You say hello, and I say hello too! NO ONE IS SAYING GOODBYE UNTIL I GET MY KID BACK!
GOD BLESS AMERICA!
(Here's my review!) Bobcat Goldthwait is an increasingly peculiar filmmaker that constantly bothers to blend comedy, sweet and dark, with themes and morals that you’d normally find in dramatic films. Not to mention, the subject matter of his tales are usually quite challenging, normally being about something like, I don’t know, a woman giving oral pleasure to a dog, or a teenager accidentally killing himself while masturbating. God Bless America is probably his boldest topic to date, in sympathizing with a pair of spree killers. I am satisfied to say that he succeeds in making it entertaining and actually sweet- it’s probably the sweetest spree-killing movie ever. It’s ridiculously funny, has a good amount of style, and a passionate heart to it, from an opinionated level to the relationship between its two main characters. Between the more action heavy sequences and more emotional moments, Bobcat maintains a steady level of style with his visuals and technical that never overstay their welcome or detract from what’s going on. It’s great looking, but with purpose. As well, in standard Bobcat Goldthwait fashion, his motions toward having a big fat heart at the core of his stories come correct once again, in creating a charismatic and loveable pair of misfits (played brilliantly by Joel Murray and Tara Lynne Barr) who murder for the sake of niceness. Sure, the film can be a little preachy at points, but what it has to say is actually valid, and is delivered passionately, from the character perspective and farther outside from that. Let’s not forget that we’re talking about Bobcat Goldthwait here- this is a very funny film. But, and to positive ends, he bothers to go the distance and give his story and characters some purpose in their existence and actions. Through that and his various other great choices through direction, he makes God Bless America much more than your standard action comedy. It’s a very special, tender film about people killing bad people.
Matt Walsh of the Upright Citizens Brigade made a seemingly trite concept into something very sweet and very funny. Utilizing his improvisational comedy skills in directing and working with his actors/friends, he managed to put together a very naturally flowing film that balances emotion and absurdity in equal blows. Shot and edited like a documentary, the simplicity in filmmaking almost adds a level of charm to the story. It’s simple, but the zoom happy, handheld sensibilities work for this simple kind of tale, in helping capturing the many brilliant moments of spontaneity, be it in terms of comedy or drama. In front of the camera, High Road has probably one of the better comedy casts compiled in recent years, mainly in its utilization of popular and not too well known but incredibly talented personalities from the Los Angeles comedy scene. The list is endless: Abby Elliott, Rich Fulcher, Lizzy Caplan, Matt Jones, Ed Helms, Rob Riggle (who does some impressive work on an emotional side as much as he does with comedy), Horatio Sanz, Morgan Walsh, Joe Lo Truglio, Seth Morris, Joe Nunez, Brandon Johnson, Andrew Daly, Kyle Gass, Curtis Gwinn, and many more populate this strange, fun road trip of a film. At the head of it all, we’ve got James Pumphrey, who plays a goofy but loveable and passionate protagonist. In many ways, his character of Fitz reminds me of Jason Segel in Jeff Who Lives at Home- an airhead with dreams. His character is sweet, and the adventure he goes on is easy to get on board with, to worthwhile ends. Next to Pumphrey is newcomer and beloved star of MTV’s Teen Wolf, Dylan O’Brien. Dylan is talented on such a natural level that it’s almost unbelievable. Improv seemed to be first nature for the young man, who worked his character and the ridiculous world around him with ease, and when it’s time to be serious, he delivers on the character’s more dramatic side. Sure, it’s an absurd film with goofy-stoner expectations to it, but High Road ends up having a very sweet edge to it. Matt Walsh does well in blending honesty with ridiculousness, and in the end makes a very quick and simple, but very enjoyable and even valuable comedy with much more to it than meets the eye.
There’s honestly not much I can say about The Avengers other than that I really enjoyed it, flaws and all. Joss Whedon’s direction of action and build-up, though there’s a lot of it, is stylish and manages to make things that feel already well established still feel interesting. Pushing through seemingly tedious moments throughout the film, the character development and chemistry amongst the main characters serves as strong enough to maintain focus and enjoyment. The cast is impressive, and works well as a group. Seeing these characters finally interact is a definite treat, and pays off all the way through. Not to mention, as soon as the action kicks in, in addition to the drama developed through characters and backstory, the mixture is exciting and a good amount of fun. Really, that’s why I liked this film so much- it’s a lot of fun with some interesting character stuff tossed around here and there, blended in with a fun action film. A good sense of humor and a good amount of spirit as well delivered by Joss Whedon and gang makes The Avengers an interesting superhero film and what I would consider a successful one. It’s a strong concept and delivery of this slice of the Marvel universe, and I cannot wait to see more.
While I don’t think it lives up to the likes of In Bruges or The Guard, Seven Psychopaths is a strong black comedy from Martin McDonaugh. It’s got an ambitious reach to it, mixing violence with an intriguing story about storytelling, more specifically screenwriting. Imagine Adaptation mixed with a Tarantino film, and you have Seven Psychopaths. It’s a fun, messed up film with a bloodstreak, as well as various really interesting ideas and things to say. The cast is full of nothing but winners in big and small roles, including Colin Ferrell, Sam Rockwell, Christopher Walken, Tom Waits, Kevin Corrigan, Michael Stuhlbarg, and many other pleasant surprises. At the hands of McDonaugh’s stylish directing and a tension/intrigue and trigger-happy script, the cast gets to play with heavy dialogue and ridiculously messed up but fun set-pieces, adding up to frankly unexpected ends. As good dark comedies normally do, this film has two sides to it. Though it doesn’t always succeed entirely in blending them, and the film seems to think it’s cooler than it actually is, Seven Psychopaths is a delightful dark comedy worth checking out. Just rule of thumb, the word psychopath loses its fun when it’s repeated over and over again.
THE PIRATES! BAND OF MISFITS!
My entire life (my long long life), I’ve had a strong affinity for stop-motion animation. The Pirates! Band of Misfits helped reconfirm my love for this kind of animation, by being an incredibly well made adventure of a film, with a great sense of humor and spirit. The deliberateness to the camera work and animation is impressive and really strong, with a great sense of style through color and fantastic design, not to mention the swiftness of movement. And like any good animation film, a lot of the visual gags and minute details make for a lot of the fun in the end. Aardman Animation’s work is impressive and well done as ever in this sense, as well as from the storytelling and performance perspective. The film, as the title gives off, has a great misfit attitude and mentality to it. It’s an exciting and funny story that goes to interesting, very clever places, especially considering it’s a one about pirates. Along with that, it is also a very sweet story about sticking together as a team and working to be the best you that you could be. Yes, it’s a kid’s film, but the entertainment value is as strong as a Pixar film would maintain, meaning it’s generally fun for the whole family. And with such a strong voice-acting cast with folks like Hugh Grant, Martin Freeman, Anton Yelchin, Jeremy Piven, Salma Hayek, and various others. They really have fun with the script, and help convey how ridiculous and fun of an adventure it is that they’re on. But as well, especially concerning the main crew of pirates, they deliver on how nice of a story it can be at its core. Fun and sweet is the name of the game, and with The Pirates! Band of Misfits, I’d say it’s hard to be disappointed.
Nearing the “end of his filmmaking career”, Steven Soderbergh seems to have been tackling different genres he hasn’t necessarily approached yet. With Haywire, he tried his hand at the spy-centric action thriller, with which I’m happy to say that he absolutely succeeded in doing. His unique style applied perfectly to this kind of film, and even improved many aspects of it, including the cadence of fight scenes and chase scenes, as well as the working of backstory concerning the protagonist and their plight. Considering the protagonist is female, Soderbergh also does a great job of not using her gender in the wrong way- in fact, it empowers her against her enemies, several of which consider her to not be formidable as a foe because of so. She proves them wrong… oh so very wrong. In delivering emotion, Gina Carano isn’t necessarily a pro yet, but she holds her own quite well, among a cavalcade of great actors who give great performances. But when looking at the action of the film, Carano absolutely wrecks it as an action star. Her work with fight scenes is impressive, brutal, and convincing. In this sense, Soderbergh’s direction of action really lets the players prove their worth. Great cinematography and pacing captures the endlessly impressive deliverance of violence without cutting too much or drowning the scenes with music. Instead, we’re treated to nothing but room-tone and the very detailed audio of impact and pain. The vantage point from which we see most of the chasing or fighting is perfect in placement and composition. We should expect no less from Soderbergh, but considering that it’s an action film, this is just really impressive as far as the genre goes. I know he might be stopping in the not too distant future, which is a shame, but based on his most recent films, I’d say that Steven Soderbergh will definitely be missed, but will leave behind a very impressive filmography from beginning to end, and Haywire is a strong presence on that list.
MORE LIKE IN FUNCLUSION!
Thanks again for reading! See you next time! Through these words. I have a camera in every single piece of punctuation.