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Old 06-06-2012, 03:41 PM   #1
sshuttari
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Default Safety Not Guranteed - Review Thread

Safety Not Guranteed - Review Thread



Every so often I stumble across the kind of film that captures both heart and soul, the kind of film that makes me laugh and cry, makes me scoot forward on the edge of my seat, not because of the thrill of the chase or the climax of dramatic tension, but simply because I am cheering for the characters to make it! Because somehow my hope has found a way to attach to the hope of the characters, because I have felt strangely welcomed into their journey, because I am longing to believe that this world is more than a cold, cynical place, and that something beyond the natural may just be possible. There are lots of "feel-good" movies about relationships and love, but not quite as many that touch a chord deep within all of us that is usually reserved for the realm of religion or spiritual experience. Sometimes, a movie is made that feels transcendent. For me, that is how I left the theater after watching Safety Not Guaranteed at Sundance. It helped that the packed theater erupted in a cathartic cheer at the movie's final moment, which tells me that something else was going on for my fellow film-goers as well. In short, I think that this funny, engaging, interesting, character-driven, heart-warming independent film shot on a shoestring budget on location in Oregon touched that part in all of us that longs to believe in the unbelievable, that wonders if the "impossible" might, just might possibly be true after all.

Safety Not Guaranteed is about Kenneth (Mark Duplass), a man who is creating a time machine and places an ad in a local classifieds looking for a partner to time travel with him. The ad tells readers: "This is not a joke. Bring your own weapons. Safety not guaranteed." Intrigued, a local magazine decides to send a staff-writer (who has his own time-travel agenda of revisiting a 20 year old high-school first love) and two interns to find the author and see how crazy he really is. The film weaves the boy-meets-girl main storyline with two sub-plots of self-discovery: the thirty-something writer's encounter with his old high school fling, and the classic-nerd intern encouraged to make his own youthful fling. Initially playing the part, Darius the intern (Aubrey Plaza) starts to fall for a man driven by his passion, with whom she finds a connection in her own past pain and regret. Not your Back To the Future time travel story, we never see the machine until the end, and the director leaves us wondering if it even exists. And yet, we are led masterfully throughout the narrative to long for, maybe even start to believe that Kenneth is "for real" and that he has stumbled onto the kind of adventure that transcends the pain of the ordinary present. Without this hope for the impossible, this longing for "another world," Safety Not Guaranteed would be just like any other romantic comedy where the misfit get the girl, and the cynical girl forgives herself and opens her heart to love.

The beauty of the film is in its hope-filled longing, its call to believe. We stand at the lake beside the time machine with Darius, watching Kenneth stretch his hand out and ask us to take a step of faith, to put into action what we have been secretly hoping was possible. For the first time Darius has to take a real step to truly believe, which is a great conclusion to the film. Isn't that the heart of faith in God? There are many who say they believe and hope very much that it is all true. But in the end, are we willing to step out onto the boat and commit, when the outstretched hand beckons us to put our trust in Another and when the whole thing looks rather silly or (worse), rather crazy? Such is the story we are all asked to live, and a movie like Safety Guaranteed gets an audience standing ovation because we know Darius' step of faith is ours as well.

****/*****
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Old 06-20-2012, 03:32 PM   #2
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i think the forum need to be more active..
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Old 06-20-2012, 07:55 PM   #3
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I cannot wait to see this. Mark Duplass can do no wrong.
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Old 06-21-2012, 06:38 PM   #4
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Yeah I'm looking forward to seeing this too. Possibly tonight....or most likely not.
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Old 07-02-2012, 12:26 AM   #5
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Saw this today, and I'm completely surprised at how disappointed I was. It seemed like all the pieces were put into place, given the cast and how well the reception was, that I was going to love this.

The whole thing just felt undeveloped to me I guess. Either some characters or plot elements were just there to waste space (the Indian kid for example) or things were developed to a point and then completely cut off without a resolution (Jake M. Johnson's character's story arch). It feels like it needed 15-20 more minutes of screen time. Also none of the characters or conversations felt as authentic or invigorating as other films like it (Duplass Brothers films, etc.).

I like the cast, especially Aubrey Plaza and Mark Duplass, and I did think their development was incredibly touching and romantic. But besides that I was just disappointed by this, sadly.

6/10
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Old 10-21-2012, 07:29 AM   #6
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Finally got around to seeing this.

I honestly felt the heart-strings plucked quite a bit by this one.

We have a story here about a man, Kenneth, who posts an ad seeing a partner to time travel with him. With some ulterior motives in his pocket, a reporter, Jeff (played by Jake Johnson), for a Seattle magazine offers to cover the story and take some interns with him. When one of the interns, Darius (played by Park and Rec's Aubrey Plaza), begins to see more in the man they assumed would be crazy, a quirky series of events unfolds.

Darius and Kenneth have their own story, while Jeff is off chasing his own. To be honest, I was more intrigued with his story simply because it's a situation I have been in to some degree, and I felt ever feeling he felt when he walked out of that house that morning.

I also related with Kenneth, however. I'm a bit of an oddball, and I tend to attract women who are like Darius. That said, Kenneth has obviously found it hard to find a mate because of how off-kilter he is, and this is the kind of movie that gives weirdos like me hope that our Darius is out there somewhere with us. I found myself rooting for the characters, and was surprised that some very real crime was happening in the midst of what seemed like a silly quest by a silly man. Even one scene was pretty self-actualizing when a burglary is carried out, and the people being burgled literally just walk after the burglar as if they are in shock he's actually doing what he is doing - it just seems too bizarre to be true.

The ending is abrasive and will undoubtedly ostracize a few viewers, but, it is much less frustrating than something like, say, Inception. Honestly, unless you're a total cynic, then the ending is exactly what we'd want in a movie like this.

I found nothing to dislike here, and I think the director/producer really struck gold with the cast and film crew.

9/10
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Old 10-21-2012, 11:09 AM   #7
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i seriously am starting to hate mark duplass. guy is so... smug. nothing better describes him than smug.

and i hate smug sons of *****es.
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Old 10-21-2012, 11:21 AM   #8
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One of my friends met him and said he was a jerk. Not surprised.
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Old 10-24-2012, 09:03 AM   #9
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I heard his WTF interview and he definitely comes across as a bit of a prick. I still enjoy most of his work.
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Old 10-27-2012, 12:24 PM   #10
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He hasn't done anything great since The Puffy Chair. Right now, he's just an 'indiewood' poster boy.
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Old 11-10-2012, 11:27 AM   #11
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well duplass wasn't my problem with this flick like i thought he would be, i liked the final third of the flick, but it was just one of those extremely hardcore 'indie' films that come out every year. the only difference in this one, is the main character virgin is a girl now instead of the standard guy, and some claims about time travel are involved.

so many indie tropes in this movie it was hard to keep count, the playboy that gets turned down by his love interest, the nerd that comes out of his shell, the wise/sage like black man that worked at the grocer (granted i'm stretching this one a bit...).

if you must, watch it once, that is all it is worth.
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Old 11-16-2012, 05:26 PM   #12
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7.5/10

It was funnier than I thought it would be but I didn't really like Mark Duplass and hes obviously a big part of the movie. Cool ending.
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