The Roommate *
Cert 15, 91 mins
There’s nothing like a gripping ‘psycho girl’s obsession with co-habitee turns to violence’ film to keep audiences on the edge of their seats.
Unfortunately this is nothing like one. A very poor copy of Single White Female, with added beautiful people but minus a decent plot or dialogue, it’s just a tedious waste of everyone’s time.
Sara (Minka Kelly) starts a fashion degree at a Los Angeles college and discovers Rebecca (Leighton Meester) is her roommate.
She seems nice enough, if a little frosty towards Sara’s friends. “I like Rebecca,” she declares coldly when Tracy (Alyson Michalka) tries to call her Becky.
Later, she attacks Tracy and warns her off, telling her she’s a ‘bad influence’ on Sara. Rebecca also sees off an ex-boyfriend and makes sure sleazy lecturer Billy Zane gets his comeuppance, although not in a particularly satisfactory way.
Even a cute kitten does not escape her jealousy. As soon as the stray appears – and they, pass the sick bag, call it Cuddles – we know it’s going to meet a nasty end.
That’s the main problem with The Roommate. Lacking any suspense or twists, it’s entirely predictable, with every step telegraphed in advance but none of the scenes played out with any conviction. It’s not even titillating or gory – there’s a half-hearted lesbian kiss and actually very little violence.
Just bland and pointless. RL
Howl * *
Cert 15, 84 mins
Directors Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman use a cumbersome combination of live action, archive footage and various styles of abstract animation to tell the story of how a poem called Howl by Allen Ginsberg was at the centre of an obscenity hearing.
The time is San Francisco, 1957 – three years before the 1960 Old Bailey trial involving Penguin Books and Lady Chatterley’s Lover.
That the use of strong language and a rather surreal representation of sexual activity should now merit only a 15 certificate is a sign of how the pen remains mightier than any sword.
Recently Oscar-nominated for Danny Boyle’s 127 Hours, James Franco takes the title role in a docu-drama which has ‘aren’t we a clever little art house production’ tattooed through every frame. GY