Category Archives: Comedy

Don Jon

Bill I’s Review – 3 out of 5

Joseph Gordon-Levitt has been in a string of very fun movies, and this continues, as he portrays a young lothario, who is known for picking up a different girl (nothing less than an 8 he claims) every night at the club, until he meets his love match, played by Scarlett Johansson with an exaggerated New Jersey accent. One problem: Don is addicted to self-pleasure and Scarlett is insistent he must stop. In steps the wise, older lady, Julianne Moore, who shows Don the path to self-actualization by losing himself in loving a mature woman like herself. Cool solution, but will he lose the young hottie in the process? You need to see for yourself, I won’t tell. Oh by the way, it’s a comedy, just not super funny. And props to Tony Danza as Tony’s goomba dad. And parents, don’t worry about your teenagers seeing this film, they won’t be learning anything they don’t already know!

Bill C’s Review – 3.5 out of 5

I also like this movie (probably a little more than Bill).  Not only does Gordon-Leavitt do a good job portraying Jon,  this is also his feature film writing and directorial debut.  He does a good job of showing the rut (body, pad, family, boys, girls, church, porn) he is in and eventually tried to get out of.  While not hilarious I thought there were some funny parts (including his weekly confessions and dinners with his family).     Tony Danza was cast perfectly as Jon’s father.  Jon is clearly a lot like his father while not wanting to be him 25 years from now.  Brie Larson probably has only 3 lines as his sister but makes the most of it with her sullenness during the family dinners while texting away in oblivion.

If you don’t mind rude/crude this is worth seeing although there’s a lot of other good stuff out there right now)

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The World’s End

Bill I’s Review – 4 out of 5

It starts out in one direction – 40-something never-was Gary decides to recreate the highlight of his life, at 17 when he and his 4 buddies went on a legendary pub crawl in his town (but never made it past the 6th of 12 pubs, so now he’s determined to make it all the way to the 12th pub, The World’s End) – then about when I was asking my wife why she picked this film it gets WEIRD, and my jaw dropped and the fun begins. Luckily I hadn’t read any reviews or seen any trailers so I will not give away any surprises here, and encourage you to see this movie pronto. Do not watch the trailer, do not read any reviews beyond this, and you will laugh your ass off. It’s just crazy, and the actors are terrific, especially Simon Pegg as Gary, the leader of the 5 Musketeers.

Bill C’s Review – 4 out of 5

I agree with Bill that this is an excellent movie and is definitely worth seeing. This one is brought to you by the same people who did Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz. All three have been written by Simon Pegg and Edgar Wright, directed by Wright, and star Simon Pegg. They are all extremely funny and deal with friendship, but are not thematically related. If you liked those other films, you will also enjoy this one.

I will try not to give too much away either, except to say:

– This joins my list of this summer’s movies with robots.

– This would make a great summer of 2013 double-feature if paired with This is The End.

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In a World…

Bill C’s Review – 4 out of 5

For all those looking for a good feminist movie, In a World… is the top choice this weekend. For others that are looking for a good romantic comedy, this is also a very good choice.

Lake Bell writes, directs and stars in her directorial debut. Lake, who majored in speech and drama in college in London, plays a vocal coach trying to break into the male-dominated voice-over business for movies and commercials. The business is dominated by a few men, including her father played by Fred Malamed who discourages her at every opportunity. Bell and Malamed do some great voice-over work and Bell does some very funny voice bits while coaching others. The title is from the signature line of ‘The voice of God’, Don Lafontaine who was the voice-over king until his death in 2008. Bell ends up competing for voice-over work that will resurrect the ‘In a World ‘ intro. The voice-over scenes include a very funny fake trailer of a Hunger Games-type movie.

Besides her career aspirations, the movie intertwines three couples (those of Lake Bell, her father, and her sister) working through their various issues. In addition to good performances by Bell and Malamed, there is good supporting work from Rob Corddry, Alexander Holden, Demetri Martin, and Ken Marino (as another voice-over star).

I was at a screening with Lake Bell in attendance, and she was as down-to-earth as her character in the movie. This film is definitely worth seeing.

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2 Guns

Bill C’s Review – 3  out of 5

I didn’t have high expectations for this one but I was pleasantly surprised. The plot is ridiculous as is much of the action. This is a buddy-cop movie and what makes it entertaining are the performances. Denzel Washington is good in anything he does and the pairing with Mark Wahlberg works well. Their banter pretty much makes the movie. Bill Paxton is also good as the ove-the-top dirty CIA agent and Paula Patton as Washington’s love interest.

If you don’t like violence (especially against chickens), you might want to avoid this. It’s not the best movie of the summer, but you could do worse.

Bill I’s Review – 3  out of 5

Lot of fun, and yes, nutty unbelievable plot, but the repartee between Markie and Denzel is perfect, and the action never stops. The bad guys (mostly our government agents) are super bad, lots of bullets flying, point blank killing and things blowing up, but it somehow seems fresh, Tarantino-like, including the quips in the midst of the violence. I love watching Paula Patton but she seemed the least believable character. I had heard her real-life husband (Robin Thicke of recent Blurred Lines fame) describe how it was Paula’s idea to do the love scene with Denzel fully topless, and I have to say that was a good call. Perfect summer movie, no thinking needed.

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The Way Way Back

Bill C’s Review – 4 out of 5

Unintentionally the last three movies I’ve seen have all been about kids dealing with parenting issues.  This  is one of the two that have been teenage boy coming of age stories. The other was about a 6 year old girl.  I’ve liked them all but this is my favorite.

The Way Way Back is a funny, touching movie about 14 year old Duncan.  He has to spend the summer with his mom (Toni Collette), her boyfriend (Steve, Carell) and his daughter at his summer home by the beach.  Duncan is quiet and sullen as he doesn’t get along with his mom’s boyfriend (or his daughter) and it looks like it will be a long summer.

Luckily he runs into Owen (Sam Rockwell) and a job at the  local water park.  Owen brings Duncan out of his shell and give him the opportunity to get comfortable in his own skin.

The acting is very good.  Sam Rockwell is great in this movie and very funny at the water park. Allison Janney is also very funny as the next door neighbor.  Collette is good as the stressed out mom trying to make the most of a not very good situation and Carrell is good in a rare non comedy role as the cruddy boyfriend/supposed father figure for Duncan.

Nat Faxon and Jim Rash wrote, directed and have small funny supporting roles as water park employees.  They were also 2 of the writers of The Descendatnts.

This is definitely worth seeing

Bill I’s Review – 4 out of 5

I agree with my buddy on this, excellent film. One of the best portrayals of adolescent angst/coming of age/frustration I’ve seen. The young actor is seething with being forced to accompany his mom and her slimy new boyfriend (an unlikeable Steve Carrell, a first) to summer cottage by the beach in Cape Cod, where the adults are just drinking and partying and getting frisky while their kids are doing who knows what. Nothing really original in the plot, but the characters are memorable and it’s cool to see how a caring adult (Sam Rockwell is an adult in age but a goofy kid on the surface) can make a huge positive difference in a teenager’s life. Without being creepy! I particularly liked the last scene, which I won’t describe, but it was very nicely done, with zero dialogue. Check it out.

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THE WAY, WAY BACK

This is the End

Bill I’s Review – Nutty out of 5

For some reason I really like to hear and see Seth Rogan, in any film (including Funny People) and in any role (seemingly playing himself in many cases). Same with Jonah Hill and more and more the same with James Franco, Craig Robinson and Danny McBride. Well, with all these guys in this film, including others of that vein such as Aziz Ansari and Michael Cera, I was predisposed to find this movie hilarious…which I DID!!!

I loved it, not expecting much of a meaningful plot, but I was smiling throughout. Emma Watson is a great surprise, along with Channing Tatum and some well hung devils. Don’t read about any of the scenes, just go and enjoy the wackiness.

Oh, I almost forget about Rihanna, playing a version of herself who does not let herself get slapped around.

Bill C’s Review – 4 out of 5

I also loved this movie!  All the actors are playing fictionalized versions of themselves during the rapture.  Luckily they don’t take their persona’s very seriously and they have a great time making fun of their perceived selves.  So much is going on in this movie that I might go back to see it again just to see some of the stuff I missed.

My only criticism is it probably could have been a little shorter and like Pineapple Express got a little too involved with the action instead of just focusing on the comedy at the end.  This is definitely my favorite movie of the summer so far.

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Fans of Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg (writes of the movie should check out this great interview on the WTF podcast.

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Fast & Furious 6

 Bill C’s Review – 3 out of 5

Fast & Furious 6 is the first of this series that I have seen. Since the film got decent reviews and I had seen an interview with the director of this and 3 of the other movies that included some action clips from earlier films in the series, I decided to check it out.

The movie flew by as the action sequences, while utterly ridiculous, were very entertaining. Some scenes just included people or cars, but to spice things up, they brought in a tank, and then finally an airplane. Some of the human action included the addition of Gina Carano from one of last year’s favorites, Haywire, and a great wrestling move from Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson.

In addition to the action the movie had a lot of humor.  I missed a fair number of jokes that watching the first five movies would have clued me in on, but I felt I got the feel for the characters’ relationships pretty quickly. ‘Ludacris’ had the most one-liners and I enjoyed his performance.

I couldn’t decide if Vin Diesel can’t act or if he just goes with the totally deadpan, non-smiling persona (in which case he is a great actor).

The plot had a lot of holes, but you don’t go to this type of movie for the scintillating plot. The end of the movie sets things up for Fast & Furious 7. It will be interesting to see how they outdo themselves!

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Pain and Gain

Bill I’s Review – 3.5 out of 5

What a fun movie! Three muscle heads decide to get rich quick by robbing rich guys, and just make one dumb decision after another. Mark Wahlberg is amazing, and The Rock (Chris Johnson) almost steals the show with his Jesus-loving criminal character. Set in Miami, this could have been lifted from a Carl Hiasson or Elmore Leanord novel, instead it’s based on actual events, which the film reminds you of half-way through. This is remiscient of Goodfellas but without the organized mob or any well thought out plans. Imbeciles with new found money. Loved it!

Star Trek Into Darkness

Bill C’s Review – 3 out of 5

Star Trek Into Darkness is the second reboot of the original Star Trek series and occurs with the original characters prior to ‘5 year mission’ of the original series.

The movie will appeal to both fans of Star Trek and just generally sci-fi/action movies. For the most part, the special effects are pretty good (although the communicators that were so awesome almost 40 years ago seem sort of bulky by today’s standards and the phasers are also nothing special today). I liked the action sequences for most of the movie, but thought the ones towards the end were a little overboard and could have been done better.

For fans of the series, there is a lot of the familiar interaction and humor among Kirk, Spock, Bones, and Scotty, as well as the usual discussions on logic vs. gut decisions influenced by emotion. It did bother me a little that the last movie sort of wiped the slate clean of the original TV historical record, with characters going back in time and therefore changing history.

Zachary Quinto was spot-on as Spock and Simon Pegg always added some humor in a underutilized role as Scotty. Benedict Cumberbatch was excellent as the villain. They even brought Leonard Nimoy back for a cameo, but that was sort of a cop-out in my view that the young Spock needed help from the old Spock.

Overall this was a good movie, but it didn’t quite live up to my expectations.

Bill I’s Review – 3.5 out of 5

I was captured from the opening scene, with the way they immediately immerse you in the adventure, although I rolled my eyes when Spock was able to function in the middle of an active volcano. The story was good enough, bringing to life current issues that we face such as the legality of hunting and killing US citizens “abroad”, and the rogue government agents who become ruthless killers justified by some larger mission. The actors are terrific, the action scenes exciting (terrific editing by Maryann Brandon!), and the villian(s) relentless and heartless. At the end my eyes rolled again when Spock showed off his hand-to-hand fighting skills (and where did that come from?). Overall, a thrilling fun ride from JJ Abrams.

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Iron Man 3

Bill C’s Review – 3 out of 5

Iron Man 3 has a good combination of humor and action and makes a good, but not great, movie to start the summer movie season.

Robert Downey Jr. has the role of Tony Stark  down pat and does a great job with both the action and the comedy.   Ben Kingsley has the meatiest (and probably most fun) in a supporting role with a strong cast that includes Gwyneth Paltrow, Don Cheadle, Jon Favreau, Guy Pearce and Rebecce Hall.

The action and special effects (including non-action sequences) were good.  Keeping the special effects fresh is a challenge for the third movie in a special effects driven series but they pulled it off.   I saw this in 2D but in retrospect I wished I had gone for a 3D viewing.

The plot was ok but but suffered a little from the James Bond plot device of never having the super villain take the easy solution when he has the opportunity.

Iron Man 3 is better than the second installment in the series but not as good as the first Iron Man.

Bill I’s Review – 3.5 out of 5

Thoroughly entertaining, with Robert Downey Jr. given lots of time out of his suit, and Gwyneth Paltrow playing a bigger part than in the past. The plot was a stretch for me, such as what’s the bad guy’s mission other than to exact revenge on the world for ignoring him when he was a wanna be inventor. And while Iron Man has developed a cool new feature that has his suit assemble itself onto him in pieces, it was hard to believe the pieces could travel 750 miles to do so. That’s some seriously precise guided missile technology. Rebecca Hall is a pleasure to watch as a former “love” interest, seen below:

while Don Cheadle is the buddy you can’t live without. The plot moves fast, and the 2 hours 20 minutes never seems too long.

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