Smiley Face (2007): And again, I'm going to spend the first part of this review/summary discussing the lead actor and how wonderful I find him/her. I really love Anna Faris. I find her excruciatingly funny. I will watch categorically unfunny movies, movies in which the plot and writing are just terrible and cater to the lowest common denominator (House Bunny, Just Friends), because I love Anna Faris--she makes the unfunny funny. And, if you're going to make a movie based entirely around one actor's facial expressions, Anna Faris could not be a more perfect choice. She's wonderful and relateable and joyful and efforvescent and sends me into paroxysms of laughter. Directed by Gregg Araki, who's known for doing trippy, bloody little films like The Doom Generation (which I started watching once, and then had to turn off because it was making my stomach turn, but still intend on finishing one of these days); he likes to visually play with his audience and his character, producing strange, cartoonish little hallucinations, taking us on a journey with poor Jane, she of the accidental consumption of a plate full of pot cupcakes. This is funny, and fun to watch, and chock full of great cameos. Here is a list: John Krasinski, Brian Posehn, Adam Brody (with dreads), Jim Rash, Jayma Mays, Jane Lynch, Rick Hoffman, Carrot Top, and John Cho and Danny Trejo as workers at a sausage factory. The movie lost me in its very last scenes, but was still thoroughly enjoyable.
Attack the Block (2011): FROM THE PRODUCERS OF SHAUN OF THE DEAD. It's printed on the poster and in movie summaries on every website known to man, so I figured I'd put that up front. Fun Fact: I'm not a huge Shaun of the Dead fan. I'm more a Hot Fuzz kind of gal. But, I digress. I really thought in the first fifteen minutes that I was not going to enjoy this movie at all. The kids we're supposed to be routing for, the ones who are going to save their block and, probably, mankind from an invasion of ferocious, neon-toothed, black as pitch, gorilla wolf aliens, are sort of assholes. In the opening scene, they rob one of their neighbors and then push her down in the street. But, then something happens as the movie progresses. These kids, yes, are still assholes, but I kind of forgive them that because they're so stout and bold and fearless--they are boys among boys, in a world that expects them to grow up and get tough really fast. This movie is often sold to people as being Goonies-esque, and it sort of is--it tugs at the heart strings in the same way while being ten times more brutal (spoiler: not all of these boys survive). The trajectory of this movie is such that, like movies like Independence Day, by the end of it, had you been drinking quite a bit, you might want to stand up on your sofa and cheer, or at least fist pump, or, as was our case, turn to the other people in the room while you all collectively say something to the extent of, "Wow, that was really good."