It’s December, which means we’re deep into award season–where the standard offerings might include family dramas you’ve seen before, but with a slight new flavor (Lady Bird) or the period drama your grandparents will rave about (Darkest Hour). None of these films will do anything inventive with the form because they’re like pizza – not fine dining, but you know what to expect regardless of where it comes from.
The Florida Project is the kid that steals that proverbial pizza, throws it on the ground, and asks if you want to go spit on cars.
Whenever we as human beings are privy to something truly extraordinary, something that ignites an emotional power we usually only get glimmers of, we effusively try to convey the minutiae of that moment to others. 21 Jump Street is just such an occasion. With every new scene, every new cut, something hilariously brilliant and unexpected is lurking around the frame. Your throat’s going to go raw from cheering and your hands sore from clapping. This is what re-make dreams are made of.
Posted in Filmsmith Faves, Reviews
Tagged 21 Jump Street, Action, Channing Tatum, Chris Miller, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, Comedy, Jonah Hill, Michael Baccal, Phil Lord, scott pilgrim
Around the same time J.J. Abrams was showcasing his ode to Spielberg, Super 8, Joe Cornish’s Attack the Block was in limited release and getting none of the attention it deserved. In contrast to Spielberg and Abrams’ penchant for quaint middle-American childhoods, Attack the Block is all about urban hoodlums putting their life of hard knocks to use when they have to fight an alien invasion. They aren’t going to share Reese’s pieces or heartwarming moments with the invaders – they’re going to fuck ’em up. Continue reading
The last time comedy was placed alongside cancer, it was called Funny People. Despite Funny People being a quality film, audiences were supremely annoyed that it wasn’t the usual Adam Sandler shenanigans but instead consisted more of drama than comedy. 50/50 should avoid the same sort of audience disdain, as it blends comedy and drama with equal measure. Continue reading
Three wannabe journalism students follow a man in a ghille suit into the woods to find out what’s been killing local hikers in the mountains of Norway. It’s dark, we’re tethered to the first-person POV of the cameraman, and various flashes of light blast in the darkness, followed by faraway growls. The woods come alive with the crashing footsteps of something ahead. It’s the man in the ghille suit, running quickly away from the battle, stopping briefly to announce to his tag-a-longs: “TROLLS!” It’s a ludicrous moment, but taps into the simultaneous display of comedy and anxiety in Troll Hunter, one of the best genre films of the year. Continue reading
Backstage during Conan O’Brien’s “Legally Prohibited from Being Funny on Television Tour,” Jack McBrayer has just stopped by. Before he’s even through the door, Conan is launching into a cavalcade of country bumpkin jokes. McBrayer’s Southern accent, familiar to fans of his character Kenneth Parcell on 30 Rock, turns out to be genuine, and O’Brien’s verbal jabs continue to slap his visitor like he just caught him screwing grandma on the kitchen table on Christmas day. Of all the people we see passive-aggressively maligned by O’Brien’s sarcasm in the documentary Conan O’Brien Can’t Stop, McBrayer is the only one not on his paid staff and is therefore the only one who can properly express slack-jawed dismay that Conan O’Brien is a dick.
Running too late to catch the 2D screening of Kung Fu Panda 2, I reluctantly accepted the 3D glasses from the usher, anxious about the eye strain that was soon to be mine. To my surprise, despite a bloody 3D Friskies commercial jammed between film trailers, I was able to enjoy Kung Fu Panda 2 in 3D. In fact, it was the best 3D film I have seen (yep, even better than Avatar) and it 3D actually added to the film experience. Did I also mention this was a genuine sequel, setting out to develop characters and their story beyond the initial volley? Kung Fu Panda 2 is full of surprises. Continue reading