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Puts to shame theatrical released horror films this year on a micro budget
When Paul, an unemployed writer, decides to rent and live in a house that's rumored to be haunted, he puts his life and his relationships in grave danger as he obsessively attempts to get the story that will finally make his career.
An American Ghost Story is the kick in the gut, scary as hell horror movie I've been waiting all year for and even though it's not all that original, it sure as hell beats The Conjuring when it comes to effectively terrifying you. This micro budgeted horror film is loaded with jump scares and every one got me big time and I'm not that easily scared, the film had me screaming like a schoolgirl! The setup is simple and very familiar with a couple who moves in a home but this time they know it's haunted only because the boyfriend Paul is a struggling writer who wants to actually complete a project and write a book about his experience in the purposively haunted house. His wishes are granted and after a few nights strange things begin to happen and its first target is his girlfriend Stella having her frozen in fear and like any normal person she packs up and leaves with or without her boyfriend. Paul is now on his own in the house but the ghosts aren't going to make it easy for him and the more he digs into the history the more terrifying the situation becomes. Be careful what you wish for as some things are better left alone.
The performances were not half bad for a micro budgeted horror film, but the person that carries the film is Stephen Twardokus who also wrote this film, plays Paul and gives a solid if quite a similar performance like Ethan Hawk in Sinister and even kind of looks like him. Even so it's funny how this movie takes similar themes from larger well know movies like Paranormal Activity, Sinister and The Conjuring and ends up on top, at least to me.
Director, Derek Cole deserves a standing ovation for accomplishing so much on a small budget where other filmmakers with large budgets fail to do so. He has handcrafted one of the scariest films I've seen these past couple of years and even though there are a couple of plot holes he still got the job done at scaring the crap out of me. The atmosphere was suffocating filled with dread that at any moment the director might throw in a jump scare to tease your fears and he accomplished just that. The film's sound effects score was heartpoundingly intense and spooky, then hauntingly silent the next that I was literally biting my nails in anticipation of a scare, bravo! The writing of the story could have been worked on more, but it was fast paced and suspenseful if familiar and with some holes. For his first full-length film writing effort though Stephen Twardokus should pat himself on the back, as this film is worthy of a theatrical run. The two should definitely collaborate on more and more horror films together; this was a great first effort!!! Overall, there is no doubt that An American Ghost Story will be at the top of my list of being the best horror film of 2013! It has the scares, suspense, atmosphere, overly familiar but spooky story and a likable lead and a great filmmaking team, a low budget, horror gem!! You'll never look at your bed's sheets the same way again!!!!!! Watch with the lights out and good luck trying to go to bed afterwards. Highly recommended!! 10 out of 10
The Sapphires (2012)
An instant gem!
The Sapphires came out of left field! When I watched the trailer I was completely sold and it's the first time in a long time that I liked the movie just as much as the trailer. This film is hard not to love and tap your feet to, thanks to its fantastic soundtrack of Motown and classic rock, which is two types of music I absolutely love. By far the best, beginning to end entertainment of the year. I loved it!
The film is about the fascinating and inspiring true story about four extraordinary talented Aboriginal women, sisters Laurel Robinson, Lois Peeler and their cousins Beverley Briggs and Naomi Mayers. They enter a singing talent contest to win a once in a lifetime opportunity to tour Vietnam and perform in front of American troops. Shockingly they did not win the contest even though they were clearly the best of the bunch, much due to the racism back then. The determination, not back down attitude and amazing vocal talent of the sisters catches the eyes and ears of talent scout Dave Lovelace, played by Chris O'Dowd who gives a knockout performance here. Dave gives them a shot and before you know it they are off to a life changing experience where they discover love, loss, respect, war, freedom and showbiz.
The performances were fantastic and extremely charming! Chris O'Dowd owned it as the humorous, good-hearted, booze-drinking talent scout Dave Lovelace. This was definitely the best I've seen from O'Dowd yet and this performance reminded me of Tom Hanks in A League Of Their Own, it was hysterical, blunt but full of love and passion. The performances from the four young women who played the Aboriginal sisters were a tour de force! They were charming, feisty, and if that was their real voices incredible singers! It was great and well thought that they picked unknown actresses to play the sisters and not plastic Barbies from Hollywood. They were real women playing real women and I loved that. The real standout was Deborah Mailman who plays Gail; she had so much charisma, charm, fiery spark, depth, chemistry with the cast and heart in this performance that it is truly a breakthrough for this actress. Jessica Mauboy who plays Julie lights up the screen as the better singer and the youngest of the sisters. When Jessica gets up on stage and performs was magical and sublime, clearly a talent to look out for. Miranda Tapsell and Shari Sebbens who play Cynthia and Kay were exceptional and had their special moments as well. Thanks to a generous and clever script nothing was underused and was meticulous, had quiet and poignant moments as well as big, entertaining and showstopper moments with no overshadowing. Definitely the best acting ensemble yet of this year.
Director, Wayne Blair makes his full-length film debut with The Sapphires and even though it's his first he has already outdone himself. The attention to detail, the locations, the direction of the actors and film, the soundtrack and the whole vibe was delivered beautifully and with great passion and a sense of humor and wit. Wayne does the true story justice and then some. I'm definitely looking forward to see what next gem he is going to bring us next. Writer, Tony Briggs whose mother, Laurel Robinson was apart of the real life singing group on which this movie is based on, delivers a heartfelt memoir on his mom's experience with the singing group who was billed as Australia's answer to The Supremes. He should be proud! Co-writer Keith Thompson is probably the one behind the wit and charm of the script that blends well the inspirational true story and it's quite impressive for only his second writing contribution to a full-length movie.
Overall, The Sapphires is an absolute crowd pleaser of the greatest kind. The type of film that comes along once in a blue moon. You would have to have no soul if you said you did not walk out of the theater, when the movie was over, with a smile on your face. You will love it instantly and will make you want to get up and dance in the aisles to the oldies. Great story, great acting, great atmosphere and fantastic music. It's full of life and it's food for the soul! Highly recommended!!!
Evil Dead (2013)
Could have been worse but should of been better
Evil Dead made a big mistake by having a bold statement printed in large letters across its poster, saying THE MOST TERRIFYING FILM YOU WILL EVER EXPERIENCE. Unfortunately for the more experienced horror fans this film is not that terrifying, with not much true scares delivered, to me it failed in that department.
When I first saw the original The Evil Dead I was in 6th grade and I remember really being spooked by it and could never get that pencil in the ankle part out of my head. I think The Evil Dead was the first really gory movie I've ever seen at the time and made me love horror films even more and really check out the classics. The acting in the original was laughably bad, but in an entertaining and charming sort of way, with a charismatic protagonist Bruce Campbell as the iconic Ash. Of all the old horror films I've seen in the past The Evil Dead wasn't a true favorite of mine, Poltergeist is still number 1 on that list, which is also being remade to my dismay. The original also hasn't aged too well either and watching it now is more for laughs than anything else, but I always admired its atmosphere and DIY gory and brilliant practical effects. You can't deny that The Evil Dead much like Halloween before it, paved a way for horror films and unknown horror filmmakers trying to make a breakthrough, it made a lasting impact for sure.
The new Evil Dead isn't a horrible remake and in fact it's the most loyal and not watered down ones out there and amps the violence and gore up to the brilliant extreme! It gives several nods to the original but makes it its own, some scenes though happen too fast and there wasn't enough suspense and I never thought I would say this but the pace was way too fast making the experience all too predictable. I absolutely loved the look of the new Evil Dead atmosphere; it stays true to the original's atmosphere but polishes it to perfection. The remake doesn't surpass or improve and fix the originals problems but didn't quite fall below it either; it can proudly stand side by side. This isn't groundbreaking again or will help the horror genre move forward but it could of been way worse. Also the last 10 minutes of the film was insane and much better than the first half.
The acting for the most part was uneven but an improvement over the original. This is Jane Levy's movie though, she delivers a memorably creepy and to me breakthrough performance as Mia, who is fighting a heroin addiction and agrees to go to a remote cabin in the woods with her brother and friends to finally kick this shameful habit to the curb for good. Right away strange things start to happen, which leads to the discovery of the book of the dead and the controversial and still uncomfortable tree rape scene, which isn't as prolonged this time around but just as sadistic. The evil dead soon takes over Mia's body and all hell breaks loose and blood covers the screen. Jane Levy is really put through the ringer in this film and has such a challenging and layered role to take on and she succeeds in flying colors. Jane stole every scene she was in and her character is the only one worth rooting for, as the other characters seem like cardboard cutouts of unsuspecting horror film victims. A new scream queen is born and that's Jane Levy! Shiloh Fernandez who plays Mia's brother David, Lou Taylor Pucci who plays Eric, Jessica Lucas who plays Olivia and Elizabeth Blackmore who plays David's girlfriend Natalie all do their best, but their characters fell flat to me and underdeveloped to give a damn and their characters made some pretty idiotic moves and common horror movie mistakes. None of them where annoyingly distracting though and their demises were very brutal, I just wish their characters had more to do than to just serve the plot especially Jessica Lucas, who they totally underused here.
It's pretty amazing that this is director's Fede Alvarez first major and full-length film as it's expertly and confidently crafted, his future as horror filmmaker looks promising as it's permanently planted and can't wait to see it grow. You can see his love and inspiration for the original film and with guiding hands like the original director Sam Raimi and original star Bruce Campbell who are the producers, they couldn't do that much damage from the get-go. The writing is a different story as it all came up flat to me. Fede collaborated with Rodo Sayagues and Diablo Cody who she wrote the sleeper hit Juno and made a semi comeback with Young Adult. Diablo Cody seems to be delivering hits and misses, Juno was great, Jennifer's Body was OK but fell flat, Young Adult was again great but once another horror movie comes along her signature sharp, witty and meaty dialogue disappears. Of all horror movies Evil Dead deserved to have that kind of dialogue, it was all just too damn serious and if you are not going to back up the bold statement in your poster at least bring on the twisted laughs and sharpness.
Overall, Evil Dead's downfall is that it was much too over hyped and overrated much like The Cabin in the Woods.
Dark Skies (2013)
Slow building nightmare
Being a fan of supernatural, science fiction movies such as Fire In The Sky, The Forgotten, Close Encounters Of The Third Kind, Knowing, The Arrival, Contact, Night Skies etcetera I had high hopes for Dark Skies. The result was a better than average genre mash up that borrows elements from the best including my all time favorite horror film Poltergeist. The story was gripping that involves a suburban family that we instantly relate to and care about, making the chilling events that follow effective and downright surreal. The film takes an old-school approach when it comes to developing the story and characters and delivering the frights, which might be too much of a slow burn for fans of fast paced horror flicks. I happen to like how the film took its time delivering the details and made it a suspenseful and mind boggling watch even if it raises more questions than answers. In real life though, there is events out there that were can't explain or have answers for, which makes this quote even the more true that showed at the beginning of this film: "Two possibilities exist: either we are alone in the Universe, or we are not. Both are equally terrifying." Arthur C. Clarke
The performances hit it home for me even though it wasn't always as emotionally powerful as it should have been. Keri Russell isn't in enough movies as she should be, but when she does make a movie her performances are always genuine and for surprisingly her horror film, this role fits like a glove and gives a raw and layered performance. Keri plays wife and mother of two boys Lacy Barrett, who is a struggling realtor trying to make ends meet while her husband Daniel Barrett played effortlessly by Josh Hamilton, tries desperately to find a better job to support their family. Right away their peaceful suburban life is turned upside down when they become under attack by strange supernatural forces. The child stars of this film were also impressive. Dakota Goyo and Kadan Rockett give natural and unflinching performances as the sons Jesse Barrett and Sam Barrett, who are just as confused and terrified of the strange events as their parents, but also show their own coming of age story on the side. J.K. Simmons gives a standout performance as Edwin Pollard, a man that the parents turn to for help as he knows exactly what they are going through, for he has dealt with the presence for some time. His role could of gone on the silly side but it was handled with such seriousness that you to will be on the edge of your seat with his accusations.
Director and writer, Scott Stewart delivers a nice change of pace and more of a restraint here compared to his other films Legion, which I was one of the few that actually enjoyed it and Priest, which I haven't seen yet but want to soon. This type of style seems to be more of his niche and has a more plausible approach even if he doesn't have answers for but that's fine because in real life we don't as well. I like that he went with mood, suspense, characters and story over cheap scares, over use of CGI and gore which makes the film have an old-school vibe which brought me back to horror movies of the past like Poltergeist mixed with The X-Files, Close Encounters Of The Third Kind and Signs for instance. The Fact that he waits until the end to reveal the creepy beings make you sit in constant suspense, even though they could of done a much better job with their digital appearance and gone with more natural FX to make the reveal all the more terrifyingly effective. It could of been worse though so it was fine; the ending leaves you on a cliffhanger and has possibilities of a sequel in the future that I'm very intrigued by and hope they go through with one.
Overall, another horror movie out of left field that is way better than what most critics make it out to be. It's a shame that not a whole lot of people went to go see it, as it might be the more decent horror films of the year, so far at least. If you like slow burn horror movies with suspense, you will probably enjoy this but don't expect a whole lot of action or scares just a slow building nightmare.
6 Souls (2010)
Not completely satisfying, but not half bad either
Shelter has dealt with an unfair start into cinemas, it was ready for release way back in 2010 and now it's finally being released On Demand and in limited theaters under its new title 6 Souls. The movie starts with the introduction of Cara Harding, a female forensic psychiatrist played by Julianne Moore, who just finished wrapping up her current case, when her father Dr. Harding approaches her with a new case. Cara is hesitant at first but soon agrees to take the job and soon discovers that not only does her new patient has multiple personalities but all of them are murder victims, we are then taken on a tailspin with her to figure out why this is happening.
The movie has its moments of grotesque eeriness that gets under your skin but just not a lot of scares or action. The story just gets lost in its own complexity of twists with not much payoffs. For a movie that is almost 2 hours long it just didn't accomplish that much or had any moments that stood out to me. The film does have a lot of spooky imagery with creepy locations, but just didn't take full advantage of them. The film starts off well as a psychological thriller and character study, and then when the horror elements seep in, the film's effectiveness fades away and becomes illogical.
The intense and focused performances are where this film shines. Julianne Moore can do any role justice and in this problematic film she proves it with her raw emotions and mesmerizing red head beauty. Julianne plays Cara Harding, a forensic psychiatrist who picks up the most challenging cases of her career when she meets her new patient who has a multiple personality disorder. Jonathan Rhys Meyers gives a captivating performance as David/Adam/Wesley and is probably the very best I've seen from him so far. Jonathan's performance could have been an over the top mess if approached the wrong way, but he made it organic and gripping to watch. The supporting actors were not half bad either and also made it watch able.
Directors, Måns Mårlind and Björn Stein prove that maybe two heads aren't that better than one to tackle a flawed story. They do create a certain atmosphere that evokes fear and some stomach turning images but didn't really know how to end the story effectively or answer all of our questions. Writer, Michael Cooney seems to have made the same mistakes here that he did with his other screenplay Identity, which also had a great start but ruined it for me with it's lousy last half that was also illogical, his stories are just uneven to me, but I do like his effort for trying to bring something different to this mostly unoriginal genre.
Overall, I can see why they waited so long to release the film, but it deserves a much better treatment than the crap like Texas Chainsaw 3D, which made its way to movie theaters way to easily than this. The film lacks scares, thrills and the story leads to no payoff, but the performances are solid, the atmosphere, imagery are spooky and the concept is a nice change of pace. The movie as a whole could have been so much better and executed with a more terrifying impact, but it's a whole lot more decent than what it got treated as, so it's granted at least one viewing if you want something different from the norm. Just don't expect too much from this one.
Would You Rather (2012)
The most dangerous game
Desperate to help her ailing brother, a young woman unknowingly agrees to compete in a deadly game of "Would You Rather," hosted by a sadistic aristocrat.
Would You Rather is a leading contender of the most angst and depressing filled horror film of 2013. The film is like a different variation of a Saw film but meatier, more suspenseful and old-fashioned with not much bloodshed. It's also like a deadlier version of MTV's Silent Library. The film raises a lot of questions on human nature and how far would you go for a huge chunk of cash or help a gravely ill loved one, which leads to shocking results. Are you ready to witness the most dangerous game? The performances were gripping and darkly humorous. Brittany Snow gives her most emotionally challenging performance to date, she should definitely do more horror movies, and she was great! Brittany plays Iris, a young woman who recently lost both of her parents and is left caring for her ailing brother Raleigh. Iris soon meets with his doctor to see what she can do to help with the medical cost, the doctor then introduces her to a wealthy aristocrat, Shepard Lambrick who wants to help her with her struggles. Iris agrees to his offer and meets him at his mansion for a business dinner to make a deal, but she is unaware though that it's a deathtrap that leads to the sinister game of Would You Rather. Jeffrey Combs was wickedly entertaining as the sadistic, cruel and unusual host Shepard Lambrick, but at the same time you wanted to punch him in the face. The supporting players were pretty solid as well that includes Enver Gjokaj, Sasha Grey, John Heard and Robin Tayler who plays Julian, the creepy and sociopath son of Shepard Lambrick. They were all pretty effective in their small roles.
Director, David Guy Levy who's only done one full-length film before this one, gets the job done with rigorous effect. The director grabs you and throws you into this demented game of survival of the fittest and accomplishes more when it come to this type of film than directors who have been doing this for years. He creates a dread filled and suffocating atmosphere that reminds me of Hostel but just not all up in your face about it. The suspense was unrelenting and the finale was harsh and a punch in the gut, it was frustrating and a case of the blues that will linger with you long after it's over. Writer, Steffen Schlachtenhaufen also impressed me as this is also his second effort and creates a confronting script, with wicked, dark humor thrown in for good measure. Steffen seemed inspired and influenced by horror movies of the past as well as present and adds his own touch to it, even though it's not all too original. I'm interested to see their next effort. I also love the poster; it's simple, retro and accurate.
Overall, Would You Rather is a game of greed and survival at its most twisted. The performances were great, the suspense was there, the story gripping, the kills brutal but not over the top. The characters though had so many chances to fight back against their captors, it became frustrating and draining but the film as a whole mostly accomplished what it set out to do. It will crawl under your skin and stay there for days and for a horror movie that's gold. Recommended! 7 out of 10
Warm Bodies (2013)
Unique, fun, charming spin on horror/comedy tropes
Not since Zombieland has a horror/comedy been this much fun and charming. It was surprisingly poignant in some scenes and hilarious in others thanks to a sharp as a dagger adapted screenplay, from the novel by Isaac Marion. Jonathan Levine is on a winning streak and to me he is almost like a John Hughes of horror filmmaking as he seems so in touch with his viewing audience. The story combines in a well-balanced way with a star crossed lover's story, a zombie apocalyptic story and a comedy all wrapped up neatly in the most humane way possible. Warm Bodies is the first solid, wide released genre picture that cleanses away the bad after taste of the other genre bending horror efforts at the beginning of this year.
The performances were chemistry filled and nails it so much better than the asinine Twilight films could ever do, thanks to a great director and his adapted screenplay. The film stars Australian beauty Teresa Palmer, who can still be mesmerizing even when she says nothing, she can probably have chemistry with just about anyone or thing. Teresa plays Julie, one of the surviving humans of a now dying and zombie infested world. When several zombies ambush Julie, her boyfriend Perry, played by James Franco little bro Dave Franco, and her best friend, played by charming and promising newcomer Analeigh Tipton, it results in the death of her boyfriend. Julie is now stuck with the zombies and loses contact with her friend and family. She has a change of heart when one of the zombies spares her and saves her from danger. Julie starts to form a connection with one of the zombies, R who is played to a tee by former child star Nicholas Hoult from About a Boy. Nicholas is establishing quite an impressive start so far a leading man. Who knew that a romantic horror/comedy with zombies can have such rich characters with a meaningful message, that if we all come together and unite we can make a positive change.
Writer and Director, Jonathan Levin has made a breakthrough horror/comedy with Warm Bodies and hopefully more horror, genre bending efforts in the future. The was such a nice surprise considering that I had no hopes for it and zero interest in seeing it when I first heard about it. It's a shame that this film got such a better and fair release and start than his chopped up and deserted first effort, All of the Boys Love Mandy Lane, for which put Amber Heard on the map. Since his shaky start in 2006, Jonathan Levin finally gets his break with 50/50 and now Warm Bodies. Jonathan's talent as a director and writer is definitely relevant to today's culture and I can't wait to see his next handcrafted gem.
Overall, Warm Bodies will touch you, make you squirm on the edge of your seat, make you laugh, liven your spirit and enlighten you with its thoughtfulness. Not too many horror/comedies have those abilities, making the film a potential cult classic in the making, a movie men and woman alike can sit down and enjoy together. Recommended!
Kill for Me (2013)
A slick, sexy, edgy thriller
Kill for Me was a surprisingly efficient direct to DVD thriller, with shades of Diabolique, Wild Things and Monster. The film has an old-fashioned vibe about it and took its time developing the story and its characters. At the same time it didn't reveal too much, making the film very suspenseful, mysterious and sexy. The film didn't have too much violence but when it did it was shocking enough to make you feel uneasy. With all of the lousy thrillers being released to theaters every year, Kill for Me is a breath of fresh air even though it might be too straightforward sometimes for more hardcore genre buffs.
Katie Cassidy was absolutely stunning in this film; she gives her very best performance of her career so far! Katie plays Amanda, a college student who is trying to move on after her roommate and friend vanishes without a trace. Amanda is also dealing with an abusive ex-boyfriend who is now stalking her; she decides to look for a new roommate to help pay the rent. She soon meets Hailey who also is trying to movie on from an abusive and tormented past, they instantly become roommates and form a bond that leads to a sinister turn of events. Hailey is played by newcomer Tracy Spiridakos, who also stars in the series Revolution. Tracy gives a captivating performance and I couldn't keep my eyes off of her, she is a promising new talent to keep tabs on in the future. Donal Logue, who is from one of my favorite series that is now canceled, Grounded for Life, makes a surprising turn as Hailey's dad and was quite good.
Director, Michael Greenspan definitely improved his game here than his last effort Wrecked, which was a very disappointing movie and was on my bottom list of 2011. His latest film Kill for Me was atmospheric, suspenseful and has a great twist ending that was satisfying for the most part. Sure the premise is nothing all that new, but the way he handle it though, made it his own effective thriller of wronged women getting revenge. The writing wasn't fantastic but it's an improvement from his last picture as it's much more coherent with Christopher Dodd teaming up with him again since working on the film Wrecked. They definitely took a step in the right direction this time around.
Overall, Kill for Me is the first good thriller of 2013. It has two appealing leading ladies, brooding atmosphere, suspenseful story and a satisfying twist ending. Nothing too original here though, but still it's a well executed film. Recommended! 7 out of 10
Come Out and Play (2012)
More of the same
Come Out and Play is basically a carbon copy of the original 1976 film Who Can Kill A Child? It was a lazy remake that didn't even try to attempt something different with the concept or reinterpret it. The film is a retread and a missed opportunity to breath new life into the killer kids subgenre. The film still manages to capture the unsettling dread, suspense, mysterious and creepy atmosphere and terrifying helplessness that made the original effective. The musical score was intense and heart pounding and made you feel like you were watching a living nightmare captured on celluloid. The elements that made it watch able is that the premise is still creepy and disturbing and the story is still effective and shocking. Come Out and Play is in the end though just another pointless remake with nothing remotely new to show or say.
The performances were solid for the most part but I thought the script was pretty weak with underdeveloped characters. The two leads were likable and did their best with little that they were given, but they just played the typical, token stranded tourists that waited too long to get the hell out of there. Ebon Moss-Bachrach and Vinessa Shaw play parents to be Francis and Beth, who take one last vacation before Beth is due to give birth to their child. They make a trip to a secluded island and realize too late that all of the adults are missing and the children left behind. The doomed couple soon discovers that the children are homicidal maniacs, with no explanation of how they got that way. We as viewers are just as baffled as the couple and there wasn't even a hint to how the children got that way. I think the main stars are talented performers, but are wasted here as the lackluster script raises more questions than answers.
Director, Makinov pretty much cut and paste here with no inspiration behind the proceeding. He knows the basics of a horror movie but weren't inventive with the elements; as a result there wasn't any moments of surprise because if you've seen the original you know the outcome. The director brought nothing new to the story.
Overall, it's an uninspired remake that's too faithful to the original and you might as well just rent the original because it's exactly the same right down to the ending. Both give effective chills, but there is no good reason for this remake to exist. Still there are far worse out there.
Celeste & Jesse Forever (2012)
Rashida Jones becomes a true star with talent. An actress you should keep your eye on in the future
Celeste and Jesse Forever is a more honest look at breakups and divorce than most romantic dramedies of the last couple of years. The film had a lot of thoughtfulness to it, was delicately filmed and full of wit and raw emotion. The downside though is that it has an overly familiar formula that has been done to death now with films like The Break-Up, Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Take This Waltz, Friends with Kids, etcetera. The film just gets lost in that ever-growing genre, even though it's quite the gem and probably the most relevant version of that specific formula I've seen lately.
The performances were genuine and charming, with an undeniable likable cast. Rashida Jones is becoming one of my favorite actresses of today, and I think Celeste and Jesse Forever is her true breakthrough performance. Rashida plays Celeste who is in the process of finalizing her divorce from her husband Jesse, who still lives with her and are oddly close friends still. Jesse, played with corky poise by Andy Samberg, soon starts dating to move on which thrills Celeste until his past fling pops up in his life again and reveals that she is pregnant. Celeste finds it harder than ever to move on and all she is feeling is regret.
I think the film's process of his or her struggle of moving on was naturally dealt with, as there is no Hollywood ending or overuse of sentimentality. The film in the end doesn't sugarcoat anything, which was a breath of fresh air in that aspect. The supporting cast was not half bad either and it's always great to watch Ari Graynor who plays Celeste's best friend Beth. Ari Graynor to me is a talented actress and it's about time she deserves a leading role and put an end to playing sidekicks.
Director, Lee Toland Krieger seems to be a personable director and connects with the audience in a timely matter. There were a couple of quiet, simple moments of poignancy and then balanced it with humor effortlessly. The use of songs fits this film like a glove and went with the flow. Writers and stars of the film Will McCormack and Rashida Jones should definitely collaborate again because the writing was just filled with honest humor and thoughtfulness, which created great energy for the film.
Overall, it's not a groundbreaking romantic comedy, but Rashida Jones is such a mesmerizing, witty and intelligent actress in this film that you will fall in love with it.