A Barefoot Dream (2010) -- 3/5
Awh, how cute. Underprivileged children running around smiling, laughing and crying with their eyes set on one specific goal -- to become soccer stars. It's a movie that can really translate to all cultures alike. Sports just work that way, and that's why we have the Olympics. So even if you were a little weary on watching a film with subtitles, a movie like this would be a good place to start. There are even children with a sports dream! And all children are adorable, no matter what culture.
I'm not a sports movie kind of person. They kind of all hold the same formula and either has one of two endings (they win or they don't). I don't care what sport it is, I get bored. However, this one had its amusing parts thanks to the adult actor (I honestly could not tell you his name). He talks out loud to himself like no one else can hear him, which is a really amusing character quirk and it also helped hold my interest.
There were some rather irking plot holes. The main character has a family he calls via phone every once in a while, but the director really doesn't dive into their estranged relationship. All the audience knows is that he has a son and possibly an ex-wife/girlfriend and neither want anything to do with him. You are also aware that he was a popular soccer player before, but no longer is and after his career he got in a lot of money trouble somehow. Honestly though, I didn't care enough for them to dive and deeper into his personal life back in Korea.
The children were very cute. They reminded me a lot of the kids in Slumdog Millionaire. The little girl was especially wonderful and was very close to bringing tears to my eyes when she was crying for the main actor to stay.
Another issue with the film was the languages. I'm sure this could possibly happen, but when the Korean character could easily have a conversation with the Indonesian guy who only speaks English it's odd to listen to. They can understand each other's languages, but cannot even speak one word of them? It felt slightly off to me.
It feels like every sports film to be honest. So if you like those types of movies, but are a little nervous to watch an international film, one like this could easily be a great segue into watching more of them.
It's Kind of a Funny Story (2010) -- 3/5
I had this movie forever sitting by my bluray player, waiting for me to watch it. I put my expensive Netflix membership to such great use, obviously. To be honest though, I was going through a Harry Potter obsession that this movie could not break into. I had been wanting to watch this movie for some time, and maybe my hopes were too high, but it just didn't click with me at all.
I feel like I missed the point of this movie. A kid checks himself into a mental ward at a hospital, has some good times with young females and older males, possibly discovers himself, and then after a week leaves because all is well! Oh, but in the end he specifically states that all is not really well, but it's a great start. I don't buy any of this. I also honestly cannot remember, but I'm pretty sure he falls in love with Emma Robert's character at the end, which also feels a little odd. Of course he's in love with her, just like he was in love with his best friend played by Zoe Kravitz of X-Men: First Class fame. Maybe I am jaded. Maybe I've seen one too many teen indie movies like this, but I'm a little tired of them. They have the same formula as Juno, and I feel like they want me to think the movie is oh so original. I honestly don't. And it bores me more than sports films.
Maybe the book is better, and just cannot be made into a movie (like many books!). Maybe I'm a grumpy 21 year old who dislikes romantic-y movies already. Or maybe my Post-Potter-Depression was still working into me and I cannot like anything that's not like Harry Potter. Maybe, maybe. It's all a maybe.
The acting and characters are what makes this movie interesting and worth watching I think. It's not unenjoyable. It's cutesy. The characters are solid. I'm sure the book goes into more depth with them (one would only hope) and all this movie could do was skim the surface with them. At least they could pull a great cast together to bring these characters to life. Great characters can stitch up any plot holes in a film, by making it more interesting and watchable :). It's also a lot better than most American rom-coms out there (please see my review on Friends with Benefits). I'm sure if you're an indie film fan, you will probably go gaga over this film. I can guarantee it.