That describes the backlog I have at the moment. It's really because I've been watching a lot of tv (particularly Parks and Recreation) over the last couple of weeks (review a film or watch 2 episodes? ... Poehler wins), but it was already stacking up before then. I'll get a load of non-cinema offerings out of the way here, before doing some stuff I've done on the podcast but not written up yet.
First up I'll take Safety Not Guaranteed, which I checked out because I'd heard nice things and it was an obvious move after seeing Aubrey Plaza on Parks.... I thought this started off really well, being very funny quite consistently and having a nice sense of its own ridiculousness. A couple of things let it down though, namely a slightly mis-cast Mark Duplass (who lacks the level of charm to really make it work and doesn't fit that well opposite Plaza) and the writer having no idea what to do at the end at all. As a result it's extremely underwhelming because the set up was so promising, but the payoff so, so, rushed and weak. It is still a cute little watch though with a fair bit going for it, sadly it ends up being nothing more than that.
After that I saw a film that Plaza has a cameo in, The End of Love, which is written and directed by Mark Webber, who I have a big soft spot for after The Hottest State. The fictionalised story here is of an actor named Mark struggling to raise his child whilst struggling to pursue a Hollywood career. At its heart, when it focuses on his new relationship with Shannyn Sossamon's character, it's quite interesting and played well, but this is a fairly aimless, wandering film that shuffles along. It does get across the relentlessness of being a parent and it does get across how soul-destroying chasing the Hollywood dream can be, but it doesn't really say anything new or interesting about grief, though, no matter how well Webber acts the big moments when they come. Either way, he's a compelling performer and it's worth a look, despite the odd piece of clunky plotting.
Moving on, I was given a copy of Whole Lotta Sole to watch (in America it was called Stand Off), which is a very random Irish comedy starring Brendan Fraser and directed by Terry George. It's pretty silly stuff, but a fair bit of it is quite amusing, with it essentially turning into a small town version of Dog Day Afternoon. The cast are all solid and do nice work, it shifts along and doesn't outstay its welcome: this was a very easy little watch.
Keeping in the Irish vein, I was also given a copy of The Guard, which I'd been interested in seeing for a while. In comparison with Whole Lotta Sole this was funnier, more stylish and has better acting, even if the humour relies far more on one liners than the situations created. The Tarantino influence is all over this, but the calling card really is the script, allowing Brendan Gleeson, Don Cheadle, and especially Mark Strong to come and play. This is pretty much a "does what it says on the tin"-type film, as it's entertaining throughout and hits far more often than it misses.
Lastly, I'll briefly mention a couple of films I've talked about on the podcast. I saw All Things To All Men, which was a very by-the-numbers British crime thriller starring Rufus Sewell, Toby Stephens and Gabriel Byrne. There isn't really much on show here, but it's watchable enough for the most part, even if the finale isn't half as gripping as they probably were aiming for. I also saw Come Out and Play, which is a horror film starring Vinessa Shaw. This was a poor example of the genre, with the director aping the likes of David Lynch but merely creating an uneven, overlong piece as a result. The shocks aren't shocking, the jumps don't work, the tone isn't refined and the predictability certainly doesn't help matters. Only watched these two to give us something to talk about.