Figured I’d try to get around to posting this before we got quite halfway through July. There’s a pretty good range on here this month, thanks to a few screenings at the LA Film Festival. I usually get to fifteen or twenty screenings there, but this year I cut it back so I wouldn’t be quite so exhausted, and only ended up at eight total, but I think it was overall a good choice. I was able to process and appreciate the ones I saw more. We’ll see if I remember that come time for AFI in November, when I also usually overschedule myself.
What I Loved
The History of Future Folk
I went into this one at the LA Film Festival fairly blind, but came out pretty much loving it. A sweet little film about an alien who comes to Earth hoping to find a place for his people to live before an approaching comet destroys his homeworld. Instead, he discovers music and settles down…until another alien is sent to kill him and continue his mission. But the film focuses on the music and the relationships rather than the sci-fi elements, though when some special effects are needed, they’re surprisingly excellent. There’s a refreshing tenderness to the script and the characters are very appealing (they’re actually a real band who have been using the alien personas as their backstory for quite some time – the movie just expands and streamlines it). A hidden gem for sure, and worth seeking out. Full review on Row Three
2012 USA. Director: John Mitchell and Jeremy Kipp Walker. Starring: Nils d’Aulaire, Jay Klaitz, Julie Ann Emery, April L. Hernandez, Dee Snider.
Seen June 17 at the LA Film Festival, Regal LA Live.
Flickchart ranking: 437 out of 2990
Safety Not Guaranteed
When a local paper runs an ad for someone wanting a partner to travel back in time with him, a human interest magazine can’t resist going to try to find out what this guy’s all about – does he really think he’s built a working time machine? Over time, though, this sort-of time travel investigative comedy turns into a very good, very poignant drama about people and relationships. It would be almost incredibly easy to screw this up – make it too cutesy, or too weird, or too maudlin, or too cliched, but even though it’s clearly in a specific American indie genre, it avoids every pitfall and ends up being one of the standout films of the year. The more I think back on it, the more I love it, and a lot of that is thanks to a very strong script and a fantastically grounded lead performance from Aubrey Plaza, who’s quickly becoming a must-see favorite of mine.
2012 USA. Director: Colin Trevorrow. Starring: Aubrey Plaza, Mark Duplass, Jake M. Johnson, Karan Soni, Kristen Bell.
Seen June 16 at AMC Burbank.
Flickchart ranking: 572 out of 2990