As the key players were introduced at the premiere screening of "The Runaways" on Wednesday night at the Sunshine Theater, my heart leapt up: wow! Look at that girl power: Joan Jett, Cherie Currie, the young actors who portray them onscreen Kristen Stewart and Dakota Fanning, and Floria Sigismondi, the writer/director, a young woman with her front lock teased high, a boyish pompadour over an evening gown. And then the movie had me by the throat: evoking the menace and creepy dark side of the 'seventies, the drugs and sex and lack of guidance for independent minded talented girls as it limned the rise and demise of the all-girl rock band, The Runaways.
Then the walk to the Bowery Hotel: The downtown streets were lined with rock fans holding dog-eared Joan Jett albums. Yikes! Is this the same Bowery as the now shuttered CBGB's? If the after party hosted by Tommy Hilfiger and Quintessentially, and DJ'd by The Misshapes, had not been so elegant, it would have been just like old times. A mix of rockers Debbie Harry and Bebe Buell, Kathleen Hanna of le Tigre, actors Chloe Sevigny, Martha Plimpton, Zach Braff, and Moby, Oren Moverman, Richie Rich, Stella Schnabel, Apparition's Bob and Jeanne Berney celebrated. Kirstie Alley, newly fat again with a reality show on A&E to celebrate that, sat on a banquette.
Agreeing that the '70's were scary, Joan Jett, an executive producer on this project, noted, they were also fun, and while she is having fun now, it's different, more controlled. Drummer Thommy Price who has worked with Jett on her band Blackhearts loved the movie and said, "I kind of wonder what might have been," had Cherie not burnt out. "Runaways" is based on her memoir.
For her debut feature film, Floria Sigismondi, a director of music videos for 15 years was sure that shooting in Detroit was a bad idea. Her attention to period detail is so exact, California was key, finding there, as is, she said, those seedy bathrooms and kitchens, places that usually are the first to be renovated surprisingly intact. Yes, Dakota Fanning was really singing "Cherry Bomb" with Kristen Stewart really playing electric guitar: "She is so natural; she really knows how to put her self there," Sigismondi lauded Stewart's work.
Remarkably a near Joan Jett look alike, Noomi Rapace stars in a Swedish movie based upon the best-selling first book of Steig Larsson's Milennium Trilogy, "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo." At a special screening at Scandinavia House, director Niels Arden Oplev, introduced his movie modestly, noting that it would be just your normal everyday family story of decades old deep dark secrets that come to the surface-eh, serial murders-Nazi affiliation-except for the character Lisbeth Salander played by Rapace, who joins a journalist in an investigation about the case of a missing niece long ago. The rogue Goth girl rises up as she's having sex; on her back the title dragon curls up, lifting the material and making it fascinate.