The Hollywood Reporter had a chance to ask Quentin Tarantino about his favorite films of 2009, and the filmmaker responded with the following eight movies…
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Posted on Tuesday, November 24th, 2009 by Adam Quigley
This Week in DVD & Blu-ray is a column that compiles all the latest info regarding new DVD and Blu-ray releases, sales, and exclusive deals from stores including Target, Best Buy and Fry’s.
(DVD available as single-disc and 2-Disc Unrated Edition)
Funny People is the type of film that can only be made on the studio’s dime once the director has already proven themselves as a profitable entity. There’s no way Judd Apatow would’ve been able to get a green light on this film in its current state if it weren’t for the countless successful comedies he’s produced, as well as the two critically-acclaimed, $100+ million grossing efforts he’s written and directed. As the third entry in his directorial filmography, Funny People was met with a lukewarm critical response and didn’t even earn back its budget. That’s a shame. This movie deserves to find an audience. I’d even argue that it’s a superior film to either The 40-Year-Old Virgin and Knocked Up (which I also adore, mind you). Granted, it’s also a much different film. Whereas those films took the more familiar Hollywood formula route and injected it with enough heart and hilarity to overcome whatever potential issues might’ve stemmed from their predictable nature, Funny People disregards the formula (almost) entirely and opts for a more personal, honest approach. There are funny moments to be sure, but at its core, this is a character study about a famous comedian and the choices he’s made, contrasted against an up-and-coming comedian and the choices he has yet to make. Understandably, not everyone will find themselves able to relate to the plight of a man who has more money than we will ever know. There have also been complaints made about the film’s lengthy running time and lack of a consistent conflict—both of which become readily apparent in the third act. These are only some of the reasons for which I admire the film. It doesn’t feel the need to adhere to some derivative narrative structure when there’s a much more interesting emotional struggle already at play, and it’s willing to acknowledge that not everything in life plays out in a comfortable three-act format. By far his most mature and truthful work to date, Judd Apatow’s Funny People finds the perfect balance between dramatic and funny, and is guaranteed to find a spot on my Top 10 of ’09 list.
Notable Extras: 2-disc DVD – Theatrical and unrated cuts of the film, deleted/extended scenes, an extended gag reel, actual home videos of Adam Sandler’s prank phone calls, and a Line-O-Rama. Blu-ray – Includes everything on the DVD, as well as U-Control (“Behind the Scenes Picture in Picture Commentary”).
|BEST DVD PRICE*|
|Amazon – $15.99|
*Does not include 2-Disc Edition, which costs $22.99 at each of the listed stores (including Amazon).
|BEST BLU-RAY PRICE|
|Amazon – $23.99|
This deleted scene from Judd Apatow‘s Funny People shows us one of the scrapped conversations from the car drive from Los Angeles up to San Francisco. George (Adam Sandler) and Ira (Seth Rogen) debate about watching Hellboy and discuss ideas for possible future movie projects for George. The deleted scene is included on the DVD/Blu-ray release, which hits stores on November 24th. Watch the clip now after the jump.
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A Reuters piece that’s been making the rounds this weekend speculates that Hollywood may be thinking twice about banking on A-list celebrities in the future. The piece points to recent low-budget and star-free fare like The Hangover, District 9, and Paranormal Activity that each went on to be wildly successful, and contrasts them with big-budget, star-studded flops like A Christmas Carol, Land of the Lost, and Funny People. The overall lesson seems to be that star-power doesn’t have nearly the draw that it used to, and that budgets aren’t much of a factor for audiences either.
Judd Apatow’s latest film Funny People hits theaters nationwide today. As I noted yesterday, I haven’t seen the movie yet, as my press screening conflicted with Comic-Con. I have talked to quite a few people who have seen the movie, and their opinions are as across the board as they come – from absolutely hated it to best movie of the year.
The film is currently ranked barely fresh on Rotten Tomatoes with a 64% rating on the tomatometer. The LA Times says that “Sandler and Rogen and the rest are left to wander aimlessly, with tedious comedy gigs, an even more tedious faux sitcom and relatively vapid relationships masquerading as a plot.” While Rolling Stone called it “the film equivalent of a stand-up routine that encompasses the joy, pain, anger, loneliness and aching doubt that go into making an audience laugh.”
The lengthy running time is bound to turn some people off, while others might be upset with the bait and switch (the film is more of a drama about funny people than a comedy — not to say it doesn’t have a lot of laughs). I’m expecting to like it quite a bit as I enjoyed an early draft of the screenplay (although it seems like the third act problems might not have been fixed during production). But since I haven’t seen the film, there isn’t much more to say. Lets hear some opinions of some people who have seen the movie. What did you think?
Discuss: What did you think of Funny People? How does it stand up against Apatow’s previous directorial efforts — 40-Year-Old Virgin and Knocked Up? What did you like, what did you hate? Isn’t Aubrey Plaza totally awesome? Was it too long? Too dramatic? Or funnier than you expected it to be? The spoiler gates are open, so leave your thoughts in the comments below!
Posted on Thursday, July 30th, 2009 by Peter Sciretta
I can’t tell you much about Judd Apatow’s new film project, but I do know for sure that his next three films will begin with the Universal Pictures logo. Apatow has just inked a deal with Universal for his next three films as director.
Posted on Sunday, July 19th, 2009 by Peter Sciretta
Last week Universal Pictures released the first part of a documentary series profiling Randy (a character played by Aziz Ansari), a rising stand-up comic who is “featured in the new film Funny People.” This morning, the second part has been released on FunnyOrDie. In Part 2 of Raaaaaaaandy, the stand-up comic talks about why his comedy is so funny, how he improves his art, traveling and “upgrading” another comic’s joke. Watch the video embedded after the jump.
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Posted on Monday, July 13th, 2009 by Peter Sciretta
More viral videos for Judd Apatow‘s Funny People have begun to hit the web. Part one of a documentary series profiling Randy (a character played by Aziz Ansari), a rising stand-up comic who is “featured in the new film Funny People”, is now online at FunnyOrDie.
The first half features clips from Randy’s stand-up act edited together with a couple on camera interviews. The second half focuses on Randy’s enterprising endeavors and his idea to digitally insert himself into porno movies. Watch the video embedded after the jump.
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Posted on Sunday, July 12th, 2009 by Peter Sciretta
In Judd Apatow‘s new film Funny People, Adam Sandler plays a famous comedian named George Simmons who learns he may not have a lot of time left. In the movie, they use footage from Sandler’s early career in comedy, including this tape of Sander making a prank call to Jerry’s Deli in 1991. The guy behind the camera is Sandler’s roommate at the time, someone named Judd Apatow. Watch the clip after the jump.
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