Tag Archives: comedy

The Interview (2014)

MV5BMTQzMTcwMzgyMV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwMzAyMzQ2MzE@._V1__SX1859_SY893_I want to say that The Interview was helped a great deal by the North Korean hacking incident and all the related press. After all, I probably would have skipped the theatrical release, and yet I saw it last week instead. But, then again, I didn’t see it at the theater, and I assume they don’t get nine bucks or whatever when it’s streamed on Netflix. So, y’know, probably some kinds of press are bad press after all?

Which is to say, other than all that money they probably lost, the only obvious difference between the two timelines is I saw the movie and have to write this review. And… it made me laugh quite a bit. I’m not precisely recommending it with that statement, but if you’re not allergic to the type of movie Seth Rogen and James Franco would make, I can definitely say that the movie is a lot deeper than the previews for it indicated. And the previews are why I would originally not have bothered to see it by now. So… I guess I am recommending it after all? Yeah, pretty much.

At least, it definitely didn’t feel like a waste of time. And can you ask for more than that? Not very often!

Rubber (2010)

MV5BMTU2Nzg2NDQ2Nl5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwMDk5MjMzNA@@._V1__SX1859_SY847_I find myself with more time to look at Netflix lately, he lied glibly. No, but seriously, what I mean is what I’ve always claimed: I’ll watch movies at home if there’s someone to watch them with, and lately there has been. In fact, I’ve probably missed a couple of reviews, but my commitment is returned; from here on out, new-to-me movies will happen on Netflix viewings too. (I’m streaming these days, though; I gave up on my ability to return DVDs like a year ago.)

Therefore, I watched Rubber last night. Rubber is a horror movie about a tire that rolls around the desert, killing people. No, seriously. It’s somehow a great deal more than that, though. See, there’s a monologuing sheriff, a Greek chorus of sorts, a sometimes naked French lady, and metareferentiality that goes so deep it actually turns inside out on itself. If you liked carrying around no tea for the duration of the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy Infocom game, or if you like absurdity for its own sake, or if you like watching things explode, this movie is for you.

If you would spend the entire movie asking why there’s a tire with motivations and psychokinetic powers in the first place, this movie will try very hard to be for you anyway. If you let it. It’s an 80 minute flick that felt like it lasted less than an hour, though, and I mean that as a compliment. So maybe give it a try?

Knights of Badassdom

MV5BMTQ3ODEwMzY3NV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwNTkwMTQ5MDE@._V1_SX640_SY720_The only real problem with Knights of Badassdom is its lack of depth. What you see is exactly what you will get[1]. And even that’s not precisely a weakness, because at least it’s really, really easy to decide if it’s the kind of thing that you want to get.

Let me break it down for you, and then from there it’s your call whether you’d be interested. So, you know Peter Dinklage (Tyrion from TV’s Game of Thrones), Summer Glau (River Tam from TV’s The Sarah Connor Chronicles), and Anna Paquin’s brother from TV’s True Blood? They got together with a couple of other familiar faces and made a movie about LARPing[2]. No, that’s not right. They made the movie about LARPing that all LARPers have in their heads while they are LARPing. Yep, in the middle of a war event, one of the mages accidentally summons a real live demon from hell, who wreaks havoc amidst the goings on and gives someone a chance to convince Summer Glau that they might be worth boning.

If you are a LARPer and feel that I have misrepresented any particular of your own desired experience[3], I look forward to hearing about it!

[1] Caveat: the climax of the film is completely unpredictable. Not in a way that adds depth, alas, but it’s still nice to know they had an ace up their sleeve.
[2] If you don’t know what LARP is, you are not the movie’s target audience. Basically, it’s SCA crossed with D&D. If you don’t know what SCA and/or D&D are, you’re definitely not the movie’s target audience.
[3] …that you couldn’t correct by replacing Summer Glau with Nathan Fillion, that is.

The World’s End

I made the mistake of watching a movie the day before I vanished from the internet for a week and a half, and I made the further mistake of not writing the damned review before said vanishment. So, um, sorry about that.

On the bright side, the movie I saw was The World’s End, a movie which you no doubt already knew you wanted to see because of its links to the brilliant Shaun of the Dead and the pretty okay Hot Fuzz. The formula is not precisely the same as before, I guess? Where the other two movies were parodies of the zombie and action genre, this is less parody and more mash-up. In the unlikely event that you aren’t spoiled for the mash-up by previews, I will leave out one of the genres, but the other is…. well, okay, hard to qualify. It’s not precisely coming of age, because although Simon Pegg plays an uncomfortably old-looking man-child, all of his friends have clearly grown up[1]. It’s not precisely whatever genre The Big Chill is, if only because the mood isn’t nearly as solemn as all that.

But anyway, whatever it is, it’s funny and well-acted and building towards something meaningful and fellowshippy, when suddenly…. but, y’know, that’s why you should go see it.

On an unrelated note, I am sad that I do not have a bar named The World’s End to go to. And not only because of books Neil Gaiman wrote once upon a time.

[1] If anything, that’s the point.

This Is the End

MV5BMTY3ODIzMjMyNl5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwNTE2MTE0OQ@@._V1_There were three things I liked a lot about This Is the End. First: Los Angeles gets destroyed. I mean, that’s always fun, right? Second: a lot of actors demonstrated a really solid sense of humor about themselves. Sometimes you get one or two, but this was pretty much a whole cast’s worth. (Special kudos to Michael Cera.) Third: I found it to be damned funny[1]

See, some guy I don’t know who is clearly a stand-in for longtime Seth Rogen writing collaborator Evan Goldberg has come into town to visit Seth, even though they both know how much he hates LA. Seth, see, hopes to make some inroads between notEvan and Seth’s actor friends. So they go to a party at James Franco’s house, where everyone acts exactly as annoyingly Hollywood as notEvan expected them to, and even Seth is slightly less likable / more dog-piddly than usual due to their influence. Then, out of nowhere, *boom*, it’s the Rapture Apocalypse. Suddenly, everyone is having to deal with unceasing waves of death and destruction, limited resources, demonic possession, the worst human being in the world[2], and coming to terms with the fact that, yep, they’re in this situation because they probably deserve it[4], all from the comforts of Franco’s post-modern mansion.

Also starring Emma Watson!

[1] Koz, as you will see in paragraph two, it’s generally about bad people, so you will probably not find it funny. I think most other people I know would, though?
[2] Spoilers, but if you insist:[3]
[3] Danny McBride
[4] I know, that’s not really how the Rapture is supposed to work, but somehow, getting an atheistic, uninformed view of the Rapture is very in keeping with the spirit of the thing. on every level. (Also, an accurate[5] representation starring Kirk Cameron would have been terrible in every way.)
[5] Yeah, I had fun with that word choice, not gonna lie.

This Book Is Full of Spiders: Seriously, Dude, Don’t Touch It

The thing about John Dies at the End is that, despite the highly visible spoiler, it still left some room for a review. Who is this John fellow anyway, for example, and what kinds of emotions will I experience when he dies? The problem with David Wong’s finally-arrived sequel, This Book Is Full of Spiders with its helpful sticker warning of Seriously, Dude, Don’t Touch It, is that pretty well sums the book up. It is very much full of spiders, that book. Invisible spiders, on the bright(?) side, unless you are like David and his friend John Cheese and have been dosed with an alien drug called Soy Sauce on the street, which gives you all kinds of time-and-space-spanning knowledge and also allows you to see all the invisible things in the world that your brain usually protects you from, like (in this case) giant far-too-large spiders that intend to crawl into your brain and take over control of your actions and decisions, possibly while leaving you unaware of this fact.

The good news is, that’s pretty much the only problem with David Wong’s new book. Just like JDatE, it is funny and terrifying and occasionally entirely sweet, only this time it was plotted as a novel instead of a long, rambling series of internet stories that got turned into a novel at the last second, which means it works a lot better structurally, with all manner of foreshadowing and sinking “oh hell, that really just / is about to happen/ed” feelings, and he even got to toss in another mention of the Monkeysphere.

Shorter version of this review: man, I’m happy I read this book, and man I’m sad that there probably won’t be another one anytime soon[1], considering the five year gap between these two. Also, I’m glad I finally reviewed it, because I’m caught up again and, not that reading tons of old comics isn’t gratifying in itself, but it will be nice to be reading actual books again also. Truth.

[1] I wonder if there will be a movie, though? That wouldn’t suck.

John Dies at the End

You guys. I am so embarrassed about this right now, and it’s going to be probably the worst review ever, but… I’m like four reviews behind, and at this point I can no longer separate out John Dies at the End the movie from the book that spawned it. At least, not in a meaningful way that I would use to form a discussion about it. In a way, that’s good; I mean, it wasn’t so awful as to make me wonder why they made the movie at all. In another way, it’s certainly bad as it did not transcend its source.

No, you know what? That’s not bad by default, I’m completely wrong about that. It’s great when an adaptation sees into the heart of the source material and creates something new, that part is true. But there’s no shame in making people remember, giving vision to words on a page, and broadening the audience. Which is the thing about this one: I hadn’t read the book in (apparently) six years, so I didn’t remember a lot, but every time some new event occurred[1], it all came right back, and yeah, I can dig that.

The plot is sufficiently strange that I’m not sure it’s worth explaining, except I have a thing that depends upon you knowing a little. See, there’s this drug on the street called Soy Sauce, which gives its users the ability to see through the barriers of time and space. And, okay, that’s pretty awesome, except that some users die horribly or are attacked by the things they can see that nobody else can. Everything else is a spoiler, except you should know that David and John are the two people standing in the way of all of this certain doom.[2]

The point of all of this is that I learned a very important lesson. See, I saw the movie at the Texas Theatre, which is known solely for being where they caught Lee Harvey Oswald, y’know, later that day. It has been somewhat remodeled, and now includes a bar. And the bar had a special related to the movie of the hour, the Soy Sauce Shot. (Which generated the first of the flashback memories I mentioned earlier.) That’s all exciting and fun, right? So we went for it (Jez and I), and… so, um, it was vodka and soy sauce[3]. Cheap vodka. It…. it tasted about like you’d expect. My lesson, if it was not entirely clear, is this: don’t drink a shot made of cheap vodka and soy sauce.

[1] Prime example: the meat monster.
[2] Trust me, it would be certain doom. Also, you may recognize John’s name from somewhere, so I will elaborate that David is the narrator.
[3] The sauce, not the reality-altering drug.

A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas

I saw a couple of 3D movies over the course of my weekend, and I’m coming to the conclusion that they need to reduce the markup. It’s not that I have the thing where it looks bad to me that so many people seem to have, it looks fine. But the thing is… it looks fine. It looks normal. I am perhaps jaded? But I sometimes have to pause and remember that what I’m watching is actually 3D, except for the times when they are going out of their way to make it obvious. On the bright side(?), the latest Harold & Kumar sequel went so far out of its way that it might have come all the way around to accidental 3D hyperbole.

As far as the flick itself, you know what you expect from the boys at this point, I reckon. But, in case, here is what you should expect: Cheech & Chong for the new millennium, complete with gratuitous T&A, more drug use than you can shake a stick at, random violence, and an outsized version of Neil Patrick Harris. And of course we get all of these things in abundance, plus they… well, they don’t learn the true meaning of Christmas, but they do learn a valuable lesson about friendship, family, and responsibility. Honestly, the presentation is a lot better than that sounds, but then again, it would be. The people behind this movie grew up with afterschool specials, of course they’re going to subvert them in entertaining ways!

As far as the Christmas theme? It’s still not as good as National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, because, how? But it’s the only other Christmas-themed entry in an ongoing series of movies that I would bother to recommend to people. Probably because of how irrelevant Christmas-as-a-theme really was in the scheme of things; it was setting, at best. So no worries on that account. And anyway, there’s a WaffleBot, which would be worth the rest of the movie all by itself, probably even if it had felt cloyingly Christmasy.


Meanwhile[1], I saw another movie tonight! It’s because I’ve been kind of way behind on them, y’know? Horror is just about all that’s left to me at this point[2], though there are a couple of interesting things on the horizon. 50/50, on the other hand, was pretty much an interesting thing on the opposite horizon, only showing in a handful of local theaters by now. So it’s good that I caught up to it in time!

Especially good because of how it was, you know, good. I cannot help but draw a comparison to The Road. Just as that novel was a meditation on the end of the world, this movie was (when not being funny, which it also managed quite well, but really, can you expect less from Seth Rogen at this point?) a meditation on the end of the world writ small: really, can you see 50% odds of beating the cancer in your spine that you didn’t know you had until earlier today as anything less than the end of your world? The fundamental difference between that book and this movie is, of course, the presence of hope. There are dark moments, horrible people, and of course lame Hollywood misunderstandings about the way the world actually works, because, despite anything going on in the plot or theme, that’s how Hollywood rolls. But put all that aside, and there’s still an undercurrent of fundamental hope. I guess what I’m [still] saying is that it doesn’t matter how either story turns out; what matters is what the road was paved with.

[1] The game is still on, in extra innings now. It is really hard to think about other things, much less write them.
[2] He says, as though complaining. Ha!
[3] This review is complete, and the game is still going. I guess, if you are a historian with extremely limited access to first- and second-hand documentation, you will never know how the 2011 World Series turned out, Dammit.[4]
[4] Don’t start with me about how footnote 3 wasn’t referenced. Seriously. You can go fuck yourself.

30 Minutes or Less

It’s true, I finally started watching movies again. So, yay! If you find Jesse Eisenberg to be the premiere personable actor of his generation no matter how horrible of a human being he is portraying, or if you find Danny McBride to be a compelling poor- / gross-man’s Seth Rogen, or especially if you think Aziz Ansari’s voice makes his every line somewhere between two and three times as funny as it would have been in another actor’s mouth, and if you don’t mind your dark grey comedy having plot holes a pizza delivery guy could drive through, then you could do a whole lot worse at the dollar theater than 30 Minutes or Less.

Pretty dim praise, right? I laughed quite a lot, don’t get me wrong, but on top of the plot holes, which were pretty galling for reals, there just weren’t any likable characters. The heroes merely won the title of least hateful, and that’s kind of impressively sad. In a way, Danny McBride’s villain sidekick may have been morally better than any of the stars, and he was still quite certainly a villain.[1] But anyway, if you still think a couple bucks and the 90 minutes  are worth your time, I’ll tell you that this is a movie in which a couple of bad guys force a dead-end, largely friendless pizza deliveryman to rob a bank, by strapping a bomb to him. And while I bet there’s a potentially really solid drama somewhere in that plot, and that it is possibly named Dog Day Afternoon, this is definitely more the “hijinx ensue” version.

Enjoy. Or not. But Ansari really is kind of hilarious, so.

[1] Okay, the romantic interest had no problems, she just wasn’t enough of a character to get a handle on, aside from “I can see why Jesse wants to go to there”.