Palo Alto


Action / Drama


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October 22, 2014 at 06:20 AM



Emma Roberts as April
James Franco as Mr. B
Val Kilmer as Stewart
Talia Shire as Mrs. Ganem
720p 1080p
760.01 MB
23.976 fps
1hr 40 min
P/S 1 / 7
1.45 GB
23.976 fps
1hr 40 min
P/S 3 / 35

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by Paul Allaer 7 / 10

Another coming-of-age story: not bad but fails to stand out

"Palo Alto" (2013 release; 98 min.) brings the story of a group of high school kids. As to movie opens, we see best buddies Fred (played by Nat Wolff) and Teddy (played by Jack Kilmer, yes son of Val--who also appears in the movie) sitting in the car in an empty parking lot. Fred eventually rams the car into a wall from short distance, freaking Teddy out. We also get to know April (played by Emma Roberts, yes Julie is her aunt), who is on the girls soccer team, coached by Mr. B. (played by James Franco). Soon a theme emerges: what most high school kids care about is to party, get wasted and smoke pot, and that's about it After one of those parties, Teddy, driving under the influence, hits another car. He barely avoids juve and must do 150 hrs. of community service in the local library. At this point we're a good 20 min. into the movie and to tell you more would spoil your viewing experience, you'll just have to see for yourself how it all plays out.

Couple of comments: first, this is the big screen directing debut of Gia Coppola, yes THAT Coppola. Francis Ford is her grandfather and Sofia is her aunt. Gia was a mere 25 years old when this movie was shot. You can't help but wonder at the parallel between this and "The Virgin Suicides", Sofia's debut (when she was herself only 26 or 27). Second, the movie is based on James Franco's book "Palo Alto Stories" of a few years ago. I have not read that collection of short stories, so I can't comment how close the movie has stuck (or not) to the original stories. Third, Jack Kilmer absolutely steals the movie with his performance of the vulnerable Teddy. We surely have not seen the last of him. And Emma Roberts of course confirms all the good things that we have seen of her before, although hopefully she won't be playing a 16 yr. old high school kid much longer (she's now 23). "Palo Alto" contains so many "big" and "promising" names, yet in the end fails to truly set itself apart from other "coming-of-age" movies. It's certainly not a 'bad' movie, but in the end it feels like the sums of the parts don't make up the whole.

I saw "Palo Alto" this weekend at the Lincoln Center Film Society in New York, and the matinée screening where I saw this at was strongly attended, somewhat to my surprise. Despite its flaws, "Palo Alto" is still worth checking out, be it in the theaters or eventually on DVD/Blu-ray.

Reviewed by diana-y-paul 4 / 10

"Palo Alto"--Typically "Shallow Alto"?

I really, really wanted to like this movie, filmed on the street where we lived for almost twenty years. I gave it every hall pass I could, especially since I think James Franco is a gifted actor, writer and artist. Still, this is not a movie worth seeing.

The narrative focuses on shy, bored April (Emma Roberts), who comes from a family in which her stepfather (Val Kilmer), appears to be a stoner although there is no backstory whatsoever on her connection to her stepfather nor her feelings towards him. She gets involved in a sexual relationship with her soccer coach Mr. B (a smarmy and predatory character played by James Franco) when she babysits for his son. Her classmate Teddy (Jack Kilmer, in a charming performance) has a strong attraction to April but has no ability to express his feelings for her and struggles to get her attention, but mostly fails miserably.

The city of Palo Alto is presented as one high school party of drugs, sex, and alcohol after another. But the story goes nowhere. No inciting incident to pull the viewer in. Just one party after another, and one teenage tantrum after another. "Palo Alto" bounces from character to character, in a "coming of age" story that is an epic failure.

What doesn't fit is the friendship between Teddy and his seriously disturbed friend, Fred, someone he hangs out with just because he needs a friend and Fred is just there. So far, believable and sympathetic to a point: two teenagers hanging out together because they have few other options.

High school is often painful and disappointing. So is this movie. Without Coppola and Franco, I wonder if this film would have been financed, let alone filmed!

["Palo Alto" is currently in theaters under limited distribution. Another, lesser known film with the same title was produced in 2007.]

Reviewed by Irina Castillo Alvarez 4 / 10

Neither original nor well made

The movie is extremely superficial, showing nothing but High School Stereotypes. The cute virgin, the slut, the mean depressed stoner-boy with his good-at-heart best friend. The teacher who creeps up on the hot girls in his class. There are absolutely no surprises, at the end, the out-of-control kid risks his life, the teacher finds another young girl to hit on, the nice girl and the nice boy get closer. Here and there the film tries to dig a little deeper into the characters but it always comes off extremely pretentious and not genuine.

There are good parts though: James Franco acts well, as always, Emma Roberts looks great, and the soundtrack is good.

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