Every year big movies, get their recognition. Les Miserables, Argo, Lincoln and Zero Dark Thirty are all for good reason going to receive quite a bit of attention as award season rolls around so here’s a list of of movies from the last year that probable won’t net any awards and were probably missed by most but that deserve to be seen.
So here, in no particular order (except number one), are the top movies that you may have missed from the passed year.
Your Sister’s Sister.
Your Sister’s Sister is a strange kind of movie. You don’t really expect all that much from it after all outside of its opening scene the screen is basically shared by just three actors and its budget wouldn’t be enough to buy my house. But quickly the sharp writing and endearing (although not necessarily spot on) acting will win over almost any audience by the time the film hits its third act.
Your Sister’s Sister a nice tale about a guy named Jack (Mark Duplass) who loves this women, Iris, (Emily Blunt) who just happened to be one of the many women that dated his now dead brother. Because of this death Jack finds himself in what could be described as a funk and Iris suggests he take up lodging in her family’s cabin.
After arriving Jack discovers Iris’s lesbian sister Hannah (Rosemarie DeWitt), and a night of drinking leads to a one night stand (despite Hannah’s normal tastes) which leads to a boiling point when Iris joins the two at the cabin. This is one that a lot of people missed and that needs o be rectified.
The Canadian hockey comedy penned by Seth Rogen’s writing parter Evan Goldberg and Canadian Film superstar Jay Baruchel was one of the funniest movies to come out over the last year. Sean William Scott play the lead as Doug Glatt a good hearted thug who finds his niche as an enforcer on what would be an AHL team if licensing weren’t an issue.
The laughs come hard in this one and with an NHL lock-out in full swing it was nice to be able to see some hockey, even if it did come out in the part of 2012 that hockey was still being payed in.
Liberal Arts focuses on a not so appropriate relationship between Jesse (Radnor) a 35-year-old guidance councillor returning to his alma matter and Zibby (Elizabeth Olson) a 19-year-old student at said school.
What starts off as a quasi-innocent pen pal relationship blossoms into a romance that has Jesse questioning the morality of his actions.
It’s a nice film, with fairly good performances, especially from the supporting cast. Perhaps best of all is Zack Effron, who plays a spaced-out flower child a performance that actually steals the show.
Okay, so a few more people probably saw this one than most of the films on the list, but I couldn’t resist including it. Basically this film is what would have happened if Guy Ritchie directed a Charlie Kaufman penned Expendables.
Colin Farrell is better in this than I have ever seen him and Sam Rockwell is his usual delightful self, stealing virtually every scene that he is in. Actually everyone is at their best in this action comedy that is sort of a spoof of the action comedy genre. The plot follows a screen-writer who (like all writers depicted in movies) can’t seem to shake a serious case of writer’s block. That is until he decides to pen a movie about seven psychopaths, with a plot that starts to strangely mirror his own life. It’s all very meta and very amusing.
Safety Not Guaranteed
Mark Duplass is well represented on this list. I’m not sure if he is a really good actor or if he just has excellent taste in roles. That being said, Safety Not Guaranteed is Aubrey Plaza’s movie. Plaza gets to break away from her usual nihilistic deadpan character that she has been type-casted with harder than Michael Cera.
Kenneth (Duplass), a seemingly crazy but well meaning grocery store clerk, puts out an add in a paper claiming that he is looking for someone to travel back in time with. Darius (Plaza) and intern at a Seattle based magazine is charged with leading a team to find out what this crazy guy’s story is.
The film is funny, and also sweet in a way that most are afraid to be out of a fear of being too earnest. This film doesn’t shy away from earnestness at all. Kenneth is the embodiment of that particular emotion and it is precisely because of that that this sort-of time travel comedy works so well.
End of Watch.
Michael Pena is awesome, always is, always will be. That is not to take anything away from Jake Gyllenhaal or Anna Kendrick who also shone in this David Ayer (The Fast and The Furious, Training Day) cop drama.
The film focuses on two hero cops in a particularly bad area of LA, who put life and limb on the line seemingly every shift, and although there is far too much action for the film to be believable, the emotion that these situation caused are.
There were a lot of strengths in this flick. Ayer’s writing is stronger than perhaps any of his other films, and the acting, as mentioned above is spot on. The only real flaw is the found footage angle that Ayer elected to use to tell the story. Still I was shocked at how well put together this one was when I walked out of the theatre.
Jeff, Who Lives at Home
Who doesn’t want to pay to see two actors that they can see for free on their TV? Well that may be harsh. Ed Helms and Jason Segel star in this Duplass Brothers production (half this brother-brother team has featured prominently on this list.)
The movie focuses on Jeff (Segel), a 30-something burn-out who lives in his mother’s basement, and his less-likeable brother Pat (Helms). Neither of their lives are going all that well and it doesn’t get much better for them, but that doesn’t make the day in their life that we get to witness any less enjoyable.
Plus Judy Greer is in it, which basically makes it required reading.
1. Seeking a Friend for the End of the World
It is very rare that a movie comes along that is both hilarious and deeply moving, it does happen though, and Seeking a Friend has both laughs and heart in spades.
Much like the title suggests the film opens with news that all our days are numbered. A giant meteor is headed for earth and Bruce Willis and Ben Affleck are on vacation or something so it’s just going to hit us and annihilate all life on earth.
The film’s first act is chaotic. The audience is left to experience the end of the world in the same way that the protagonist Dodge (played expertly by Steve Carrell) is let to experience it. Dodge is let in the world that is soon to end, without a sense of purpose he can find nothing to do with his few remaining weeks other than go about his daily work as an insurance salesman, which has become a useless job. Even the pleasures that normal people take in the world ending, promiscuity, gluttony, debauchery etc. That is until he meets Penny (Keira Knightley), a woman that rejects the notion that the world is going to end.
Together the Two embark on a journey, to get Dodge to his high-school sweet heart and Penny to her parents in the UK.
While the film is funny in it’s opening act it is not until it hits its halfway point that it truly takes off. As Dodge and Penny’s relationship progresses from travel mates to friends to… well what male and female friends progress to Dodge finds purpose and so to does the film, which builds to a conclusion that will knock you off your feet.
Seriously go watch it, like right now, go.