, the irritatingly erudite voice-over by Jordan, and
the fact that not one of the characters is in the least bit
Clearly no-one is meant to feel anything for the film's less savoury types, who all fully deserve what they get, but I'm guessing we're at least expected to sympathise with Jordan for the terrible plight he finds himself in; however, unless you too are a highly educated, extremely wealthy Ivy League type with the world at your feet and a long line of sexy girls willing to strip off at your command, it is highly unlikely that you will identify in any way with this spoilt rich kid, a greedy know-it-all who is content to throw his life away for a spot of slap 'n'tickle with an obvious slut, even though his existing girlfriend is just as scorching (DA's daughter Desiree Thomas, played by Denise Richards lookalike Julie Gonzalo).
With his untold wealth, influential family connections, and obvious irresistibility to women, I was kinda hoping this prize idiot would end up in jail being spooned by Big Bubba, just desserts for being such an unappreciative bone-head! Sadly, he doesn'the winds up seemingly content to trade his world of privilege for a million dollars and a life on the run from the law. The bone-head!
5.5 out of 10, rounded up to 6 for IMDb.
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