This Is the End is one of the few comedies to come out this summer and it does not disappoint. [Read more...]
The Super Bowl is a time when fans of all teams can get together, cook up some food, and watch two teams beat the crap out of each other. And in between, we all watch and see how the million dollar commercials came out. And 2013’s commercials were all over the place, so Alan and Lauren have decided to pick their favorites (and not so favorites) out of this year’s batch. [Read more...]
Let’s be honest, cancer is not funny. Even if your worst enemy got cancer tomorrow, you wouldn’t be laughing at all, but trying to comfort him in his worst hour. So when writer Will Reiser was diagnosed with a type of spinal cancer, a part of his healing process, along with his friends Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg, was to write about it. And why not write about the bright side of it all (if you can call it bright)? [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.
Paul is a love letter to Spielberg and Lucas of the 70’s and 80’s with more references than you can shake a stick at in what is basically a giant geek road comedy that will work for film nerds and regular folk alike.
Greg Mottola takes Simon Pegg and Nick Frost’s script (they also star) and almost perfectly captures the tone and film they are going for. So much so that I don’t know how much better it could have been done if Frost and Pegg’s bud Edgar Wright had done it; that is high praise for Mottola. The film follows a pair of Brit’s, Graeme and Clive, who come to comic-con before setting off on a great American UFO road trip in their RV. When they witness a crash on the road, the pair goes to check it out only to discover an alien, Paul, who is on the run from authorities. Graeme, Clive passed out, reluctantly agrees to hit the road with Paul and the trio head off to try and get Paul back to his people.
Britt Reid is an heir to a media empire that has always been a playboy running amuck around town. No responsibility and an endless stream of cash have allowed Britt to run around causing endless debauchery into his twenties. When his father suddenly dies, Britt is left with an empire at his finger tips and he decides to use his new media influence to propel his crime fighting career he spawns with his family’s mechanic, Kato. After an encounter with some ruffians one night, Britt and Kato armor up their muscle car and with the unknowing help of Britt’s bright secretary, Lenore, they begin to hunt down the city’s criminals as criminals. This is much to the chagrin of the city’s current crime boss, Chudnofsky, and the crime fighting duos path is bound to cross that of this vile overlord.
A couple of weeks ago I excitedly told my aunt that I was going to Comic Con in a week, with a big ol’ smile on my face. I didn’t really expect her to be jealous, but I was overly excited. Then she asked if it was a gathering of comics or something. As in comedians. I then proceeded to try and explain that it was this really cool event that happens each year that has been taken over by Hollywood in the past decade or so. Basically it has everything a nerd would desire to see, including comics, writers, artists, video games, tv shows, and movies. I told her about the panels I was planning on sitting in on and some of the people that were scheduled to attend. I was adamant about making her see how awesome it was, but she just didn’t get it. Color me deflated. Oh well, I guess Comic Con is just for certain people…
Like this girl:
For those of you who pay any attention to my postings then you may have noticed that there has apparently been little going on in my life, cuz let’s face it, we are not all as cool as Zac. I mean, I didn’t even have one thing to put in a suggestion box last week. Well I can explain. You see, this little game came out a couple of weeks ago called Mass Effect 2, which you may have heard something about. Anyway, for the most part my waking hours not dedicated to “healthy” activities like school, sports, and eating (well, and TV, but I don’t think my attempts to spin that one will make it “healthy”) have gone to fighting baddies throughout the universe. With that said, I did manage to slip two movies in there a while back that deserve to have a few words said about them. [Read more...]
Judd Apatow’s latest is his lesser effort to date, but is still quite funny at times it just drags on a bit to long and doesn’t hit the emotional highs I think it was going for.
George Simmons is a comedy superstar. He lives the life of celebrity, alone, in a large mansion paid for by the countless blockbuster hits he has starred in. This all seems well and good until one day he finds out that he has a form of leukemia and that it is too late in the game to do anything conventionally associated with cancer treatment. So while George takes his experimental drugs he decides to get back to his roots of stand up and recruits a young and upcoming comedian, Ira, to be his assistant and joke writer as well as being the only person that knows of his condition.
The film kind of goes where you think it will from there, finding himself, becoming a better man, trying to reconnect with that one lost love, the usual. Apatow does bring a lot of fresh humor and laughs to the proceedings though, and makes the conventional worth experiencing again as this is far more a straight forward effort then his bit crazier previous features. James L. Brooks has been heavily cited as Apatow’s influence here and that is clearly seen throughout the film; albeit a bit raunchy, crude, and dirtier. [Read more...]
As I walked out of the theater after seeing Funny People, I felt a little let down by this sloppy addition to Judd Apatow’s empire. Based on what my fellow audience members were mumbling, most of us seemed to agree. It was funny, but man was it way too long; both obviously and painfully so. It was as if after the production wrapped, the editor had a dilemma on their hands, and this is what I could discern from the movie. There are all these moments that should have been trimmed for time, but when the final edit came to be they couldn’t decide what should go, so they just stuck it all in. Because of this, it was almost like this whole film was a montage sequence, a collage of some of comedies finest moments.
Jody Hill’s second feature is an odd, bizarre, yet often hilarious picture that is definitely not for everyone but will definitely win over some of us with dark, dark senses of humor.
Ronnie is head of mall security at Forest Ridge Mall and he is called into action when a flasher begins exposing himself to women in the parking lot of the mall. He takes his efforts to another level when the flasher strikes his crush in the cosmetics department Brandi; who is emotionally but not physically harmed by the incident. Ronnie assembles his team of security which includes Dennis a lisp talking curly haired Mexican, John and Matt a pair of squat Asian decent twins, and fresh recruit Charles who is helping out from his normal job at one of the shops in the store. Ronnie sees himself as a crack detective who is going to break the case and when the real cops, led by Detective Harrison, come into try and crack the flasher case, the two leaders begin to butt heads rather quickly. Added to this mess, an untimely robbery brings the cops into the mall even more, much to Ronnie’s chagrin, which cause Ronnie to begin his pursuit of becoming a real life cop and to prove all of the cops that he isn’t worth a damn wrong. Ronnie also looks to pursue the girl of his eye, Brandi, even though a man of his looks and personality probably doesn’t stand much of a chance. [Read more...]
The latest from DreamWorks Animation is one of their lesser efforts that don’t work on almost every level outside of the pretty solid 3-D.
Susan Murphy is about to get married to her ‘weather man with a plan’ that has them moving up to the big time in no time. After getting some unexpected news that she is moving to Tucson instead of Europe for her Honeymoon, Susan is hit by a giant meteor that crashed to earth after hurling through space from a far away exploding planet. Susan some how walks away from this and heads to the alter; only to grow into a giant woman that busts out the ceiling and walls of her church ceremony. The government quickly responds and takes her away into confinement in a top secret facility for monsters where she meets B.O.B. the blue blob, Dr. Cockroach (a mad human scientist that turned himself into a cockroach), The Missing Link (a creature from the black lagoon like beast), and Insectosaurus a 300 foot tall furry insect looking monster. In the mean time, an evil alien warlord, Gallaxhar, sends a giant robot probe to earth to search for a precious substance that composed the meteor that crushed Susan and made her grow to what she is. [Read more...]
Kevin Smith’s latest is a hilarious, raunchy, and sweet look at two friends’ platonic relationship that probably was meant to be more but never was.
Zack (Seth Rogen) and Miri (Elizabeth Banks) have been friends from the first grade, they have never been romantically involved emotionally, accidentally, or really ever thought about it, and they are now roommates in a place with stacking up bills and no sign of an income to help pay them off any sooner rather than later. Zack works and Bean and Gone, a local Starbucks competitor in Pittsburgh and he spends his days hanging out with his friend Delaney (Craig Robinson) and avoiding getting in trouble with his store manager. Miri’s work situation isn’t pulling down much cash either, and the two are left with defunct computers, buying pointless items, while their bills go further and further past due. The night before Thanksgiving, the two have their 10 year high school reunion and Zack is practically dragged there by Miri who is looking to score with her high school crush Bobby Long (Brandon Routh). Once Miri finds her man she leaves Zack on his own who between trying to score with married girls from his past and drinking runs into a guest of one of his classmates, Brandon (Justin Long) and the two bond over discussions of Brandon’s profession; gay porn. After the reunion, the last of the Zack and Miri’s utilities are shut off and they are left with a hobo style heating system and a desperate desire to make money, when Zack comes up with the idea of making a porno based off their recent “viral” success. Miri is quickly talked into the deal, as is Delaney to produce with his plasma TV money, and after a couple of quick casting sessions and finding someone and somewhere to shoot it, Zack and Miri are ready to produce their Porno.
I have explained quite a lot so far, but have spoiled little, and will go no further with plot, but the chemistry of these characters is fantastic though. Smith has always been great at getting his cast to bounce off each other with ease and Z&M is no different. Seth Rogen and Elizabeth Banks bounce off each other with ease and the banter can go from dirty to sweet in a second. Craig Robinson provides many of the best lines in the film and he and Rogen have as equally as good a chemistry as he does with Banks. Jason Mewes also owns his role as the lead porn actor in the film; he isn’t a professional just more then capable with his equipment than most. Mewes is hilarious and it’s nice to see him doing something besides Jay in a Kevin Smith film, here is to him doing more original work in his friend’s future work. Both of the real life porn stars that make appearances in the film do an excellent job as well, with Katie Morgan bringing plenty of sweet and bubbly energy to her character of Stacey while hamming it up for the camera when she does the porn work in the film. She and Mewes do the majority of the sex work in the film and they make it funny and silly, while remaining somewhat authentic, nailing what Smith was going for I imagine.
The creativity Smith gets out of his porn ideas is great as well, the number of dirty jokes he comes up with around the theme of the film is pretty impressive. I also how he kind of makes an homage to the making of clerks with the shooting of the in film porno, you will know what I mean when you see it, and the coda video at the end of the film is well thought out and clever as well. Smith has crafted his most well rounded film yet with Zack and Miri but, I am not read to anoint it as his best, though after repeat viewings we can reassess that element.
Now, the elephant in the room, how raunchy is this movie? It is pretty fucking filthy, so much so, I can’t believe that Smith got them to talk this thing down, he must be one persuasive man. Testicles, breasts, penis, vagina, and much, much more; this film has it all. And I can’t even mention the worst/funniest thing in the film as it is one of the best laughs in the film and of the year; disgustingly hilarious. The movie is so raunchy that the sweet emotional scenes become jarring because you’re so used to the profane and vulgar, but funny, material that fills a substantial amount of the film. Though, the movie does have its serious and sweet moments, and can be rather effective, even if they seem a bit out of place in this crazy flick.
I have already touched on the acting a bit but everyone in the film is working at top form. Banks’ Miri is both kind of a self proclaimed slut but some how Banks makes her sweet and adorable at times when she isn’t acting kind of dirty. Rogen does stray to far from the type he has been playing as of late, but that is ok because he is hilarious as usual. Jeff Anderson is at the center of the best gag in the movie and he just nails that while injecting plenty of good one liner’s throughout the picture. I can’t say anymore about Craig Robinson who we need to have more in movies, as he never fails to make me laugh. Justin Long steals every scene he is in, it is a shame there are only a few and Brandon Routh captures his character perfectly. Mewes is golden throughout this flick and it makes you wish he had even more work in the picture as he is a bit in the background much of the time, but he makes the most of every scene he is in. Also, Smith shows restraint by not putting himself or any of his regulars in front of the camera, and while I like those guys, it’s nice to see him moving out of the Jersey Chronicles and all that comes with it for something fresh and original with Zack and Miri here.
In the end, Zack and Miri Make a Porno is easily one of the Top 3 comedies of the year right now. I don’t know if it is quite as good as Forgetting Sarah Marshall right now as Z&M pacing falls out of whack from time to time and can’t touch Sarah Marshall’s perfect relationship/comedy balance, but there is a lot of room for this one to grow in repeat viewings. If you are a Kevin Smith or Seth Rogen fan, this one is a no brainer. A bunch of the Apatow camp guys were inspired by Kevin Smith and Clerks years ago and it’s great to see Smith come out and show that he is more than capable of creating a product as good as what those guys have been doing as of late. Though, the faint of heart, don’t say I didn’t warn you, but at least you gave it a chance.