Archive for the ‘Comedy’ Category

Kill-Your-Friends-Nicholas-HoultKill Your Friends is not nearly as deliciously nasty a film as it should be and not half as clever as it thinks it is. Scripted by John Niven from his own novel, the movie takes a satiric look at the British music industry in the late 1990’s, the supposed heyday of the late, unlamented Britpop movement. Yes, the acting is bravura, the direction appropriately brisk, the dialogue and cinematography respectively knife-edge sharp, but the end result is merely diverting rather than engrossing.

(more…)

Advertisements

FúsiIronic as it might be, “slight” is the adjective that best describes Virgin Mountain, an Icelandic drama comedy that features an enormous manchild’s first tentative steps into adulthood at the tender age of 43. The 94-minute film, the fourth feature from Dagur Kári, is largely (no pun intended) an exercise (too little of that for the main character), in walking a narrow path between cliche and implausibility. While the sheer likeability of the two leads will have audiences rooting for their, and the film’s success, ultimately director Kári, working from his own screenplay, cannot overcome the limits he imposes on himself in attempting a retelling of a too-familiar tale. (more…)

Miss MeadowsKatie Holmes’ third act in a Hollywood life takes a turn for the delicious with her portrayal of the sweetest little serial killer imaginable in Miss Meadows, a new black comedy actioner from director/screenwriter Karen Leigh Hopkins. Anachronistically albeit perfectly dressed in ankle socks and white gloves, Homes tap dances, sings, strolls, hopscotches, and shoots her way to a memorable and satisfying performance as the elementary school teacher with a heart of gold and a silver-plated .25 in her purse. (more…)

1001 Grams2014 has been a very good year for Norwegian cinema on the international festival circuit. In February, a pair of exports from this Scandinavian nation attracted favorable attention at the Berlinale, where Kraftidioten (In Order of Disappearance) appeared in the Competition division and Blind played in the Panorama program. This fall has seen 1001 Grams garner comparable praise after showings in Toronto and London. The three films share an engaging sense of quirkiness in the writing, ultra-professional and understated acting, clean, crisp cinematography, and terrifically paced and assured directing. (more…)

self-madeIf you are fortunate enough to have the opportunity to see Self Made – a pleasure limited to attendees at a number of film festivals, including the London Film Festival, since the movie’s premiere at Cannes earlier this year – do not be mislead by the one-sentence teaser description that often accompanies a showing. Self Made is not a mere comedy of mixed identities between an Israeli and a Palestinian. This is no Freaky Friday for the Middle East, where two women develop a mutual appreciation by walking a mile, or standing in line at a checkpoint for half a day, in the other’s shoes. Self Made is not a fairy tale, nor does it offer a magic wand solution for peace in this most troubled of regions. (more…)

R100Do you remember the old Bugs Bunny cartoons where it looked like Bugs was trapped, but he would pull out a can of paint and a brush, paint a door, and then escape through it? Hitoshi Matsumoto employs a similar device each time his movie, R100, is in danger of running into a dead end. Matsumoto simply changes the rules, not to mention the genre, and his madcap characters crash through the newly drawn door and veer off in another direction. For viewers willing to sit back and enjoy the ride without giving a whit about the destination, R100 is a blast of originality and a poke in the eye of the, at times, too staid Japanese film industry. (more…)

HollidaysburgThe Chair is a reality show airing on the Starz channel. Two aspiring filmmakers have been given funding and provided with the same script and shooting location (Pittsburgh). Their films – Not Cool and Hollidaysburg – were released on iTunes on September 23.

Hollywood (and we’ll use Hollywood as shorthand for American filmmakers) has an ongoing struggle with the portrayal of teens in movies. While audiences are accustomed to actors in their late (and later than that) twenties squeezing into teen roles like a pair of too-tight pants, they expect, at a minimum, for the behavior and situations to be representative of what they perceived to be commonplace for those on the cusp of adulthood. When that does not happen, it is difficult for the movie to succeed. Anna Martemucci’s new film, Hollidaysburg, fails to convey a convincing portrait of teenagers returning to their small western Pennsylvania town during Thanksgiving break of their freshman year at college, and this failure overshadows much of the good work contained in her effort. (more…)