Category Archives: Comedy

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

Review: Labyrinth of Cinema — Fantasia Festival 2020

Labyrinth of Cinema is screening as part of the 2020 Fantasia International Film Festival program.

Labyrinth of Cinema is truly a unique cinematic experience. But simply saying that does not even begin to get at the heart of what makes the film so special. Nobuhiko Ôbayashi’s final film—the director passed away earlier this year—it is a film which pays homage to cinema itself, exploring the power the cinematic medium has to enact change on both an individual and community level. It is a three-hour epic, dubbed during the opening titles as “a movie to explore cinematic literature.” And it is idiosyncratic to a degree where it is difficult to describe in a way that compliments the film. Not that the film is unworthy of compliment.

Ôbayashi, in his attempt to champion the power of cinema, breaks Continue reading Review: Labyrinth of Cinema — Fantasia Festival 2020

Review: Survival Skills — Fantasia Festival 2020

Survival Skills is screening as part of the 2020 Fantasia International Film Festival

Quinn Armstrong’s Survival Skills has plenty of contemporaries. This faux police training video has the same old media affection, anachronistic diegetic reality, and cringe comedy of the late night comedy of Tim & Eric, viral alt comedy videos like Too Many Cooks, and a handful of other indie films on the festival rotation in recent years. Survival Skills deviates enough from these by presenting a less overtly comic take on the postmodern pastiche of the VHS tape aesthetic. But this tone is also the major detracting feature of the film.

The film follows smiley Jim (Vayu O’Donnell) on his first day as part of the Middletown police department. The trials and training he undergoes is part of a training video, but his actions start Continue reading Review: Survival Skills — Fantasia Festival 2020

2020 Fantasia Festival Movie Reviews — Dinner in America, Hail to the Deadites, Monster Seafood Wars

Continuing our coverage of the 2020 Fantasia International Film Festival, here are reviews of three festival selections: Hail to the Deadites, Dinner in America, and Monster Seafood Wars.

 

Hail to the Deadites

In documentary, the choice of subject can sometimes be the majority of the battle. A good documentary requires Continue reading 2020 Fantasia Festival Movie Reviews — Dinner in America, Hail to the Deadites, Monster Seafood Wars

Are Home Alone 4 (2002) and Home Alone 5 (2012) Cinematic Travesties? — Diamonds in the Rough

Diamonds in the Rough (DitR, /dɪ’tər/) takes some of the most derided, divisive, controversial, financially catastrophic, and meme-worthy movies and tries to find the silver lining. Bad movies don’t always start as bad ideas, and flops aren’t always flop-worthy. DitR seeks to find the good within the bad, because the world could use some positivity. And when all else fails, making fun of bad movies is oh-so satisfying.

In this installment, we are looking at the final two sequels in the Home Alone series of films: Home Alone 4: Taking Back the House and Home Alone 5: The Holiday HeistHome Alone 4 was a made-for-television film. It served as the November 3, 2002 premiere for the 47th season of Walt Disney’s anthology television film series, then titled The Wonderful World of Disney. Home Alone 5 functioned as a part of ABC Family’s Countdown to the 25 Days of Christmas programming block.

[Caution: Minor Spoilers Ahead, mostly involving Home Alone 5. But let’s be honest, there’s no need to be watching these movies]

 

Home Alone 4: Taking Back the House

  • IMDb: 2.6/10 (31,990 ratings)
  • Letterboxd: 1.2/5 (7,766 ratings)
  • Nielsen Rating: 7  | Share: 11 | Viewers: 12.5 (m)

Continue reading Are Home Alone 4 (2002) and Home Alone 5 (2012) Cinematic Travesties? — Diamonds in the Rough

In Defense of Home Alone 3 (1997) — Diamonds in the Rough

Diamonds in the Rough (DitR, /dɪ’tər/) takes some of the most derided, divisive, controversial, financially catastrophic, and meme-worthy movies and tries to find the silver lining. Bad movies don’t always start as bad ideas, and flops aren’t always flop-worthy. DitR seeks to find the good within the bad, because the world could use some positivity. And when all else fails, making fun of bad movies is oh-so satisfying.

In this installment, court is in session, as I will be defending Raja Gosnell’s 1997 sequel Home Alone 3.

 

Home Alone 3

  • Rotten Tomatoes: 29% (24 critics) | 27% (448,875 user ratings)
  • IMDb: 4.5/10 (101,483 ratings)
  • Letterboxd: 2.0/5 (24,174 ratings)

 

Recently, given our current state of pandemic, the good ol’ boys at The Worst Idea of All Time podcast decided to watch Home Alone 3 every Continue reading In Defense of Home Alone 3 (1997) — Diamonds in the Rough

Mope (2020) Movie Review

[Warning: this review contains references to sexually explicit acts and therefore is not suitable for those under the age of 18]

mope (/mōp/), noun, “a bottom-tier porn performer willing to do the dirtiest, most depraved work in the business.”

Mope, the directorial debut from Lucas Heyne, begins with a football huddle-style chant of

Continue reading Mope (2020) Movie Review

The King of Staten Island (2020) Movie Review

Scott Carlin (Pete Davidson) is a 24-year-old resident of Staten Island who lives at home with his mother (Marisa Tomei); is still not over his deceased father; suffers from ADD, depression, and Crohns disease; spends his days smoking weed, although it no longer gets him high; and finds it difficult to come to terms with his mother’s new boyfriend (Bill Burr), while also being emotionally incapable of holding a meaningful romantic relationship of his own. His highest aspiration in life is to open a tattoo parlor/restaurant.

The King of Staten Island finds its focus in the Continue reading The King of Staten Island (2020) Movie Review

The Lovebirds (2020) Movie Review

Michael Showalter’s previous film, The Big Sick, was the surprise indie darling of 2017. That film, co-written and starring Kumail Nanjiani, turned the romantic comedy formula on its head. The Lovebirds, also co-starring Nanjiani, attempts a similar formulaic subversion, but screenwriters Aaron Abrams and Brendan Gall prove less savvy in this pursuit.

Jibran (Nanjiani) and Leilani (Issa Rae) meet at a party and really hit it off. We watch as their relationship flourishes, and seemingly nothing could go wrong. These two were meant to be together forever. Cut to a few years later, and Continue reading The Lovebirds (2020) Movie Review

Downhill (2020) Movie Review

“Force majeure” refers to unforeseen acts that can prevent the fulfillment of a legal contract. In the case of Ruben Östlund’s 2014 film of that name, it refers to the unpredictable behavior of a man—a husband, a father—in the face of unexpected danger that could threaten to completely overturn his marriage and his own perception of himself. In Nat Faxon and Jim Rash’s 2020 film Downhill, the title is a pun on downhill skiing and a marriage on the decline.

Downhill is “inspired,” as the credits tell us, by Force Majeure, and it takes what is a Continue reading Downhill (2020) Movie Review

The Gentlemen (2020) Movie Review

In 2019, Guy Ritchie’s live action Disney adaptation of Aladdin was released. It is a film with no discernible trace of Ritchie’s authorial stamp. He follows Aladdin up with The Gentlemen, a film that is so readily a return to Ritchie’s crime film origins that it almost appears as a parody.

The film is framed by a somewhat fidgety, gift of gab private eye named Fletcher (Hugh Grant), who has Continue reading The Gentlemen (2020) Movie Review