"KEEP BUSTIN'."

Archive for the ‘Comedy/Laffs’ Category

The Big 4

Thursday, January 5th, 2023

THE BIG 4 is the new one from Indonesian writer-director Timo Tjahjanto, who gave us THE NIGHT COMES FOR US, easily one of the best action movies of recent years. He’s said that this one is a comedy he made when Netflix Indonesia asked for something more family friendly, so I thought I needed to keep my hopes in check. But a few minutes in it’s clear that some silly humor isn’t gonna get in the way of the gory headshots, stabbings, and bone-cracking martial arts duels you expect in a Tjahjanto joint. It’s an action comedy in the traditional sense of an actual action movie that also has some laughs, not in the sense of a comedy that half-assedly employs genre cliches as set up for riffing. The characters here happen to be goofballs, but that’s overshadowed by the legitimacy of the action the movie delivers.

The first Tjahjanto movie I saw was HEADSHOT (2016), where a group of orphans were trained from birth to fight and kill. Same thing here, except they become good guys, not evil bastards. They’re vigilantes who go after horrible people. But it’s a messed up thing to do, it’s a dark and dangerous world to live in, and there’s tragedy and emotion just like in the non-comedies. It’s just in a context where it leaves you smiling at the end. A wholesome smile, not an evil one. (read the rest of this shit…)

The Munsters’ Scary Little Christmas

Thursday, December 22nd, 2022

I really enjoyed Rob Zombie’s love letter to THE MUNSTERS earlier this year, and it even got me to check out the o.g. Munsters movie MUNSTER GO HOME!. But Zombie’s movie did not go over well with or cause much of a splash among the general public, and now there’s this Netflix show Wednesday, based on Munsters rival The Addams Family, which is actually a huge streaming hit (and which I have to admit I like even more than THE MUNSTERS). So it kinda looks like a Photon Warrior to Lazer Tag situation for ol’ Herman and Lily. Or Gobots to Transformers. Or IRON EAGLE to TOP GUN.

Still, I am making this The Year of the Munsters by watching a Munsters Christmas special as part of my holiday festivities. THE MUNSTERS’ SCARY LITTLE CHRISTMAS (not to be confused with the weird New Zealand Christmas special THE MONSTER’S CHRISTMAS) is a 1996 Fox TV movie. The Munsters are entirely recast from the 1995 Fox movie HERE COME THE MUNSTERS, but they carried over an uptight neighbor character named Edna Dimwitty, played by Mary Woronov (DEATH RACE 2000), so I guess they’re connected. (read the rest of this shit…)

Adult Swim Yule Log a.k.a. The Fireplace

Monday, December 19th, 2022

I do believe this is my first review where just telling you the movie exists is kind of a spoiler. But I had to have it spoiled to know to watch it myself, so now I’m passing that information on to you. This is a horror movie that was designed to be found on accident, originally promoted like this: “ADULT SWIM YULE LOG: Get in the holiday spirit with this cozy, crackling fire,” and airing at 11:30 pm after the season finale of Rick & Morty. Now it can be found on Home Box Office Maximum under “Adult Swim Yule Log – a.k.a. The Fireplace.”

It starts off as a normal Yule Log or fireplace video. Just footage of a fire with some Christmas music playing. But after a few minutes of that we start to hear something going on outside of the frame. The owner of the cabin containing the cozy, crackling fire is talking about getting the place cleaned We see her walk past the fireplace a few times. Then there’s a knock on the door, a woman (Tordy Clark, GLORIOUS) talking about her car breaking down, and introducing her son… a hulking, grunting Leatherface type (Brendan Patrick Connor, JOKER) wearing a plastic Halloween mask of a Ken-doll type character. He bursts in and attacks as his mom reminds him to “Say nice things to her, women like that.” It’s off camera, but we get the implication, and this is a really fucked up thing to have on as holiday background ambience. (read the rest of this shit…)

Violent Night

Monday, December 12th, 2022

When I first heard that the trusted manufacturers of sturdy action cinema at 87North Productions were making a Santa Claus movie, I misunderstood. I pictured sort of a BAD SANTA meets DIE HARD – a serious action movie where it’s some deadbeat mall Santa who’s in the wrong place at the wrong time and has to save the day, hopefully using a velvet sack’s worth of seasonally themed methods.

So when I realized that the Santa Claus played by David Harbour (BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN) in VIOLENT NIGHT is the actual Santa Claus, having his Christmas Eve deliveries interrupted by hostage takers and using “Christmas magic” to fight back, I was disappointed at first. Sounded corny, I thought.

I was wrong. I want to apologize to Santa. VIOLENT NIGHT is an admirable and solid take on a type of movie I treasure: the genre mash-up that knows it’s ludicrous to combine these particular types of movies but moves forward trying to deliver on both genres as well as the unique opportunities offered by their combination. So it has the trappings of a DIE HARD/UNDER SIEGE scenario (ruthless mastermind, elite mercenary force, carefully planned heist, hero mixed up in it by mistake, shocking deaths of innocent people, bad guys picked off one-by-one with stolen or improvised weapons) but also a heartwarming holiday tale (little girl wavering in her belief in Santa, family having trouble getting along, lessons about selflessness). It’s a comedy, but not a spoof. It tries to deliver faithfully on the mission of each genre. (read the rest of this shit…)

Monkeybone

Thursday, December 1st, 2022

Here’s a story I may or may not have told before. It takes place on February 28, 2001. A few minutes before 11 am there was a 6.8 earthquake epicentered in the southern Puget Sound. I was at work and I saw some shelves wobble and a few things fall down, but nothing serious. Downtown there was some damage – some vehicles got crushed by falling bricks, and I remember a couple clubs where bands used to play in Pioneer Square (OK Hotel and Fenix Underground) were wrecked enough they went out of business. I called my roommate at home to make sure none of my stuff broke, and he made fun of me.

After work I went to Pacific Place to see this movie MONKEYBONE. All the advertising looked cheesy, but I was hoping it might be interesting because it was from Henry Selick, the director of THE NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS. Unfortunately the advertising was pretty accurate. I remember a couple times during the movie something playing on a bordering screen made a loud rumble that vibrated the whole row I was sitting in. I thought about the three escalators I took up through the mall to get to the theater, and the fourth escalator inside the theater that goes up to the floor where this one was showing, and I thought, “That’s an aftershock, and the building is gonna collapse, and I’m gonna die watching fucking MONKEYBONE.” (read the rest of this shit…)

Wendell & Wild

Wednesday, November 30th, 2022

Henry Selick, the director of THE NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS, just made his first movie in thirteen years. Stop motion animation takes a long time, of course, but not usually that long. (With the exception of MAD GOD.)

It’s not like he took a vacation. Only a year after CORALINE Selick moved from Laika to Pixar to start a new stop motion division called Cinderbiter. They actually animated much of a movie called THE SHADOW KING – $50 million worth – and then cancelled it. And then he developed a bunch of other movies with a bunch of other people that didn’t even get that far.

But now, finally, he has a new, completed and released one called WENDELL & WILD. He wrote it with Academy Award winning screenwriter Jordan Peele, it stars the voices of Key and Peele, it’s about demons and zombie skeletons and shit, and it has Selick’s eye for design and increasingly sophisticated stop motion, so it’s the kind of thing some people ought to be interested in, in my opinion. Only trouble is it was produced by Netflix, so they just squirted it out in a little glob exactly like Wendell & Wild squirt the cream that grows their father’s nose hairs (more on that later), so most of the people I’ve mentioned it to never heard of the fuckin thing. I read that it didn’t even make it into Netflix’s top ten when it came out, but the computer animated movie THE BAD GUYS did a couple days later when they picked it up after it had already been on DVD, blu-ray and Peacock for five months.

That doesn’t seem fair. I figured I should write a review just so it’s on record somewhere that WENDELL & WILD is a real, existent movie that was made and released and can be viewed with your eyes and everything. (read the rest of this shit…)

Accident Man: Hitman’s Holiday

Thursday, October 13th, 2022

ACCIDENT MAN: HITMAN’S HOLIDAY is the latest real-deal Scott Adkins movie (like, he’s the star, not just a guest appearance), and joins the first ACCIDENT MAN, THE DEBT COLLECTOR and DEBT COLLECTORS as one of the movies that showcase the once-stoic actor’s sense of humor and verbal dexterity along with his trademark flying kicks.

If you’re unfamiliar with ACCIDENT MAN, it was Adkins’ passion project, based on a ‘90s comic strip by Pat Mills and Tony Skinner about elite hitman Mike Fallon, who elaborately plans murders to look like freak accidents. It has a sort of DEADPOOL style of heavy-narration cheekiness, but it’s a top notch indie martial arts movie with a great cast and fights. Ray Stevenson (PUNISHER: WAR ZONE) plays Fallon’s mentor and father figure Big Ray, who runs a pub for colorful assassins called the Oasis. When Mike’s environmental activist girlfriend is murdered, he suspects a conspiracy, and ends up in battles to the death with his colleagues, including ones played by Michael Jai White, Ray Park and Amy Johnston.

Well, that left Mike on bad terms with Big Ray and banned from the Oasis, so the sequel picks up with him working far away in Malta. A crime boss named Mrs. Zuuzer (Flaminia Cinque, Thomas & Friends) gives him jobs and pays him well, the work is easy for him, the weather is beautiful, he has a nice place and a big TV. (read the rest of this shit…)

Munster, Go Home!

Thursday, October 6th, 2022

After having a great time with Rob Zombie’s new DTV movie THE MUNSTERS I got interested in the fact that there had been one actual theatrically released Munsters movie, with (almost) the original cast from the TV series. In fact, the reason I knew it existed was because I’d watched Zombie’s 2002 appearance on MTV’s Cribs, and he had a big poster for it prominently displayed in his house.

MUNSTER, GO HOME! came out in the summer of 1966, a few months after the series ended, and the same day as THE ENDLESS SUMMER. (I hope somebody made that a double feature. I don’t know why.) Like the show, it was released by Universal Pictures, which is why Herman (Fred Gwynne, PET SEMATARY) can have a flat head without it being a copyright violation. I wonder if it would’ve caught on otherwise?

The premise of the movie is that a distant relative dies and Herman inherits a manor called Munster Hall in Shroudshire, England. The family heads to the new place, so there’s a comical boat journey. Herman tries to travel incognito, not because he’s a monster but because he thinks people will make a big deal about seeing Lord Munster. (But he has “LORD MUNSTER” bedazzled on the back of his jacket, which I now know is referenced by Herman’s “ROCK STAR” jacket in the new movie.) (read the rest of this shit…)

The Munsters (2022)

Monday, October 3rd, 2022

Well whaddya know, Rob Zombie made a PG-rated movie version of The Munsters. It’s a Universal direct-to-DVD-and-blu-ray movie, also released to Netflix on the same day, and to be honest the trailer looked pretty cheesy to me. Pre-release word I’d seen had been dire, and a pretty dull opening stretch had me worried, despite it immediately capturing a strong classic horror look.

But hot damn, by the end I really liked this one. In fact I might’ve loved it. It has that thing I always respect in a movie: it’s something that no other director would’ve thought to make, or would’ve wanted to make, or would’ve known how to make. This is an idiosyncratic horror auteur reviving his childhood favorite sitcom in defiance of the fact that it’s a style of show and humor that are completely out of fashion. He doesn’t feel the need to turn it into something hipper or grittier or more modern. It’s just shameless cornball humor. But also he doesn’t tone down anything about his cinematic style (other than excluding the foul-mouthed redneck stereotypes talking about skull fucking or whatever). It’s very much the same The Munsters we know but also it’s also the Rob Zombiest Rob Zombie movie possible – a beautiful two-headed beast of a thing. (read the rest of this shit…)

Honeymoon in Vegas

Thursday, September 29th, 2022

HONEYMOON IN VEGAS (released August 28, 1992) is pretty mediocre, but definitely more watchable than some of the other stuff I’ve been reviewing lately. That mainly comes down to it being a romantic comedy with Nic Cage playing the protagonist, and going a little mega at times, dipping into those skills from VAMPIRE’S KISS four years earlier and taking them for a little test drive in a more mainstream movie. Gives it a little more energy.

Cage (between ZANDALEE and AMOS & ANDREW) plays Jack Singer, a small time private detective in New York City. He adores his girlfriend Betsy (Sarah Jessica Parker between L.A. STORY and STRIKING DISTANCE), but she wants to get married and have kids, which he’s not comfortable with. It’s a totally normal feeling, but it’s given a ridiculous origin story in the opening scene where his creepily possessive mother (Anne Bancroft in one scene!) dies while trying to make him promise to never get married because no one can love him as much as she did.

Betsy doesn’t want to wait anymore, and gives him an ultimatum that she says isn’t an ultimatum, so he decides she’s right and that they should take a vacation to Las Vegas, have some fun and elope. (read the rest of this shit…)