Whip It (2009)
I can’t recall where I first read it, but this synopsis is perhaps the most concise summary of Whip It: Imagine if Juno never got knocked up and you’ll have a good idea what Whip It is all about.
Ellen Page stars as Bliss Cavendar, a small-town girl who is generally unhappy with her life. She’s anything but popular at school, she doesn’t earn any tips at her diner job, and she’s at a loss with what she wants to do with her life. Her mother is trying to push her into beauty pageants, but Bliss isn’t at all enthusiastic about those endeavors. One day when she goes into the city to buy some boots, however, she sees a flyer for a roller derby league and she gets intrigued.
She eventually sneaks out, watches a match, and tries out for one of the local teams. Bliss manages to “find herself” and she finally manages to find happiness in her life, but the poor girl has to keep it a secret from her family. You can probably guess what happens next. Whip It is pretty predictable and it’s not nearly as captivating as Juno, but it’s still reasonably entertaining and worth an hour-and-a-half of your time.
Blood: The Last Vampire (2009)
What happens when you cross Blade, Matrix, Buffy, ninjas, and Men In Black? Tossing in a guy that looks a little too much like Elvis Costello for good measure? As strange as it may sound, that’s pretty much the impression I got from Blood: The Last Vampire within the first 15 minutes or so.
Taking place in post-World War II on an American army base in Japan (confused yet?), this movie follows the undercover adventures of Saya. She’s the last true vampire and she hunts the demons who are hiding all around us. She also seeks to extract revenge on the person who killed her father. Yes, some guys may be able to get their “Japanese schoolgirl” fix and blood junkies might enjoy the fight scenes, but the strange mashup of themes ruins this film.
It’s almost as if they were trying to stretch a small budget into something that they could not. The visual effects leave much to be desired, especially the more gory moments when it’s clear they lack the polish of better vampire movies. From what I understand, you’re much better off watching the anime movie of the same name instead.