I remember when I was younger, cracking up to the Jack Black and Kyle Gass’ music video for “Tribute” off of the first Tenacious D album. I still laugh to this day when they get to “Rock!” And I might be the only one here, but I did laugh during their movie The Pick of Destiny – regardless of how bad that actual movie was. But since then (2006), I haven’t cared enough to ask for another Tenacious D album, more or less because I didn’t care anymore. But then again, I don’t have to care OR ask, cause JB and KG are back with Rize of the Fenix, to metaphorically have them rise up from the ashes of The Pick of Destiny. I don’t know if they knew this was going to be even worse than that though. [Read more...]
Kung Fu Panda 2 is a heartfelt and action packed sequel that moves us deeper into the series’ mythology but seems to double down on stupid non-character based humor that pulls you out of the picture every time.
The film picks up shortly after the first with Po and The Furious Five protecting the lands around their temple but we also learn a bit about Po’s background. We are treated to a brief history lesson of China’s former Peacock Emperors and their son Lord Shen. Shen was a master of fireworks and when the Royal Soothsayer sees Shen’s future demise at the hands of a black and white warrior, the country’s pandas are placed in grave danger. Shen is ultimately banished and his eventual return will call Po and The Five to action.
The main through line of the film for Po is him coming to terms with his past and adopted daddy issues; with Shen falling right in line with Po’s past. The moments between Po and his dad, Mr. Ping, are full of heart and very emotional and this applies to both the flashbacks the film’s present timeline. The mystery behind Po’s biological parents is intriguing, if a bit thin, but that story is going to be further explored in the next film. As it is, Po’s flashbacks do a great job of giving us enough to wet our appetite for Po catching up to his past, it makes Shen a really evil character, and helps build our love for Po and where he has come from.
Year One takes a trip back to prehistoric times for its inspiration, but unfortunately no one remembered to pack the comedy.
Going off of survival of the fittest standards, Zed and Oh would have been bred out of the species a long time ago. In a nutshell, they are lazy outcasts who are unskilled at both aspects of their hunter/gatherer way of life and cannot get the girls they want to “lay with.” When the tribe has had enough of them following Zed’s light snack from the tree of knowledge, he is exiled from the tribe, with Oh choosing to accompany him because two people are just so much funnier than one. Eventually they cross the distant mountain range from their home, discovering that it isn’t actually the end of the world and that there is a lot they were not aware of (insert random highlights from the bible and history books here). [Read more...]
This is the first of a new column I will be writing for the remainder of the year culminating with a best of the decade list when it is all said and done. It’s almost hard to believe the first decade of this new millennium is almost over, but that just means we get to start debating what where the best films of this young century and why we think so. Over the next six months we will have a series of essays of my reflection and discussion on what made these films great to me and why I would love for you readers to seek them out. So sit back, take a gander, and let me know what you think. Agree, disagree, call me an idiot, but let me know in the comments why you loved it, hated it, or thought these films were just ok. So without further ado I give you my first entry into the series…
Peter Jackson’s – King Kong (2005)
After Peter Jackson finished the Lord of the Rings trilogy he could have made any, and I mean any, film he wanted to. He could have released a three hour film about a box of Cheez-it’s that cost 100 Million to make and it would have made its money back; well maybe. But Jackson choose to dive head first into another classic tale and one that he had held dear since his childhood, King Kong. [Read more...]
Harold Ramis is back behind the camera for his latest with his new Apatow friends and the result is a intermittently humorous film that is rather mediocre to not funny for over half the film.
Oh and Zed are a pair of tribesmen that are quite the pair of failures in their tribe. Zed is the worst hunter in the group and Oh is a gather which says a lot about these guys masculinity. Between bitching about being the outcasts of the tribe, the two bitch about how they can’t get a woman and after an incident at the Tree of Knowledge the Zed is banished from the tribe and Oh reluctantly follows him out into the world. Along there way they encounter various faces from the Old Testament and we are treated to a seemingly series of vignettes that take us all the way to Sodom where Zed and Oh are left with the task of saving their love interests who have become enslaved.
Now, let me just get this out of the way, this movie isn’t very good. In fact, if you don’t like Cera and Black playing Cera and Black then you will loathe this film as that is basically all this movie is. Now, I happen to enjoy Cera’s shtick, but I must admit it is getting old and I pray Edgar Wright makes him do something different in Scott Pilgrim, and he did make me laugh on a couple of occasions in the picture; same goes for Black. But overall the film is just a real bore, not very funny, and leaves you feeling extremely disconnected to everything.
There isn’t a story thread at all in the movie, we just jump around from one scene to the next which is supposed to be funny because it makes fun of some Bible stuff? Now, I am not a religious man, but I can really appreciate some good religious humor, but there is nothing more here besides a couple Jew’s aren’t athletic jokes and that is about as smart as the religious humor gets. 90% of all the other gags and bits in the movie revolve around fecal matter, urine, flatulence, dick, anal sex, and vagina jokes; really that is the best you can do? I found myself comparing this to History of the World Part I while watching this and while that isn’t even near being Mel Brooks best film, it is a masterpiece next to this mess. Sure that movie was a series of vignettes as well, but it was set up and delivered to us that way. The film sets itself up to be some journey for knowledge and with a purpose but serves a simply a vehicle to try and jump from one joke to the next. On top of this, some scenes just end seemingly in the middle with consequences at risk and the next scene starts immediately as nothing happened with no resolution whatsoever. None of the humor comes from the writing, or characters, or the story it is all a series of humorless gags and skits that has me seriously doubting whether I want to see a third Ghostbusters film since it is being written by the same pair of writers, Gene Stupnitsky and Lee Eisenberg, that whipped out this miserable piece of shit.
The acting in the film is fairly weak all across the board as well. Jack Black is Zed and is at his most annoying and is as bad as he has been in years. I have liked him in most everything he has done, especially of late in Tropic Thunder and Kung Fu Panda, but this might be the dumbest and worst performance of his career. Michael Cera, as Oh, supplies the most laughs in the film, but he has been far better in many other works; and lets hope Paper Heart is as great as the preview looks or else Cera might be in some serious trouble. (Seriously dude you don’t have to be the same guy every time, and I might have to disown you if you screw up Scott Pilgrim and don’t show any energy that Scott Pilgrim has almost all the time, I have faith Edgar Wright will keep you in line) David Cross is annoying and I love David Cross, so that is saying something. If you screw up having a brilliant comedian like Cross in your movie, you know you are in trouble. Oliver Platt was a bit to over the top in the picture for me, but at least he looked like he was having some fun in the role. Same goes for Hank Azaria as Abraham, who pound for pound was the funniest person in the film. Olivia Wilde is hot and has a couple of decent jokes, so she did fine, but for some reason they left Juno Temple to almost play a mute for 95% of the time she is on screen, it was really odd that she never talked. I was happy to see June Diane Raphael get a nice role to work with, and actually be fairly funny from time to time, as she was great in her small part in Flight of the Conchords and am glad to see her getting more work. As for the rest of the cast, they are rather forgettable and one trick ponies and no one elevates their game to stand out from the crowd in this weak ensemble.
In the end, Year One is a mess and one that you should probably avoid. If you are a fan of Cera and Black being Cera and Black then you might find some enjoyment. But like I said, I have been a fan of both and I couldn’t find a whole lot to enjoy in the picture. Ramis just completely mis-fired here and his first mistake was thinking the writing was any good in the script, which he helped contribute to, and then let them ruin the picture in the editing room even further. The third act of the film is the strongest, but none of the comedy comes anywhere close to being as good as some of the great work we have gotten of late from the genre. So I have to say this is a rental at best, as there are a few laughs, but the more and more I think and write about this picture, the worse and worse it gets in my mind. If the trailer did nothing for you, the movie won’t either.
Year One is an F
Ben Stiller returns to the director’s chair to direct this satirical farce on and gets pretty great results out of it.
The film opens with a number of faux trailers and commercials for the stars in the film and they are pretty funny, but I won’t spoil those here; but they aren’t quite as good as Grindhouse. We then open on the filming of a major battle scene before focusing on a touching moment between a dying “Foley” and “Sgt. Osiris”. Unfortunately, Tugg Speedman, the actor portraying Foley can’t cry on cue and they miss a big “one time” shot where they napalm the tree line behind all of the drama happening on screen. Cut to Access Hollywood who gives us a background on the film, it is based on a memoir of a man, the real Foley (Nick Nolte), who returned from a top secret suicide mission during the Vietnam War, it stars action superstar Tugg Speedman, comedy mega star Jeff Portnoy, and method award winner Kurt Lazarus. The film is way over budget, is being sloppily handled by a first time director Damien Cockburn (Steve Coogan), and is being over produced by the studio’s mega psychotic producer. [Read more...]
The latest addition to the DreamWorks Animation catalog is one of their best, coming not far behind Shrek as one of their best efforts yet.
The film is about the training and ascension of a wannabe Kung Fu Master, Po, an overweight Panda that worships the Furious Five and the Masters of the Jade Temple that looms up an endless staircase above his town in the Valley of Peace. He dreams of fighting along side them defeating countless foes even though he is stuck making noodles with his “father,” a duck, called Mr. Ping. Ping dreams of Po taking over the business while Po dreams of Kung Fu. [Read more...]
Michel Gondry’s latest is an odd film that displays his creative flair but gets lost in itself by not packing that heartwarming punch it goes for while ditching what it does best, “sweeding”
What is “sweeding” you ask? Well that is what this film is all about; “sweeding” is the low budget bare bones reproduction of a film that captures the most memorable scenes essence of the film while having that personal touch. Next question, why do the stars Jerry and Mike have to “sweed” movies? [Read more...]
Noah Baumbach’s follow up to 2005′s Squid and the Whale continues with that films dysfunctional family theme and it works just as splendidly for Margot as it did with fore mentioned film.
Baumbach’s writing is just stellar with his off-beat sense of humor and a knack at finding hilarity in the awkwardness and uncomfortable settings the mixing of estranged family members creates. Baumbach’s script also turns things on their head a bit with his younger characters acting and discussing things older then themselves [Read more...]
The newest film out of the Apatow camp is by far the weakest, but still has some good laughs and an enjoyable turn by John C. Reilly as Dewey Cox.
As a spoof movie, it is a fun romp, and has to be a million times better than the likes of Epic Movie or that recent string of horrible looking crap. Though, the movie doesn’t work the whole time and drags for much longer than it should in the middle which ultimately leaves a stale taste in your mouth when it is all said and done. [Read more...]