Tag Archives: Comedy

The Dawn of 22 Interstellar Apes on Jump street (or Something Like That)

Recently, three trailers have been released that have me pretty excited for the new year of movies. Two serious, intelligent science fiction films and an college humor-filled action/comedy. I’m hoping these films are a sign of good things to come to the theaters in 2014.

First off, the new Christopher Nolan masterpiece, Interstellar. The film stars Matthew McConaughey (thankfully he’s given up on chick flicks) as a member of a group of explorers who use a wormhole to go beyond the limits of human space travel and conquer the vast reaches of space that mankind has been unable to travel to.

It’s a Christopher Nolan film about space travel in the unknown reaches of space that mankind has never traveled to before. That’s enough for me to want to see it. It’s hard to tell what’s going to happen in the film. It’s certain that there won’t be any laughable alien encounters, which is a good thing. I think it’s about time we had a more “realistic” space exploration film. And hope McConaughey will give an Oscar-worthy performance that we all know he’s capable of.

Here’s the teaser trailer:

 

Next up, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes. The sequel to Rise of the Planet of the Apes continues where the first film left off. A virus has devastated the globe, leaving humans outnumbered and fighting for survival against a growing race of genetically evolved apes.

I’m a fan of the first film and have been looking forward to this film for a while. And with the addition of Gary Oldman to the cast, things just got even better. Any film can be great but if you add Gary Oldman, the film will be fantastic. I know I’ve complained about remake/reboots before but this is one I can live with.

Here’s the first, exciting trailer:

 

And last but not least, the sequel to the laugh-out-loud hilarious action/comedy hit, 21 Jump Street. And it has one of the best titles for a sequel ever, 22 Jump Street! Clever, right?

Let me just start off by saying that I am not a fan of Channing Tatum. I think that he is a sub-par actor who can be funny at times and he should have not been the actor to play Duke in the G.I. Joe films, but he was hilarious in the first film. He and Jonah Hill were an incredible comedic pairing and I hope they can duplicate the magic they made in the first film. And they brought back Ice Cube! Win. In this film, they’re headed to college to stop a new drug that’s emerging before it’s too late.

Here’s the side-splitting new trailer (try not to pee yourself from laughing too hard):

 

What films in 2014 are you looking forward to? Leave your answers in the comments section.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Much Praise for ‘Much Ado’

Prior to seeing Much Ado About Nothing, it had been a couple years since I last sat down with The Bard. For a while, my life was filled with lectures, essays, and Sparknotes dedicated to the plays of Shakespeare. But as semesters passed by, so did my reference bank. I figured my failure to preserve those works would be detrimental to my evaluation of Joss Whedon‘s latest venture. Happily, I was wrong!

Benedick (Alexis Denisof) and Beatrice (Amy Acker) engage in a battle of wits. [Image: The Atlantic Wire]

Much Ado is at once classic and cutting edge, a seamless blend of style and content. Black and white cinematography lends an air of sophistication and makes the amiable cast even more attractive. The film feels indulgent and sensuous, from its dreamy, lounge-room soundtrack to its glistening scenes of revelry. In contrast, the use of Shakespeare’s original dialogue stimulates the mind. (Baz Luhrmann may have done the same in Romeo + Juliet, but Whedon handles his source material with more finesse.) The actors–most of whom are beloved repeats from the director’s previous ventures–deliver their oft recited lines with unparalleled freshness and ease.

Verges (Tom Lenk) and Dogberry (Nathan Fillion) add levity as ne’er-do-well policemen. [Image: Wired.com]

Amy Acker beautifully renders the shrew-like Beatrice into an independent, multi-dimensional woman. Meanwhile, Alexis Denisof adds equal parts swagger and silliness to Benedick, the bullheaded leading man with a sentimental streak. Whether they’re exchanging verbal jabs or tender kisses, the chemistry between these two leads is effortless,. What’s more, supporting players like Clark Gregg, Nathan Fillion, and Tom Lenk contribute more than their fair share of wit and wiles. They prevent the story from drowning in melodrama.

Though the film brims with stylistic and theatrical integrity, perhaps the most impressive achievement is Whedon’s ability to cultivate a sense of familiarity. As I’ve expressed before, Shakespeare can seem a bit intimidating. Accessibility and applicability to the modern viewer is always a gamble. Yet, it seems that sort of uncertainty is what fuels Whedon’s projects. After all, one might also question the relatability of vampire slayers, superheroes, or struggling villains. Whedon asserts that all of these characters have stories to tell, and those stories hold universal appeal. In the case of Much Ado About Nothing, he proves that revisiting Shakespeare is worth the fuss.

 

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Can’t Beat ‘The Heat’

It’s July, the midway point of summer. For those of you keeping track at home, I have watched sons make peace with fathers, celebrities face the end of the world, and monsters accept their personal differences. This week I was able to add a feminist flick into the mix.

McCarthy and Bullock bring ‘The Heat’–and the laughs–as an unconventional police duo. (Image: hollywoodreporter.com)

The “buddy cop” plot of The Heat is a familiar one. A strait-laced FBI agent (Sandra Bullock) comes to work on a drug case in Boston where she is paired with a local foul-mouthed policewoman (Melissa McCarthy). The two butt heads as they try to solve the case but eventually recognize each others’ strengths as crime fighters and as friends.

Like any film, The Heat is not perfect. It presents a weak portrait of people of color, makes cliché jokes about Boston accents, and includes a regrettable amount of anti-albinism humor. Nevertheless, The Heat has many other factors working in its favor. The script was written by a woman, and the soundtrack is full of female artists. The Heat also aces The Bechdel Test, which requires a film to include two named women who talk to each other about something other than men. The most obvious appeal, however, lies in the chemistry between McCarthy and Bullock.

Separately, these actresses are humorous; together, they are hysterical. Bullock’s traditional comedic approach is the ideal counter to McCarthy’s ad lib aesthetic. I found myself jiggling and crying from laughter multiple times due to their ridiculous rapport. Their mutual exchange of crassness and compassion makes a very strong case for more female-driven buddy comedies. The evolution of their onscreen friendship is an absolute joy to watch, one that is made even sweeter by their real-life  best friend status.

The chemistry and comedy in The Heat is enough to make it a must-see, but its message of empowerment will make it a must-own for me. The film carves out a place for funny, fierce (and, yes, fat!) females in pop culture. As someone who identifies as all of those things, I could not be more grateful.

 

Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

Seven Psychopaths (or I’ll watch anything with Tom Waits in it)

Don’t let the title of my article fool you, I don’t think that Seven Psychopaths is going to be horrible or anything. I actually think it’s going to be quite amazing. I mean, it couldn’t have a more incredible cast.

I stumbled upon this gem as I was searching through the Coming Soon trailers on my IMDB app. The only thing I saw at first glance were the names Colin Farrell, Sam Rockwell, and Christopher Walken. Honestly, the studio could’ve just put Walken’s name and I would’ve been sold on this film. Oh, and it’s written and directed by Martin McDonagh, the guy who wrote and directed In Bruges. That should be enough for you, right? WRONG! They decided to add more awesomeness to it with Farrell and Rockwell. And they weren’t done yet. After I started watching the trailer, I noticed Woody Harrelson is in it as an offbeat gangster who’s dog has been stolen by Rockwell’s character. Seriously, this movie had already become one of my favorites, and I hadn’t even seen it yet. The trailer hadn’t even ended, but I was totally amped for this film. And that’s when they got me. That’s when they pulled the ace from their sleeves.

If this doesn’t get you to go see this movie, I don’t know what will. (image source: tomwaits.com)

Tom Motherflippin’ Waits is in this film.

Yes, you heard me right. Tom Motherflippin’ Waits. [Editor’s note: I don’t think that’s actually his middle name. Just a guess on my part. Hold on a sec and I’ll Google it…..nope, it’s Alan. I was wrong. Motherflippin’ sounds better though.]

That right there was the clincher. I was done. SOLD. This movie had my vote for movie of the year. As if the cast wasn’t already solid enough get me to go see it, the addition of Tom Waits just built a freakin’ adamantium box around it. Now that’s solid. [Editor’s note: Adamantium is like, the strongest metal in the Marvel Universe, for those of you who didn’t know.] And, “Why” you might ask, “does Tom Waits make this film so much better than it already was?” I can only respond by saying, “Have you seen or heard his work?!” The man is a freakin’ genius, whether it be music or film or just being awesome.

 

I’ll give you an example:

There’s also this:

[Editor’s note: This is the best clip or collection of clips that I could find on Youtube.]

Now you see why he makes the film so much better?

But I digress…I have strayed from the topic at hand: Seven Psychopaths. Here’s a synopsis of the film from Wikipedia:

“Marty (Farrell) is a struggling writer who dreams of finishing his screenplay, “Seven Psychopaths”. Billy (Rockwell) is Marty’s best friend, an unemployed actor and part time dog thief, who wants to help Marty by any means necessary. All he needs is a little focus and inspiration.

Hans (Walken) is Billy’s partner in crime: a religious man with a violent past. Charlie (Harrelson) is the psychotic gangster whose beloved dog Billy and Hans have just stolen. Charlie is unpredictable and extremely violent and wouldn’t think twice about killing anyone or anything associated with the theft. Marty is going to get all the focus and inspiration he needs, just as long as he lives to tell the tale.”

Sounds like a winner to me. There’s no way this film cannot be great. It’s definitely one I’ll be sure to see in theaters and own when it comes to Blu-ray.

So what do you think of the film? Let me know in the comments.

 

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , ,