Wednesday, January 8, 2014

mini-film reviews: Safety Not Guaranteed and Waiting for Superman

The premise of Safety Not Guaranteed is a great one: someone places a classified ad seeking a partner to travel in time. The title is the same as the ad's last line. When Seattle Magazine writer Jeff (New Girl's Jake Johnson) takes two interns (Aubrey Plaza and Karan Soni) to see who the person is. With such a great premise and a good cast, I had high hopes, but Safety Not Guaranteed flounders between two many genres. At times it's a witty satire, at time softly poignant, at times inspiring, and at time eye-rollingly bad. I rarely knew what the filmmaker wanted from me, and while I love a genre-defining mash-up, this attempt lacked consistency and clarity of focus. For every moment I loved, there was one I hated. There were moments of brilliance, but there were also far too many moments of boredom for a film only 86 minutes long. As a first film, some of these sins are forgiveable, and I will gladly tune in to see what Derek Connolly writes next. Rating: 3 out of 5

Waiting for Superman is a documentary about the state of American public schools. It's simultaneously depressing and inspiring, which is an impressive balance. There is a lot of good in the film, and it's certainly one I recommend, but it is also not without its faults and shortcomings. Filmmaker Davis Guggenheim uses the stories of five children entering school lotteries to put faces on the plight of neighborhood school. While this technique is effective in humanizing the problem, it also steers the film's focus away from other problems. At times the film feels like it's several different films, and the jumps between storylines are not always smooth. While I enjoy and appreciate almost all of the pieces, ultimately the execution

As an affiliate, I receive a small commission when you make a purchase through any of the above links. Thank you for helping to support my book habits that bring more content to this blog!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thank you for taking the time to comment. Happy reading!