Archive for the ‘Comedy’ Category

Burn After Reading And The Coen Brothers Abide, Man

September 22, 2008

For those of you who’ve been reading back a few months, you’ll remember my summer movie spree where I’d throw up a couple of paragraphs, shoe-horn in a link to my latest Den of Geek review (like this one for Burn After Reading), and call it a night. Mostly because I was so busy watching and reviewing everything that was coming out, I didn’t have much time for anything else.

I have a bit more time now, so I’ll do my best to place Burn After Reading in the Coen Brothers pantheon. Den of Geek did this awhile back with a Coen Ready Reckoner, but only three stars for No Country is insane. No stars from me on this version. Given that the Coen Brothers worst movie is still probably three stars from someone else, take this list with a grain of salt (except for Intolerable Cruelty, Catherine Zeta Jones is horrible). Also, it’s been awhile since I’ve watched some of these movies, so forgive me if I slag off on your favorite. I’m also cutting out movies they only directed parts of.

Anyway, here we go.

The Big Lebowski (I can’t count how many times I’ve watched this one, and it stays funny.)
No Country For Old Men
O Brother, Where Art Thou?
Fargo
Burn After Reading
Raising Arizona
Miller’s Crossing
Blood Simple (I forgot how good the Brothers were at suspense.)
Barton Fink
The Man Who Wasn’t There
The Hudsucker Proxy (It didn’t get me at the time I saw it, I have to watch it again now that I’m older.)
The Ladykillers
Intolerable Cruelty

I know; I should seek out and watch Crimewave, just to see the only collaboration between the Coen Brothers, Bruce Campbell, and Sam Raimi. I’m going to catch Menno’s Mind on cable and watch it from the beginning ASAP, too. (It’s been doing the rounds on Showtime.)

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Tropic Thunder (2008) review

August 21, 2008

I’ll just say this right out front. Tropic Thunder is the movie that’s going to revive Tom Cruise’s career. Seriously, he’s *that* good in this movie that if you see it for no other reason, go see it for Tom Cruise. I’ve never said that about Tom Cruise in my life, I’ve never imagined I’d ever have a reason to say that about Tom Cruise, but… here we are. I’m kind of ashamed to say he was amazing, but he really blew my mind with his most un-self-conscious, yet most winking, performance ever.

This is coming from someone who hates Tom Cruise, but… yeah, he’s absolutely brilliant.

Pineapple Express (2008) Review

August 8, 2008

You guys have no idea how proud I am of my half-brother Seth Rogen today. Last night I went to see his new movie, Pineapple Express, and I really enjoyed it. I consider it a knowing birthday present to me, and it was very nice of him.

Sure he doesn’t call as much as I’d like, or ever, but I know he’s thinking of me from his palacial Hollywood mansion when he’s not busy snorting cocaine off of supermodels and living every fat dude’s dream. Plus he’s growing the beard back, which I obviously approve of.

Step Brothers (2008) Review

July 29, 2008

Will Ferrell is back, and he’s teaming with Anchorman director Adam McKay and scene-stealing legitimate actor turned professional dufus John C. Reilly in the new lowbrow comedy Step Brothers! You see, it’s funny because they’re both middle aged and they still live with their parents! Hahaha, they’re losers! There’s farting and grown men in their underwear and emotionally-stunted man-children screaming, preening, and chewing the scenary! Ahahaa, it’s mad l0lz, yo!

Or is it? Am I being sarcastic? Yes. Either way, to see just how this movie went wrong, and what the one good thing about it was aside from an uncharacteristic divergence from the normal plot progression of these sorts of movies, click here for lots of Den of Geek goodness and a review from me. And to think, I loved Anchorman in spite of its flaws.

Feel free to leave comments and register; if I remember right, DoG is giving away an iPhone.

Ron Gets Smart

June 24, 2008

I know I promised to do a movie review a week here at the ol’ homestead, but I’ve just been too busy doing movie reviews where people will read them. I know you’re terribly disappointed, all 9 of you who read my blog faithfully. Well, it’d better be faithfully, because if you’re cheating on me and reading other blogs on the side then I’ll cry and cry my little eyes out you heartbreakers! How could you do this to me?! How could you do this to our blog family?! WHY?!?!?!

Ahem, sorry. Too much “Cheating Spouses Exposed!” on Maury. Got a little carried away with the dramatics.

I know I said I’d do a movie review a week here at the blog, but I’ve just been too busy doing high quality first-run movie reviews over at Den of Geek where an adoring audience of hundreds of people see my post titles and continue on about their day without stopping to read or comment, which is a refreshing change of pace from the usual troll I attract. Must be my pants made out of troll bait or my billy-goats Gruff shoes.

On that note, would you believe that I saw and loved the new Get Smart movie this weekend? No? Well, how about that Get Smart was the #1 movie at the box office this weekend? Well, what if I told you that one day I will eventually get back on my movie reviewing horse (I named him Horse With No Name) and ride out to Bad Horror Hill and shoot down the Bert I. Gordon gang, then review whatever awful movies I come across? Is that better?

I promise, one day soon I’ll start reviewing more of the crap I smear on my eyeballs and force into my brain (thanks, TV!). Then after you read it and gouge out your eyes in horror at what I put myself through, you’ll have no one to blame but yourselves for making me actually follow through on my dumb promise. Well, yourself and the Sci-Fi Channel, I guess. I swear, NBC Universal owns more bad movies than Lloyd Kaufman and Roger Corman put together, and I just.

Can’t.

Stop.

Watching.

Kung Fu Panda And A Meditation On Review Stars

June 11, 2008

I originally wanted to give Kung Fu Panda 3.5 out of 5, but Den of Geek won’t let us give half stars on our reviews, so they bumped it down to 3. It’s better than a 3 star movie, so I had Sarah bump it back up to a 4. It’s a fair rating; 3 is an average movie, 4 is above average. It’s not as good as Shrek, but it’s better than Shrek 3.

If you twisted my arm, I’d say it’s safely an above average movie. It’s not the funniest thing I’ve ever seen, but it is pretty funny. More smiles and chuckles than guffaws, though it has definite belly laughs. It’s got a pretty good amount of action without being overly frenetic, but it does have its moments of frenzy that detract slightly from the overall effect.

I have some issues with assigning numerical ratings to something as subjective as a movie. I know how people are (I used to be one myself, before I transcended my physical form and became a noncorporeal being of pure energy), and they tend to gloss over the review and skip directly to the overall rating for fear of spoilers or general laziness. On the other hand, I know that a lot of reviewers, myself included, can tend to fixate on either what they like or didn’t like, rather than give the full picture.

The star designation can soften or sharpen a review as appropriate, which is one of the reasons why I use numerical designations of film quality. Another reason is for comparison purposes; if you and I both think Dr. Phibes Rises Again is a 4 star movie, but you’ve never seen Dolls (which I also rate as 4 stars), you might feel comfortable enough in our shared tastes to check out the criminally neglected 1987 Stuart Gordon classic about killer dollies because I think it is on par with a 1972 Vincent Price classic.

Not that, uh, anyone asked me why I do things the way I do them.

Ron’s Big Score

January 4, 2008

Bender’s back, baby! And I wrote up a review of the DVD/movie! WHOOHOO! Swag for everyone! And by swag, I mean boring old words!

EDIT: Man, Adult Swim really blows without Futurama. I mean, I love Shin Chan and all, but… too much Family Guy.

Superbad (2007) review

August 21, 2007

In every person’s life, there are more than a few occasions where you know you’re on the cusp of something that’s going to completely change everything in your life. There’s the knowledge of some precipice off in the distance, just waiting for you to drive your speeding car off of it. The average teen sex comedy (like “American Pie”) takes this universal feeling, combines it with the natural human desire to have engaged in the act of procreation before moving on to the next phase of life, tosses in some bodily function jokes, and makes a few hundred million at the box office.

While “Superbad” is a teen sex comedy, it is far from the brainless depths of other films of that overly-crowded genre. For starters, there’s more than a tertiary relationship between the two main characters, Seth (Jonah Hill) and Evan (Michael Cera). These two hopeless losers are actually friends, rather than acquaintances. Unlike the foursome of “American Pie,” who’d never be friends in real life, these two and Fogell (Christopher Mintz-Plasse, who may as well be in jail right now, because he steals every scene he’s in), AKA “McLovin,” are friends because, well, they’re all dorks. There’s no mixed bag of wacky companions designed to cross all race and class guidelines and draw in everyone, just a bunch of awkward-looking white kids.

While the movie is, on its surface, about getting laid at the last big high school graduation party, it’s so much more than that. It’s about friendship; specifically, it’s about the inevitable moment where you have to figure out what you’re going to do when you have to adapt that one truly strong friendship that’s always been there into something different. We’ve all been there, either when we graduated high school or when we graduated college. There’s a seismic shift in the things we knew and held to be true for years called growing up. Nobody wants to do it, but everyone does.

Want more pocket psychoanalysis by Ron for Ron and uninterested readers?  Well, then go here and read the last few paragraphs of my “Superbad” review.  You know you want to, he says as he shamelessly whores out yet another writing gig.

Hot Fuzz (2007) Film Review 5/5

April 21, 2007

Two things are going to unfairly harm this film: its Britishness and the timing of its release. HOT FUZZ has the misfortune of being released here in America only a few short days after an attention-craving stalker maniac shot 32 people on the campus of Virginia Tech University. Not the best time to release a film in which lots of gunplay and action sequences are prominently featured. A lot of great films have been harmed by circumstances outside of studio control, and I hope this will be given a fair shake, because it’s a certified classic.

The more action movies you’ve absorbed over the course of your life, the more you’ll appreciate Edgar Wright and Simon Pegg’s incredible action movie/spoof/homage, HOT FUZZ. Like the classic SHAUN OF THE DEAD was to zombie movies, HOT FUZZ is a direct hit, on point send-up of buddy cop action films. Hold on, I’ll get back to this in a minute. Allow me to digress.

Everyone praises Edgar Wright and Simon Pegg, for obvious reasons. Wright is the director. Pegg is the star of the show. The two men wrote the script. That’s all well and good, but that leaves out the person who is most responsible for the success of these projects, and who doesn’t get any credit: Nick Frost.

Where’s the love for the lovable lug of a second banana (or as they say in Britain, bananer)? In a movie such as this, the buddy cop movie, the sidekick is significantly more important than the lead character. The lead is boring, studious, by the book (or alternately he’s a borderline psychopath) and it is only through the effort and friendship of the sidekick that he loosens up, shows a little humanity, and learns to embrace a life that isn’t all about doing things by the procedural (or to not be a psychopath all the time, but this is a film about a by-the-book cop, not a loose cannon).

Nick Frost’s character, Daniel Butterman, is the counterpoint glue to the lead character, and if he’s not done well, the whole film falls apart. There needs to be chemistry between his character and the lead, and we need to care about the sidekick so when he’s put into danger (and they always are, since they’re the sidekick), we care whether or not he gets saved. Every time Daniel and Nicholas are on screen together, there’s a natural chemistry. You can tell these two are good friends off-screen, and it translate into a great on-screen relationship. Toss in an incredible supporting crew of actors (especially Jim Broadbent), and you’ve got yourself a winning ensemble.

This is, without a doubt, the best black comedy since SHAUN OF THE DEAD (what a surprise, huh? I wish I could have reviewed this movie without constantly comparing it to SHAUN, but those are the breaks). This film starts off well and only picks up steam until the ludicrous and hysterical closing act, working as both an action film and a send-up of action films, without any of the snide superiority of, say SCARY MOVIE and more of a NAKED GUN feel.

I cannot recommend it strongly enough, so get off your arse and go give it a look. Just be careful. There are a lot of accidents out there.

Aqua Teen Hunger Force Colon Movie Film for Theaters (2007) Film Review 3/5

April 13, 2007

AQUA TEEN HUNGER FORCE COLON MOVIE FILM FOR THEATERS is, well, impossible to explain to someone who hasn’t seen the TV show. If you’ve seen the show and you like the show, you’ll like the movie because they figured out a way to make the weirdest, most random show on television even weirder and more random. If you don’t like the TV show, or have never seen the TV show, this isn’t the place to start.

Basically, the movie sums up the entire series of AQUA TEEN HUNGER FORCE in one fell swoop. It has moments where you’ll nearly lose control of your bowels because of the hilarity, it has moments where the jokes fall as flat as the 2D Mooninites, and it has moments where it is just plain weird on toast. Sometimes, it can be all three at once.

Your average episode of ATHF, as the kids call it, is basically a bunch or random stuff happening for 11 minutes or so. There’s usually some sort of paper-thin plot, but basically the show is an exercise in Dadaism for the 21st Century. Weird for the sake of weird, it’s a show about three food products (Fryloc, Master Shake, and Meatwad) who have adventures, foil alien plots, and make life miserable for their neighbor Carl, who don’t need no instructions to know how to rock.

I don’t know why I’m explaining the basis of the show; if you’ve read this far, you’re already familiar with it.

Basically, the ATHF movie is an origin story for our heroes, with a chance to bring back everyone’s favorite recurring villains (though villain isn’t the proper term, since these ‘bad guys’ are more obnoxious than malevolent). The Mooninites (Ignignokt and Err, favorite of potheads everywhere) show up; the Plutonians (Emory and Oglethorpe, named after two universities in the Atlanta area) and The Cybernetic Ghost of Christmas Past from the Future figure heavily into the plot, and there’s even a Willie Nelson (the character, not the country singer) cameo.

When they’re not trying to figure out who made them and why, the Aqua Teens have to try and stop Carl’s Insanoflex exercise machine/giant killer robot from wrecking downtown (echoing the plot of the pilot episode in a nice throwback to the show’s humble beginnings and the falsified premise that launched Adult Swim’s biggest breadwinner).

And none of that makes any sense to anyone who hasn’t seen the entire run of the show, but whatever!

This is the ultimate in fan service, as much as a reward for long-time viewers as it is an actual movie, making it more like Kevin Smith’s JAY AND SILENT BOB STRIKE BACK than, say, CLERKS. If you’re not a fan, you won’t even notice this movie’s undoubtedly brief box office run. If you’re a fan, you’ve probably already seen it by now.