Guess it has been some time since the last post, huh?  Well, John was awesome and got a top five up before his super secret trip.  I’m waiting on one movie (or the end of this week, whichever comes first) to do the same.  And I’ve been under the weather lately, plus I’ve been in a rut of average-ish movies that didn’t inspire me to do a whole post.  So I’ll bunch up five I’ve recently seen into two categories:

Great, but underutilized cast

Easy Virtue:  Really, any movie with Colin Firth and Kristen Scott Thomas should almost by definition be amazing, and that’s before I mention it was written and directed by the guy who did Priscilla.  Alas, Easy Virtue falls short of the mark.  Set in the 1920s and based on a Noel Coward play, the film stars Jessica Biel as an American whirlwind who marries a young Englishman (Ben Barnes) in a fit of passion and then goes to his estate to meet the family.  Call it a precursor to Meet The Parents, if you like, though this is a little darker.  The film has a lot of trouble setting a consistent tone and events seem to occur out of order.

Lymelife: Set around 1980 in Long Island, the cast includes the Culkins Rory and Kieran, Alec Baldwin, Jill Hennessy, Cynthia Nixon, Emma Roberts, and Timothy Hutton.  It is part crumbling family drama, part coming-of-age story, and part an exploration of Lyme disease.  I think in a different year, with maybe some relatively small script changes, this film could have been a You Can Count on Me or The Sweet Hereafter.  The film’s biggest problem, in my opinion, is its fear of exploring any relationship too in-depth.  Perhaps because of the story’s personal nature to the writers (Derick and Steven Martini),  the drama seems to be missing its edge.  Also, not to go all Brian on you, but based on the trailers for Nancy Drew and Hotel for Dogs, I didn’t really buy Emma Roberts as an ingenue, but I changed my mind.

Shrink: Stars Kevin Spacey as a psychiatrist to the stars who has been going on a pot-smoking binge since his wife’s recently-committed suicide.  There were times when I felt the film was on the verge of breaking through to something really great, but it caught itself and settled for complacency.  The character is set up for Spacey to be an Oscar dark horse, but he isn’t given quite enough screen time to show off.  I may or may not have put this on my queue for Jesse Plemons as a drug dealer, but he doesn’t disappoint, even if he seems to be trying to channel Matt Damon a little.  Also, I’ve watched one episode of True Jackson, VP (because Julie Bowen was in it!), but Keke Palmer shone here.

Offbeat really specific genre

Good Dick – The genre being a guy, a girl, and severe social problems.  Other things in the genre include Adam (at least, that’s my very educated guess, still waiting for it to come out on DVD), Big Bang Theory, and every relationship I witnessed at the University of Chicago.  Written and directed by (and co-starring) Marianna Palka, the film portrays a woman virtually unable to function in the outside world, save for going to the video rental store for porn and the somewhat-troubled video store clerk (Jason Ritter) who desperately tries to woo her.  It is (intentionally) all kinds of awkward and raw, at times to the point of distraction.  Tom Arnold shows up for a pretty devastating scene, and Martin Starr is in a few scenes.

The Killing Room – The genre being a bunch of people, a room, and people gonna die.  Think Cube or Saw.  I happen to think Cube was brilliant, if not quite polished.  And I’m not really big on Saw, but I do think the idea is inspired.  It is kinda hard to describe without giving away too much, but basically the premise is that the government is performing some sort of creepy experiment (supervised by Peter Stormare) involving a few people and a room.  The story unfolds in an interesting manner: Stomare is interviewing Chloe Sevigny to see if she can cut it on the project, and does so by showing her tape from a recent experiment involving Nick Cannon, Clea DuVall, Timothy Hutton, and Shea Wigham.  I wouldn’t classify this as horror, really, more psychological thriller.  I actually really love this genre (or at least I do in theory) and I think this film is a worthy addition, though I would have liked to have seen more time in the room and the ending refined a little.