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Tuesday, July 24, 2012

'Safety Not Guaranteed' Stands Out in the Summer Indie Battle

Welcome back. Let's get right into three independent films, two - Safety Not Guaranteed and Your Sister's Sister - with an unlikely leading man in Mark Duplass. The third film is Take This Waltz written and directed by Sarah Polley, whom I interviewed a couple years ago when she came out with Away With Her starring the great Julie Christie. (By the way, if you've never seen the late, great Canadian TV show Slings and Arrows, of which Polley starred in one season, please see it.) For me, Safety Not Guaranteed is the best film of these three. It's original, funny and totally stays in the world that it creates for itself. Also, Aubrey Plaza (of Parks and Recreation fame) establishes herself as someone who can carry a film. Your Sister's Sister also stays within its limits and knows when to finish. But it really doesn't reach too far. You almost get the feeling that it would have made a better play. Emily Blunt is as likeable as ever, though I think I liked her better in Salmon Fishing in Yemen. (She does dtay busy.) Take This Waltz starts out as the most sophisticated of these three films. Michelle Willliams looks like such a little thing here; hard to believe that she was so convincing as Marilyn Monroe in the underrated My Week With Marilyn. Polley sets up a very believable story here. Williams is married to the steady, nerdily funny but not exciting Seth Rogen - who really does well here in a more subdued role.  She meets the handsome neighbor across the street on a work trip setting up an interesting quandary. But Polley just doesn't know where to go with it, so she keeps on going. And going. It's still worth seeing - just a shame when good could have been great.  Nice to see three films, however, driven strongly by talented women. Your Sister's Sister was also written and directed by a woman - Lynn Shelton. Go see them and let me know what you think.

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