Three typical high-school students, including Josh Hutcherson (The Hunger Games, Mysterious Island 2), live out the real-life horror of a fictionalized movie, Cinderhella, as they narrowly escape the ghastly blow of a masked madman’s ax while facing detention on the afternoon of prom. There is also a giant bear-shaped time-traveling spaceship and dozens of movie, TV, comics, and music references. Detention reminds us that popular culture is ubiquitous, especially in teen life, and that in some ways, while growing up, it is our most trusted mentor. It integrates the references skillfully, constructing the film’s plot in a surprisingly coherent way, while adding a 2010 tone and vernacular. The great thing about the movie is that instead of making fun of the lameness of high-school movies, it pays tribute to great films (Donnie Darko, Primer, Videodrome, Heathers, etc.) via gore and comedy, without being derivative. The pace is electric, and some action shots last mere seconds, catnip for an attention-deficit 21st century. The film is fun, witty, and entertaining, and it won SIFF’s youth jury award in 2011 for good reason. recommended

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