They Came Together (2014)
David Wain's latest is the first of his I've seen, and if They Came Together is any indication I should probably seek out Wet Hot American Summer and the rest. This does for the American romantic comedy what Cabin in the Woods did for the American horror movie, albeit with only a fraction of the tact and artistry. This low-aiming farce delivers frequent laughter whilst attempting gags non-stop.
Young Ones (2014)
Simply put, Young Ones is one of the most refreshing films of the year. The characters and handling of the material feels more like classic Hollywood than anything remotely indie. This sci-fi Western is an unsuspecting family saga. In only his second feature Jake Paltrow spreads his wing in as impressive an array as Rian Johnson's early work.
The Guest (2014)
Adam Wingard and Simon Barrett's follow up to You're Next kicks off with a discharged soldier paying a visit to the family of a fallen comrade. What begins as an amusing mystery evolves into a riotous action bonanza all while sporting the trimmings of a horror film. Imagine if John Carpenter has directed The Terminator on a very modest budget.
Perhaps Love (2005)
This love triangle is intent on turning itself inside out as a director, actor and actress play similar roles on and off the camera. Replete with few and far between Moulin Rouge!-esque musical numbers, most of Perhaps Love felt like a merry-go-round that wouldn't let me off.
The Maze Runner (2014)
The latest attempt to tap the young adult oil field borrows from the best (the Harry Potter series and The Hunger Games: Catching Fire) as well as the worst (Ender's Game?). There's stretches of great storytelling, but it loses its way before a most repellent lack of an ending. Dylan O'Brien is superb and I vow not to forget his name.
When I heard about this film opening this year's Sundance Film Festival, described as a drama centered on a jazz student (Miles Teller) and his instructor (J.K. Simmons), my interest was only mildly piqued due to the talent involved. To be sure, it's the best I've seen from either, but Whiplash gripped me from the way the opening title is shown to the climactic finale.
It Follows (2014)
One of the finest teen horror films to come my way in a thousand moons, It Follows is a terrifying parable of STDs and the importance of trustworthy peers. Mike Gioulakis' clockwork camerawork and Disasterpeace's shrilling and chilling score seal the deal.
"Tomorrow" looks to be in good hands with strong actors like Miles Teller, Dylan O'Brien, Kodi Smit McPhee (Young Ones) and Maika Monroe (The Guest and It Follows). Also, all of these films (with the exception of They Came Together) demonstrate the powerful impact of a cold opening. Few things can pull the viewer in like the intrigue of an opening scene or shot and the innate desire to orient ourselves.
Share your thoughts on any of these films or what you watched last week in the comments below!