Flicks you may have missed

 

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-sister06-300x199

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.

Goon 

Goon-Ross-Rhea-Doug-Glatt-goon-29641536-1920-1280The 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

Hey look it’s Ted Mosby! Josh Radnor stars writes and directs his second feature film and this one is a step up from his already pretty good Happy Thankyou More Please. Josh Radnor as Jesse and Elizabeth Olsen as Zibby in ``Liberal Arts.''

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.

Seven Psychopaths

sevenpsycopathsOkay, 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. aubrey-plaza-mark-duplass-safety-not-guaranteed

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. 

End of Watch movieMichael 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.)

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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

Steve_Carell_and_Keira_Knightley_are_Seeking_a_Friend_at_the_End_of_the_World__apparently___

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.

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What To Expect, When seeing Battleship

A friend of mine recently won tickets to see What to Expect, When You’re Expecting. As some one who hasn’t seen Valentine’s Day or New Year’s Eve I honestly didn’t know what to expect, but my hopes weren’t high. That is why when me and said friend both noticed that the Avengers was starting 20 minutes after the movie we had won free tickets to see, a glimmer of hope ran through our minds.

Unfortunately for us, Avengers was only showing in 3D (another reason to hate the new medium) and neither of us had glasses. After a brief brainstorming session of figuring out how to get glasses (neither of us felt particularly bad about robbing the box office titan of two more admissions) we both decided that it was too much work and simply saw What To Expect.

This was a mistake. The movie didn’t have a lot going for it, at least not a lot to offer those with a Y chromosome, and I found myself unable to really take any enjoyment out of it.

That is except for the rare bright spot that was Mrs. Andy Roddick, even though she really only had two jokes repeated several times. I expected Anna Kendrick and Elizabeth Banks to be the comedic bright spots, with Chris Rock Thomas Lennon doing the heavy as on-screen dads. Sadly this was not the case, and a model-turned-actress ended up stealing the show.

What the two hours in the dark, trying not to get angry at the woman behind me who exclaimed awww every time a child was on screen, allowed me to defend another terrible movie that will be gracing the silver screens this summer: Battleship.

These two really are the same movie, just geared towards different audiences. Everything, right down to their ability to force a two hour narrative out of a board-game/self-help-book-title.

When the guy who played Flash Thompson in Spiderman, and Al Cid in True Blood, ran on screen shirtless and proceeded to do one handed chin-ups, it got a reaction of the twenty-something female audience members that I imagine will be similar to the one a slow-motion, clothing-ripped, scene featuring Rihana or Brooklyn Decker will get from their male counterparts watching Battleship.

The writing in both will undoubtedly be terrible. Slow motion will be used to supplement character development when the story needs drama but realizes that none of the characters are developed enough to care for (this happened roughly every 20 minutes in What to Expect), and every joke will be tailor made to magically get a laugh from the audience without being funny.

The thing that bothers me about What to Expect is that it doesn’t take nearly as much flack as Battleship does.

Peter Berg and the gang have taken an unnecessary amount of flack for what will more than likely be an awful summer movie that gets buried by titanic superhero special effects driven movies actually have a heart, but What to Expect has escaped largely unscathed.

This is a shame because this movie should be hated, it deserves to be hated, but for the most part it will not be hated.

This movie, and there are many like it, is every bit as devoid of thought as its testosterone filled counter-parts like Battleship, yet it is cut slack as a chick flick, a movie for girls.

That’s not a fair dismissal. Women deserve to get outraged at terrible movies being marketed to them as much as men do.

The moral of the story is… never throw out your 3D glasses, you never know when you’ll need them.