They Came Together, directed and co-written by David Wain, is a madcap, off the wall, comedic send-up of the romantic comedy genre that goes so far over the top, you won’t believe it. The cast is a who’s who of comedy, from stars Paul Rudd and Amy Poehler to supporting actors Melanie Lynskey and Jason Mantzoukas, all the way down to scene stealers like Bill Hader and Ellie Kemper. There are a lot of laughs, an ambitious premise and I think a lot of people are going to like the movie. Unfortunately, I’m not one of those people.
I may, however, grow to be one of those people. The brilliance of Wain’s comedy is that it can be so unexpected and off-putting that sometimes time and familiarity can make a movie funnier than it feels on the first viewing. However, on my first viewing, I felt They Came Together tried to be shocking so many times, and failed more often than not, that I couldn’t get into it. It’s so incessantly obsessed with the next joke, it skips everything in-between. Read More »
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Imagine you’re watching your relationship on TV. It is playing on five channels, with each channel airing a different stage of the relationship. When things get too uncomfortable, awkward or emotional, you just flip the channel. On that next channel, you’d continue to watch your relationship unfold, maybe from a point a few years later. The cumulative result of the experience would probably put into perspective the whole of what you and another person can be together. Loving in one moment, hateful in another, caring, selfish and more.
That metaphor is an elaborate attempt to describe Comet, the directorial debut of Sam Esmail, which had its world premiere at the Los Angeles Film Festival this weekend. Comet stars Emmy Rossum and Justin Long as the central couple. While there is absolutely no TV channel surfing involved, the film’s complex and fascinating structure feels like that, from the audience perspective. It’s a dense, funny, insanely well-written and well-acted film. Unlike most romantic films, it keeps you guessing. Simultaneously, it raises questions about the nature of love, life, and truth, all disguised in an semi-conventional love story told in the most unconventional of ways. It’s a special movie. Read More »
I saw How to Train Your Dragon seven times in theaters when it was released in 2010. For me, few other films have taken better advantage of the IMAX format, and few have done a better job at conveying the exhilaration of flight. But beyond being a technical marvel, it also had a lot of heart and introduced us to one of the most adorable, heart-melting animated characters ever conceived, Toothless.
This weekend, How to Train Your Dragon 2 hits theaters. Could it live up to my impossibly high expectations? Find my video review after the jump.
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/Film’s Germain Lussier called 22 Jump Street (out in theaters this weekend) one of the funniest and best films of the summer. I saw 22 Jump Street this week and found it to be immensely enjoyable. Its knowing references to its bizarre sequel status were amusing, and I loved the gags in the last half of the film, when it felt like directors Chris Miller and Phil Lord felt free to let loose and really play with the film’s reality.
I spoke with Germain about why he loved the film so much and how 22 Jump Street avoids being a repetitive sequel in the vein of Hangover 2. Find our video review after the jump.
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There is so much to like about Doug Liman‘s Edge of Tomorrow. An adaptation of the Hiroshi Sakurazaka novel All You Need Is Kill, the film takes sci-fi elements from The Matrix, Aliens, Starship Troopers, manga and more, and wraps them all up in a rewarding time travel conceit right out of Groundhog Day. Next, it builds upon that construct in a way we’ve never seen, managing to entertain with humor, action and suspense. Tom Cruise and Emily Blunt both bring a grounded, confident charisma to their roles. and Liman’s direction mixes the biggest scope imaginable with beautiful, quiet, intimate moments. The film is almost amazing.
However, a few small but distracting issues – mostly derived from the script by Christopher McQuarrie, Jez and John-Henry Butterworth - hold the film back from reaching its full potential. Still, even with those problems, Edge of Tomorrow delivers on its promise of a memorable, exciting and emotional sci-fi action film. Read More »
22 Jump Street is so fast, so funny and so entertaining, it almost makes time stop. After watching the film, and without looking it up, I couldn’t guess how long the movie had been, because the whole experience was so relentless with its comedy and action. It’s exhausting in the best possible way.
The non-stop onslaught of cleverness is something we’ve come to expect from directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller. With this, their first directorial sequel, they’ve lived up to the huge expectations of the first 21 Jump Street. In fact, they might have gone beyond it. 22 Jump Street is one of the funniest, and best movies of the summer. Read More »
X-Men: Days of Future Past is not only the latest chapter in the cinematic life of the X-Men. It is an attempt to rectify some mistakes made in previous films, particularly X-Men: The Last Stand. It is a Charles Xavier origin story of sorts, and also a Wolverine movie; no matter how many mutants Fox splashes on the posters, this is the continuation of Wolverine’s evolution from animal to man. And for a film that ranges from 1973 to future decades hence, it is also a rather contained, character-oriented story.
As Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) travels into the past to help Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) realize his potential, Wolverine also truly comes into his own. As a character piece, there’s a bit of a cheat, as Wolverine has the benefit of tremendous foresight. But while he knows where he has to go, he doesn’t know how to get there. Despite the myriad ways in which Days of Future Past is unlike the X-Men comics, it plays out as a solid special issue, a rip-roaring tale of power and old-fashioned good versus evil. It is an unusual summer “blockbuster,” and stands among the better X-Men movies. Read More »
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Note: We’re bumping this review as the film is now in theaters.
Godzilla, the remake directed by Gareth Edwards, gives you everything you could want in a big summer monster movie. It just takes its sweet time getting there.
A reboot of the classic franchise, Godzilla was constructed with a clear eye cast back to similar monster movies, such as Jaws and Jurassic Park. Films, in other words, that build character and suspense by holding back the creature. In fact, in this film, we don’t see Godzilla himself for almost an hour. And while that very conscious decision will make some people uneasy, the work by actors Bryan Cranston, Aaron Taylor-Johnson and others give the film a humanity and drive that keep it interesting until things get monstrous. Read the rest of our Godzilla review below. Read More »