Surprising Movies These are the movies that sort of just creep up on me, they don’t get me excited to see them months before they’re released because I only hear about how good they are usually through word of mouth or maybe I just ran out of movies to watch that week.
• Hurt Locker – this film has been racking up awards left and right and for good reason, the suspense in this film is just amazing. If you think about it most of the exciting scenes are just EODs trying to disable IEDs a couple of times, (sometimes strapped to humans) but it kept me at the edge of my seat the each time. I’ve never had the pleasure of seeing any of the director’s previous work so this movie wasn’t on my radar. I went in this movie expecting to see a movie like the Kingdom but its not unlike any middle-east drama/action movie I’ve seen and it made me understand how war can be a drug. Rarely will you see films where you look forward to the silent and tense scenes rather than explosions and gun fights.
• Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs – anytime theres a new animated 3d film thats not from Pixar part of me always gets excited to see how other companies would keep up in terms of film quality and such but at the same time I know its just gonna fall short of my expectations. However I just had a lot of fun watching this film, its presented in such a simple way but also offers a lot of surprises. The characters are very cartoony looking but the animation still gives a lot to look at. And its brand of slapstick comedy is something the whole family can enjoy. You’re not gonna get deep character development in this movie but who cares there’s still a ton of fun to be had.
• Couple’s Retreat – I have to admit that the critic in me knows that this is not that good of a movie, and that goes for almost all of Vince Vaughn’s movies. But the location and the ensemble cast managed to hook me, I mean everytime Jason Bateman is in a movie I tend to give it a slightly better review, maybe I should just credit his performance and trash the rest of the film in the future.. hmm that actually sounds like a good idea. But still there are some redeemable traits to the movie, like the interaction between the guys and the beautiful settings, some characters are just downright irritating like Trudy. And it has a shallow but welcome message for faithfulness, also.. guitar hero!
• An Education – where did Carey Mulligan come from shes like a new and improved version of Katie Holmes! An education is certainly that, you’ll be ‘educated’ in many ways when you watch this film: in film-making, story-telling, script-writing, acting and especially in romance and heartbreak. This movie is worth watching just for Carey’s performance alone but it also offers a lot more such as its attention to detail for the period its in, Alfred Morina delivers the good laughs too. Another good thing about the film is that you’ll never know what emotion a particular scene will trigger for instance whenever there are scenes of romance some people would feel happy for Jenny however I usually just felt anger for David’s character and felt sorry for the girl. This film really delivers an education for the protagonist and more importantly the audience, which the film expects to be as intelligent as Jenny.
• Taken – the main plot doesn’t make too much sense but Liam Neeson is a bad-ass. The other actors weren’t particularly good (e.g. the daughter) but Liam Neeson is a bad-ass. The story is really predictable but Liam Neeson is a bad-ass. Liam Neeson is a bad-ass but Liam Neeson is a bad ass.
• Precious – this is a hard film to watch, but when you’re in the theatre you’ll realize that you still have to hear what it has to say. There were times when I felt uncomfortable because this film doesn’t pull back its punches, when it wants to deliver heart-break it will show you heart-break in a very realistic fashion. It also doesn’t portray the protagonist as someone who can do no wrong nor does it portray the antagonist as someone incapable of doing good. This movie doesn’t aim to entertain except maybe during those daydream sequences but it sets out to teach you about life.
• Moon – another movie that I love especially because it makes the most out of its modest budget, the FX don’t seem feel or cheap at all, but of course don’t expect a lot of explosions or even aliens. This is a very good kind of sci-fi, intelligent, thought-provoking and has a slow build up which most likely will bore the typical movie-goer but give it a chance and it will actually stimulate your brain cells. This film will toy with your expectations and Sam Rockwell’s performance will captivate you all throughout the film.
• Adventureland – the trailer made it look like this film was gonna be another Superbad, a film which I really liked but didn’t think had to be remade so I was gladly surprised the Adventureland actually is more rooted to reality. Its not laugh out loud funny, its just cute and quirky at times, its beautiful and honest and the romance is so believable people even argue in an awkward/realistic way. Jesse Eisenberg is another Michael Cera, that awkward schtick they do never gets old and it adds a lot to his interaction with Kristen Stewart’s character. Amazing performances from everyone in this film, even Ryan Reynolds manages to pull off a calm character on screen.
• G.I. Joe – I wanted/expected this movie to fail from the moment it was announced and especially after seeing Transformers 2 I thought it was gonna be another mess of a film. It turns out its not as bad as Transformers 2, now that may not be saying much but really this movie was just plain fun. It was really nice to see the characters from G.I. Joe brought to the big screen. And the fight scene between kid snake eyes and kid storm shadow was full of win. I really hated the visuals though like their sorry attempt to clone an x-men blackbird. But the film is surprisingly enjoyable, from the trailer I hated that chase scene with the accelerator suits but it turned out to be one of my favorite scenes from the film.
• Funny People – another film that disguises itself as a comedy but instead tries to teach you about life (I guess that’s a thing now). Adam Sandler + Seth Rogen + Jonah Hill = hilarity right?! Well yes and no, yes the first half of the film is quite funny but its no longer that funny when the film starts to show its depth. And eventhough the film is too long, and it feels that way as well, I still enjoyed it thanks to solid performances from the cast and the realization that Adam Sandler’s character had in the end about family life.
• 17 Again – the main surprise in this film for me is Zac Efron, I hate to admit it but the kid can act. I’m a hater when it comes to guys like that you know the type, people with talent and looks. He steals every scene in the film and its really more of a breakout performance for Zac. But the film as derivative as it is, actually offers another surprise, its message. It delivers the lesson of being responsible for the way your life turned out and not blame it on anyone else.
And the two films that I’ve yet to watch, coz its not showing yet in Singapore, but will most likely end up in this list.
• The Blind Side
Thanks for reading, stay tuned for my next post – the most disappointing films of 2009.