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Archive for the ‘Comedy/Laffs’ Category

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…)

The Babysitter: Killer Queen

Wednesday, October 21st, 2020

I had heard some not very good things about THE BABYSITTER, so I was surprised when I, a person who’s generally pretty picky about horror comedies, liked it more than my friends. And then as soon as I said that everybody told me “I liked the first one, but the sequel is terrible.”

And it’s true – the tight construction and sincere sweetness that I found so appealing in THE BABYSITTER are not as present in the sequel. It’s more scattershot, maybe in part because rather than the one original writer Brian Duffield they have a team of Dan Lagana (Zach Stone Is Gonna Be Famous) and Brad Morris & Jimmy Warden (co-producer of the first one) and McG. But it doesn’t feel crazy enough to say it’s McG going Full Throttle again. For the most part it stays true to the spirit of the first one, but the circumstances of sequelization corner it into being more far-fetched and having to stretch it more to keep the story going and bring back certain characters and stuff.

Luckily it’s also funny and gory enough to be a pretty good time. The returns are diminishing, but I’ll take ‘em. (read the rest of this shit…)

The Babysitter

Monday, October 19th, 2020

It’s common during These Uncertain Times to say that time is moving slowly. I generally agree. But as a counterpoint, I sincerely thought McG’s straight-to-Netflix horror comedy THE BABYSITTER came out recently, and that I would get to it eventually. Turns out it’s been three years since it came out and there’s already a sequel where the main characters have grown like a foot taller. So eventually has arrived.

Despite McG’s checkered past directing Korn and Smash Mouth videos, I’ve always had a soft spot for him. I enjoyed his silly, joyful, aggressively style-over-substance CHARLIE’S ANGELS movies. In the Ain’t It Cool Days I didn’t understand why people hated him so much, bizarrely taking offense to his name. What the fuck does it matter to you? You think it’s unprofessional? What are you, a dad telling his kid to tuck his shirt in for a job interview? Get over yourself.

I was really rooting for him to pull off TERMINATOR SALVATION, but I concede that he didn’t (even if I like more things about it than most people). I kind of stopped paying attention to him after that, although about five years later he did 3 DAYS TO KILL with Kevin Costner, which I seem to be about the only fan of. (read the rest of this shit…)

Lucky Day

Thursday, September 24th, 2020

LUCKY DAY is a 2019 crime movie with death and laughs and colorful characters, including but not limited to Crispin Glover. It’s not retro or a throwback, but definitely has shades of the ‘90s everybody-wants-to-be-Tarantino days and Guy Ritchie and stuff, which is not a pose because this is from writer/director Roger Avary (a.k.a. Oscar-winning co-writer of PULP FICTION), his first directing in more than 15 years.

It’s about a crazy day in the life of a guy named Red (Luke Bracey, GI JOE: RETALIATION, THE NOVEMBER MAN, POINT BREAK remake, HACKSAW RIDGE) when he’s released from a two year prison bid and returns to his French artist wife Chloe (Nina Dobrev, xXx: RETURN OF XANDER CAGE) and daughter Beatrice (Ella Ryan Quinn). I don’t think it’s ever specified what he did time for, but he does go to see his friend Leroy (Clé Bennett, JIGSAW) – who has changed his name to Le Roi – and the fact that they run a lock and key shop with a cool basement hidden inside a safe and inside that is a huge safe that he attempts to crack for fun seems like a hint. (read the rest of this shit…)