a) Charlie St. Cloud: This one set off my Alert, You Will Enjoy This! radar from the first preview, but for some reason everyone was really down on it. I don't know why. It was full of perfect things: Zac Efron being surprisingly adorable from start to finish. A little touch of Scrubs: Interns magic in the form of Dave Franco. Two sharp twists. And actual legitimate hypothermia rescue! (THIS FILM IS MADE OF MAGIC) And towards the end I could not stop crying. It was wonderful.
b) Ondine: I've never heard of this one, but then I saw it starred Colin Farrell, followed by the words "he catches a beautiful and mysterious woman in his [fishing] nets. His daughter Annie comes to believe that the woman is a mythical creature, while Syracuse falls hopelessly in love." UM SOLD. And let me put it this way: it's basically the PG-13, Irish version of "Enchanted," with selkie mythology instead of animation and magic.
The best indicator of its quality was that it started fast -- usually I end up fast-forwarding the first 5-10 minutes of a movie, waiting for them to get to something resembling a point, but I was immediately hooked and didn't even glance at the clock until we were fifteen minutes in.
You know what the back of the DVD doesn't mention? That his daughter has kidney failure and spends some time on both dialysis and using a wheelchair (this latters results in her getting picked up and carried a couple of times, all of which is just the sweetest thing. There is nothing better than Colin Farrell playing roles that are nothing like him in real life).
Storyline-wise, I had no idea what was going to happen, so I let myself get swept away by the selkie idea. I was totally surprised by the twist -- yes, totally -- and then I clasped my hands and declared "I LOVE IT." The ending was also especially perfect.
Oh, and the soundtrack was beautiful, the highlight of which is that Lisa Hannigan and I have finally connected musically ("Lille") after years spent just thinking she was really pretty.
c) Flyboys: Not bad for a war movie! I mean, it took forever to get off the ground, but eventually its minor love story subplot -- with a language barrier done so much better than in in Off the Map -- got going enough to distract me until I was more thoroughly invested in the pilots who were not James Franco (whom, it should be noted, is really very attractive in uniform. And/or while holding bedside vigil for wounded ladies). And I bring up Off The Map so I can transition into complaining about why Martin Henderson is not a bigger household name, because I have thoroughly enjoyed every role I've seen him in so far. This was no exception, and that's not even including the fact that his character here has a half-grown pet lion, apparently just for the heck of it.
d) Bride Wars: HAH! I have been saying for months I would love this, and I did. I genuinely do not get what there was to dislike about this film. It delivered the silly romp of an entertaining rom-com I expected -- I was actually prepared for a lot more zany and ridiculous antics than there even were -- and the rest seemed like a pretty great friendship story to me, featuring wonderful actresses. It was so cute! The only actual bad part of this movie was having Chris Pratt as one of the grooms, and we exposed him as a loser and drummed him out of town, so, boo-yah..
Now, if you'll excuse me, I have an amazing night of television to get to. Castle is on deck for the second live-airing time of its life because apparently it's managed to stick its title character into a bank hostage situation. I did not authorize access to my Secret Plotline Wishes Journal for shows outside my purview, but since they obviously have it, I will enjoy the spoils.