Category Archives: Comedy

I am serious…and don’t call me Shirley.

Pokemon: Detective Pikachu (2019) Movie Review

Pokemon is one of the biggest video game brands in history. As of 2017, it was the third best selling video game franchise in the history of the medium, behind Mario and Tetris. Its first generation of games, manufactured in 1996 for the Nintendo handheld console, the Game Boy, sold over 45,000,000 units.

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The franchise quickly ballooned into a trans-media synergy that encompassed animated television shows, animated movies, trading cards, toys, and more video game installments. In a sense, it is a surprise that it has taken this long for The Pokemon Company to pull the trigger on a live-action film of its titular product.

Then again, there was the Super Mario Bros. movie.

The stigma against video game adaptations to film is Continue reading Pokemon: Detective Pikachu (2019) Movie Review

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The Beach Bum (2019) Movie Review

In The Beach Bum, Matthew McConaughey is the most Matthew McConaughey that McConaughey has ever McConaugheyed.

Armed with scraggled, hay-colored hair; flip-up shades; psychedelic Hawaiian print shirts; and constant PBR tallboys, Moondog (McConaughey) has the outer appearance of a grizzled, careless sea dog. But in reality, Moondog is “the most prolific poet in all of Key West, Florida.” This according to a dive bar musician, who allows Moondog on stage to sing along and then riff an unformed piece of poetry.

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Moondog made his riches early, both through his poetry and through his marriage. But he largely ignores the money (until Continue reading The Beach Bum (2019) Movie Review

Isn’t it Romantic (2019) Movie Review

At an early age, Natalie (Rebel Wilson) is taught from her mom that she is not the type of woman they make romantic comedies about. Those movies don’t fit into real life; at least, they don’t fit into what her real life will be. “We’re no Julia Roberts,” Natalie’s told. If they made a movie out of her life, they would have to “sprinkle Prozac on the popcorn.”

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Natalie has carried these values, perhaps subconsciously, into her adult life. She assumes she is blind to the world, and thus she allows herself to be pushed around at work. She is Continue reading Isn’t it Romantic (2019) Movie Review

The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part (2019) Movie Review

The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part is just what implies; it is a second helping, a rehash of the surprise hit that tries to recapture the magic but ultimately falls short.

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Following the events of The LEGO Movie, the world inhabited by sentient LEGO beings has fallen into chaos. It has become Continue reading The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part (2019) Movie Review

Cold Pursuit (2019) Movie Review

There is a fundamental disconnect in Cold Pursuit that, while being the film’s largest flaw, is oddly charming. To say that the film does not know what it is would be false, but it does not know how to fully achieve what it wants to be.

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The film begins with a quote from Oscar Wilde: “Some cause happiness wherever they go; others whenever they go.”

Frankly, I can’t figure out for the life of me why Continue reading Cold Pursuit (2019) Movie Review

The Upside (2019) Movie Review

The Upside is a remake of the 2011 French film Intouchables, a facile yet hugely crowd-pleasing story about a white wealthy quadriplegic who hires a black ex-con to be his live-in caregiver. In the American iteration, the two roles are fulfilled by Bryan Cranston and Kevin Hart, with the role of Philip Lacasse’s (Cranston) uptight executive Yvonne being played by Nicole Kidman.

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Neil Burger’s film is just as facile, and likely just as crowd-pleasing, as Intouchables.

Dell Scott (Hart) is on the hunt for a job—something he does not want, but something required to Continue reading The Upside (2019) Movie Review

Vice (2018) Movie Review

Adam McKay likes to show. And show. And show.

As he moves further from straight comedy and more toward a dark comedy examination of political America, McKay’s showy style becomes more apparent. In a way, it is more permissible to have a broad comedy film be brash and in-your-face. While such a style is not destined to fail in a more dramatic setting, it is harder to grapple with tone in that setting.

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McKay’s The Big Short shows some signs of this tonal problem. Largely a depressing subject, the comedy flourishes in that retelling of the housing crisis don’t translate well. The non sequitur cutaways to celebrities are jarring and ineffective. What shines in that film are the performances, showing that the director understands the import of Continue reading Vice (2018) Movie Review