We know you probably want to start devouring your resolutions this January, but don’t forget to take some time and recover from the go-go attitude and gluttonous meals of the holiday season. Call a friend and have a movie marathon, celebrating 10 movies you probably haven’t seen but SHOULD see this year.
Based on the novel by Joe Dunthorne, the film is a coming of age story of a 15-year-old boy named Oliver Tate (Craig Roberts). Entering his mid-teens, he only has two objectives: to lose his virginity before his next birthday and make the chemistry between his parents come alive again, just as his mother’s ex-lover re-enters the scene.
The vibe of the movie is very Wes Anderson, with its unique humour and eccentric characters. Coupled with songs from the Arctic Monkeys’ Alex Turner, this movie probably has one of the most underrated soundtracks EVER.
Anyone who’s a sucker for indie romances will enjoy Ruby Sparks. Directed by Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris (who also directed Little Miss Sunshine together), the film stars Paul Dano as Calvin, a struggling novelist who manifests a female character he thinks will love him. And out of the blue, she, aka Ruby Sparks (played by the movie’s screenwriter Zoe Kazan), becomes real.
This may sound awfully similar to Stranger Than Fiction but this movie is not your typical romantic comedy. While whimsical, cute and endearing, the film’s ending is surprisingly realistic. And to be honest, I wish most Hollywood films resolved things just as nicely as this movie did.
It’s Kind of a Funny Story
Based on the novel by Ned Vizzini, It’s Kind of a Funny Story stars Keir Gilchrist as a 16-year-old who checks himself into an adult psychiatric ward after attempting suicide. Feeling pressured by his friends and parents to do well in school, he deals with his problems there, while meeting a range of interesting characters (played by Zach Galifianakis and Emma Roberts), who are dealing with their own issues too.
Mental illness is often a touchy issue when it’s meant to be comedic, but this film successfully meshes in the right amount of humour and drama to provide a touching, coming of age story. Those who are used to seeing Galifianakis as the satchel-wearing Alan in The Hangover will be interested to see him playing a more dramatic role, while Gilchrist and Roberts shine as awkward teens trying to sort out their growing feelings for each other.
And can I mention how great the soundtrack of this film is? Featuring the likes of Broken Social Scene and The Middle East, I also watch this film solely for this awesome scene.
Lars and the Real Girl
Before Ryan Gosling stole our hearts in Crazy, Stupid, Love, he starred in an indie comedy called Lars and the Real Girl. Playing a delusional and lonely young man, Gosling’s character strikes up an unconventional relationship with a sex doll he finds on the Internet.
This is honestly one of the most heartfelt movies I’ve ever seen with one of the best performances I’ve ever witnessed by Gosling. Unlike the actor’s more recent bad boy roles in Drive and The Place Beyond the Pines, Gosling is sweet, lovable and awkward here. You’ll just want to give him a hug when you watch this movie. (It’s not like we don’t want to do that now anyway.)
It’s hard to find a movie that truthfully resonates with reality in the theatres these days, as most Hollywood films feature storylines that are, apart from entertaining, not much else. However, The Kids Are All Right tells a funny and refreshing story which centres around the struggles faced as a family grows and the unconventional and often complicated relationships that they are comprised of.
Nic and Jules (played by Annette Bening and Julianne Moore) are a couple going through a transition period in their lives with their two children, Joni (Mia Wasikowska) and Laser (Josh Hutcherson). With their teenage kids both going through big changes—Joni is getting ready for College and Laser is being poorly influenced by, I kid you not, a guy who finds it funny to pee on dogs—mixed in with relationship problems of their own, there is no shortage for drama and of course, comedy.
The starting point of the story is also what ultimately sets off the destruction of the family and takes place when Laser expresses an interest in meeting Paul (played by Mark Ruffalo), who made his and his sister’s lives possible by donating sperm. Soon after Paul is introduced, he becomes an integral part of the family. His actions help Joni and Laser grow up and make Nic and Jules truly realize the pains of their own relationship, creating the changes necessary for the family to understand their problems and redefine themselves.
Between Nic and Jules watching porn together, lots of sex, Paul’s organic co-op farm and his local restaurant, and Nic’s obsession with wine, there is no shortage to the funny situations that make this film hilarious.
Director and co-writer Lisa Cholodenko has made an entertaining film that also acts as a sincere reflection of the modern family and the growing pains that are inherent within them. One of the great accomplishments for this movie is found in the script; it’s filled with dialogue so honest and so well written that even a simple swear word carries enormous meaning that would take an entire conversation to portray in any other film.
Now, it should be said that among all of the great qualities of The Kids Are All Right, there are some problems with the structure that leaves a few questions unanswered, but overall the movie is both a comedic and touching take on the family-oriented theme, and all of the positives definitely outweigh the film’s downfalls.