“For Your Renting Pleasure” is back, compiling the movies that I’ve waited till now to see. Looking for something to rent this upcoming weekend? Here are a few selections to either consider or avoid: 10 Years, Lawless, or Ruby Sparks.
An ensemble cast (Channing Tatum, Rosario Dawson, Justin Long, Chris Pratt, Aubrey Plaza, just to name a few) goes back to high school ten years later to walk down memory lane, falling right back into the roles of the people they were back in the day. Some of the stories work better than others as the new people in their lives realize who their loved ones once were, or others work to finally make their dreams from ten years ago come true, or try to simply recapture their glory days, and I’m sad to say that Chris Pratt gets the short end of the stick as he spends the entire movie apologizing for being a douche to the “nerds,” all the while falling back into bad habits (lather, rinse, repeat).
10 Years goes the bittersweet route instead of going for large bouts of comedy, though some reverting back to past habits does offer up some funny moments (thinking mostly of Justin Long and Max Minghella’s storyline), so this definitely isn’t inspired by Romy and Michele’s High School reunion: no Post-It notes, no dance numbers (and now you know everything that I remember from that film). Sweet, sad, slightly funny, awkward, 10 Years will make you think twice about going to your own reunion in the future.
Final Grade: B-
A movie that might be aided greatly by SparkNotes, Lawless tells the true story of the three Bondurant brothers dealing in moonshine during the prohibition. The story weaves itself together in confusing ways because of the connections between characters, and I fear that reality might have actually hampered what this story could have been had it chosen to venture out more (assuming that it didn’t). For example, too much time was focused on a relationship between Shia LaBeouf’s peacocking screw-up of a younger brother and the girl he was fancying, as opposed to further fleshing out what the heck Gary Oldman or Jessica Chastain was doing there. More time with the three brothers together would have also been appreciated.
Then again, maybe I missed a large part of the expositional stuff because it isn’t always the easiest to understand what is being said through the thick accents of hicktown Virginia. Tom Hardy might be the worst of them all, but he is also the best of them all, even when dealing with his monotonously low drawl. Surrounded by actors like Chastain, Shia LaBeouf, and the unnaturally wide part in Guy Pearce’s hair, Hardy makes it look easy as he keeps his cool no matter the circumstances, intimidating without ever raising his voice. I just wish the ending had done a better job for these brothers, but seeing as it’s a true story the film can’t really be faulted for where the story has to end.
Final Grade: C+
When you’re single, it’s easy to fantasize about the perfect relationship you wish would come your way. Then you finally get that relationship, and are forced to the conclusion that love is not a one sided thing, even when it is something of your own creation.
Of your own creation? What the heck does that even mean? For Calvin, a novelist who is working through his writer’s block, it means that as he works on his next novel about a love story, hints start appearing around his home that there is a woman’s presence, culmination in the day in which she actually appears in his kitchen out of no where, flesh and blood instead of the words on the page she had been left as. This concept takes some turns for the hilarious as Calvin thinks that he’s had a psychological break, but once others also acknowledge her presence, it becomes an adorable story of love between Paul Dano and Zoe Kazan (who also wrote this one) until Ruby starts to become a person unto herself instead of just the idea of the perfect girl.
Ruby Sparks would make a great double feature with Stranger Than Fiction, though it does take a dip slightly darker in terms of the power we have over others.
Final Grade: B
Have any rental recommendations? Let me know in the comments below!