"I got news for 'em. There's gonna be hell to pay. 'Cause I ain't daddy's little boy no more."

Archive for the ‘Comedy/Laffs’ Category

Hit & Run

Thursday, July 18th, 2013

tn_hitandrunHere’s how I know marketing failed HIT & RUN: I was one of its test subjects. Some time last year I was at the multiplex picking up tickets for later in the day. In the lobby sometimes they have these survey people showing trailers on little monitors and asking focus group type questions. I always wondered what that was about, and I had some time to kill, so when they asked me to do it I said yes.

I saw other people being tested on THE EXPENDABLES 2, which at the time seemed exciting. But too my disappointment the survey focused on HIT & RUN, which I learned was a comedy starring Dax Shepard, Kristen Bell, Tom Arnold and Bradley Cooper as the bad guy. They showed me variations of different commercials, mainly consisting of Arnold yelling, Shepard getting hit in the face with a golf club, a car going off a jump, and the various actors in cars looking scared like they’re gonna crash. Some had a heavy emphasis on a scene where squeaky-voiced Kristen Chenoweth talks about taking Xanex. I struggled to answer questions like “What do you think the movie is about?” and “What is your favorite part?” (Answers: 1. “Well, they said he was a bank robber, so they’re after him? I don’t know.” 2. “I guess Bradley Cooper in dreadlocks looks funny.”) In the end I had to answer that no, I did not think there was any chance that I would see this movie, because it doesn’t look funny at all.
(read the rest of this shit…)

The Kings of Summer

Tuesday, July 9th, 2013

tn_kingsofsummerTHE KINGS OF SUMMER is a real good indie movie about teenagers, around 15 years old I believe, an emotional age. Joe (Nick Robinson) and Patrick (Gabriel Basso from SUPER 8) don’t seem to be the popular kids, but they’re not “geeks” either. Their parents aren’t bad people, but they can’t get along with them. They’re old enough to sneak out and go to keggers, to get embarrassed talking to girls, but also they can’t drive, they gotta ride bikes. They’ve got a little bit of kid still in them, enough that it seems like a good idea when Joe convinces Patrick (and Biaggio [Moises Arias], a weird kid that just starts following them around) that they should ditch their parents and build themselves a house out in the woods.
(read the rest of this shit…)

SIFF 2013 review: Much Ado About Nothing

Friday, May 17th, 2013

tn_muchadoI got a ticket to the opening film of this year’s Seattle International Film Festival, a movie called MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING, from the director of THE AVENGERS and the writer of HAMLET. Yes, idolized big brother of the internet Joss Whedon had some time off after directing the highest grossing non-James-Cameron movie of all time so he invited all his actor friends to his house to do a low budget William Shakespeare movie. It was so low budget he had to do it in black and white even though it was on a RED camera.

The cast includes Reed Diamond from Homicide: Life On the Street, the younger sister that was added later on in Growing Pains, two people from the LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT remake, and nobody else you ever heard of except for like ten or fifteen people that starred in Joss Whedon’s TV shows. A couple of them got intrusive applause when they showed up on screen or after their scenes were over, and to be fair at least nobody in the audience was dressed up like Firefly characters, but come on people, it’s called self control, and it can be yours. I believe in you. (read the rest of this shit…)

Death Race 2000

Tuesday, May 7th, 2013

tn_deathrace2000I’ve enjoyed DEATH RACE 2000 a few times over the years, but not since before I found myself actually liking P.W.S. Anderson’s remabootquel DEATH REACE and its two DTV prequels by Roel Reine, so this was strange to revisit it again. The new DEATH RACE is a fun macho b-movie, the original DEATH RACE 2000 is a different animal. It’s colorful, satirical, goofy and off-handedly brutal. It’s as cheap as other Roger Corman productions, but less serious. It seems like the template for the tone of all the best Troma films, and they even borrowed the rules of the Death Race for use as a fun game for teens in THE TOXIC AVENGER. (read the rest of this shit…)

Spring Breakers

Tuesday, March 26th, 2013

tn_springbreakersI have this dumb joke that always amuses me: whenever they’re looking for a director to do a new MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE or a Marvel Comics movie or something I suggest Harmony Korine. It’s funny to picture the director of GUMMO and TRASH HUMPERS selling out or deciding to do a normal mainstream movie, because it just seems like something he would never be interested in. I picture him as a smartass New York art kid for life.

So it was pretty funny to see his new one at a multiplex with an IRON MAN 3 trailer playing before it. I think this was by accident. In style and substance it’s not that much more normal than MISTER LONELY (the one about the commune of celebrity impersonators), it just happens that it focuses on a topic that can be very commercial: young girls in bikinis spraying beer on each other and jumping up and down and sometimes they have guns. And one of the stars is James Franco, who seems to have alot of interests in common with Korine, but is also the star of a $215 million Disney 3D fantasy movie that was #1 at the box office just last week. (read the rest of this shit…)

Freaky Deaky

Monday, March 11th, 2013

tn_freakydeakyI guess different people are free to interpret Elmore Leonard different ways, but to me he writes serious stories that are funny. As far as this movie is concerned he writes comedies. I guess that’s the GET SHORTY approach as opposed to the OUT OF SIGHT/JACKIE BROWN/Justified one. Too bad this isn’t as good as GET SHORTY.

It’s been years since I read the book, but I think this is fairly faithful. In my memory Skip (Christian Slater) is one of the main characters, which is not really the case here (despite the terrible cover making him way bigger than everybody else). But the basic storyline I think is intact and the movie’s biggest strength is lots of funny dialogue, largely from the book I believe. (read the rest of this shit…)

John Dies At the End

Wednesday, March 6th, 2013

tn_johndiesDon Coscarelli is really underappreciated. Including by me. Everything he’s done is good, right? I haven’t seen his first two, but one (JIM, THE WORLD’S GREATEST) is not on video and the other (KENNY & COMPANY) I’ve heard nothing but good things about. All four PHANTASM movies are pretty great. I like THE BEASTMASTER. I like SURVIVAL QUEST. But he’s a low budget independent guy who wants to do his own thing, so he takes a while. It’s been 10 years since his last movie, the one-of-a-kind BUBBA HO-TEP. It’s been 7 years just since his last TV work, INCIDENT ON AND OFF A MOUNTAIN ROAD, easily the best Masters of Horror episode I’ve seen.

So he’ll be out of sight for years and then he’ll travel through the portal of time to bring us one of these distinctive sort of fringe horror-ish movies. This time he brought us JOHN DIES AT THE END, probly the closest thing he’s done to an actual comedy. You could compare it to something like JACK BROOKS: MONSTER SLAYER or maybe CABIN IN THE WOODS or TUCKER AND DALE VS. EVIL, but still with enough weird, non-jokey horror in its guts to keep me satisfied. It arguably leans a little bit more to the left on the horror-to-comedy spectrum than those ones, but not by a huge amount. (read the rest of this shit…)

Bait (2000)

Friday, February 22nd, 2013

tn_baitWhen BAIT came out in 2000 I had no interest. That continued for 12 years. Then one night, in a dream, I was thinking that because of my love for Jamie Foxx’s performance in DJANGO UNCHAINED I was gonna rent his closest thing to an action vehicle. When I woke up I thought, “Yeah, actually I do want to rent BAIT.” So I did. You see, I don’t have a hundred updates a day for you guys, but I’m always working, even when I’m not conscious.

Foxx plays Alvin, a petty thief who gets busted trying to steal a bunch of prawns, and winds up in a cell with a guy (Robert Pastorelli) who recently betrayed his partner (Doug Hutchison) in a gold heist, and also is dying of a heart condition and gives Alvin a message for his wife which is a hint about the location of the hidden gold. The betrayed partner is a psychotic computer genius, and the Treasury Department wants him real bad ’cause he 1) killed two security guards and 2) broke a type of encryption that’s used to protect weapons, therefore posing a threat to national security. Or at least that’s their pitch when they ask for the money for a super-high-tech tracking device/bug that they implant in Alvin’s jaw without his knowledge before they get him released so they can surveil him until the psycho comes after him to get his gold back. (And no, the psycho is not a leprechaun. Maybe a metaphorical leprechaun, I haven’t really considered that yet. I’ll have to think on that a bit.)
(read the rest of this shit…)

Seven Psychopaths

Friday, February 8th, 2013

tn_sevenpsychopathsNow that I’ve seen SEVEN PSYCHOPATHS I understand why the ads made it look so dumb: it’s too hard to explain. They made it look like some corny post-Tarantino “isn’t it funny, they’re hardened criminals but they’re arguing over a Shih Tzu!” type bullshit. And that’s in there – writer/director Martin McDonagh (IN BRUGES) is about the only guy whose style can remind me of Tarantino in a good way – but overall it’s weirder and more distinct than that.

In IN BRUGES the protagonists were hit men, and there was a subplot about a movie being filmed near where they’re staying. In this one the movie business is more central. Colin Farrell plays a clearly idiotic screenwriter trying to write something called SEVEN PSYCHOPATHS, but he doesn’t have much more than a title. He doesn’t even have seven psychopaths, so he just spends his time trying to think of concepts for different psychopaths, sometimes based on stories he’s heard or seen in the news. So we see these stories in his head, or going on around him, and fictional reality begins to blend with fiction-within-fiction. (read the rest of this shit…)

Camouflage

Monday, January 21st, 2013
I wonder if they considered Leslie Nielsen for THE BOONDOCK SAINTS?

FROM THE OUTLAW VAULTS: I never get to take Martin Luther King Day off at my job, but I’m gonna simulate taking a day off here on outlawvern.com by posting an old review of a Leslie Nielsen movie you never heard of. This is a review I came across on my hard drive that I wrote two years ago shortly after Nielsen’s death, but never quite finished or posted. It’s not a movie I’m gonna go back and rewatch in order to complete the review, but I didn’t want to waste all that typing, either. So here it is.

* * *
Under normal circumstances I wouldn’t find myself renting some 2001 Leslie Nielsen movie I never heard of. But the poor guy died recently and I happened to notice this one was written by Billy Bob Thornton (with his partner Tom Epperson and some guy who was in SPIDERBABY), so I wanted to see what the deal was.

 

(read the rest of this shit…)