Tag Archive for 'Comedy'

Eardrop (2011)

Eardrop is now available for download at http://eardrop.fm/

This is an iPhone App demonstration video I made for http://earwolf.com/

Toy Story 3

Pixar, for the second year in a row, has made it into the Best Picture Nominees with an animated film, Toy Story 3. This is now only the third animated film to ever be nominated for Best Picture. First it was Beauty and The Beast in 1993, and the second time was with Pixar’s Up.

The deep and complex story of Toy Story 3 appeals to the academy awards but at the same time, it is still has a simple family friendly story that children love. The duality of the story really shows the level of care and quality Pixar puts into everyone of their films. When announcing a third in the series, it brought fear to many people including myself, but clearly Pixar pulled it off.

The story starts with Andy growing up and no longer needing his toys. Very sad moments. Something bought melting to death. I cried. A new little girl. I cried more. Credits.

It goes without saying that the advancements of technology are really noticeable with Toy Story 3. It is very interesting to compare the latest film to Toy Story 1 (1995) and to Toy Story 2 (1999). Each a great distance from each other, that they show good benchmarks of how Computer Generated Images have advanced over time.

In the end, Toy Story 3 is a really had film to judge. There are just so many factors to think about. For starters, its the third in a trilogy, with the first two considered two of the greatest films in movie history. I will really need to watch all three again to truly compare. Then you have to compare Toy Story 3 to the award winning collection of Pixar films, not to mention the entire film history of animated films. And now, since its nominated Best Picture, it is compared to nine other live action films. Not matter what way you look at it, Toy Story 3 is a very unique film that is hard to compare too.

5 out of 5

The Kids Are All Right

I am going to get right to the point. I did not like The Kids Are All Right. This movie is the best example of why an ending is so important. I actually liked the majority of film. I basically enjoyed every aspect of the film besides the final act. I liked the characters, the situation, the comedy and the drama. But the final act left me with such a bad after test, I retroactively disliked the rest of the film.

The Kids Are All Right is a Comedy-Drama, Dramedy, Black Comedy, or what ever you want to call it. Annette Bening and Julianne Moore star, as a lesbian couple, who have two children with the help of a anonymous sperm donor. The two children, Josh Hutcherson and Mia Wasikowska, want to finally meet their donor. They get in contact with him, Mark Ruffalo, and they meet with him. Soon after her meets the mothers, and then an affair stars bettween Mark Ruffalo and Julianne Moore’s characters. It’s all great, funny, and creative. Seeing this unique situation unfold was all done very well and appropriately. Where it falls apart was the final resolution for all the characters.

As anyone could have guessed, in any film with an affair, the third person who is having no fun will eventually find out. Annette Bening eventually does, and everything breaks bad. Even the actual finding out and the anger was interesting and well done. The actually problem is the redemption of each of the characters.

Julianne Moore’s character was the one who actually initiated the affair. After a short time of fighting, Annette Bening forgives her. Where as Mark Ruffalo’s character, everyone hates and does not want to speak to him. The final shot of him is through a small house window after he is being yelled at and we never see of him again. Throughout the film, his character was growing, he was becoming slightly more mature (besides the affair itself) and he wanted finally settle down and have a real family after he saw what he could of had. He was thrown into this entire situation unwillingly, wanted a family, and then everyone hates him in the end. Even though it was Julianne Moore fault, she was was given all the forgiveness, and none for Mark Ruffalo

Then there was the entire boring scene of the daughter going to college. I think that the film would have been better if it would have been given one more act. Julianne Moore was forgiven too soon. They could have dragged it out slightly longer. Along with giving Mark Ruffalo’s character a chance to redeemed himself, or show him moving on with his life, and not just being blind sided and left alone in the cold dark night.

The acting across the board was great. Julianne Moore was nominate for Best Actress. Her alcoholic lesbian performance was nomination worthy. Mark Ruffalo was nominated for Best Actor but Julianne Moore was completely shut out. Maybe I just need to watch it again in a different mood. But until then, because of the ending, I think the film was just average.

2 out of 5 stars

30 Rock Live!

30 Rock went live tonight on the set of Saturday Night Live. Now in its 5th season, NBC appears to have started having some faith in a show that just makes fun of the network. The sexy librarian Tina Fey, the crazy in real life Tracy Morgan, the oldest of the Baldwin brothers, and many others are use to doing live performances on SNL. So a live 30 Rock is a walk in the park for most of them.

The show opens with Liz Lemon (Tina Fey) and Jack Donaghy (Alec Baldwin) making fun of the visual look of the current show since its broadcast live instead of being filmed. Even though the show is live, they did not cut any corners. The show did not lose any of its surreal and random humor, including quick cut always to past events, which featured Liz Lemon played by Julia Louis-Dreyfus due to “Seinfeld Money”. They take advantage of it being live by making fun of current events, like the Chilean Miners, and Brett Favre.

SNL alum and 30 Rock alum from season one, Rachel Dratch returns along with Chris Parnell as Dr. Leo Spaceman (pronounced /spəˈtʃɛmɨn/). Also making a guest appearance was Liz Lemon’s former boyfriend, played by the mantastic Jon Hamm from Mad Men. And the only possible couple that looks more perfectly beautiful than Tina Fay and Jon Hamm, Matt Damon appears as Liz’s current boyfriend. But Bill Hader of SNL had to confess his love for Matt Damon.

If there was anything wrong with there show, there was not enough Judah Friedlander and Jack McBrayer. But all the guest stars made up for that. The cast will do the show twice, once for the east coast and once west coast. Both will be up online at NBC.com and everywhere else on the internet within hours. They do have two and a half hours to reset and get ready between the two broadcasts.

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars. Its live and they are doing it twice.

★★★★★

Reel Geeks 3 In 3D

In the third episode of Reel Geeks, Nick and I adventure into the third dimension as we talk about Toy Story 3 and Despicable Me. Subscribe on iTunes now.

Reel Geeks 2 The Squeakquel

The long awaited second episode of Reel Geeks is finally out. In the new episode Nick Allen and I mainly cover the mind bending film Inception and a few thoughts on the upcoming film The Social Network. Hope you enjoy the show. Subscribe on iTunes now.

Reel Geeks

Reel Geeks is a show produced by my myself and a friend Nick Allen. In the show Nick and I just discuss and joke about films. We both were inspired to do the show because this is how our conversations normally go when we discuss film. Critical discussions of films that quickly lead into random and obscure jokes about them. The only difference this time is that we record our discussions and share it with the rest of the world.

Here are the behind the scenes of the show. We both met at Columbia College Chicago. I have already graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Film and Video with a focus in Traditional Animation. Nick is still at Columbia and is working toward his Bachelor’s Degree in Film and Video with a focus of Film Critique. We both record the show and I painstakingly edit it. Nick’s musical talent was used to produce the great music you hear.

The first episode just went live today. Hope you enjoy the show. Subscribe on iTunes now.

The Princess And The Frog

The Princess And The Frog is the return of traditional animation by Disney. The film is Disney’s own take of the fairy tail, The Frog Princess, but with a new twist. The story is about a young African American girl named Tiana. All she has ever worked for in her life was to make enough money for her own restaurant. She wishes upon a star for her dream to come true. The interesting thing is, the fairy tale of The Frog Prince actually exists in the films world and the characters are aware of it. So after making her wish upon a star, she sees a frog and sarcastically questions if she needs to kiss him to turn him into a prince. Since it is a talking frog, she finally grudgingly agrees to kiss him. Since this is a twist on the original tale, instead of the frog becoming a prince, Tiana herself becomes another frog. The story continues from there in the classic Disney animation style of the two going on an adventure while meeting new friends along the away.

I think Disney did a very good job at creating the characters of the film. They are not the stereotypical fairy tale or classic Disney characters that we are use too. This is the first Disney Princess film in a very long time to feature the Princess with a mother. Out of the eight former Disney Princesses, there has only been a single Princess with both a mother and a father. The past five Disney Princesses only had a father and no one ever mentioned a mother. In this film, Tiana actually starts with both parents until her father passes away. After his passing, Tina’s motivation is living up to her fathers dream. Which is a very strong motivation for any character. The princess himself, is actually very poor. Trying to get rich again is his motivation. This seems very shallow and negative at first, but this allows room for his character to grow and change is ways and become a more dynamic character. I even teared up during a very sad moment during one of the final scenes of the film. I was completely surprised and still unable to think of another one of Disney’s animated films to have same emotional rich plot point in the film.

Not only is The Princess And The Frog a return to traditional animation, but also the classical idea of it being a musical. I had almost forgot completely about the idea of singing in an animated film. It was very rare for any animated film over the past decade for a character to brake out in song and dance. This film featured many songs, maybe too many. I am not a fan of this musical style of animated films any more. It might of been fun when I was a kid, but I enjoy a more traditional way of telling a story now. Instead of a character braking the flow of a story by singing their feelings and motivations. The only saving grace was that it just reminded me of all my favorite classic Disney films and their song and dance numbers of my child hood. I actually enjoyed the very first song, because the character’s did not stop what they were doing to sing and dance to it, instead the music was just background music during montage like sequence. I hope Disney loses the complete musical style format, and instead make it more subtle background music.

A very important note is that, spoiler alert, Tiana does becomes a princess. This means she is the first African American Disney Princess. There had been so many Western European Princesses, a Middle Eastern princess, a Native American Princess, an Asian Princess, and even some kind type of Fish Princess. So after already having the majority of races, and even a fictional one, it was finally time for Disney to have African American Princess.

Since The Princess And The Frog is brand new, of course it is missing the nostalgia factor of all the classic Disney animated film. But I can easily see how a young generation and generations to come will classify this film in the same nostalgia category that my generation and I do for Aladdin and The Lion King.

Up In The Air

Almost anyone who has seen the film Up In The Air can easily tell you that it is one of the best film of 2009 and I agree wholeheartedly. Up In The Air is about Ryan Bingham, played by George Clooney. His job is to fly around the country and lays off employees for bosses who are unwilling to do so themselves.

His disconnected and hollow life might seem unappealing to the outside observer, but Ryan enjoys it and would not want his life any other way. Since he has no real life prospects to look forward to, the only thing he has, since he flies so often, is to save up his frequent flier miles to reach a goal of 10 million miles. This is his only goal in life and he would be the 7th person to ever achieve it. He also gets by with making small connections with random women in between flights. Ryan’s latest minor connection with another frequent flier is Alex Goran, played by Vera Farmiga. They enjoy each others company enough they start a casual relationship by comparing flight scheduling to see when they will meet up next.

Ryan’s own boss, played by Jason Batman, grounds Ryan and makes him return to the home office to find out that ironically his own job is threatened. A new young employee, Natalie Keener played by Anna Kendrick, has a new cost saving plan. Instead of spending a lot of money physically flying people around the country to perform a layoff, they now would layoff people over the internet with a video call. Ryan is upset by this because his shallow way of life and job, that he personally enjoys, is now disrupted. Ryan convinces his boss to allow him to take Natalie with him on his next round of layoffs the old fashion way. The rest of the film involves Ryan showing Natalie the old way versus the new way, and Ryan actually trying to make a real connection with another person for once, Alex.

Up In The Air is very well paced. Featuring many funny, dramatic and unique true life moments. The delivered and performance of the witty and smart dialog helped emphasis the great quality of the writing. After the first viewing of the film I thought it was the best film of the year. On a second viewing of the film, it reconfirmed that my choice was right. The film was actually better the second time around, which I did not think was possible. On the seconded viewing, now having the foresight of what will happen in the film, it was even more clear of how well the film was structured. The character’s actions and development are true to life but still very original.

Even though the film is based on a novel from almost 10 years ago, this film truly captures a unique perspective on this current financial economic crisis. It is a very realistic and relatable film. An interesting thing the director Jason Reitman did, was include real people that had actually been fired from their job, in the film. This is done three times through out the film. They basically slightly look past the camera and talk about the what it feels like to be fired. The footage was used by inter cutting between George Clooney and the person that had been fired, making it appear as if he had just fired them. Almost every word the real people said about losing their job was heartbreaking.

Out of the 10 Best Picture nominates, Up In The Air is my favorite. Hope it wins as many Academy Awards as possible. There are many other films that I hope win as many awards as possible, but then there are films that don’t need to win many.

Up

Up is a fully computer animated feature film created by Pixar and Disney. It is an adventure film, and like all Pixar films, it is meant for the entire family. The story is about an old man named Carl Fredricksen, voiced by Ed Asner, trying to achieve his dream of one day going to South America. He attaches thousands of balloons to his house to make it fly. Mistakenly, a little boyscout named Russell tagged along. As the two adventure on, they meet new friends and enemies, that will help them and hinder them on their journey.

Up is a very emotional film. At the very beginning of the film it shows a montage of Carl Fredricksen and his wife’s life. There are two extremely sad moments in the montage that that will leave a grown man crying, myself included. Even multiple viewings still make me tear up a little. Then through out the rest of the film, Carl comes up agents struggles that are hindering him from achieving his dream. These moments are also very emotionally overbearing. Little Russell talks very briefly about his personal life, and it is very sad. The friends that Carl and Russell meet up with also have problems of being hunted and outcasted by others.

If I had to fault Up for anything, it would be the evil old man villain story line. I felt that was much weaker than the rest of the films plot. It was kind of weird to have an evil old man villain, contrasting with a emotional journey to achieve someones dreams. I understand that they needed a major conflict in the film, but I think they could have come up with something better. Maybe Pixar should have extended the journey itself and made it a bigger conflict than it already was.

Like all Pixar films, the art direction and animation was outstanding. They created a very interesting world that was familiar but different. The character designs are stylized enough that they will never look out of date. These things make this film an instant classic. It is sadly not my favorite film created by Pixar, but it is many unique qualities that separate it from the rest of the collection. I would have to place Up on the top half of my list of favorites out of the 10 best picture nominees. I am happy this film is nominated for best picture because it is very rare for animated features to be nominated. Up is only the second ever to be nominated, Beauty and the Beast being the first.