Posts Tagged ‘comedy’

Once Upon A Time … In Hollywood – One Possible Interpretation

Posted 31 Jul 2019 — by Ezra Stead
Category Film Reviews, Movies I Got

By Ezra Stead

Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood, UK / USA / China, 2019

Written and Directed by Quentin Tarantino

In all that has already been written and said about Quentin Tarantino’s latest (and supposedly penultimate) movie, one thing that comes up again and again is the surprisingly disrespectful way in which the character of Bruce Lee (Mike Moh) is portrayed. His one really crucial scene sees him being arrogant toward stuntman Cliff Booth (Brad Pitt), who is doing guest work on the Green Hornet series, ultimately taking him on in a “friendly” sparring match. Cliff holds his own, which seems improbable, to say the least. One function of this scene is to foreshadow Cliff’s abilities in a later, more serious fight scene, but I believe there is something more to it. In fact, this scene may be the key to really understanding the entire movie.  Read More

The Dead Don’t Die – Your Patience Might

Posted 21 Jun 2019 — by Ezra Stead
Category Film Reviews, Movies I Didn't Get

By Ezra Stead

The Dead Don’t Die, Sweden / USA, 2019

Written and Directed by Jim Jarmusch

“Humor is subjective” is a phrase I forced myself to remember several times throughout legendary independent filmmaker Jim Jarmusch’s latest, The Dead Don’t Die, as several other people in the audience with me reacted audibly and approvingly to jokes I found relentlessly unfunny and lame.

Here are some of the bits that elicited laughter…

Farmer Frank Miller (Steve Buscemi) is introduced in a diner, wearing a bright red baseball cap with white letters in a recognizable font reading “Keep America White Again.” That’s it. That alone got a laugh, of the performative type borne not of true mirth but a desire to let others know you get the joke (or so it seemed to me, at least).  Read More

Ezra’s Top Ten Favorite Movies Of 2018

Posted 16 Feb 2019 — by Ezra Stead
Category Film Reviews, Movies I Got

By Ezra Stead

Here we go again! I know I say this every year, but it’s an absolutely absurd and impossible task to try to see even half of the 700+ feature films released each year, and then to attempt a ranking of the best [insert arbitrary number] of them, so that’s not what I do. Instead, I managed to see a paltry 101 movies released in 2018, and I’m going to attempt to rank my ten favorite movies out of that number. It’s still absurd and very difficult, but at least I don’t have to convince anyone these are the “best” movies of the year. They’re just the ones I personally dug the most, and your mileage will most likely vary wildly. As always, I’ve made some effort to highlight movies you’re not hearing about on other year-end lists or awards ceremonies, while not stubbornly ignoring any of those that you are hearing more about, as I did in 2016.
Read More

Sorry To Bother You – A Fascinating Mess

Posted 28 Jul 2018 — by Ezra Stead
Category Film Reviews, Movies I Didn't Get

By Ezra Stead 

Sorry to Bother You, USA, 2018

Written and Directed by Boots Riley

It is often lamented by casual movie fans that “Hollywood has run out of ideas.” In fact, the seeming lack of originality in the mainstream movie pool has more to do with a fear of taking chances on those new ideas, which certainly do exist. Why gamble when you can pretty much guarantee a huge opening weekend with a sequel to, or adaptation of, an already beloved existing property? With that in mind, it’s rather amazing that this debut feature from writer-director Boots Riley, a founding member of legendary Hip-Hop group The Coup, ever got greenlit. I mean this in both a good way – because Sorry to Bother You is full of original ideas, sharp satire, and great performances – and in a somewhat more negative way, because it often feels so overstuffed with interesting concepts that it can’t possibly come together as a wholly satisfying, coherent narrative.  Read More

Surprise Dinosaurs! Can Make Any Movie Better

Posted 14 Jul 2018 — by Ezra Stead
Category Essay

By Ezra Stead

On the cult-classic two-season animated sitcom The Critic (R.I.P.), one of the half-dozen or so fake movie clips recycled in the opening credits throughout the series depicts a Fred Astaire/Ginger Rogers-style black-and-white ballroom dancing scene suddenly interrupted by a full-color Tyrannosaurus Rex devouring the dancing couple. The show’s protagonist, Jay Sherman (voiced by Jon Lovitz), responds with his usual catchphrase (“It stinks!”), but every time this particular clip comes up, I can’t help but think he’s dead wrong about it. That would clearly be one of the greatest movies ever made, because nothing can improve literally any movie like the sudden, unexpected appearance of a prehistoric creature or two. In other words: surprise dinosaurs!  Read More

Dr. Seuss’ How Ron & Jim Ruined Christmas

Posted 16 Dec 2017 — by Ezra Stead
Category Film Reviews, Movies I Didn't Get

By Ezra Stead

How the Grinch Stole Christmas, USA/Germany, 2000

Directed by Ron Howard

Several times while watching the Ron Howard-directed How the Grinch Stole Christmas, I found myself wondering, “Who is this even for?” At 105 minutes, it’s a bit on the long side for kids small enough to actually enjoy Jim Carrey’s manic, over-the-top turn as the title character, and the whole thing is far too ugly and irritating for older kids, let alone adults. On the other hand, my niece (aged six) and nephew (aged ten) say they love it, and it was released long enough ago that I also have adult friends who remember it fondly. I do know who it’s not for, however, and that is the grumpy old Grinch writing this review, as this is decidedly a Movie I Didn’t Get.  Read More

Brigsby Bear – Make Something Cool With Your Friends!

Posted 26 Aug 2017 — by Ezra Stead
Category Film Reviews, Movies I Got

By Ezra Stead 

Brigsby Bear, USA, 2017

Directed by Dave McCary

Though Dogtooth certainly has its dark sense of humor, one wouldn’t expect a movie about an abducted child raised in an isolated, hermetically sealed world based on lies to be a comedy. This type of premise has yielded great results as emotionally devastating drama, as in the rightfully acclaimed Room, or intense psychological suspense, as in the by-and-large underrated 10 Cloverfield Lane (not about a child abduction, but dealing with similar ideas in terms of the nature of the protagonist’s captivity). Despite these and some other obvious comparison points, though, veteran Saturday Night Live director Dave McCary’s feature debut, Brigsby Bear, is a wonderfully original, sincere, and idiosyncratic movie that manages to not only earn cruelty-free laughs from an inherently unsettling subject, but also to make a larger point about the very nature of art and entertainment, without being annoyingly meta about it.  Read More