In the past two weeks, I have gone to see a total of three films in theaters. I often catch previews flipping through television channels or sitting through YouTube ads. My list of films to see is perpetually lengthy, and I am often struck by the failure of a film to live up to its preview’s expectations.
In seeking to eliminate movies from my “must see” list, I started with the new Bruce Willis and Joseph Gordon-Levitt thriller “Looper.” My fear with this film was that it would have a cheesy or cliché plot, as I knew time travel to be an element. I also feared plot holes, voids in the film where facts did not align. From the beginning shot to the end credits, my focus was fully enveloped in the plot where loopers, or hired assassins, kill people sent back in time from the future.
The time travel element was used appropriately in the film, not overdone, but utilized as a background element to enhance certain scenes. An abundance of plot twists arise, and tense action fills each sense, pulling the viewer in. Each twist is tied closed, preventing plot holes and giving the viewer a sense of intense closure. The unique plot and superior acting ultimately make this film a must-see.
During that same week, I found myself traveling to Oakland, one of the few cities in which “The Perks of Being a Wallflower” adaptation is playing. My strongest hopes prior to watching this movie were simply that it not fail miserably in representing its famous novel counterpart.
With minimal expectations for movie magic to occur, the reel began rolling. I found myself hesitant to accept the juxtaposition between main character Charlie’s both light hearted and somberly hopeless commentary. At some point early in the film, however, that hesitation disappeared, and I found myself immersed in a heartbreaking adaptation.
The film’s lighter moments made me literally giggle, and the darker undertones had me near tears. I was not alone. A great majority of the audience both laughed and cried with Charlie as he recounts a life full of pain and secrets. Another added perk to the film is the Pittsburgh references and city shots.
As a self-proclaimed Pittsburgh native, I cannot recall another creative project that filled me with as much city pride as this adaptation did. The acting from young stars Logan Lerman (Charlie), Emma Watson (love interest Sam), and Ezra Miller (best friend Patrick) secured the movie as a truly praiseworthy one. While I will always consider the book of the same title an untouchable work, the film stands on its own as breathtaking cinema.
The third film I went to see came as the result of last minute planning and boredom on a Friday night. I looked up the plot and actors online with a friend and made a spur of the moment decision to pay almost ten dollars to go see “Seven Psychopaths.” My decision proved to be a wise one.
Of the three films I saw, “Seven Psychopaths” is by far my favorite. A star-filled cast including Colin Farrell, Christopher Walken, Sam Rockwell, and Woody Harrelson make this dark comedy about a drunken screenwriter pulling from his own life experiences with multiple crazies an utterly enjoyable viewing experience. I caught myself laughing uncontrollably. The writing is clever, an irresistible pull into the film’s wacky, original plot. At no point could I guess where the film would end up or how the next scene would play out.
While I do not anticipate the movie to be a box-office success or mainstream phenomenon, I fully expect a cult following to grow. This twisted, sickly fun film deserves no less than an odd following of viewers looking for a unique piece in a cinematic age plagued by trashy blockbusters.
I often complain that the films put out are over marketed, hyped, emotionless works produced for profit instead of pleasure. However, the three films I have seen recently lead me to believe not all actors and filmmakers have given up on the idea of creating a truly original, moving, or clever work.