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Archive for the ‘Comedy/Laffs’ Category

Modern Vampires

Monday, April 12th, 2021

Back in the late ’90s, being a superfan of the SHRUNKEN HEADS mythos, I was excited for a new Richard Elfman/Matthew Bright joint called MODERN VAMPIRES. I found it disappointing at the time – decadent L.A. vampires are not nearly as weird as flying severed head super heroes, so it didn’t make much of an impression. But since I revisited FORBIDDEN ZONE and SHRUNKEN HEADS in close succession this week I decided to also do this one. Now that it’s old I think it plays a little better as a b-movie piss take on the vampire movies that were being made at the time.

Or is that even what it is? When MODERN VAMPIRES went straight to video in the U.S. it was October of ’99 and the cover had a design style and not-screen-accurate fashion flagrantly copying BLADE, but it had actually premiered before both BLADE and John Carpenter’s VAMPIRES. FROM DUSK TILL DAWN and Buffy the Vampire Slayer had already reclaimed bloodsuckers from Anne Rice, though, so I suppose that’s what they’re playing off of, if anything. Or maybe it’s just West Coast elite NEAR DARK. (read the rest of this shit…)

Promising Young Woman

Wednesday, April 7th, 2021

PROMISING YOUNG WOMAN is a black comedy I heard some good things about and had been wanting to see for a while and then right around the time it came out on disc it got nominated for best picture, director, original screenplay, actress and editing Oscars. Okay – didn’t know it was gonna be that kind of party, but I’m down.

The movie opens in a bar as three co-worker bros talk shit. One of them (Adam Brody, JENNIFER’S BODY) seems like the nice one, standing up for a female co-worker the other guys are complaining about, and seeming unimpressed by their sexist horndog talk. And of course when they spot Cassie (Carey Mulligan, DRIVE [the Refn one, not the Dacascos one]) so plastered she can barely sit upright on a bench, he’s the one who goes over and tries to make sure she’s okay.

Put quotes on that last phrase. We all kinda know where this is going: he offers her a ride home, playing it like hey, I know what this looks like, but I’m just trying to make sure she gets home safe before some jerk comes along. But the next thing you know it’s why don’t you come up to my apartment and let’s have a drink (!?) and then he’s on top of her taking her clothes off while she asks him what he’s doing and he keeps telling her it’s okay, she’s safe.

And actually she is fairly safe, because as she reveals when she sits up, she’s completely sober. She just has this hobby of faking drunk to see what assholes try to take advantage of her, and then shame them when they do. Try to scare them out of doing it again. Just a weird vigilante crusade of hers. (read the rest of this shit…)

Delivery Boys

Tuesday, March 9th, 2021

DELIVERY BOYS is a breakdancing movie that, according to IMDb, was released in April of 1985. That puts it only a few months after BREAKIN’ 2. But the title and poster do not indicate a breakdancing movie, it was barely released in theaters, and on video it had the cartoony painted art of an ‘80s sex comedy. So I never knew it existed until I was researching RAPPIN’, saw that this was Melvin Van Peebles’ only previous major role, and read a plot description. Then some of you told me to check it out.

Although it’s weird that they hid the breakdancing on the posters, it’s also the horny pizza delivery comedy they advertised it as. It’s about a day in the life of a bunch of dudes who work at a New York City pizza joint called Ben’s, who also happen to be a breakdance crew called The Delivery Boys, and the hijinks that occur while they’re on the job are part of a scheme to keep them from making it to the Brooklyn Bridge Break Dance Contest tonight. (read the rest of this shit…)

Once a Thief

Thursday, February 18th, 2021

I can’t explain this, and it’s embarrassing to admit, but somehow I had never seen ONCE A THIEF (1991) until now. How the hell did I not watch the movie that John Woo and Chow Yun Fat did between their two greatest home runs? Especially since I even watched the North American TV pilot he made based on it five years later! I knew this was gonna be more light-hearted and comedic than THE KILLER and HARD BOILED and that I probly wouldn’t like it nearly as much, but come on. Obviously it was something I needed to see. As I should fuckin known, it’s a fun time with some great stunts and action and a type of ludicrousness I enjoy in many Hong Kong films, if not usually Woo’s.

The story is about a trio of thieves, Cherie (Cherie Chung, PEKING OPERA BLUES), Joey and Jim (Chow Yun Fat and Leslie Cheung, reuniting after A BETTER TOMORROW 1 and 2). We meet them as they’re staking out an art museum for a heist, with Joey walking around admiring the art in the suave manner of Chow Yun Fat, Cherie pretending to be an idiot walking her dog through some deliverymen so she can mark the crate that holds the painting they’re planning to steal, and Joey strutting to his motorcycle in a leather jacket and scarf, bragging to a random street artist that he’s a famous thief. Soon they’re performing a really cool FAST AND FURIOUS-esque mobile truck heist that involved climbing on and under the truck, cutting a hole through the bottom, and gliding away with a parachute. (read the rest of this shit…)

Freaky

Thursday, February 11th, 2021

FREAKY is the recent Blumhouse horror comedy conceived under the title “FREAKY FRIDAY THE 13TH,” because yes, it is a slasher movie combined with a body switch comedy. A psychotic serial killer called “the Blissfield Butcher” (Vince Vaughn, THE LOST WORLD: JURASSIC PARK, PSYCHO) steals an ancient magic dagger, not realizing that when he uses it to stab random teen victim Millie Kessler (Kathryn Newton, THE MARTIAL ARTS KID) their souls will switch places. Whoops.

The director is Christopher Landon (BURNING PALMS), which makes a whole lot of sense, because he’s the guy who did HAPPY DEATH DAY, a slasher movie combined with GROUNDHOG DAY (and a movie I enjoyed quite a bit). I heard an interview where Landon said he was a little reluctant to be that guy, but he liked the idea by co-writer Michael Kennedy (assistant animation producer, Family Guy) so much he had to go for it anyway. (read the rest of this shit…)

Fast Getaway II

Wednesday, February 10th, 2021

FAST GETAWAY was apparently a hit by some standard, so three years later we got the DTV sequel FAST GETAWAY II. Like the first one, it’s still only available on VHS. Corey Haim, Cynthia Rothrock, Leo Rossi and Ken Lerner all return, and there are many direct references to things that happened in the first one, but they do at least find a new setup to make it different.

Young but experienced bank robber Nelson Potter (Haim) now lives on his own, in fact seems to be pretty rich, and is so far beyond his past as a horny virgin that he wakes up and is offered sex in the opening scene. Then there’s a bank robbery that plays off the first movie, with Nelson now graduated to his dad’s role of the ringleader-who-makes-the-bank-customers-sing-a-song, and with an attractive woman named Patrice (Sarah Buxton, THE SURE THING, LESS THAN ZERO, TODAY YOU DIE) as both the person he follows into the bank to hit on and the plant hostage he takes.

(read the rest of this shit…)

Fast Getaway

Tuesday, February 9th, 2021

FAST GETAWAY (1991) is a movie that has not made it to DVD, and the VHS cover shows a slightly Vanilla-Ice-looking Corey Haim doing a teen magazine locker pinup pose in front of a red rectangle. I was vaguely aware of its existence for many years before learning that it might be worth watching because it co-stars Cynthia Rothrock. And only when I rented it did I learn that it’s the first of only two movies directed by stunt legend Spiro Razatos. (His other one is CLASS OF 1999 II: THE SUBSTITUTE, and then he did some episodes of Team Knight Rider.)

Razatos is a stuntman going back to the early ‘80s (THEY CALL ME BRUCE, POLICE ACADEMY 2) who graduated to stunt coordinator with OMEGA SYNDROME in 1986. He also did SILENT NIGHT, DEADLY NIGHT PART 2. I first became aware of him when I was impressed by the crazy low budget car stunts in the MANIAC COP movies and learned he was the second unit director and stunt coordinator behind them. He also did EXTREME JUSTICE, BAD BOYS II, TALLADEGA NIGHTS and DEATH RACE, and then he became the go-to car guy with FAST FIVE and all subsequent FAST movies, plus MONSTER TRUCKS and TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES: OUT OF THE SHADOWS, which has some good shit in it, I swear. (read the rest of this shit…)

Joe Versus the Volcano

Wednesday, December 9th, 2020

I have been sort of aware of JOE VERSUS THE VOLCANO since its release in 1990, but never decided to actually see it until now. I know it was poorly received at the time, and somewhat infamous for a time, and also that it was staunchly defended by Roger Ebert, and beloved by a select few – I most associate the movie with Bright Wall, Dark Room editor Chad Perman, who talks about it similar to how I talk about BLADE.

It’s pretty different from what I pictured, especially in the beginning. This is an Amblin production that starts out feeling way more Terry Gilliam than Steven Spielberg. That’s not enough to make me one of those people who swears by it, but it seems crazy to me that anybody hated it! 

It’s the story of Joe Banks (Tom Hanks, precariously perched between TURNER & HOOCH and THE BONFIRE OF THE VANITIES in his filmography), a depressed hyopchondriac working miserably as a clerk at a Staten Island rectal probe factory that looks like a dystopian prison. Every day the employees do a slow sort of death march through the gates to the entrance (I liked that they were forced to walk further by an inexplicably zig-zagged path, though I can’t say I grasp the significance of this shape being a reoccurring symbol throughout the movie).

(read the rest of this shit…)

Millionaires’ Express

Tuesday, December 8th, 2020

THE MILLIONAIRES’ EXPRESS (also called SHANGHAI EXPRESS, originally 富貴列車, or FORTUNE TRAIN according to Google Translate) is a 1986 Sammo Hung directing and starring joint all-star period comedy.

In the tradition of LICENCE TO KILL it opens with a fight in snowy Russia, as Sammo’s character Ching Fong-Tin is caught trying to steal from Russian soldiers and they force him to wear women’s underwear and do a sexy dance for them. He kind of pulls a Bugs Bunny, leaning into it, and manages to escape with an impressive window leap while the cabin explodes, but is then captured by a mountain-trapper-looking CIA agent called Fook Loi (Kenny Bee, THE SPOOKY BUNCH), so there’s more fighting. They end up rolling down the hill and making giant snowballs. (read the rest of this shit…)

Happiest Season

Wednesday, December 2nd, 2020

I don’t usually review comedies, especially straight forward romance/family ones like HAPPIEST SEASON, nor do I plan to do it often. But I thought this was a pretty good one and I decided to give it a shot. Sharpen my skills.

HAPPIEST SEASON is new on Hulu and takes place at Christmas time, but is not specifically about any holiday celebrations. It has received some attention as a high profile romantic comedy with a same sex couple, and of a much higher quality than the ones starting to pop up on Hallmark and Lifetime. Sony/TriStar had actually intended this for a major theatrical release before the pandemic and its supporters fucked up the country. It was directed and co-written by Clea DuVall, who we of course know as an actress from GHOSTS OF MARS, THE GRUDGE, ZODIAC, etc., so it’s a pretty good in-joke when a character’s teenage bedroom is still decorated with a sexy poster of Josh Hartnett (THE FACULTY). (read the rest of this shit…)