For Your Renting Pleasure

Griff the Invisible HeaderThis week of non-new-releases includes Griff the Invisible (which is technically in theaters, but deserves to be in this post because of it’s short run), Priest, and Uncertainty.

Griff the Invisible (2010)

I know at this point there seems to be about as many regular Joe superhero movies as there are actual superhero movies, including Kick-Ass, Defendor, and Super, but it’s time to add one more to the list of those worth seeing.  Griff the Invisible is an Australian film about a guy who has not completely grown up, whether he has some mental development disorder, social anxiety, or just loves playing pretend.  Ryan Kwanten, best known for playing Jason Stackhouse in True Blood, plays Griff, a character far from the high school football star and ladies man of this show.  However, the transition is amazing into this shy, awkward character, going between these characteristics and those of the confident crime-fighter smoothly.

At first it was a little worrisome that Griff isn’t quite as exciting on an action level as those mentioned above, but eventually it becomes apparent that it is about the character himself and what is going on psychologically, adding a whole new level to this often traveled concept.  This added level to the story gives the film heart, as well as simply makes it easier to connect to as a viewer considering how awkward the characters are.  To top this off, Maeve Dermody helps in this arena as someone with an interest in Griff, both romantically and simply because of who he is.  They are kindred spirits in believing that this world is more than what we see it as, a type of cognitive Neverland where more is possible than most would imagine.

The film does more than I expected it to as a part of this genre, something that I would never think to describe as being cute.  But that is what Griff the Invisible is, and as it goes for the jab at the heart it gives an ending that is nothing but well deserved.

Final Grade:  B

Side note – I actually saw Griff the Invisible in theaters this past week, but it was only in STL for one week.  I suggest you check your local theaters to see if it is playing, but if it isn’t then add it to the movies you need to rent in the future.

Priest (2011)

After watching Legion a while back, another film starring Paul Bettany as a being fighting supernatural CGI creatures, Priest wasn’t exactly high on my list of movies to sit through.  But it had the awesome, fighting champ of Maggie Q, and vampires, so I pretty much had to watch it for better or worse.

Simply put, Priest isn’t the best film by any means, but it definitely surprised me in a much-better-than-expected way.  I may never understand the draw of creating a Batman voice along the lines of Christian Bale (Deus Ex Human Revolution was another offender), but as much as I can poke fun at Bettany for this, the man can act.  And packs quite a punch.  Ok, so no one can run up rocks that are being thrown through the air, but if you could suspend your beliefs for the wire-work in films like Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon then try to do the same for this one.  Plus the animalistic, CGI vampires they fight look pretty good, so they can choose any way they want to add to the excitement.

Priest may have nothing on Firefly / Serenity, which is at the top of the list for this genre clash, but it is still a welcome addition to the futuristic western films.

Final Grade:  B-

Uncertainty (2009) – Currently a Netflix Instant Queue option

It is no secret that the choices we make have a larger reach than we give them credit for.  Ripples and what not.  That’s why I am ok with being as indecisive as I am.  I’m not being annoying; I’m being safe.

Uncertainty tries to create a story around this concept, and though I can applaud what they are trying to do, I cannot say that it works as well as hoped.  In the beginning of the movie, a couple is standing on a bridge between Manhattan and Queens, with the question of what they want to do for the rest of the day.  On a dime they break apart, each running the opposite direction.  However, when they make it off the bridge on their respective side their significant other is there.  In other words there are two versions of the following day.  Two of Lynn Collins and two of Joseph Gordon-Levitt.  Two separate stories to follow.

The problem with this is that I am not sure if the two versions of the couples are believable when comparing.  On one hand we have a drama, while on the other we have an action film (almost as if the former were added to stop comparisons to Eagle Eye).  These two things can go well together, and honestly by doing so it created an interesting pace so that we are not constantly watching the action couple running and plotting, but at the same time by watching them simultaneously I couldn’t really believe that these two couples were the opposite sides of the same coin.  Would a couple that is spending the day with family and debating their future really get wrapped up in criminal activities had they made a different choice that morning?  I don’t know, but I am thinking no.

Point is, the film attempts to create a story to depict a concept that many people think about on a philosophical level, but I just don’t know if they created the best story to do so.  Just know, that whatever path you choose, at the end of the day you will have sex.

Final Grade:  C

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