GANGSTER SQUAD is a big over-ripe plum of a film. It’s the kind of mid-budget studio flop that we don’t really see any more, where you can almost see a cigar-chomping producer’s thumbprints all over the celluloid: a bunch of disparate crowd-pleasing elements (flashy violence, all-star cast, sharp suits, men-on-a-mission) that execs think will be enough to fuel that crucial opening weekend in and of themselves, which have been slapped together by filmmakers who resolve to worry about populating it with characters, emotion and intrigue at a later date. Or, as is the case with Ruben Fleischer's GANGSTER SQUAD, never.
I made this time-travel comedy my first movie of 2013 after hearing good things from trusted parties, and despite a distribution strategy that seems half-hearted at best I was glad I made the effort to track it down.
Ultimate sulky girl-crush Aubrey Plaza plays Darius, a young woman at odds with the world who finds herself interning at a magazine for dickheads and doing assorted donkey work for flashy a-hole journalists. One such flashy a-hole (played by Jake Johnson, who initially distracts purely by dint of not being Mark Ruffalo but eventually turns in the best performance of the film in what will hopefully be a breakout role for him) suggests a puff-piece based on a recent classified ad, that states simply: “Wanted: Someone to go back in time with me. This is not a joke. You’ll get paid after we get back. Must bring your own weapons. I have only done this once before. SAFETY NOT GUARANTEED.” After getting the commission, the journo sets off into the sticks with Darius and another intern, the intensely geeky Arnau, to find who placed the ad and start putting a piece together. However, the disaffected Darius begins to warm to the idea of an adventure and, particularly, the enticing prospect of time travel…
Here we are guys. The top ten of 2012. It all feels so final, doesn't it?
For general housekeeping please refer to my previous entry, but otherwise let's get right to it.
(I will say this though - THE DARK KNIGHT RISES was initially in my top 5, before I had a change of heart and dropped it down to #11 for some reason. In between these two posts I've rewatched it and realised I was wrong to do so. For the sake of completists at home, slot DKR in at #6, and shift everything below it down one. Or do whatever the hell you want, it's just a dumb list anyway.)
Hey there. I saw a lot of films in 2012. A lot of them were good. Very good. In fact, in the words of Homer Simpson, it was a very good beer. Except switch the word 'beer' with 'year'. Then you'll get what I mean.
Films like THE AVENGERS, END OF WATCH, GRABBERS, THE DESCENDANTS, THE INNKEEPERS were all good, for example. RUBY SPARKS was good. SINISTER was good. PARANORMAN and FRANKENWEENIE were both good. THE GREY is very good. TOWER BLOCK, SKYFALL, EXCISION. KID WITH A BIKE, 21 JUMP STREET. DREDD. These are all films that I classify as 'good' on the sliding scale of bad/good without losing much sleep.
None of these films were good enough to make my top 21.