Michael Cera has established himself as the sensitive, self-effacing symbol of geek chic, whose trademark monotone seems at once unassuming and laden with irony. In Miguel Arteta’s Youth in Revolt, he cuts loose. Nobody will confuse Francois, his chain-smoking, mustachioed wild-man, with the sort of characters played by Jack Black, a master at embodying the untamed id. But it’s a refreshing change of pace.
Cera plays two roles here: Nick, a shy, retiring teen, and Francois, his rascal of an alter ego. Nick is polite, virginal and far too timid to land the girl of his dreams. That would be the lovely Sheeni (Portia Doubleday), who has a boyfriend but seems open to collecting another.
Ah, those gypsies and their mystical curses. What will they think of next?
Nothing good, I suspect. Ancient curses and supernatural spells have long given filmmakers license to indulge their most exotic fantasies, inspiring scenarios so deliriously macabre they seem more surreal than shocking. And perhaps no American director has proved more adept at playing on our fascination with the occult than Sam Raimi.
No, it’s not quite the return of John Carpenter that longtime fans have been anxiously awaiting since the 61-year-old director’s last film, 2001’s underrated Ghosts of Mars. But that’s no reason to scoff at the news that Ronald Moore, the creative force behind the Sci-Fi Channel’s much-heralded Battlestar Galactica relaunch, is planning a prequel to Carpenter’s 1982 classic The Thing.