Posts Tagged ‘Comedy’

Say Anything… – Minute Movie Review

Freitag, Oktober 8th, 2010

Review:

Lovable loser John Cusack decides to date high school valedictorian Ione Skye. Surprisingly, she actually agrees to this. What follows is a sweet story about first love, combined with some unnecessary dramatic elements and some clever dialogue. Young John Cusack is adorable and his character Lloyd Dobler might be the most sought-after guy in movie history. Written and directed by Cameron Crowe, the film showcases his raw talent for emotionally touching stories, without ever achieving greatness, for it is too mired in mediocrities.

Random Observations:

Say Anything… at the IMDb

Well, will you look at that. This really has been “80s teen comedy week”.

John Cusack’s sister is played by Joan Cusack, his real life sister. Sort of like Maggie and Jake Gyllenhaal in Donnie Darko. Only much earlier.

Crowe already displayed his interest in music here. An interest that earlier and later culminated in Almost Famous, the somewhat biographical film about his experiences of working for Rolling Stone as a teenager.

My Bodyguard – Minute Movie Review

Mittwoch, Oktober 6th, 2010

Review:

At his new school, fifteen-year-old Chris Makepeace is bullied, so he decides to hire the one guy everyone is scared of, Adam Baldwin, as his bodyguard. The business relationship soon develops into a friendship as their limits are severely tested. The film doesn’t quite know what to do with the premise. It crams a few too many plot elements into the erratically told story and waivers between serious drama and light-hearted comedy. There is much promise here, but ultimately very little pay-off. Solid performances, especially from Ruth Gordon as Makepeace’s grandmother, make for an entertaining film, but it’s kind of sad to think what it could have been.

Random Observations:

My Bodyguard at the IMDb

I have to admit that I mostly picked up this film to see the début of Adam Baldwin, of firefly fame, who is decidedly not a Baldwin brother.

This appears to be “80s teen movie week”. No idea how this happened. Check in Friday to see whether it continues.

Another film with a very young Joan Cusack. And also a very young Matt Dillon. While instantly recognizable, they sure have changed a lot in thirty years.

Sixteen Candles – Minute Movie Review

Montag, Oktober 4th, 2010

Review:

A day before her sister’s wedding, Molly Ringwald’s entire family forgets her sixteenth birthday. And that is not the only trouble she has: the boy she likes doesn’t even know her and she has to fend of the advances of perennial geek Anthony Michael Hall. In short, not one of her better days, but things are definitely looking up in this classic teen comedy from classic teen comedy writer-director John Hughes, his début feature. He hasn’t quite gotten the grip on teen angst he later demonstrated with The Breakfast Club and the film is not nearly as outrageously funny as Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, but it’s a solid first effort that is definitely worth seeing if you’ve ever been a teenager and especially if you were a teenager in suburban America in the 1980s.

Random Observations:

Sixteen Candles at the IMDb

Both Hughes regulars were only fifteen when the film was made, actually fitting the age of their characters.

John Cusack has a small role in this film as another geek – not quite the role he’ll be remembered for.

His sister Joan Cusack is also in this film. And a Beth Ringwald – Molly’s older sister. John Hughes definitely made family films…

Dear God, was Long Duk Dong ever offensive. I always thought political correctness had arisen in the early 80s.

The Hangover – Minute Movie Review

Mittwoch, September 29th, 2010

Review:

Having your bachelor party two days before the wedding in Las Vegas is a bad idea – especially when the groom-to-be is missing. So the three friends try to figure out just what the hell happened in their night of debauchery and hilarity ensues. No, seriously, it actually ensues. Despite nothing in the film actually being particularly funny, the film as a whole is quite hilarious – no idea how they pulled that off. Probably by being better craftspeople than I am.

Random Observations:

The Hangover at the IMDb

Zach Galifianakis, of the unpronounceable name, is probably the funniest ingredient in this very entertaining film. He plays the not-all-there brother-in-law of groom-to-be Justin Bartha.

I wonder: is Bradley Cooper in any way related to Chris Cooper? Probably not, but the new IMDb design doesn’t allow me to painlessly look it up. And it would be very funny if it were the case. So I am just going to pretend that he is Chris’ son.

The comedy here is painted in such broad strokes, that it is sure to appeal to almost everyone.

Harold and Maude – Minute Movie Review

Freitag, September 24th, 2010

Review:

Harold is a young man obsessed with death – he attends funerals for fun and likes to stage fake suicides. His rich single mother naturally despairs. Maude is about to turn 80 and embraces life to the fullest, doing whatever she wants with vigour, fascinating Harold. Hal Ashby’s 1971 film is the first quirky American romantic comedy, pairing two people who couldn’t be more different and yet fit together perfectly, despite or especially because of the huge age difference. The film is funny, touching and bitter-sweet, accompanied by a Cat Stevens soundtrack that fits the tone of the film perfectly. Really, there is no excuse for not having seen this film yet, but if you haven’t and enjoy grotesque humour paired with horribly true life lessons, you’ll love this film.

Random Observations:

Harold and Maude at the IMDb

Bud Cort is perfect in the lead role – I wonder whatever happened to him or rather his career. I don’t think he made a single good film since then.

The faked suicides are highly unrealistic, but very entertaining. How’s that for a sentence I never thought I’d write?

It’s a real shame that the Jaguar hearse did not survive the filming. Now there’s a car I’d love to drive!

Wallace & Gromit in The Curse of the Were-Rabbit – Minute Movie Review

Montag, September 20th, 2010

Review:

Life is all about second chances. You give them to people. People give them to you. And sometimes – not very often, mind you – you offer them to a film. I first saw Were-Rabbit back in its theatrical run in 2005 and I was less than impressed. But after watching the recent Wallace & Gromit short A Matter of Loaf and Death and enjoying it immensely, I thought it was time to revise my judgement. Sadly, I was mistaken and my judgement still stands. Sure, the film has some outrageously funny scenes, some inspired ideas and is beautifully animated. (Claymated? That doesn’t sound right.) But ultimately, there are just not enough jokes or plot to sustain a feature film. The shorts are hilarious, but the film is somehow less. It’s by no means bad, but it’s just not great, with the story becoming increasingly silly (and not in a good way) and many of the jokes falling flat. And seriously, Gromit’s eyes are impressively expressive, but there is only so much one can take of them. In summary: it’s a good thing that Aardman went back to making short films – it’s where claymation belongs.

Random Observations:

Wallace & Gromit in The Curse of the Were-Rabbit at the IMDb

The film took half a decade to make, with only 3 seconds of footage being produced on most days. Stop motion animation is a lot of work, doing the whole thing with clay even more so.

It’s nice that the studio and director/creator Nick Park managed to retain Peter Sallis as the voice of Wallace. Some better known actor would have been a horrible choice.

The first third of the film, before the plot gets really under way, is easily my favourite part of the movie.

Sneakers – Minute Movie Review

Freitag, September 17th, 2010

Review:

Combining genres is tough. Combining thriller and comedy is nigh-impossible. Sneakers still attempts it – with middling success. It’s an absurd story of professional thieves that test out security systems so that real thieves don’t break in who stumble over what may be the biggest invention in human history. The thrilling moments are rare and so are the funny ones, mostly due to a charismatic Robert Redford in the lead role, while the impressive supporting cast (Ben Kingsley, Sidney Poitier, Dan Aykroyd, River Phoenix, David Strathairn) is mostly reduced to being annoying. Nevertheless, the film manages to be solid entertainment – and often, that is quite enough to be remembered two decades later.

Random Observations:

Sneakers at the IMDb

The film features a pre-elder-statesman-aged David Strathairn, which just goes to prove that some actors are born to play one part, even if they have to wait fifty years to fit the role.

Nice bit of Fabricated Truth trivia: this is the first “proper” entry I write since my return. And even though I’ve been back for more than a week, this is the first new film I’ve seen. (I watched Casablanca again a couple of days ago, because it’s just that awesome.)

Unfaithfully Yours – Minute Movie Review

Mittwoch, September 8th, 2010

Review:

Rex Harrison plays a brilliant, but arrogant and egocentric conductor in this Preston Sturges comedy. When he suspects his wife of infidelity – brought about by his brother-in-law hiring a detective, much to his chagrin – he devises various plans to take care of the situation while brilliantly conducting. But reality, naturally, is not quite as simple as fantasy, and so thankfully we get a happy ending. The film has razor-sharp and witty dialogue and some decent performances from actors otherwise not known for their comedic prowess (like Harrison), but when the main character is so entirely unlikeable, one is hard-pressed to truly enjoy the film. Thankfully, the slapstick ending makes you forget all about that.

Random Observations:

Unfaithfully Yours at the IMDb

“A thousand poets dreamed a thousand years, then you were born, my love.” Quite possibly the sappiest last line in film history.

Much better: “Have you ever heard of Russian Roulette?” “Why, certainly. I used to play it with my father all the time.”

“Nobody handles Händel like you handle Händel.”

The film is set to the music of Rossini, Wagner and Tchaikovsky, which at times is brilliant, but at other moments is more distracting than anything else.

Les Girls – Minute Movie Review

Freitag, Juli 30th, 2010

Review:

When a tell-all autobiography leads to a libel suit, both parties tell conflicting stories about their time with “Barry Nichols (Gene Kelly) and Les Girls”. Told in flashback, both Kay Kendall and Taina Elg tell about the other’s love for Barry, while third girl Mitzi Gaynor seems uninvolved. Naturally, a third story is needed. The film is quite funny, more a comedy than a musical or dance film. It’s not the most original idea, but it’s decently executed and allows all stars a time to shine.

Random Observations:

Les Girls at the IMDb

I would be very surprised to learn that Rashômon was not the inspiration for the film.

I couldn’t help but be reminded of Joan Cusack by both Kay Kendall and Taina Elg, despite the fact that none of the three looks anything like the other two.

Last film for which Cole Porter wrote the music, although of course his songs have been featured in a large number of films since then.

Directed by George Cukor, possibly one of the greatest American comedy directors of all time. His credits also include films like The Philadelphia Story and Holiday.

This concludes week three of our four week focus on American Cinema of the 1950s. So far, we have seen some great suspenseful comedies and musical thrillers, while we also learned that neither Hitchcock nor Kelly make for engaging melodrama.

Singin’ in the Rain – Minute Movie Review

Mittwoch, Juli 21st, 2010

Review:

Even if you haven’t seen the film, you know the song and you probably know the iconic scene where Gene Kelly sings it while dancing through the rain. What you might not yet know is that the surrounding film is pretty great. Kelly plays a silent film star that has to deal with the move to the talkies, which proves easier for him that for his co-star Jean Hagen, who not only has a horrible voice, but also a horrible personality. Meanwhile, he also falls in love with a woman who doesn’t fawn all over him, which hasn’t happened since he was four. The film is a great comedy filled with good to bearable musical numbers, one of those films where the kitsch doesn’t bother you all that much because it’s just too much fun.

Random Observations:

Singin’ in the Rain at the IMDb

The film was “suggested by the song Singin’ in the Rain“, possibly making it the only film in history to be based on a song.

The best thing about the film is Donald O’Connor as Kelly’s sidekick, who can not only sing and dance, but is also extremely funny.

There is one lengthy (five minutes plus) dance sequence that I personally could have done without, but the film manages to get back on track pretty quickly.

I have decided that Gene Kelly’s charm is best described as “rakish”.