THE RUNAWAYS ****
Floria Sigismondi’s rock-n-roll bandopic of brief but sensational mid-1970s teen band The Runaways, most famous for launching rocking guitarist Joan Jett onto the stage, is as admirable for its grit and dirt as for its adrenalin, exceptional scenic and costume design and the tremendously exciting and authentic feeling performances from Kristen Stewart as Jett and Dakota Fanning as Cherie Currie, The Runaways’ lead singer. Also adding to the thrills is the versatile and creepy Michael Shannon playing svengali-maestro-manager Kim Fowley, the sometimes tender, sometimes abusive genius who created the band, crafted their image and, with Jett, co-wrote their songs. Shannon’s portrayal is totally loopy, but you get the sense that so was Fowley. Revelling in the sheer rush of true (relative!) overnight success as well as the prime flush of radiant, talented, beautiful youth, The Runaways is a sterling and thoroughly entertaining addition to the rock ‘n roll film genre.