Tag Archives: film recommendation

Safety Not Guaranteed

If you saw a classified ad offering you a chance to time travel, would you check it out?

That’s the premise of the recently released film, Safety Not Guaranteed, directed by newcomer Colin Trevorrow.  Starring Aubrey Plaza (Parks and Recreation), Jake Johnson (New Girl), and additional newcomer Mark Duplass (The League, The Mindy Project), this film is definitely a new guilty pleasure favorite of mine!

Utterly lovable characters, each with their own agendas and quirks, entwine paths by answering an unusual ad placed in a newspaper.  There’s Jeff (Johnson), the magazine writer who finds the article and uses the story idea to vacay to a town where a lost girlfriend lives.  Hitching along for the ride, are interns Darius (Plaza) and Arnau, who will get more involved then they mean to in the life of Kenneth (Duplass), the man on a mission to go back in time.

What the team isn’t banking on is their lives changing forever.  Jeff’s fantasy isn’t all he thought it would be.  Arnau may not be the rule abiding intern he thinks he is.  And Darius’ world will forever change after she takes the roll of training with Kenneth to prepare for the launch date of their time travel.  Perhaps some things aren’t as impossible as we think they may be.

Add in some secret agents, a covert operation to a laser technology facility, and some martial arts training on the beach, and we’ve got ourselves a whopper of a wonderfilm!

For many of the actors and crew involved, this film was a make it or break it story.  They wanted to make a movie, but they knew it had to be well written and it would involve a lot of growth from everyone in the process.  In my opinion, they did it exceptionally well.

If you had regret, and more specifically regret about the loss of a loved one, would you travel back?  If you thought you could save them?  In this central emotion, Darius and Kenneth connect, and though they might be crazy, they’re going to see it through.

Safety Not Guaranteed.

Have you seen this movie?  What do you think?

Would you time travel if it was possible?  Why would you go back and who would you take with you?  Better yet, what would your classified ad look like?

Guilty Pleasures – Beautiful Creatures

Did I say I was going to stop watching movies?  Oh c’mon guys, you know me better than that! 

So when wednesday rolled around, and it was date night…

I convinced my guy to go see Beautiful Creatures!

The film is based off the book series by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl.  Incredibly well webbed, Creatures tells the story of Lena Ducannes (played by New Zealand actress Alice Englert), just returned to the small, judgmental town of Gatlin, LA.  There, she meets Ethan Wate (played by Steven Spielberg discovered Alden Ehrenreich), a boy who is counting the days until graduation and his subsequent escape from Gatlin.

Rounding out the spectacular cast of the movie, we see Viola Davis (The Help) as Amma, a Seer, Emmy Rossum (Phantom of the Opera) as Ridley, Lena’s wicked cousin, Emma Thompson (Sense and Sensibility, Nanny McPhee) as the Church zealot Mrs. Lincoln, and one of my man crushes, Jeremy Irons (Man in the Iron Mask, Voice of Scar in The Lion King) as the patriarch of Lena’s family, Macon Ravenwood.

Early on we learn that Lena and her family are different from the other townspeople.  In fact, they’re witches, or “Casters” as they prefer.  As Lena and Ethan become closer, their family histories will become more and more entwined than they can imagine.

What I loved about the movie, and it has to be said that my guy liked it to, so if you’re guy is saying he doesn’t want to go, he’ll probably like it!

…Where was I?…

Oh yes!  What I loved about the movie is that it’s the story of good vs. evil, but with depth.  There really aren’t any characters that seemed one-sided.  Even though they all stand for one side, their emotions, their dreams, and most crucially their families are intertwined.

I was really impressed with newcomer Alden Ehrenreich who plays Ethan.  As a fan of accents (and someone who tries to pick them constantly) I loved his portrayal of southern boy charm.  Within minutes of the opening scene, my honey commented, “I like this guy.”  That’s saying something!

The plot line for those are obsessed with paranormal YA books may be predictable, but I still loved how every bit of tension possible was maximized and  yet believable.  The ongoing tension of the first film is Lena’s upcoming claiming.  On her 16th birthday, she will be claimed for either the light or the dark and her fate will be sealed.  There was a variety of elements at play though.  Yes, destiny has its spotlight, but there’s also a family curse, a forbidden love, and the conviction of your own beliefs.

Nothing was easy, but it was very entertaining.

If I can compare Beautiful Creatures to any movie, I’d say Twilight, which I do like.  But Creatures is done much better all around!  Guess here’s another series for me to be addicted to!

Have you seen Beautiful Creatures yet?  Have you read the book?  What did you think?  

If you haven’t seen it, do you want to?  What are your favorite YA films or books out there?

Guilty Pleasures: Alternative Romantic Comedies

With Valentine’s Day still in the air, and more plausibly due to the fact that I worked in a video store for five years, I have an addiction to movies.  Romantic comedies in particular at this time.

It’s a common side effect from years of stacking shelves and alphabetizing films in their proper genres.  I can’t say no to a slightly wacky romcom.  Without this guilty pleasure, would we all know and love such cult classics like Muriel’s Wedding, Saved!, and Beautiful Girls?

So if you and your loved one are looking for something to snuggle in for, might I recommend one of these recent releases?

Two Thumbs Up.

Damsels in Distress

Starring Greta Gerwig (Greenberg) as Violet, a pretentious college student set out with the goal of changing people’s lives.  Whether it’s dating a moron because he has blue eyes, starting a Suicide Prevention Center that uses tap dancing as therapy, or being remembered for creating a new dance trend called the ‘Sambola,’ Violet has a lot of ideas about the world.  Gathering her friends, she tries to educate them with her causes and teach them about life and love.

Also starring newcomer Analeigh Tipton (Crazy, Stupid, Love; America’s Next Top Model) as the transfer student Violet takes under her wing, this film was a delightful find.  Filmed in an almost vintage style, these girls who don’t fit in find a way to help each other.

Pitch Perfect

When Beca (Anna Kendrick – Up in the Air; Twilight series) is forced to go to college by her dad, she befriends an odd women’s acapella group, the Barden Bellas.

While IMDBing Kendrick, I learned she actually began her acting career on the stage performing in musicals and received several awards.  So singing was no new thing for this leading lady.

Also in the Barden Bellas lending huge laughs was Rebel Wilson (Bridesmaids) portraying Fat Amy, a girl who’s really good at “mermaid dancing.”  And Brittany Snow (John Tucker Must Die; TV’s American Dreams) plays Chloe, the girl who gets Beca to join the Bellas.

What makes this flick a romantic comedy is the tuneage tension between rival groups, the Barden Bellas with the all boys’ Treblemakers!  And it’s a hilarious one!  Guys and girls will enjoy this film.

Ruby Sparks

In a slightly more melancholy romance, actress and writer Zoe Kazan gives us Ruby Sparks.  For all you writers out there, you’ll find this one fascinating.  It’s the story of a has been writer, played by Paul Dano (Little Miss Sunshine), while starting a new piece of work, he wakes up one day to find his female lead living in his apartment.  Everything he writes about her comes true.

Now that’s a dangerous power.  What would you do in that situation?

Calvin (Dano) tries to balance real life with fiction, but can he tell who’s writing what?  Is he writing his life or his life writing itself out?

It’s a unique story and one I think is really thought provoking.  It’s told from Calvin’s point of view, but written by Kazan and I find that whole dynamic striking.  Fun fact:  Dano and Kazan are dating in real life, so it’s very likely this idea was a cohesive story thought up by both of them.  Either way, very entertaining!

What films are on your must see list?  Have you caught any of these flicks?  Would you like me to alphabetize your movie collection?  Leave a comment!  I Luh-Huv talking about movies!

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