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Ben Stiller, Jack Black, Robert Downey Jr., Steve Coogan, Nick Nolte, and so, so many others star in a meta, big-budget action comedy co-written, co-produced, and directed by Ben Stiller. This is seriously an ambitious, complicated movie which cements Ben Stiller as immensely talented, as opposed to untalented and immensely lucky (that would be Adam Sandler). The movie begins with a bunch of fake trailers, and proceeds to be a deftly interwoven comedic tale about a combination of....for lack of a better word, interesting characters attempting to save their careers by making a war movie based on a true story. The problem is that the guerilla style of filming has placed them in a jungle on an island that is (unknown to the actors) loaded with vicious cartel members, causing them to fight for their lives. This film really is a comedic work of art. The only comedy I've ever seen that comes close to being this grandiose was The Other Guys, and as much as I love that movie as well, Tropic Thunder just has so much varied, amazing content in its insanely long 106 minutes, that I'm not sure any movie that meant to be funny has ever been quite as large of an undertaking (Battlefield Earth didn't mean to be funny). If you haven't seen it, you need to.
Among serious (read: crazy) mountain climbers, Everest is easy mode. The locals call it “the mountain that is slightly taller than the other mountains.” It’s tough, but the base-to-summit climb is way easier to take in stages than most of the “Eight Thousanders (mountaineer lingo for the 14 peaks that reach 8,000 meters above sea level), and all of the camps along the way are better equipped and better established. And even though more people have died climbing Everest than any other mountain, it is not the most dangerous. However, the second tallest peak in the world, K2, has killed one person for every four who has made it to the summit. And in 2008, it killed eleven people in one day. This awesome documentary chronicles the incident how it went down as best as the survivors could determine after the whole ordeal was over with a mixture of original footage, high-budget re-enactments, and interviews with the survivors. It makes for a hauntingly gripping documentary, and damn good viewing.
This documentary chronicles the rise and works of Drew Stuzan, and industry giant that you've probably never heard of (I certainly hadn't), but who you definitely are familiar with. If you've seen any movie posters ever, you've probably seen his masterpieces. He's an amazing artist who did (among a vast number of others) the art for every Star Wars film, Back to the Future, Big Trouble in Little China, any Harry Potter movie, the Muppets movies, and you know what, so many more, I'm going to go ahead and stop here. He's so ubiquitous that you probably can name several more just from knowing a couple that he did.
In a post-apocalyptic wasteland, gangs vie for control of Frazier Park (abbreviated as titular The FP) through a brutal blood sport much akin to the thunderdome. Except instead of any real blood sport, it’s a dance game called Beat-Beat Revolution. After his brother BTRO gets literally served to death by a rival gang’s superior performance, JTRO (played by writer and director Jason Trost) leaves the FP. However, a year later, the park is in shambles due to the evil gang’s malevolent rule, and JTRO must return to save the day and serve up some white-hot BBR revenge. Featuring awesome sets, insanely high BPM techno, good costuming, and ……..odd humor, this film was ignored by many, shat on by a bunch of critics, and watched by few. But fuck the haters, this movie is awesome, and you should watch it.
Let’s be honest. You’ve probably seen Hot Fuzz if you’re on this site. And that’d be unsurprising. It had a wide release, was well marketed, and is arguably the best British buddy cop mystery satire action drama released in 2007. On the surface, it stands as a very good example of how to lampoon a genre while being an excellent entry in said genre at the same time (The Other Guys also does a good job with this). It’s the second entry in the “Blood and Cornetto” trilogy that also includes Shaun of the Dead before it and The World’s End after. Masterminded by Nick Frost, Simon Pegg, Edgar Wright, and a ton of other bit actors, the whole set of movies is worth your time. Loaded with inter-movie references, tight shots, very smart comedy, and great action, if you have not seen this film before, you desperately need to.
If The Other Guys didn't give you your fill of Will Farrell (or you want to try something a bit stranger), then perhaps this would interest you; Farrell teamed up with just about every major player in the Mexican movie industry to create an entirely-in-Spanish comedy lampooning the traditional over-the-top telenovela style. Essentially, Farrell plays Armando Alvarez, the somewhat slow (but genuine) son of a well-off Mexican ranch owner, and he must save the ranch and the day from evil drug cartel members. The more you know about Mexico or Mexican programming, the closer to home this film will hit for you. It's very entertaining and clearly was made as a labor of love; whether you speak Spanish or not, there is a lot to like about this film, and it's a very easy recommendation for both fans of Farrell and those who think he's a bit played out at this point.
THE LIFE OF THE PARTY
This movie is loaded with Naked Gun type gags that make it really accessible for everyone, but the true gem here is how many tropes of Mexican daytime TV get mocked. The whole script is needlessly flowery and silly, and as someone who speaks Spanish, I was utterly amazed at how proficient at the language Will Farrell is. The best part is that even though he's super white, no one even seems to notice, which adds this extra layer of comedy when he's over-enunciating like he's onstage in a theater production at actors and actresses who clearly are speaking in a very natural tone. The script is awesome, the plot is fully aware of how contrived the general story is, and everything is acted excellently. Considering all the humor has to work in two languages at once, it's all very natural and manages to do the unthinkable by genuinely being funny. Also, and this may be minor to some, the costuming and music kicks as much ass as the wardrobe and soundtrack in Mexican westerns tend to.
This movie is pretty damn silly. Anyone who's seen El Sabado Gigante is already going to be used to this, but even so, if you aren't a fan of sight gags, you may find this movie tiresome. Also, the whole movie is in Spanish except for an English speaker at the very beginning warning you that it's entirely in Spanish. This should tip you off that this film has a good deal of meta humor in it, which I have heard does not float everyone's boat. Also, it really does shine mostly for those who have seen enough latino programming to catch the fairly large number of references the movie makes, meaning it may be less of an experience for you if that's not really your thing. Considering this was made for Americans, though, it really does translate well.
THE ATMOSPHERE: Date Night, Casual Gathering, Cocktail Party
This really is a nice movie for casual occasions. Being that it's PG-13 and could conceivably be referred to as a cultural experience, it works for situations where less graphic material is desired. It's genuinely funny, has an easy to follow story, and is legitimately well made as a movie. You could do worse than to put it on for some open-minded, relaxed guests, and I hope you do! It really deserves more attention than it got.
Once for each simile or metaphor
Twice for each tobacco product smoked onscreen
Thrice for each time you hear or read English (excluding subtitles)
(Cartel Killer mode) Take a shot for each person who gets shot
Adam McKay (Anchorman, Talladega Nights, Step-Brothers) directs a high-budget buddy cop action comedy starring Will Farrell and Marky Mark Wahlberg. You may have already decided in advance not to watch this movie because you don’t like Will Farrell movies or that you think it looked really stupid in the ads. As someone who generally doesn’t like movies that have Farrell as a front man, let me assure you that this film is vastly different. It features an array of talent including (among others and various cameos) Michael Keaton, Eva Mendes, Steve Coogan, Ice-T as an uncredited narrator, and the duo pair of Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and Samuel L. Jackson as ubermacho supercops. Hilarious (seriously, it’s the funniest comedy I saw in 2011 after I skipped it in 2010 because I thought it would suck), exciting, and self-aware all the way through, this movie is in a vein much more like Tropic Thunder than Semi-Pro. What starts as a modernized Lethal Weapon turns into an elaborate, character-driven comedy-thriller rooted in the world of financial crime not unlike the dealings that got unearthed following the crash, and it makes for damn fine entertainment.
A Danish documentarian (Mads Brugger) goes on a trip to North Korea with two Danish comedians (Jacob Nossell and Simon Jul) who were adopted from South Korea as children. The reason they told DPRK officials for the trip was as a small theatre/comedy group intending cultural exchange. The real reason is to try to get an inside look at North Korea. Although the subject seems to be a pretty lighthearted endeavor, the film pretty quickly becomes dark as hell and genuinely unsettling. Jacob has spastic paralysis and is physically disabled to an extent; DPRK is rumored to have an official policy of killing the disabled so as not to reflect poorly on their hermetic, tightly controlled image. So what it ends up being is a deeply creepy 90 minutes of equal parts fetishizing over and loathing of Jacob and a disconcerting painting of how truly fucked up of a nation North Korea is with regards to the disabled as they parade him around the country for wantonly transparent propaganda purposes.
The frontman of Billy Nayer Show (to quote Wikipedia, a New York musical group of questionable genre) made a truly bizarre monochrome quasi-space western musical noir comedy drama adventure. With original music by the band organically fit into the (for lack of a better word) movie, this flick provides viewers with a surreal, almost nonsensical, definitely unusual experience for those curious enough to watch it and lucky enough to find it. It’s currently on Netflix, but who knows how long that could be for. I’m a huge fan of strange movies; this is the weirdest fucking movie I’ve seen since Taxidermia. I’ll attempt to summarize, just so I can say I tried: Samuel Curtis (a guy who’s a lot like Lone Star from Space Balls) gets hired to take The Boy Who Actually Saw a Woman’s Breast from Jupiter, the Planet of Men to Venus, the Planet of Women so that he can mate with them. All the while being chased by his arch-nemesis Professor Hess, a thrill-killer who can’t kill Curtis because Hess has an unspecified problem with Curtis. Yeah, that’s the best I can do. It’s so goddamned weird.
You know that new series that Peter is Jackson is making to serve as the prequel to the wildly successful Braveheart series he did a couple years ago? Well, turns out this new, highly extrapolated trilogy about Oompa-Loompas fighting the dragon from Eragon existed before the Braveheart series! That's right, it's not a new prequel, it's actually based on a musical cartoon television special from the seventies! Tolkein fans, you have already heard of this movie, so you can skip the rest of this article and head straight to the comment section and let me know how angry you are right now. For those of you who didn't know about this film, it's a hauntingly beautiful animated not-quite-serious-movie length masterpiece. It's pretty much an earth tone, all bass musical revisit of Tolkein's The Hobbit. It was compiled by the same production company as did The Last Unicorn, so if you've seen that, you at least know you're going to get the same sort of thoughtful, quality viewing material (I assume, since I've never seen The Last Unicorn). I personally was raised watching this film and to believe that tiny dudes stabbing giant, mincing spiders is acceptable entertainment for children. Your mileage may vary.