It's been a while since I have watched films from this year that I actually enjoyed. I wouldn't say any of them are fantastic, but compared to other films released this year they definitely are an improvement.
1. It's Kind of a Funny Story - Emma Roberts is one of my favorite young actresses working today (I am ignoring the fact that she was in Valentine’s Day). I am happy that she chooses to do quieter films with interesting roles – proving her talent instead of riding on her famous Aunt’s heels. Keir Gilcrest is an unknown actor who is surprisingly talented - he could easily pass for a Culkin (I say that as a Culkin family fan – Rory and Keiran are incredibly talented young actors). I like the story – it’s an interesting take on teen depression. It sort of belittles teenage angst by shoving a “depressed” teenager into a mental ward for a few days – you know with actual “crazy” people. It is a cheesy tale of growing up, appreciating what you have and the people around you, yet it didn’t seem as preachy as it could have been. I’m not sure if it is a film I will remember 10 years from now (like its predecessor Girl, Interrupted) but it is one of the best films this year (which is just plain sad).
2. The Other Guys - This film was actually funny (unlike the promos and trailer for the film – in which I laughed a total of zero times). It took me by surprise because I don't think I have laughed at a Will Ferrell film since Elf. The funniest ongoing joke was Eva Mendes as Will Ferrell’s wife (and how he constantly makes comments about how plain she is). It is completely offensive (you know…emotionally abusing your wife), but somehow it crosses the line to funny. I enjoy Mark Walberg in comedic roles (oh how I fell in love with him in I Heart Huckabees). The plot was a little ridiculous and predictable, but infused with enough humor to be completely entertaining.
3. The Killer Inside Me - Not your ordinary violent movie – this film was downright brutal. And completely hard to watch. Jessica Alba is gorgeous, but I don’t think she is the best actress for this role. I am a huge fan of Casey Affleck but I am a little nervous about the whole sexual harassment issue (one accusation I would ignore - but 3? That might have some truth behind it…). So the best way I can describe this film is that it is a Western version of American Psycho (not nearly as good). However, *spoiler alerts ahead* the killer made a lot of mistakes (like his framing of the murder-she wouldn't shoot 4 perfect shots after she had a broken face & neck) and taking some of the money (not knowing that he bills were marked). His hatred towards women is fascinating (although I would rather not know that his mother was a complete psychopath – it would have made his hate more evil). Everyone mumbled a lot so I feel like I missed a lot of important dialogue but wasn’t quite interested enough to rewind. I didn’t think Alba's character was still alive. It is rare that a film surprises me so that was a plus. I was bothered by the end because wouldn’t they smell the gas? If he really doused the entire house it would surely smell. He did use alcohol for part of the house, but still gas is a pretty intense smell. I kind of want to see the original film from the 70’s although I don’t want to read the book. I don’t know why -but books disturb me more than films do - I feel like it would give me nightmares.
The Losers - The best part of this film is the cast. None of them are super famous, but all prove to be extremely talented (and funny!). I love Idris Elba? Does anyone else miss The Wire as much as I do? And Jeffrey Dean Morgan (better known as Denny from Greys Anatomy). Chris Evans was refreshing – he should do more roles like this because I honestly never thought he could do anything else but look pretty. I love the scene where he sings Journey's Don't Stop Believing so that no one will get in the elevator with him. Hysterical. Jason Patrick (getting old…) as a bad guy was also great casting. I guess it is about time I forgive Zoe Saldana for Crossroads right? She is now a legitimate actress – she did a pretty good job holding her own against some pretty tough guys. It’s kinda like The A-Team - equally action packed, equally funny just a bit more under the radar (and missing a shirtless Bradley Cooper). I honestly enjoyed it from beginning to end.