SYNOPSIS: In the 186 days that have passed since the Reel Guys drank too much champagne on New Year’s Eve, Iron Man three has made more money than the GNP of some small countries, Fast & Furious 6 was faster and furiouser than the previous five Vin Diesel car crazy movies and The Hangover Part III left us with a headache. At the midway mark of the year the Reel Guys look back at the best of the first six months of the year.
Richard: Mark, it’s been a weird year. Things that I was really looking forward to, like Melissa McCarthy and Jason Bateman in Identity Thief, fell really flat, but other things like the off-the-radar The Purge turned out to be really good fun. From the early part of the year I’d choose Warm Bodies a zom com that is essentially one joke—the zombie as a metaphor for awkward teenager love—but a pretty good one and well performed. What about you?
Mark: Two blockbuster movies impressed me: Iron Man 3 and Star Trek: Into Darkness. But my 2 favorite movies of the year were Side Effects and Trance. Both were Hitchcockian thrillers that started out as one thing but cleverly morphed into something else. But I’ve always enjoyed mind games, Richard, as any of my detractors will tell you.
RC: I liked both Side Effects and Trance, but as far as thrillers go my pick of the litter would be The Bay, an eco-apocalypse horror movie from Diner director Barry Levinson. He assembles an eye-catching array of fictional news footage, phone camera images, surveillance videotape, Skype and “homemade” videos to tell the story and it will make you think twice before ever drinking tap water again!
MB: The Bay was interesting although unfortunate product placement for the store. I liked The Great Gatsby a lot although I knew the story all too well. The Place Beyond The Pines is an ambitious sprawling movie that has three connecting stories. The whole is less than the sum of its parts but most of it is worth its loooooong running time.
RC: My two favorite films so far this year have been Frances Ha and Before Midnight. Frances Ha stars the transcendent Greta Gerwig as a twenty-something dancer trying to make it in New York City. Warm and charming, it captures the vagaries of a mostly rudderless life. Another movie I hope to watch over and over is Before Midnight, the third film in the Ethan Hawke-Julie Delpy relationship trilogy. Done with humor, heart and pathos, often in the same scene, it is a poignant farewell to two characters who grew up in front of us.
MB: I liked Frances Ha and I think it’s the breakthrough role Gerwig has been looking for. But it was very similar to last year’s Lola Versus which I found funnier though not as artful.