Safety Not Guaranteed – starring Aubrey Plaza (Parks and Recreation), Mark Duplass (The League) and Jake Johnson (New Girl). The film follows the story of an unusual ad found in a newspaper that claims a man can travel back in time, and he’s looking for a partner. Aubrey’s character will be very familiar to Parks and Rec. fans as she has basically the same outlook and attitude as April. However, this isn’t a bad thing, she plays the part very well.
The story develops in a very believable way despite the slightly outlandish theme. The supporting actors do well in making the film funny, and all in all the film does its job in making you want the characters to succeed. Ultimately, the film follows the classic rom-com structure but the whole prospect of time travel sets this film apart from the rest.
Sightseers – a British Film 4 production. It’s a rom-com with a massive twist, the two leads are complete psychopaths. Alice Lowe and Steve Oram (both in The World’s End) write and star in this black comedy, in which their characters decide to take a caravan tour of Britain, thinking it would bring them closer as a couple. The trip take a pretty dark turn almost immediately, and continues to be pretty dark throughout. But every dark turn has a punchline, and I think it’s done perfectly.
This film is so dark that it took years for the film to find its producer, Edgar Wright, as it was considered to be just too dark by so many. It really is like no other rom com you’ve seen before, simply because the leads aren’t usually trying to kill everyone! This film isn’t for everyone, but if you’re open minded and appreciate dark humour then you’ll enjoy it.
Submarine – another Film 4 production; this film was Richard Ayoade’s (I.T. Crowd) directional debut, set in South Wales and follows Oliver Tate, played by Craig Roberts (Tracy Beaker), who is set to release his directional debut next year, entitled ‘Just Jim’. Oliver falls in love with Jordana, played by Yasmin Paige (Pramface), the film explores their awkward relationship, how terrifying Oliver finds Jordana and going to school as well as Oliver’s problems with his parents at home. The film is very simple, and has the perfect mood setting soundtrack to accompany it. Alex Turner composed six original songs for the film that are all available online.
The film delves pretty deeply into Oliver Tate’s life and the way he reacts to troubling events in this coming of age film. Jordana remains pretty mysterious throughout the film which is why Oliver obsesses over her so much. The film is typical of Ayoade’s humour and his awkwardness. He seems to be typecast as a geek, which you can see in Oliver Tate as a character. This is also apparent in Ayoade’s most recent release, The Double, Where Jesse Eisenberg plays a very awkward and timid role, again, obsessed with a girl.
Take This Waltz – directed by Sarah Polley (Mr Nobody) casts the beautiful Michelle Williams (Shutter Island, My Week with Marilyn) alongside Seth Rogan who play a couple who are happily married. Michelle’s character, Margot, meets a man, played by Luke Kirby, who turns out to be her neighbour, and they begin having an affair. Michelle perfectly portrays Margot’s confusion and brings a truly enigmatic feel to the character.
The film actually has some pretty explicit scenes despite the seemingly sweet and innocent character Michelle portrays.
Drinking Buddies – I was drawn to this title because of the simple reason this this film isn’t scripted at all. All the actors show off very impressive improve skills. That alone makes this film worth watching. Its very character driven, with not much of a story at all, nothing really happens, but the interaction between the characters is so representative and seemingly genuine. The low budget makes it almost like reality TV in that, it’s just people living their lives. Drinking Buddies stars Olivia Wilde (TRON) and Jake Johnson (again) whose characters are best friends, work at a brewery and drink a lot of beer together. The two both have their own relationships, but there’s an aspect of ‘will they, won’t they’ running throughout the film.
Wish I Was Here – directed by Zach Braff (Scrubs) who also stars in it alongside Kate Hudson (How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days). The film depicts a failing actor trying to support his young family and at the same time deal with his father’s terminal illness. Zach and his brother wrote this film together, the film is obviously a family orientated, exploring some pretty upsetting themes, as well as a running childhood metaphor that Zach’s character, Aidan, explores. The film is actually very uplifting, and considering the very personal themes of despair the film finds the sweet spot perfectly.