Posts Tagged comedy

Warm Bodies Review: Wise Men Say Only Fools Rush In…

warm_bodies_zombie_romance_comedyZombie movies to this point have been action movies, horror movies, even comedies but with the release of Warm Bodies we can add romance movies to that list.  Guess we should have seen this coming after all the Twilight movies that took iconic horror characters, vampires and werewolves, and had them fall irrationally head-over-heels in love with a human.  Well unlike the Twilight movies, at least Warm Bodies recognizes the fact that it is a comedy.

A brief introduction to the plot of Warm Bodies is as follows:  A zombie simply named R (Nicholas Hoult) has been a zombie for he does not know how long and neither does he know how he become one or a life before being a zombie for that matter.  On a hunt for food R and other zombies stumble upon a group of teenagers gathering medical supplies for the few still living in militaristic seclusion.  While eating the brains of one of his victims he has a vision (the memory of the victim) and falls in love with Julie (the victim’s girlfriend).  R rescues Julie (Teresa Palmer) from an attack and takes her to his new home, an airplane decorated in music memorabilia.  This spawns a journey that slowly makes R become human again.  Click here for the trailer.

Hands down the best thing about Warm Bodies is in the writing.  R’s narrative both for storytelling purposes as well as comedic relief made the movie as enjoyable as it was.  Since he cannot verbally communicate, his thoughts offer some interesting insight to the mind of a zombie.  Wandering aimlessly around at snail pace with nothing to care about other than when his next meal will be, explaining the differences between his breed of zombie versus the boney’s, and wanting to say/do the right thing to impress a girl he just met was done with a lot of wit which I appreciated.  I just wish the romance has been as cleverly written.

If you have read my Safety Not Guaranteed review you know that romantic comedies are not my favorite genre simply because a lot of them are over the top “romantic.”  What I mean by that is the ninety percent of the time they are too lovie-dovie and sappy.  Warm Bodies straddles the line of having a sappy/cheesy beginning.  R sees Julie and his heart gives a single beat of potential life.  Initially it came off more lustful than love which a lot of movies fall victim to.  R lusted for Julie when he knew nothing about her but that changes as he got to know her later by eating more of her boyfriend’s brain (clever concept by the way).  By the way it bothered me a little when I thought she was completely in love with her boyfriend Perry but does not dwell on him for long on his death.  This illustrated a character flaw I found in Julie.

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Julie I found to be difficult to like.  I completely see how R could have lusted for her since Teresa Palmer is a pretty lady.  But the fact that she was not hung up on the boyfriend she loved being eaten alive foreshadowed a decision she makes later.  The part I am talking about is when Julie and R had broken in the suburban home and Julie invites R to sleep upstairs with her but tells him not to look as she changes out of her wet clothes.  Naturally he cannot help but look even though as a member of the living dead I doubt he would have been able to get it up.  Then the next morning she ditches!  Next we see Julie confessing to her friend that she regretted leaving him but takes him in when he shows up outside her window.  Two questions popped in my head (1) why did that not creep her hell out? And (2) how could R want to pursue her after she had led him on like that?  It made little sense to me.

Maybe the reason I feel that way is I felt bad for R was because he was played brilliantly by Nicholas Hoult.  You saw on the outside he was like any other zombie but the inner dialogue and subtle facial tics showed he was doing his best to change what was left of life in his body.  Other than him most of the actors could have been easily replace.  Not to say they did a poor job but it was nothing special.  Palmer was a much better love interest than Kristen Stewart but I don’t think she brought anything to her character that other actresses could not have.  Sadly I felt the same way about John Malkovich as her military leader father.  The movie was a horror/comedy and Malkovich has proven how funny or scary he can be depending on the role but he did neither in his role.  He was just stern and stubborn, a waste of his talent.  I should also note Rob Corddry and Analeigh Tiption were solid in their roles as the friends that questioned the legitimacy of the protagonists love but did their best to support it.

My final thoughts on Warm Bodies are that it is worth a watch simply for Nicholas Hoult and the witty take on the zombie way of life.  I was not completely sold on the zombie romance of that love concurs all and brings them slowly back to life but it has its cute moments.  I give Warm Bodies a 6/10.

 

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Random Movie of the Week: Killer Klowns From Outer Space

You have to love when the title of a movie flat out says what the movie is about without having to seeing a plot synopsis.  For example, who could forget Snakes On A Plane.  Regardless what your opinion is of that movie the title alone indicates your interest without needing to investigate what that movie could possibly be about.  Another example is The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, granted there is no mention of Leatherface but you can imagine the flat, deserted setting and gore galore.  So when you see the title for this week’s random movie, there is no question about what this movie is about, Killer Klowns From Outer Space.

If the title is not enough of a hint about the plot here is a brief synopsis:  Horny teens’ romantic plans are ruined by a space ship shaped like a circus tent that homes devious aliens that look like clowns.  The aliens begin taking control of the town, capturing the town folk in cotton candy punching bags in very clown-esque ways.  It is up to a couple and one good cop to stop these clowns since they are the only ones that know where the ship resides.  Check out the trailer here:

I will just state up front this movie is not meant to be taken seriously which is why it is just as much of a comedy as it is horror.  The movie has a very campy feel to it that I really liked.  The effects are really low budget even for the time and the acting is horrendous but that is what makes it campy and fun.  If you think normal clowns are creepy like a lot of people do, then you will find these ones pretty creepy or absolutely hilarious.  They are not just clowns, they are killer clowns and this is what makes this movie a classic horror gem.  The kills are not necessarily scary but really clever by fitting the alien killer clown theme.

Now there have been a lot of horror movie remakes as of late.  Even though the budget on this one was pretty low, this movie should not be remade.  Any of you who have read any of my previous posts know I have a strong stance against remakes of good movies.  Killer Klowns From Outer Space is so fun and cheesy that it is hard to watch it and not appreciate it.

A final note, I like to make comparisons to other movies.  Killer Klowns From Outer Space is a cross between the original The Blob and Mars Attacks!  I give this horror/sci-fi/comedy an 8/10.

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Random Movie of the Week (Part 2): The Man Who Knew Too Little

As promised I am doing a second movie of the week this week since I missed last week.  Now since the movie I posted yesterday features some kind of depressive subject matter, I decided to turn to a film that will have you in stitches if you are a fan of Bill Murray’s humor.  It is a kind of humor that only Bill Murray can deliver whether you think of it as quirky, mature, intelligent, or even simple.  Whatever adjective you pick I think most would agree that it is difficult to watch of his movies and not laugh.  Anyway, this week’s random movie is one of Bill Murray’s slightly lesser known films The Man How Knew Too Little.

For those unfamiliar with The Man Who Knew Too Little, the plot is as follows:  James Ritchie is hosting a serious business dinner the night his overly out-going brother, Wallace (Bill Murray), comes to London from the states to celebrate his birthday.  So to get Wallace out of the house for the dinner, James with an improve theater organization that is suppose to make Wallace feel he is solving a crime.  But Wallace instead meets someone who was expecting a hitman and that hitman instead goes to the improve theater act meant for Wallace throwing everything into disarray.  So all the dangers and obstacles Wallace faces feel staged even though they could not be more real.  Here is the trailer:

This movie seems to have a love of Murray fans torn but I love it.  Yes the story is something familiar of two people being mistaken for each other has been done before but I just found myself truly laughing out loud as some of the things Murray was saying because in a way it pokes fun at the espionage and crime genre.  Being in the spirit of the improve theater he thinks he is a part of, Wallace does everything that he believes is expected of his “character” to do.  Best of which is when he fires a warning shot and afterwards asks how they knew where to make the bullet look like it hit (I know that may not read right but when you see the movie you will get it).  Not going to lie before watching this movie I expected his character to be just plain stupid and thought it would be a lot of dumb humor but I was pleasant surprised that he was instead plain blissfully ignorant to the true danger of the mix up he had been caught in.

Overall, I really like The Man Who Knew Too Little.  I do not know why more people are not aware this movie exits.  Probably because Murray is the only well known actor in it and the direction and all that other artsy film stuff is lacking but there is no denying how funny this movie is.  I give it an 8/10.

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Random Movie of the Week: Multiplicity (1996)

I think it is safe to say that most people feel there are just not enough hours in the day, week, or even month to do all the things you want and need to do.  Everyone think about how if they had a clone, they would make the clone do all the work while you relaxed, doing the things that you wish you had more time do.  But something is rarely considered is how would that clone feel about this arrangement?  If it were a perfect clone where it thought and acted just like you, wouldn’t the clone want the original you do all the work too while he/she relaxed?  Or if there were a subtle difference that made your ideal arrangement okay with the clone, who is to say what the people around you would say.  Maybe they would prefer the clone over the original.  I am obviously over analyzing the sci-fi situation but these are questions I began thinking about after this week’s random movie Multiplicity.

Here is a brief introduction to the plot of Multiplicity:  Doug Kinney (Michael Keaton) is an over-worked husband and father who is as married to his wife, Laura (Andie MacDowell), as he is to his stressful construction job.  After an outburst at one of his most job sites, Doug meets a scientist who claims to have discovered the secrets to human cloning that allows him the time to spend with his family and do the hobbies he never had time to do.  But soon Doug finds his life steadily getting more complicated no matter how many clones of him there are.  Here is the trailer:

This is just a plain fun Harold Ramis comedy.  It has that witty and quirky humor that I tend to associate him with.  There are not necessarily any great one-liners but there is great banter and hysterical situations that are sure to make you laugh.  Now being that this is a comedy more than anything else, there are obvious flaws in the logic of how Doug is able to mask the one, then two, and finally three clones camped out in his guest house and how there always manages to be a car available to all of them.  But when watching it you really do not think of it that much because it is such a light movie that is meant to be fun.

Now as you probably figured, this movie will only be as good as its lead actor, Michael Keaton, performs which is great.  As I mentioned in a previous post I feel he is extremely underrated as an actor.  Now this is not like Eddie Murphy, Mike Myers, or Tyler Perry who when they play multiple characters in a film they all look drastically different.  Granted the clones are all a tad different one being slightly more macho, another a little more in touch with his sensitive side, and the third… well being a clone of one of the other clones has some special needs but still is the same Doug.  And watch Keaton embody each of these personas is just so much fun to watch and for 1996 is really looks like there is four Michael Keatons in the room.

Multiplicity is a fun comedy that does not dwell on its sci-fi cloning implications but definitely presents a unique take on the often toyed with thought of “what would I do if I had a clone?”  I give it an 8/10.  If you are looking to watch it for free and legal means to watch this online, click here to watch it on Crackle.com.

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Safety Not Guaranteed: Do Not Pass On This Movie

So much attention is being place on the superhero blockbusters and raunchy comedies of some fan favorite actors that there are bound to be some quality movies to fly under people’s radar.  And this is true every year really.  But a few weeks ago I managed to catch a movie that is not receiving too much attention now but it definitely will in year to come, Safety Not Guaranteed.  Most romance movies these days are so lovie-dovie that they rarely seem sincere and honestly believable.  For example, that latest piece of crap with Zac Efron, it just felt like the “romance” was being forced done our throats (no sexual pun intended).  Instead what Safety Not Guaranteed offers is something more genuine with real humor, a true romantic-comedy.

Here is brief set up of the movie:  Darius (Aubrey Plaza) can best be described as a loner, maybe even a sad sack, who just cannot seem to find joy in anything since the death of her mother when she was a kid.  As an intern for a magazine she volunteers along with another intern, Arnau (Karan Soni), to go with a senior journalist, Jeff (Jake Johnson), to see about an ad in a newspaper asking for a partner to go back in time with.  When they meet the source of the ad, Kenneth (Mark Duplass), Darius has to earn his trust in order to know his secret for time travel but finds there is more to Kenneth than his paranoid scientific exterior.  Here is the trailer:

If reading this you feel turned off by the fact that Safety Not Guaranteed is somewhat of a romance, don’t be.  This is still very much a comedy and believe me there is plenty of it.  The reason the romance should not bother you is because it is so well written.  It is written in a way that the characters that fall in love feels natural and the development of the characters as a result feels so real.  I mean none of the three members from the magazine are there really to report of Kenneth’s discovery.  Darius is there to essentially run away from her boring everyday life, Jeff (being the playboy he is) wants to hook up with an old flame from high school, and Arnau given his love for science just wants to know if time travel is possible not necessarily report on it.  And Kenneth as socially awkward as he is, you cannot help but feel a connection with him because he is sincere with his mission and his growing relationship with Darius.

These characters, no matter how well written they are, are dependent on the quality of the actor playing them.  I have read other reviews that have been criticizing Aubrey Plaza but I thought she was the best part of the movie.  Even though Safety Not Guaranteed is about Kenneth’s ad, the movie really follows Plaza’s character and she does a great job of being very bland at the start but shifts to a rounded character be the conclusion of the film.  Plus to quote Arnau, Plaza is a “beautiful girl” so I may be a bit biased.  Since I mentioned Arnau, Karan Soni rocked as this character.  Even if it is an easy role to play, he did not over act and he did not under act but instead reminded you of that smart, quite student in your class that just understood everything the teacher was talking about.  Last but certain not least Duplass as Kenneth, initially annoying with paranoia but once he lets his guard down to Plaza you cannot help but pull for him.  Plus the song he played on the sitar (lap guitar thing) was really good!

If Safety Not Gauranteed is in a theater near you, I highly recommend paying the money to go see it and hopefully we will get more indie films of this nature in the works!  10/10

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Random Movie of the Week: Student Bodies (1981)

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These days like clockwork we get a parody that cheaply mocks the most recent successful/well-known movies.  Ever since Scary Movie we have gotten a slew of horror parodies/sequels which have turned into action parodies like Epic Movie or Superhero Movie.  These movies are intended to be poorly made but it is not even like the comedy makes up for it.  They just are not like the parodies from Mel Brooks or the ones starring Leslie Nielson like Dracula:  Dead and Loving It.  I know there are better examples but that is one that they both worked on together that I liked.  This brings me to this week’s random movie of the week Student Bodies, one of the original horror movie parodies.

A brief plot synopsis of Student Bodies is as follows:  Murder plagues a small town high school as a serial killer called the Breather goes on a rampage taking both students and members of the faculty in unorthodox manners.  All finger are pointed at one of the students, Toby (Kristen Riter), as she tries to figure out who the Breather is before any more classmates turn up dead.  Here is the trailer:

I think it is safe to say that this is the horror movie spoof that started it all.  Mickey Rose who wrote and co-directed the film summed up everything about horror movies of the seventies and early eighties.  And a lot of the elements of horror films they poked fun at are still true.  If you are wondering who Rose is he wrote for a lot of popular television shows in the seventies and co wrote some Woody Allen films.  But back to the movie, there are just so many things that had me laughing from the name of the killer to the subtitles that walk you through the stereotypical path of a slasher film of this time.

As far as the acting is concerned I am torn.  I mean the acting for horror movies of this time is legendarily poor.  Which I think works to the film’s advantage.  The actors can over act as much as they want.  But something I thought to myself during the movie was I wonder if they meant for this to be something serious then when editing they saw how poor the acting was that they reshaped it into a parody.  I am not saying that is what happened but it was definitely a fun thing to think about while watching this.  The one noteworthy person in this movie seem to have vanished off the earth since is a awkwardly tall and double jointed comedian only know as The Stick who plays Malvert the Janitor and he just steals the movie.

If you like horror movies or any parodies whatsoever you should definitely check out Student Bodies I you have not already seen in.  I give it a 8/10 because it is surprisingly more raunchy that you would expect without being ridiculous or drifting away too far from that fact it is suppose to be a horror movie too.

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Random Movie of the Week: Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon

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Good horror movies are hard to come by these days.  That is not to say there are all duds but only a few have been worth remembering.  To me some of the most attention worthy horror movies are the ones that have you rethinking and in a way poking fun at the genre.  Ever since Wes Craven’s Scream it has been a sort of fad to recognize and point out the obvious path that horror movies take and the characters in the story.  Tucker & Dale Vs Evil managed to show us an alternative side to the victims in slasher movies that maybe the alleged ruthless, psychotic killer(s) are actually just misunderstood.  Then most recently there was Drew Goddard and Joss Whedon’s The Cabin in the Woods.  If you have seen it you know where I am going with it but if you have not then just go see for yourself.  Which brings me to this week’s random movie that take a look behind the scenes of what it take be a serial killer, Behind the Mask:  The Rise of Leslie Vernon.

Here is a brief synopsis of the plot:  A film crew working on a documentary about what it takes to be a real life serial killer work alongside a young man, Leslie Vernon (Nathan Baesel), who is showing them the tricks of the trade.  Vernon enlightens the crew on how he developed the spoken word of his legend among the crowd, physical/cardio training, picking the right candidates to be his victims, how he plants the seed to spark their interest, scoping out the locations, rigging them in his favor, and so much more.  But the film crew faces a dilemma of whether or not to let Leslie go through with his vision.  Here is the trailer:

There is a lot to take in from the story of Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon.  The first is that in this reality Michael Myers, Jason Voorhees, and Freddy Krueger actually exist!  And I think they mention Chucky too.  I mean the idea of them really existing is both cool and scary but what this movie eludes to is that the famous cinematic slashers are an alternative persona from who they really are.  When you think about it, it is a crazy thing to toy around with in your head about how Leslie was inspired by them and that they trained and prepared just as he does.  It answers a lot of those questions like “who did the killer know they would go there” or “how do they know so much about the house” and so much more.  But I must add this is and indie flick so it is low budget so there is not much gore because a lot is left to imagination.  For example, we know what a person getting there neck snapped looks like so all they need to do is play the sound.  You will know what I mean when you see the movie.  Plus it is cool how it starts out with a found footage feel and switched over to being like a real movie.

The cast was great as well which is why the story is so well told.  Nathan Baesel was amazing as Leslie Vernon, he could go from an energetic, happy, and funny guy to a cold, aggressive maniac effortlessly.  One of the best scenes is actually in the trailer when he is talking about the cardio he has to do, just hysterical and clever dialogue throughout the movie.  And I have to acknowledge the legendary cameos by Robert Englund as the Ahab, Zelda Rubinstein (short woman from Poltergeist) as the story telling librarian, and Scott Wilson as Leslie’s mentor, Eugene.

Final verdict, this is easily a 9/10 because it is just a genius horror/comedy/thriller.  If you consider yourself a horror movie fan you have to check this one out.  You will be glad you did.

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