Friday, December 14, 2012

10 List: Overlooked in 2012

Ten films overlooked in 2012, most played for one or two weeks at an inconvenient theater. Surprisingly, several of the films feature comedians in subtle, emotional performances unlike their previous work in raunchy box office hit comedies. 

Queen of Versailles directed by Lauren Greenfield

Love, marriage, children, and financial crisis in a 90,000 sq. ft. faux palace.

Jeff Who Lives at Home directed my Jay Duplass and Mark Duplass

Thirty-year old unemployed Jeff (Jason Segel) lives in his Mother's basement and looks for signs from the universe to reveal his life path. His older brother Pat (Ed Helms) is married and employed, but suffering a similar existential crisis.

Bernie directed by Richark Linklater

In Carthage, Texas,  assistant funeral director, Sunday school teacher, and choir member Bernie Tiede (Jack Black) is adored and admired. Will that change if he is also a murderer?

Salmon Fishing in the Yemen directed by Lasse Hallstrom

 Fish expert, Dr. Alfred Jones (Ewan McGregor) and corporate consultant,
Harriet Chetwode-Talbot (Emily Blunt) are enlisted to assist a sheikh in bringing the sport of fly-fishing to the desert of Yemen.  Their unlikely pairing, and their impossible quest perfectly balance the sheikh's unshakeable faith.

Ruby Sparks directed by Jonathan Dayton

Writer Calvin (Paul Dano) creates a woman, Ruby Sparks, on paper.  Soon after, he finds her (Zoe Kazan) in the flesh in his apartment. He is happy. He is loved. Is he also unhinged?

The Deep Blue Sea directed by Terence Davies

Unhappily married Hester Collyer (Rachel Weisz) has an affair with emotionally erratic Royal Air Force pilot Freddie Page (Tom Hiddleston).  Her life and future unravel immediately, but Hester stoically accepts her  fate.

Magic Mike directed by Steven Soderbergh

 Mike (Channing Tatum) has big dreams. He longs to design custom furniture, works tirelessly as a roofer, and hopes to secure a bank loan to upstart his company. At night he also strips at an all-male revue, but it's just to earn extra cash.  Besides the flashy stage performances, potent drama and interesting characters (it's Soderbergh after all) elevate the film from pure voyeuristic fluff.

Robot and Frank directed by Jake Schreier

Frank (Frank Langella) is getting on in years and his two adult children worry he can no longer care for himself. Instead of a nursing home or health care provider, they purchase a robot programmed to assist Frank with care, exercising, and companionship. Frank is a retired cat burglar and has other plans for his helpful new friend.

Celeste and Jessie Forever directed by Lee Toland Krieger

Celeste (Rashida Jones) and Jesse (Andy Samberg) married young when they were cute and in love. Now thirty, still cute, but like affectionate roommates rather than a seasoned, married couple, can they part amicably and remain loving and supportive?

Safety Not Guaranteed directed by Colin Trevorrow

On the hunt for an interesting magazine story, a writer and two interns scope out an eccentric who placed an ad looking for an assistant to accompany him in time travel.  I loved everything about this film: the kooky characters, the smart writing, the creative unexpected arcs. Still, it was in Chicago theaters a mere 2 weeks.

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