Archive for Comedy

Vincent Wants to Sea

Directed by: Ralf Huettner

Written by: Florian David Fitz

Produced by: Viola Jäger, Harald Kügler

Starring: Florian David Fitz, Karoline Herfurth, Heino Ferch, Robert Gellner, Katharina Müller-Elmau

Language:  German with English subtitles

Run Time: 96 minutes

 

Did you hear the one about the man with tourette’s, an anorexic woman and the guy with ocd?  No? Well there’s this guy with tourette’s, an anorexic woman and a guy with ocd who escape a mental institution. They steal their psychiatrist’s car and drive from Germany to Italy to dispose of a tuna can filled with the ashes of tourette’s guy’s mom.  On the way they have adventures, find love and of course escape the evil psychiatrist and tourette’s guy’s grumpy father.  It all sounds like a bad joke, which it very well could be, but it’s also an award winning movie in Germany.  Vincent Wants to Sea isn’t as bad as the joke sounds but it isn’t anywhere near what an award winning masterpiece should be.

 

The big problem with Vincent Wants to Sea is that the characters aren’t consistent, aren’t believable and worst of all, are extremely predictable.  Vincent’s (the guy with tourette’s syndrome) tics aren’t uncontrolled and in fact only come at a time when the movie demands it.  Instead of having random movements or outbursts throughout the film, his symptoms all but disappear during parts of the movie and reappear when it’s comedic and convenient.  It’s the same way with Marie, the anorexic girl, who really shows no symptoms of her condition aside from being thin for most of the movie.  Marie’s silly, has lots of energy and a great sense of humor which doesn’t really seem very realistic for a girl who’s supposedly so starved her body is about to fail.  Sadly, the potential that lies in all of the characters is largely ignored and instead is turned into a common parody of what their mental illnesses are.  The lack of in depth character development is understandable though; after all, if the characters seemed somewhat real it would transform a feel good drama into a cringe-worthy comedy.

 

The soundtrack is another huge piece of the puzzle that makes the movie seem extremely scripted.  It follows the same formula of bland cheesy music at all of the right times that you’d see in any chick flick or trendy drama.  As soon as the intro starts you can queue the acoustic guitar and the bad lyrics sung by a middle aged man in Birkenstocks that plays on light rock stations.  Again, the music reflects a striking lack of originality and uses the very same themes that are used in hundreds of other movies.  Perhaps the reason why all of the song’s lyrics are in English is to fool a German audience into thinking they aren’t as bad as they are but that’s just a theory.  All theories aside, the music just reflects the current trend that’s seen in romantic movies and as pleasurable as it is to some listeners; still offers nothing new or innovative to the film.

 

Vincent Wants to Sea does have a redeeming quality, namely the scenery photography. The landscape shots are breathtaking and indeed make the viewer want to retrace the steps of the characters in the movie.  Even though there are some goofy shots, one where all the protagonists sit on a cross overlooking a mountain, the fact remains that there is real natural beauty captured in the film.

 

Just looking at the poster of Vincent Wants to Sea, where Vincent is standing with his back turned to the camera and looking at the ocean, says exactly what kind of movie it is, a feel good drama.  The viewer knows just by looking at the poster that there’s going to be love, some silly comedic moments and of course a long journey complete with bonding and healing so in the end it doesn’t really disappoint.  Vincent Wants to Sea seems as if it was meant to appeal to the lowest common denominator of audiences who are looking for more of a good time instead of a realistic emotional story.  The characters are all likeable and charming but aren’t dysfunctional enough (unless it’s convenient that is) to actually merit them being in a mental institution in the first place.  Vincent Wants to Sea is a goofy, stereotypical, easy to vegetate to movie and is therefore pleasurable to watch as long as you don’t expect anything new or groundbreaking.

 

(5.3/10)

Tiny Furniture

Directed by:  Lena Dunham

Written by:  Lena Dunham

Produced by:  Kyle Martin, Alicia Van Couvering

Starring:  Lena Dunham, Laurie Simmons, Grace Dunham

Run Time:  98 minutes

“Aura just wants someone to tell her who she is(taken from the films summary).”  Lucky for Aura, she’s surrounded by witty hipsters and sassy women to help her on her journey of self enlightenment.  Tiny Furniture is about a young entitled girl, who basically the personality of a rock and her struggle through life even though she really doesn’t have any problems.  Tiny Furniture offers nothing original, is badly written and is basically made for those people who like to think they’re intelligent but in reality are complete dullards.

The story behind Tiny Furniture is horrendous.  In fact, it’s so bad that even the description of film on its very own website makes the film look horrible.  It’s one thing to have a bad review but when the filmmakers, producers, directors and actors can’t even explain the story in a way that would be interesting or motivating, there’s a big problem.  To prove my point, I’m going break down a piece of the story using the filmmakers very own words.  (See the complete story plot here: http://www.tinyfurniture.com/#story )

“22-year-old Aura returns home to her artist mother’s TriBeCa loft with the following: a useless film theory degree, 357 hits on her Youtube page, a boyfriend who’s left her to find himself at Burning Man, a dying hamster, and her tail between her legs.”

That sounds great doesn’t it?  No, it sounds lame and the worst part about it is that it’s not even an honest description of the movie. What the summary neglects to tell a potential film viewer is that she has 357 views on here Youtube because her videos are horrible.  It also states that her boyfriend left her to go find himself at Burning Man which is in Nevada but we find out he moved to Colorado ruining that explanation.  It also mentions the non-event of her hamster dying like it was somehow important to the story when the reality was the characters didn’t seem to care whatsoever.  That’s just the first sentence of the description; do I really need to break down the entire summary of this garbage film?  None of it makes any sense and it seems as if it’s just written to make people think that there is something to the story and characters when the sad truth is that none of it is worth caring about and makes little if any sense.

Every character in Tiny Furniture is completely enraging; to the point where I could only dream that the movie would end in a fiery car crash where Aura is having that near death flashback about her life.  The characters aren’t believable and if they are based on real life people, it’s more of a sad statement about the pettiness and stupidity of humanity in general.  I’ve never seen a movie with so many horrible characters and to put that in perspective, I watch plenty of late night B-Movies.  I’ve have had more of an emotional response watching the acting/characters on TNA Wrestling, who sadly have more depth, are more realistic and much more interesting than the characters in Tiny Furniture.

Most of the dialog in the film is completely the same from character to character showing a lack of creative writing ability and also that the actors lack personality since some actors actually improvise to make their characters sound more natural.  Of course the lack of creativity with the dialog is masked by their placebo intellectualism as the characters speak with each other only to have what they say fall apart under any scrutiny becoming completely moronic.  Does anyone really think talking about anime porn is interesting or listening to emotional entitled girl complain about how difficult her life is would make interesting dialog?

There is a silver lining to Tiny Furniture:  Even though the story, actors, dialog and characters are as bad as they come, the film was made with cheap equipment that would be easy for an aspiring filmmaker to purchase.  The fact that anyone can get a camera and can make a good quality movie speaks for the advancement in film technology more so than it does for the filmmaker.  Tiny Furniture should be an inspiration to up and coming artists that they too can make a film with little money and one would hope that people who do follow Dunham’s lead and make movies that are actually worth watching.

Tiny Furniture fails on almost every level and there’s no reason anyone should take the time to watch it. This movie is so bad that I feel it’s safe to tell you that if the film resonates with you at all, you should seriously consider buying a shotgun to shoot yourself in the head.  Anyone who likes this film is a total pretentious asshole.  If you like this film, I whole heartedly want you to kill yourself and spare the world having to deal with your oversensitive entitled hipster nonsense. There really is no point to the film, the story is pure rubbish and the idea that anyone would care about a girl who really doesn’t have any problems slowly breaking down for no reason at all is insanely stupid.  The only people who could possibly like this movie are those fake intellectuals who are more concerned about looking smart then actually being smart.  I hate Aura, I hate her friends, I hate her journey and most of all, I hate this movie.  There’s absolutely nothing moving or original about Tiny Furniture.

[Rating: 1 out of 10]

Kung Fu Chefs

Directed by: Wing Kin Yip

Written by: Cyrus Cheng, Eddie Chu, Simon Liu, Po Wang, Joey Yuen

Produced by: Jeremy Cheung

Starring: Sammo Hung Kam-Bo, Vanness Wu, Cherrie Ying

Run Time: 93 minutes

Who would have thought that the best chefs in the world would know how to fight in addition to cooking luxurious dishes?  It’s true, well maybe not in the real world, where our cooking competitions are interesting but lack the real excitement that only a street fight could bring.  Kung Fu Chefs mixes two of my favorite things, good food and a hefty dose of kung fu action.  While Kung Fu Chefs isn’t the best kung fu movie out there, it is an entertaining watch for all of those people who enjoy cheesy low budget action/comedy movies.

Starring the legendary Sammo Hung as the disgraced master chef Wong Bing-Yi, who has an almost super natural ability to cook as well as fight, and Vanness Wu as Lung Kin-Yat, a recent graduate of kung fu cooking school, Kung Fu Chefs has an awesome cast.  One problem with most action movies is that the main character, the guy who’s supposed to represent the common man, is always some muscular, ruggedly handsome action star but the heavy set Sammo Hung actually looks like he could be a real chef which makes the action scenes extremely entertaining.  Think about it, who wouldn’t want to see an episode of Iron Chef where Mario Batali smacks some punk upside his head when he gets out of line?  Hung may not be a real life Batali but in the film, he could be one of his long lost relatives.

The basic plot itself is simple, after being kicked out of the Village, a prestigious restaurant and school, and having the Dragon Head Cleaver, a legendary weapon/chef knife, stripped from him, Wong Bing-Yi travels, sample and judges restaurant cuisines. During his travels Wong gives an unfavorable review of his meal at the Four Seas Restaurant, the head chef challenges Wong to a chefs dual (see it sounds silly already) stating that he would leave his family business if he lost.  We all know what happens, Wong wins and now that the restaurant was left without a cook, Wong steps in to help the struggling establishment.  It doesn’t take long for Wong’s arch enemy, his nephew, to discover that he’s begun cooking again which starts a war between their two restaurants.

Kung Fu Chefs was shot on a low budget so of course it isn’t one of those artistic kung fu movies, like Crouching Tiger, which have taken over the genera over the last few years. Kung Fu Chefs is more of a comedy which takes you back to the days of those late night martial arts movies that used to play on television years ago.  Even though the action is cheesy, the cooking can’t possibly be right and the whole story is a little off, you can’t help but love the old school feel of the movie.  If you’re like me and love the nostalgia of those old low budget action movies, be sure to check Kung Fu Chefs out.  This movie will be part of the Mill Valley Film Fest so you’ll also have the chance to watch it on a big screen.

Rating: 6 out of 10

Alice in Wonderland

Alice In Wonderland

Directed by: Tim Burton

Written by: Linda Wolverhampton(screenplay), Lewis Carroll

Produced by: Tim Burton, Jennifer Todd, Suzanne Todd, Joe Roth, Richard D. Zanuck

Starring: Mia Malinowski, Johnny Depp, Helena Bonhomie Carter, Anne Hathaway, Crisping Glover, Matt Lucas, Stephen Fry

Run Time: 108 min

Most of us remember the old Disney version of Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland from the simpler time when we were much younger and for most people it would difficult to picture the story in any other way then that early animated version. When I saw the ads for the new version, directed by Tim Burton, I was openly bothered with the bill board sized pictures of Johnny Depp as the mad hatter and the overly large balloon head of the red queen which to me at least, was as annoying as a festering mosquito bite that I couldn’t scratch. Honestly, I didn’t want to see this movie from the moment I saw the first advertisement.

For those people who’ve lived under a rock for the last 100 years and don’t know the basic story; Alice in Wonderland follows a young English girl through a psychedelic underworld after she falls down a magical rabbit hole. The underworld is full of strange and curious creatures, like the Cheshire Cat, waging a war between the good white queen and the evil red queen who currently rules over wonderland with an iron fist. The story itself is simple enough but what makes it unique is that the characters and world in which it takes place are a mixture of a fairy tale crossed with a hefty dose of hallucinogens.

This movie is everything you’d expect if you mixed the Alice in Wonderland with the direction style of Tim Burton. The imagery is extremely dark and twisted like in all of Burton’s movies but he still managed to keep the innocent Disney feeling that the Alice character should personify to the audience. Burton is quite possibly the only modern director who could attempt to make Alice in Wonderland and make it work.

Alice in Wonderland features an all star cast who are, quite frankly, amazing at what they do. Mia Wasikowska, who isn’t well known compared to the rest of the cast, delivered a stunning lead performance as the innocent and pure Alice. Johnny Depp, who has always excelled at playing eccentric characters, was the perfect fit as the Mad Hatter and one can’t forget Helena Carter as the Red Queen.

One big problem with the movie is that character and set design relied heavily on the inconsistent quality of the computer animation. Sometimes the animation was done extremely well and other times I couldn’t ignore the way the characters looked which left me debating their artistic merit rather than suspending my disbelief and enjoying the story. On the other hand, I was surprised that I was able to enjoy the hated Red Queen, giant head and all, even though my first impression of her from the advertising had made her the bane of my small world.

Does Alice in Wonderland live up to the legacy of the earlier animated movie? No. The first Alice in Wonderland was a movie that could be watched by anyone, especially children, but this version left me struggling with the question of whether a younger audience or even someone who wasn’t a fan of the story could enjoy it. Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland seems as if it was made for those hardcore fans who have grown up and want a darker version of the original movie.

After seeing the movie it became incredibly apparent to me that Disney was relying on the name, since most of us grew up with this story, and the stars to sell the tickets instead the movie itself. In the end, I’m still trying to figure out if I liked the movie and I’m sure most people who see the movie will ask themselves same thing as well. There aren’t any memorable moments that stick out in one’s mind upon retrospect nor are there memorable characters, since we already knew them from older versions of the movie. Alice in Wonderland isn’t a movie you’ll like or dislike; this is just a movie that is there.

(3.5/5)

Twin Sitters

Twin Sitters

Directed by: John Paragon

Written by: John Paragon

Produced by: Yoram Pelman

Starring: Peter Paul, David Paul, Christian Cousins, Joseph Cousins, Rena Sofer

Run Time: 93 min

Some films, much like cheap beer, lose their luster over the years and become completely stale and bitter but on rare occasions some things get better with age. Fine wines for example can be aged for up to 50 years before their seal is cracked for only the wealthiest of people to enjoy. Twin Sitters, much like its expensive wine counterparts, has done nothing but ripen and age over the years leaving us with an artistic masterpiece. The Barbarian Brothers bring us a moving tale of environmental justice, family and love that we can all afford in Twin Sitters.

David and Peter Falcone, played by Peter Paul and David Paul, are two regular muscle bound guys with dreams of opening their own restaurant. Their dreams are harshly squashed by a lowly banker who refuses to give them a small business loan leaving them depressed while they pass their days at a local playground feeding the growing homeless population of Los Angeles’ as they struggle to make a future for themselves. Luckily it doesn’t take too long before their good deeds are recognized and the two brothers are hired to protect the children of a powerful EPA whistleblower after they heroically save him from a murderous gang of thugs.

Alright, so maybe this isn’t the best movie ever made but what exactly do you expect from a kids movie from the 80’s? Needless to say, the acting isn’t very good, the story is extremely simple and the writing is horrible but that’s all for the best. Twin Sitters comes from a time where kids movies were fun to watch and you didn’t have to worry about what’s politically correct. You can’t go wrong with steroid jokes, monster trucks, torturing kids with pasta and some of the worst outfits in the history of film.

I look for a lot of things when I watch movies but the most important part of any movie is that I enjoy watching it. If a movie expresses some heartfelt story that touches the watcher or if the movie reveals some of the deeper truths that we’re all looking to explore it’s safe to say that the movie is good. I would have loved this movie when I was a kid and I love it now. Twin Sitters isn’t a movie with a heartfelt story or one seeking the truth to one’s own existence; it’s about having fun and that makes it a masterpiece in my eyes. Now I know there are always those naysayers who wouldn’t enjoy this movie but since this is my movie site those naysayers can go screw and watch a movie like When in Rome to fulfill their sissy desires.

(4.5/5)