Weekend picks

Upon checking the film releases this weekend and reviewing my record of must-sees, I could probably spend the next three days camped out at the multi-plex. I don’t think the fall movie season has officially started, so I have a lot of work to do if I am going to keep up. Realistically I hope to see at least one of these films this weekend: Our Idiot Brother, 3D Shark Night, Don’t Be Afraid Of The Dark, Bellflower or The Whistleblower.
In the meantime I can recommend some options based on what I have seen recently, both in the theater and on DVD.
For starters, thank goodness Crazy, Stupid, Love is still in theaters because everyone needs to see it, plain and simple. If I didn’t have other film priorities, I’d probably go to it again, I liked it that much. Ladies drag your dates to this one or gather your pals together, heck see it by yourself, I don’t care. I may be a little biased here because I’ve become obsessed with Mr. Ryan Gosling lately, but this movie deserves a first, and second, and third, look. It’s like that popular song on the radio you can’t get out of your head — think anything in the Foster the People catalog.
Gosling and his washboard abs star as Jacob, a womanizer who takes Steve Carell’s character Cal Weaver under his wing after going through a divorce with his wife Emily (Julianne Moore). Fortunately for audiences, this movie does not go down the rom-com tubes with its plot and has very smart writing. And the cast is the tops with Marisa Tomei, Emma Stone and Jonah Bobo as a kid I actually liked in a movie. Most of the time his type of character is just plain annoying, but Bobo’s performance landed on my good side. As Cal and Emily’s son Robbie, Bobo masters the angst of an eighth-grader watching his parents’ marriage fall apart without coming off as trying too hard or falling into the cliches associated with such a character.
Steve Carell plays the role like he does in most of his other movies — almost to the point you think that’s how he is in real life. True or not, it makes the character seem real to the audience and the entire cast had strong chemistry on screen.
I am sure it will be a stretch to get any guy to see this movie, but my advice is to give it a try.

If they do, a reward could be a viewing of the oldie but goodie Strange Brew.

My friends and I were lucky enough to see it on the big screen last weekend at the Lake Harriet Music and Movies in the park. Sadly it was the last installment of the event and we only just heard about it that week. But the completely weird, crazy and hilarious Strange Brew delivered a fine end-of-the-summer experience. I’ll definitely be back in the audience next summer and hope the event organizers replay some of this year’s choices such as Pee Wee’s Big Adventure and The Labryinth or something of the like. I am sure I am one of the few people that took this long to be on the Strange Brew bandwagon, so I don’t need to bother explaining what it’s about. Just pop in the DVD this weekend and open a bottle of beer, it’s beauty.
My last selection may be a little obscure but if you like indie films, check out Ceremony on DVD. The 2010 release stars Michael Angarano as Sam Davis, a hopeless romantic who crashes the wedding of a woman he met only met once, played by Uma Thurman.
Ever since I achieved my film fanatic status, a good indie is still my favorite genre. There can be unknown or established actors (obviously The Bride Uma Thurman is not a new face in Hollywood) and I enjoy plots that end with some soul searching by the viewer. In the case of Ceremony, the quirky backdrop of a hippie beach wedding and a remote retro hotel create a unique touch and add to the appeal of the film. Most indies I see provide the opportunity to interject myself into the plot and ask, what would I do?
Would I drag my friend on a road trip to reunite with a lost love or do nothing and risk never knowing what would have happened? Ceremony may not please all audiences, but it took a potentially complex and heavy plot and turned it around to be as happy as it is sad. 
Hope those suggestions provide something for everyone, relax and enjoy the show!

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