Back by popular demand....DEMAND, I SAY! No fewer than three fans of TAI have accosted me of late, urging me to spend some quality weeknight time freshening the face of this poor neglected blog....wow, is there nothing duller than reading a blog post belaboring how long-overdue it is?

Probably, and that would be my All-Twilight Edition of TicketStub! You thought you could escape this tweeny tsunami, but oh no, you cannot:

One part Dracula, one part True Love Waits PSA, with a big dollop of teen pheromone power, this adaptation hits the target audience sweetspot. The Twilight novels are monstrously addictive, but overwritten and lazily edited, like a bad junior high literary magazine. My expectations for the film version were somewhere between "pilot episode of a quickly-canceled CW soap" and "won't even watch it on a plane." The studio's brand new, the cast is anonymous, and the shoot was infamously grueling. What's more, I attended an opening-night screening packed with teen girls....alongside myself and my fellow thirtysomething ladies, of course. All signs point to "Mess." But amazingly enough, it was better than OK -- it was quite good! Now, I say that as a full-on Edward Cullen obsessive, one of thousands of adult English major types who've spent hours in shameless thrall to a teen beach book. I won't apologize for falling hard for Stephenie Meyer's modern-meets-immortal Mr. Darcy, but I expected the movie to be less Austenish and more Lost Boys-ish. Director Catherine Hardwicke is apparently a miracle worker, creating a serviceable silk purse from a literary sow's ear. She zeroes in on the teen lovers, literally zooming in too close on their faces, capturing the strange purity of youthful desire that only blooms when you have nothing else to do but be in love all day...or for all eternity, in Edward's case. This preposterous tale of a klutzy wallflower winning the stone dead heart of a foxy vampire prince could have been turned into hash, Garry Marshall style, so easily. Instead, we're treated to a thoughtful, realistic view of teenage emotion, shot through with fantasy. The dialogue sounds real, the rain looks real, and boy do the kisses seem real -- for an allegory about abstinence, the first smooch set the audience aflame remarkably well! Sure, it's pop, but it pops. The whole thing is nicely underplayed by (almost) everyone involved, so it rises from CW throwaway to great X Files-episode levels. Points off for some crap editing moments, weak fx (methinks due to budget constraints, hopefully removed by the boffo box office), and grating emo soundtrack choices...but bring on the sequel! (B)