Friends with Benefits
It is a shame when a film with such a talented cast (Justin Timberlake, Mila Kunis, Woody Harrelson, Patricia Clarkson, Richard Jenkins, Emma Stone, etc.) fails to reach the level it strives for. What starts off rather promising quickly becomes conventional and rather silly. Really, why must every romantic comedy have a break up scene in the third act? This brings me to my main issue with the film, it only has thirty minutes worth of actual story. The whole subplot with Dylan (Timberlake) and his father (Jenkins) feels tacked on last minute instead of authentic. It completely disrupts the fun flirty rhythm of the first two acts. The elaborate use of the Flash Mob completely destroys any last ounce of reality that the film was attempting. I also would have loved to see Woody Harrelson’s Tommy utilized a lot more. He was one of the more entertaining supporting characters. As far as romantic comedies go, Friends with Benefits is not as edgy as the commercials lead you to believe. It is a rather conventional film that has a few amusing moments but, is ultimately forgettable.
Ichi the Killer
Ichi the Killer is one of those films that you really cannot recommend to the casual film viewer. Takashi Miike fills his film with dark humour and brutally sadistic violence that will have viewers wincing during several scenes. The plot involves the death of a mob boss, Anjo, at the hands of an assassin named Ichi (Nao Omori). While the rest of the gang seems content with moving on with their lives, Anjo’s sadomasochistic enforcer Kakihara (Tadanobu Asano) is determined to avenge his fallen mentor. Although the premise offers Miike plenty of room to play, the excessive violence against women is rather tough to watch. Miike often juxtaposes scenes of almost cartoon level violence with dark comedic humour, sadly the jokes wear thin the third time you see a female character get brutally beaten. Those who enjoy absurd levels of blood and violence may find Ichi the Killer enjoyable. Unfortunately, the film does not compare to Miike’s other more memorable works, and it is not one that I will be revisiting in the near future.
Ichi the Killer is part of our "The Must See List" series.