Busy time of year folks, so apologies to anyone who actually looks forward to my latest reviews. I didn’t want everything I’ve seen to fall by the wayside, so here are some brief thoughts on everything I’ve seen so far in 2017 but haven’t had time to sit down and put full write ups on. Sit back relax and “enjoy” some candid hot takes on these 2017 releases!
Kong: Skull Island – Come for the star studded cast then shove them aside for the awesome creature fights. Kong is visually impressive, but it lacks humanity in a pretty comical way. The characters very much feel like empty shells taking us from one place to another to be bait for the eventual breathtaking spectacle of the Kong fights. In spite of the lack of characters to hang your hat on this was still a pretty tremendous and crowd pleasing theater experience. Rating: B+
Gifted – Sort of let this one get lost in the shuffle. This is a very understated film. There was almost no marketing push and it just sort of appeared in theaters with little to no fanfare. If its still out there though, get out and see it. I could have used a little more closure for some of the relationships and perhaps a little more emotion out of Chris Evans’ character, but this has been the most affective dramas so far this year that also happens to have a pretty delightful sense of humor. Rating: A-(more…)
The last batch of Fantasia Reviews is a doozy, so why don’t we just hop right in, shall we?
As a huge fan of HBO’s Silicon Valley I was extremely intrigued to check out one of the show’s sporadic writers, Carson Mell’s, directorial debut. Another Evil explores the uncomfortable world of bringing in an emotionally fragile individual into your vacation home to exorcise ghosts that are cramping your style–we’ve all been there, am I right?
The film is bolstered by a uniquely unsettling performance from Mark Proksch as Os, the socially challenged exorcist on the verge of divorce and a potential midlife crisis. In many ways his work calls to mind the great Mark Duplass and his performance in Creep, except…ya know, there are demons. As the audience we know there’s something supernatural afoot so Os’ intentions at first seem on the level, but after a while it’s unclear if he really has a gift or if he’s a lunatic with a glove that emits radio static. It all culminates with a troubling finale that drives home the ultra dark comedy by transforming into an even darker horror/thriller–with a touch of drama. (more…)
Patrick Brice is enjoying what is likely a busy year right at the beginning of his career- a career which in my opinion has loads of potential. Speaking of loads, The Overnight (Brice’s second feature), is a sex comedy that employs a lot of the same character tricks of Creep. However, unlike Creep the tricks don’t quite leave the same lasting impressions in spite of the film’s undeniable sense of chemistry and mystery.
Los Angeles newbies Alex (Adam Scott) and Emily (Taylor Schilling) looking to get the lay of the land with their young son have a chance meeting in the park with Kurt (Jason Schwartzman). Out of the interaction Kurt invites the family to his house house for a play date that night so that he and his wife can give them the 411 on the area. The night starts harmless enough, but as the night extends into the wee hours of the night things get progressively weirder as Alex and Emily begin to suspect there’s something a little naughty afoot. (more…)
“Love hurts like hell.” That’s one tagline of Alexandre Aja’s latest flick HORNS. If it wasn’t so true I might have laughed off a lot of this adaptation of Joe Hill’s novel- which I have not read. In fact, much of HORNS feels like a huge departure from Aja’s sensibilities- though he did toy with some cheesy comedy in PIRANHA 3D. However, this Daniel Radcliffe headliner flirts with a little bit of everything from black comedy all the way to tragic romance. The unfortunate thing being that Aja’s film does not excel at any of the genres it touches.
The film begins with Ig (Radcliffe) and Merrin (Juno Temple) a couple obviously in love. Almost instantly things are literally flipped upside down as we find Ig in the throes of depression with an empty bottle of liquor next to him. As he heads outside he’s greeted by press asking him what it’s like to get away with murder and protestors saying he should burn in Hell. As it turns out Merrin has been murdered and everyone with the exception of Ig’s brother Terry (Joe Anderson) and best friend/lawyer Lee (Max Minghella) thinks he did it. With everyone painting him as a devil Ig awakes from a drunken fling with horns growing out of his head. The image is enough to spook just about any man except that no one seems to be thrown off by the phenomenon. To make things weirder people keep confessing their darkest desires to him as if part of regular conversation. Ig starts to use the power to his advantage in efforts to dig up the truth behind what happened to Merrin.
Another year of movies is in the books and as always it was filled with ups and downs. Breaking from the normal top ten list of the last few years I decided to try something a bit different. In one post I will wrap up the year of movies starting with the best in a paragraph that briefly mentions my favorite movies of the year in no particular order in genres. From there I will briefly discuss some of the years middling efforts that weren’t particular bad, but not particularly good either or just weren’t as good as I hoped. Lastly I will wrap up with some of my choices for the year’s worst efforts.
As always, I don’t always have a chance to see every single movie released on a year by year basis so if you don’t see something don’t worry, it may be because I didn’t see it or that it just didn’t crack my list of movies I really wanted to mention. Feel free to discuss some of your favorites in the comments if you feel your favorite wasn’t given justice! (more…)
Today’s Brew & View features the Broken Lizard gang’s cop comedy SUPER TROOPERS. The film first released back in 2002 and was the second feature from Jay Chandrasekhar follows the shenanigans of a group of Vermont state troopers as they attempt to uncover a huge drug smuggling scheme to prove their worth to the mayor before they are shut down for good.
I remember having some pretty high hopes for this the first time I watched it after I’d seen a preview in a lot of DVDs at the time. My initial reaction when it finally landed in theaters near me briefly was a bit mixed. I remember it not being quite as funny as I’d hope, but that it had a lot of really good jokes and it was infinitely quotable, at least during a few key sequences. I still watch this one on occasion especially if I’m flipping through channels and catch it, but I wouldn’t say that it is my favorite of the Broken Lizard film’s- not that that any of them rank among my favorite comedies of all time.
Beer Pairing:Rogue Ales Voodoo Doughnut Bacon Maple Ale
This suggestion came to me from my wife and as soon as she mentioned it I kicked myself for not thinking of it myself. As soon as she mentioned it the obvious connections hit me like a brick. There’s the obvious cops like doughnuts stereotype, the reference to cops being pigs which connects with the bacon half of the beers ingredients and lastly the maple comes into play as there is a scene in the beginning where the cops are having a syrup chugging contest. I immediately made note of the pairing. After getting the obvious connections sorted out I started comparing my enjoyment of the beer with my enjoyment of the film.
The taste of Rogue’s Bacon Maple Ale is almost that of overwhelming smoky bacon with a maple syrup taste that comes through on the back end. The beer has quite the bite and was enjoyable enough after the first few sips, but as it warms and as the taste starts to wear on you it doesn’t finish of quite as well. The same can be said for my enjoyment of SUPER TROOPERS- it starts off unique enough as a comedy of quirky cops and there’s something to enjoy about Broken Lizard’s sense of humor, but it got kind of stale for me towards the end.
If you need a morning wake up (so long as you’re not planning on driving anywhere) then Rogue’s unique Voodoo Doughnut teamup is comparable to a liquid breakfast- if all you have for breakfast is lots of bacon. You could also join in when the characters engage in the syrup chugging by doing the same with the Bacon Maple Ale and you might be treated to an even better experience by riding the rest of the film on a nice buzz. Neither the film nor the beer is perfect on their own, but together I think they make for quite the handsome couple.
Raunchy teen comedies are not quite what they used to be- they also are not as dramatically different as I would have expected. What never changes ate teenagers obsession with talking and pursuing radical sex escapades and the sexually charged jokes. However, nowadays rather than a teen being caught peeking through the women’s shower pipes during shower time they’d be more apt to be caught rigging a spy cam somewhere in the locker room. For me PORKY’S was the more apt source for a young generation of kids being exposed to sexually related topics and starting point for teens obsession with sex.
The basic premise of PORKY’S is almost identical to most modern teen comedies- a group of high school students that really want to get laid. There has never been a need for a more complicated plot when it cones to teen comedies because when it comes down to it, that’s what more than half of high school students are out to accomplish. The guys in PORKY’S exhaust a couple different avenues- one leaves them running naked through the woods thinking they’re about to be killed and the other leads them to an eventual revenge scheme against the despicable club owner Porky.
Upon rewatching PORKY’S I was reminded of the simple fact that while the film ages it remains a very funny and beloved in my eyes. The movie never fails to make me laugh no matter how many times I see Pee Wee screaming through the shower pipes or Ballbricker yanking Tommy’s no-no parts through the pipe and the resulting mole search conversation between Ballbricker, the coaches and the principal. Many of the actual gags in the film remain very funny while other aspects have not aged quite as well.
While I still find a lot of PORKY’S entertaining, I cannot look past how much most of the aspects have aged. Visually the film is very dated and that goes for sound as well- this could all be fixed with a Blu-Ray conversion possibly but on DVD it remains grainy and the sound suffers at time. This however has little effect on the comedy and the overall enjoyment as it is a comedy after all and it is an 80’s movie so slick overproduced visuals are not a must in this case.
Overall I feel like PORKY’S is still a very worthwhile R rated raunchy teen comedy. I remember rumblings about a remake a long way back but I don’t know if one would improve much on the premise since just about every teen comedy these days has a been there done that feel. The jokes remain just as funny to me as they were when I was younger and it still holds strong as one of my favorite comedies.