Stuff for the Teen Age
Introducing Alex Pettyfer
So who do you think will be the big star of summer? Rob? Taylor? Jake? Angelina? All these actors have hot new films coming out but I think the breakout star will be the relatively unknown Alex Pettyfer.
He was recently named 2010 Male Star of Tomorrow at ShoWest (a convention and awards put on by movie theater owners), so obviously I am not alone in my assertion. At the age of 20, he has been acting off and on since he was 10. "Beastly", coming out this summer, will be his first film in awhile to have a major U.S. release. With that in mind, I decided to rewatch his films that are in the library collections. First off, yes, he is attractive (check out this Google image search of him, dang! ) but it's also obvious that he has talent and screen presence. His movies are ones that the whole family can enjoy with a big bowl of popcorn and I for one can't wait to see what he does next!
Wild Child (2009)
Starring Emma Roberts, Aiden Quinn, Natasha Richardson and Alex Pettyfer
This came out on DVD in the States in 2009. It probably would have debuted in theaters had Emma Roberts had a bigger fan base but instead it went straight to dvd and got lost. Here's the premise: rich, spoiled, California girl Poppy throws a wild party at her Malibu mansion and her beleagured father (Aiden Quinn) yells, "This is the last straw, Poppy!" and packs her off to a British boarding school run by Mrs. Kingsley (Natasha Richardson). There is a huge, rough adjustment period because, like, you know, it's hard not wearing designer clothes or talking on a cell phone 18 hours a day, "Is this Hogwarts?", she sneers upon arrival. Eventually though she makes friends and enemies, learns field hockey and catches the eye of the headmistress's very cute son Freddie played by, you guessed it, Alex Pettyfer.
I was charmed by this film. It's funny, well acted and pure, uncomplicated entertainment. As I watched it, I kept thinking, " Why isn't this getting more play? I know so many people who would totally dig this." Simply put, Emma Roberts ( Julia Roberts's niece and Alex's ex-girlfriend) plays Poppy with plenty of nuance and charisma and Natasha Richardson, in her last role, does a great job with her tough but caring headmistress role. As for Alex, there is a very good chance that watching this film will cause people to plot their own escapes to a British boarding school to find a Freddie of their own and good luck to them! I am one of those people that believe that if you are very good the Universe will reward you with a cute, British guy with great hair, style and a swoony accent....but I digress.
Starring Alex Pettyfer, Alicia Siverstone, Ewan McGregor, Mickey Rourke, Sarah Bolger and Bill Nighy
Based on the bestselling Alex Rider series of books by author Anthony Hororwitz, there were high hopes for this film to spawn many sequels. After all it had big name actors and Horowitz, who wrote the script, is an award winning screenwriter as well as an author. However, for whatever reason, this film of a teenaged James Bond fell flat at the box office and the action flick went quickly to DVD and cable.
"Stormbreaker" is the name of the first Alex Rider book. In this film version, Alex (Alex Pettyfer) a normal 14 year old boy living in London, is once again an orphan when his workaholic Uncle (Ewan McGregor) dies in a car accident. At the funeral, Alex learns several things: that his Uncle is no boring banker but a spy for the British spy agency MI6, the people that killed his Uncle are now after him and all those extreme trips he took with his Uncle weren't just for fun they were to train Alex to become a spy himself. MI6 soon sends Alex on a mission to stop the evil computer mogul Darrius Sayle (Mickey Rourke) from unleashing a deadly invention upon the world. Along the way, he gets help from his housekeeper Jack Starbright (Alicia Silverstone) and a school friend, Sabina Pleasure (Sarah Bolger).
This is fun, light-hearted,action fare that is much better than the other teen/tween spy movies out there. Alex Pettyfer brings a sense of urgency to his performance and he more than holds his own against more seasoned actors who are, btw, charming in their own right. I especially like Mickey Rourke as a Goldfinger-esque baddie along with his female toadie played with gusto by Missi Pyle. This is certainly a popcorn flick with plenty of action cliches but it turns out to be fun for all ages, male and female. Don't be surprised if you find yourself loudly rooting on Alex as he takes down the bad guys, saves the world and stands up to snooty authority figures.
Beastly (coming to a theater near you July 30, 2010)
Starring Alex Pettyfer, Vanessa Hudgens, Mary-Kate Olsen and Neil Patrick Harris
Based on the book "Beastly" by Alex Flinn, this film is a modern day Beauty and the Beast tale. Its the story of arrogant, vain, Manhattan society "It Boy" Kyle Kingston (Alex Pettyfer) who makes the mistake of blowing off goth girl/witch Kendra (Mary-Kate Olsen) who promptly puts a curse on him, "As aggressively unattractive on the outside as you are inside." Transformed into a hideous monster, he is thrown out of his Park Avenue apartment and forced to live in Brooklyn with a housekeeper and his blind tutor Will (Neil Patrick Harris) for company. To be released from this curse he must find true love within one year or remain a beast forever. Thus enters the beautiful, arty, bohemian girl Lindy (Vanessa Hudgens), a girl who could love a beast.
I remember enjoying the book and so I am hopeful this will if as fun to watch as his other movies. It is getting good buzz. However, whatever the reviews you know where I'll be the weekend it is released.
Other films that he has been in that the library doesn't own, include:
- Tom Brown's School Days - This film adaption of the British classic about a young boy attending a brutal boarding school in Victorian era England was Alex's film debut.
- Tormented - A British made horror film about a 16 year old boy who comes back from the dead to take revenge on his tormentors. It has yet to be released on dvd in the States.
So it remains to be seen if he will conquer movie screens. You check back later this summer to see if I'm right or you can watch and make up your own mind.
Also, check out these fan websites: