Something In The Air
A semi-autobiographical drama from director Olivier Assayas set in 1970s Paris
An undercover alien attempts to blend into a small-town high school. Can he defend the nerds from the jocks and fit in a bit of smooching with the local quirky chick whilst maintaining his secret ID?
Number Four, aka John (Alex Pettyfer) resembles a normal high school teen. That is to say, he resembles a normal American movie high school teen, and could therefore just as easily be mistaken for a twenty-something model ejected from a Tommy Hilfiger photoshoot after excessive smugging for the camera. This smugger is wanted for aggravated smuggery, and must be captured before more violent smuggings occur.
So anyway, "John Smith" (and don't think they're not about to have fun with that unlikely pseudonym) is an alien who can shoot lights from his hands and throw jock bullies over trees, although he's not really meant to indulge in too much of that kind of caper, because he's supposed to be hiding from some other, nastier aliens intent on doing what they do every night, Pinky: try to take over the world.
The nasty aliens mostly resemble self-important Marilyn Manson fans, which is a good thing, because if they were burdened with the least bit of charisma, they'd be a sight more likeable than the heroes. In order to achieve dominion over earth, the nasty aliens must (for some reason) pick off Numbers One through Nine, and having taken out One, Two and Three, they're coming for Four. It's basically the Count von Count from Sesame Street school of assassination.
Feeling a lot like a lengthy pilot for a Smallville/Dark Angel type TV show that might actually be quite fun in 40 minute instalments, this struggles on the big screen. Alex Pettyfer has evidently been wailing on his pecs since 2006's Stormbreaker, while Jake Abel is better than his role as the jock bully, but it's nowhere near as good as something like Buffy The Vampire Slayer, whose one-time show-runner Marti Noxon co-wrote the script for this disappointing would-be franchise. Taking too long to go nowhere surprising, conceits that will irritate the genre savvy include a shape-shifting pet beagle, a mysterious box cunningly fashioned from purest McGuffin and the absurdly sequential nature of the villainy.
Genre-mashing sci-fi/high school/horror hokum potentially of use to the Twilight crowd as a form of cinematic methadone while they wait for their next hit, but genre fans are advised to steer clear.
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Coming to cinemas, TV, DVD/Blu-ray, video-on-demand and Film4 Channel on July 5th is Ben Wheatley's latest, the Film4-backed A Field In England. And we're excited to unveil not only the new quad poste