Posts Tagged ‘comedy’

6th June
2010
written by Steph
We've got a hodgepodge of films for you this time round, some of them better than others, and some watched at the drive-in! This time we watched:
  • We talk about why senior thesis projects don't always make good movies when we discuss 9
  • Tony tells you how to be an effective stalker while critiquing Jimmy Stewart in Vertigo
  • Everyone who works with him may hate him, but we still love Ricky Gervais in The Invention of Lying
  • If you're looking for the definition of "80s humor" look no further than A Fish Called Wanda...
  • Steph winds up with a lot of strong views about effective video game films, which come out when we discuss Prince of Persia
  • Is Iron Man 2 the Ulysses of summer 2010? No, not really... unless you found Transformers 2 to be a subtle and intelligently-crafted art film

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24th January
2010
written by Steph
Somewhat of a slow week for us here at Steph & Tony Investigate, but that didn't stop us from prattling on about the 3.5 movies we watched.  Why 3.5?  Well, you'll have to listen to find out! This week we watched: Highlights include:
  • Is Jean Claude Van Damme secretly cool?  We discuss this while talking about JCVD.
  • Steph gets passionate about the portrayal of women in guy movies while discussing The Hangover!
  • Is Ink the worst movie ever?  Probably not.  But it might be.
  • We discuss whether Easy Virtue was rented because of Jessica Biel or Colin Firth. (Hint: It wasn't because of Jessica Biel...)

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10th January
2010
written by Steph
Here is a new feature we are thinking of including regularly on our site: a short(ish) podcast in which Tony and I recap the movies we watched during the past week. What are you in for?  Well, we cover the following four movies: Other bonuses:
  • Hear us bicker... about several things, but mostly about whether "Jim from The Office" is really called James Krasinski
  • We insult Twilight... again
  • Is Henry Tilney gay?  Find out our final take!
  • We outline one of the major pitfalls screenwriters grapple with when penning prequels
  • Finally hear our crazy accents!
Click the play button below and take a listen and let us know what you think!  If people enjoy this, we're open to doing it again... Is that a threat or a promise?  Only you can say! [NB: When we talk about Northanger Abbey being a 1986 production... well, Steph should have checked IMDB and not trusted Tony, because this was NOT an '80s production, but rather one from 2007...]

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5th January
2010
written by Steph
Bon appetit!

Bon appetit!

I’m pretty sure Tony thought there had been some kind of terrible mistake with our Netflix when Julie & Julia showed up in our mailbox.  What Tony always fails to recognize is twofold: 1) I like watching crappy movies; 2) Just because I don’t make him see something in the theater doesn’t mean I’m not going to rent it when it comes out… in fact, I’m probably waiting for it to come out on dvd so I can do just that!  Given that I love food and cooking as much as I do, it really should have been a no brainer that this movie was going to make an appearance in our home sooner or later. And what can I say?  I actually liked this movie for the most part!  It’s not a groundbreaking piece of cinema, but based on most of the reviews that came out when it was first released, I expected it to be fairly horrific, especially the parts featuring Julie Powell.  Instead, I found this a pretty pleasant movie that was soothing and charming, if not challenging and provocative.  I enjoyed Meryl Streep’s portrayal of Julia Child (then again, I do have a bit of a girl crush on Ms. Streep) and loved when Jane Lynch popped up as Julia’s sister (again, another girl crush there), I liked seeing all of the kitchen antics that took place for both women, and I adored the little journey into the past and overseas to Paris that we got to take, even if now I’m trying to figure out when we can pack our bags and move to the city of lights. (more…)
21st August
2009
written by Steph
Note: unless you are seeing a movie based on a comic book, guys in capes are a bad sign...

Note: unless you are seeing a movie based on a comic book, guys in capes are a bad sign...

We are big Paul Rudd fans here, although I don’t think we really realized this until seeing I Love You, Man earlier this year. Twice. Sure he was always on our radar, shining in flicks like Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Knocked Up, and Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy… Heck, I’ve even liked him a good deal since I was a teen when he played Paris in William Shakespeare’s Romeo + Juliet, and who can forget Clueless? (I haven’t a clue! Ha!) But despite all of these factors, our stance towards Rudd was essentially that his appearance in a movie would be a welcome and happy surprise, but he wasn’t really a motivating force in terms of getting us to actually go see a movie. And then we saw I Love You, Man and got to thinking that Paul Rudd is genuinely a funny dude and maybe we need to watch more of his stuff and should get pro-active about doing so. This is how we came to rent Role Models. (more…)
30th April
2009
written by Steph

I'm so happy I could sing!

I'm so happy... I could sing!

This past weekend, Tony and I walked over to our local indie theater that has been showing various classic musicals over the past month.  While we didn’t make it out for Guys & Dolls or An American in Paris, we were deadset on seeing a showing of Seven Brides for Seven Brothers.  When Singin’ in the Rain got held over for a second weekend due to its popularity, we decided to make a day of it and see a double-header. A little background on me: I LOVE musicals.  To me, they are an inextricable part of my childhood.  While most kids in the '80s were spellbound by E.T., Ghostbusters, Indiana Jones, and The Princess Bride, my brother and I were brought up watching Oklahoma!, Take Me Out to the Ballgame, The Pirates of Penzance (technically an operetta, I know, but operas were in no short supply in our household either), and Into the Woods.  To cap it all off, we watched a lot of these flicks on Beta and LaserDisc…  I can recall countless New Year’s Eves and Saturday nights where my brother and I, along with our parents, would marathon classic musicals into the wee hours.  When we’d go to the videostore, more often than not we wound up in the musical section, always trying to find something new to watch.  Plus, my parents always took us out to see the shows live whenever they were touring (one production of Showboat stands out particularly, as a rogue bale of hay took out an unsuspecting piccolo player in the pit…). Over the years, my love for musicals hasn’t really waned, and I even own a few of my childhood favorites on DVD.  A couple of months ago, Tony and I started watching the few that I do own, including Seven Brides, which has always been one of my favorites.  When we saw it was coming to the Belcourt, we knew we couldn’t pass up the chance to see it on the big screen.  Although Tony might not love musicals to the extent that I do (who could?), he’s always been very good about supporting me in this vice – we went to see HMS Pinafore when it came to town, and were both enamored by the more contemporary Avenue Q as well.  Heck, when I first came to Vanderbilt, I made a bunch of my friends go see the on-campus production of Brigadoon for my birthday (it was everything I hoped it would be)!  But to see one of the golden classics in a real movie theater?  Who knows if/when that chance would ever come again. (more…)
14th April
2009
written by Steph
Who wouldn't?

This poster comes nowhere near to illustrating the horror that is Jason Segel's hair in the movie proper

I know!  Another wedding movie!  But this one focuses on the groom side of things, and is not remotely depressing, so you can’t fault us for going to this one on a recent date night!  It has Paul Rudd!  And Jason Segel (who we love, if only he could do something about his hair… is he on drugs?  Because he really looks like he is…)!  Truth be told, we would have gone to see this if it were about non-wedding things, like skydiving or grave robbing (or you know, skydiving grave robbers). But as it stands, I Love You, Man revolves around straight-laced but all around nice guy Peter Klaven’s (Rudd) search for a guy best friend so he can have a best man at his wedding.  It’s not clear to me why Peter couldn’t just ask his brother or his dad (or both) to stand up with him.  Also, if his fiancée (played by Rashida Jones, perhaps best known to you as Karen Phillipelli of The Office, who seems like a middle of the road actress but who really needs to not wear bangs as they make her look dowdy) were really so concerned about not having him feel awkward about having a smaller social circle than herself, why couldn’t she have just had her two best friends be her bridal party, rather than having a bridal part of like, 8 girls?  Clearly I have thought about this too much.  ANYWAY, Peter has always been a girlfriend guy rather than a guy-friend guy, so he sets out to rectify this.  It seems as though Lady Luck smiles on Peter because after several awkward “man dates” (and just crippling awkwardness on Peter’s part), he happens to cross paths with one Sydney Fife (Segel) while hosting an open house.  They hit it off, have a series of misadventures, a bunch of laughs, things get rocky, but ultimately both of them learn from the other and become more fulfilled in the process. It’s a fun movie that will make you laugh and will also make you cringe.  The plot is mostly predictable, but there were a few welcome surprises along the way, and really, you’re not going into this movie hoping for something earth-shattering anyway.  Segel is good as Sydney, but Paul Rudd is better as Peter – he plays the straight man really well, and is convincing in his portrayal of Peter as an average guy who’s nice and just a bit uptight and a whole lot of awkward.  In essence, Peter is dorky in the way that all nice guys kind of are (@ Tony: but not you, honey!  Nothing dorky about you at all!).  Particularly enjoyable are the frequent moments when Peter experiences massive verbal diarrhea, whether he’s trying to come up with a good nickname for Sydney, his attempts at using slang or employing any kind of accent, or any moment where he’s trying to come off as blasé, when we all know he’s secretly squealing like a little girl inside.  Segel and Rudd do banter well, and they get a nice synergy going; think Turk & J.D. on Scrubs and you've got the picture. Really enjoyable movie that’s great for a date night out.  You will laugh a lot.  Well worth the ticket price. Rating: 4 out of 5
17th February
2009
written by Steph
Aloha!

Aloha!

What is there to say about this movie?  If you’ve seen the commercials for the film, you pretty much know what it’s about.  Seth Rogen plays Dale Denton, a good-natured stoner who witnesses a murder early on in the film and then spends the rest of the movie on the run with his pot-dealer cum friend, Saul, from the guy who did the killing.  The twist?  The murderer is one of the city’s two big pot producers and he is able to trace one tossed roach back to Dale, who he knows witnessed his wayward ways with a gun. By and large, this is your average stoner comedy, but done in the vein of most of Judd Apatow’s recent blockbusters (Knocked Up, Superbad, Forgetting Sarah Marshall, etc.,), which I think elevates it slightly.  It can be lewd and crude, but it can also be hella funny.  I personally got a kick out of the insane scenarios (and the myriad of pitiful fights) that hapless Dale and Saul found themselves in, and I wouldn’t exactly categorize this as lowest common denominator funny either.  It ain’t highbrow, but you don’t have to be a fratboy or a stoner yourself to giggle along with some of the outlandishness that occurs here. Also of note, although Rogan plays a solid straightman, James Franco really shines as Saul, giving a pitch-perfect performance of comically tragic guy who has turned to dealing pot so that his Bubby can live in a good-quality retirement home.  Whereas Rogen gives pretty much you what you’d expect given his other films, Franco does something pretty interesting here given his CV. What more can I say?  It’s a fun movie that doesn’t require much thinking.  If you’ve seen and enjoyed other Apatow films or other stoner comedies, then you’ll probably enjoy this one too. Rating: 3.5 out of 5
28th January
2009
written by Steph
Ghost Town (2008)

"Your ghost hands is cold!"

What do you get if you cross the Charles Dickens classic A Christmas Carol with the D-grade Jennifer Love Hewitt vehicle The Ghost Whisperer and The Sixth Sense?  Pretty much, you get Ghost Town, a movie starring Ricky Gervais as a dour, and misanthropic dentist living in Manhattan (for a guy who hates people, way to pick one of the most heavily populated ISLANDS…).  Through a twist of fate, Ricky (I can’t remember his name in the movie) winds up with the ability to see all of the ghosts of the city, and all of them have some bit of unfinished business they want for him to resolve.  Enter Greg Kinear’s character (although to be truthful, the movie starts off with him), who was two-timing his wife when he was alive and wants Ricky to break up her current relationship, because he’s convinced the guy is bad news.  So, naturally Ricky and Greg decide the best way to make this happen is for Ricky to offer himself up as a more suitable option!  Only, this is going to be tricky because of how he’s not a people person and has been unforgivably rude to the wife (played by Tea Leoni) in the past (who, as fate would have it, lives in the same building as him). I know I’m being all glib, but take that as a reflection of my writing style rather than one of the movie.  The premise might not be all that original, and certain elements of the plot are pretty predictable (do you think that cold-hearted Ricky will wind up ultimately having a change in perspective and helping the poor beleaguered ghosts find closure?), but overall it was a light and fun comedy, perfect for a chilly Sunday afternoon.  Tony & I both laughed aloud several times, which sometimes is all you can ask for in a movie.  I do think most of the film’s success rests upon Gervais, who is pretty much perfectly suited to the role (and therefore shines), and who very convincingly sells himself as a rude, uninterested jerk (must have been all that practice over on the British Office…).  Also, it must be said that Gervais has great comedic timing, and there were a lot of little moments that had us giggling, even though I think we wouldn’t have found them nearly as funny had another actor been playing the part.  I am not convinced that he wasn’t just playing David Brent as a dentist, but I guess, stick with what you know (and with what works).  This isn’t one of those comedies that’s edgy or brash, but overall I’d say it works.  I mean, it's billed as a comedy, and we laughed quite a bit.  That's a success, right?  Plus, I really enjoyed the soundtrack (although strangely it seems it was never officially released for purchase... at the very least, I can't find it on Amazon, which seems like enough proof for me!), so there's that to look forward to as well (as opposed to Dan in Real Life, where the soundtrack was pretty much the ONLY good thing about the movie.  Here it's just an added bonus.). Rating: 3.5 out of 5