Posts Tagged ‘Judd Apatow’

“You Don’t Mess With the Zohan”

June 23, 2008

You Don\'t Mess With the Zohan

You Don’t Mess With the Zohan for all of its sexual absurdity and racial mockery is a movie that plays it safe when it doesn’t always need to. It’s a satire in need of something a little more scathing. It needs cahones of a Monty Python sketch and the willingness to offend some people to make it’s point, ala South Park or even The Simpsons, in its better years.

This flaw that makes the movie less of a masterpiece and more like the run of the mill comedies Sandler has become known for the last few years. That aside it also includes Adam Sandler’s funniest comedy creation since Billy Madison and Happy Gilmore and combines the lovability of his Wedding Singer character. Zohan is absurdity and cool mixed into a nice gleaming coated marketable package. There are moments of sheer inspired hilarity that makes you think its good to see that Sandler hasn’t forgotten his roots as other comedians turned serious actors have, like Tom Hanks or Jim Carrey. Sandler’s comic timing makes this movie tic.

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“Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story”

December 29, 2007

The Dewey Cox Story

For all the innuendo in this musical biopic parody, Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story is really flaccid. I haven’t heard such an intense silence from an audience while watching a film since Schindler’s List. I admit when I first walked into the film I wanted to laugh and it took me a few moments of uncertain chuckling to realize that the film really wasn’t funny, after that I genuinely laughed twice.

Walk Hard tells the story of Dewey Cox who as a young boy is forced to live out the mock lives of Ray Charles and Johnny Cash, flipping back and forth depending on whenever the writers Judd Apatow and Jake Kasdan want to make fun of Ray or Walk the Line. Instead of letting the essence of the musical biopic inspire Apatow and Kasdan they follow said stories so closely the movie itself doesn’t have any legs to stand on of its own. Even though it’s meant to mock these films, we know what’s going to happen to Dewey from scene one and the creators don’t have the fore site to deal with the subject of musical biopics in a creative way. So even the bits that could have worked are mired in the fact that Walk the Line was a pretty good movie and that Ray wasn’t bad either, and we already know the stories. We’re actually subjected to a scene straight out of Walk when Cox plays for the first time a song that he’s written, the joke being in the film that it hits the charts and causes a stir within moments of it’s recording. It sounds funny, right? But somehow it’s not. How would you like to watch a remake of Walk with Jake Gyllenhaal, or Psycho but with Vince Vaughn…? Here it’s John C. Reilly being asked to act out scenes that have already been acted out by other actors. It’s not creative nor inventive in the way it approaches its material. It lacks spirit and an interest in truly skewering the films that really deserve it. It’s a lazy comedy, repeating many of the jokes over and over again.

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Movie review from LA June 3 – June 10: “Hostel: Part II”, “Day Watch”, “Ocean’s”, Apatow’s “Knocked Up”

June 12, 2007

Gosh where do I start from this past weekend. I’ve seen 4 very different kinds of films between last Friday and today…Monday. Not only that but I’ve been going through the worst cold I’ve had in 4 years time. My head is swirling with sharply and poorly acted and written characters, dialogue, styles of directing, images of gore, of the fantastical, of 60’s and 70’s throwbacks, of comical and dramatic moments, of brutally hilarious disturbing images, of sexual intercourse (the kind that leads to really bad things). My weekend has been filled with tension and laughs, escapist fun and reality that’s almost too real to want to laugh at, and then reality that’s too real to watch. For one weekend at the movies, that’s a pretty crazy ride. I’m going to start with the most recent seen and perhaps the least favorite moment of the ride.

Being sick there’s that moment when you think you’re done using the bathroom, so you pull away and to your surprise realize that you may not have been done and end up having to wipe off the floor or your leg a little bit. Eli Roth’s “Hostel: Part II” felt like that dribble to me. Or at least parts of it did. Large parts of it. Only instead of cleaning those parts up and flushing them down the toilet with the other bad ideas, Roth kept it to show the world. Thank you Eli! In keeping some of those ideas there’s a certain kind of inspiration that you find in the Hostel films, one lacking in other films of this recently resurrected genre (Saw and it’s sequels). There’s a joy that Eli Roth takes in the carnage, and in that joy you see moments of someone who has the potential to be a really good filmmaker, which means there are moments of”Hostel II” in which we witness a great film, just as there were in the first “Hostel”.

“Hostel” surprised me. It was in fact a film that I intended not to see. It wasn’t until I was thoroughly creeped-out by the very simple teaser for “Hostel II”…

…that I started jonesing to see the first. That same level of psychological fear that I found in the teaser flowed underneath Roth’s surprise hit. Sure, there was gore to be had, but much of it was hidden in the shadows or cleverly built up to, or used to create emotional gravitas. And this is where Roth excels in part II. (more…)


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