REVIEW: Tag [2018]

Our friend is a psychopath and this is scary. The most memorable moment throughout Jeff Tomsic‘s Tag is the introduction of one of the five grown men engaged in a thirty-year game of trading who’s “it.” The player is “Chilli” (Jake Johnson) and he’s loudly smoking a bong while talking to his father, an aging man covered in tattoos readying for a turn. It’s not about what, but whom: Brian Dennehy. The venerable Brian Dennehy inexplicably came onboard a zany high concept comedy for less than five minutes of screen…

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TIFF17 REVIEW: Chappaquiddick [2018]

“Sometimes the path you’re on isn’t always the path you choose” It was always funny to think of Ted Kennedy as “the other Kennedy.” How could you not? Despite his long tenure as Massachusetts Senator, he wasn’t “anointed” like Jack or Bobby. He tried and failed to secure a presidential nomination, but even if he won there’d always be that one incident tainting his legacy and integrity. The place was Chappaquiddick and the reality was he killed someone. He became the butt of a joke—a tasteless joke. Nothing he’d ever…

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REVIEW: Vacation [2015]

“I’m as hard as a faucet right now” I smelled trouble as soon as Ed Helms was cast in Vacation as the now father-of-two Rusty Griswold. While the perfect surrogate for Chevy Chase‘s bumbling Clark in a remake of the original National Lampoon’s Vacation, he’s a far cry from the character he’s meant to play in this half reboot/half sequel. I made the mistake of rewatching that first entry into the Griswold’s saga to realize it coupled with the equally fantastic Christmas Vacation prove Rusty was always the one family…

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REVIEW: We’re the Millers [2013]

“That’s my credo, ‘No Ragrets’” An R-rated comedy shouldn’t possess a PG-rated heart. This is We’re the Millers’ main problem in my mind because while the profanity-laced adventure has a ton of laughs, one can’t help shake the feeling that it’s targeted to a 13-16 age group who won’t be allowed to buy a ticket. Overt sexual innuendo and f-bombs don’t make up for a lack of anything else that would render screenwriting teams Bob Fisher and Steve Faber or Sean Anders and John Morris to need an R for…

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REVIEW: The Hangover Part III [2013]

“Can you take Stu instead?” Love them or hate them, you can’t deny The Hangover and The Hangover Part II pushed the envelope to an extreme. No one anticipated Todd Phillips’ hard-R buddy romp would turn into the phenomenon it did—a hit before its release—and his idea to pretty much remake it in Bangkok for the sequel was an inspired choice for no other reason than it being so uninspired. I loved the first and thought the second’s ability to increase our discomfort level further was just as funny if…

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Posterized Propaganda May 2013: Super Sequel Summer with ‘Iron Man,’ ‘Hangover,’ ‘Star Trek,’ ‘Fast & Furious’ & More

“Don’t Judge a Book by Its Cover” is a proverb whose simple existence proves the fact impressionable souls will do so without fail. This monthly column focuses on the film industry’s willingness to capitalize on this truth, releasing one-sheets to serve as not representations of what audiences are to expect, but as propaganda to fill seats. Oftentimes they fail miserably. One of these years Alamo Drafthouse has to organize some crazy Mondo Tees sponsored summer where every big tent pole release receives a unique artistic interpretation on paper. They get…

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REVIEW: Jeff, Who Lives at Home [2012]

“The Porsche is normal size. You’re a Sasquatch.” It’s good to see Mark Duplass hasn’t stopped making small-scale, heartfelt indies with his brother Jay despite success on the acting front with the likes of “The League” and Safety Not Guaranteed. While I’m not sure you could still call them mumblecore with increasingly prominent casts—although their second film of 2012, The Do-Deca Pentathlon might—they haven’t lost the quirkily authentic appeal that originally endeared the duo to audiences. Jeff, Who Lives at Home contains some questionable choices with constant zoom pulls recalling…

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REVIEW: The Lorax [2012]

“I’m Frankenstein’s head on a spider’s body” I loved The Land Before Time when I was a kid. It was a cute story with memorable characters in a world full of dinosaurs that utterly fascinated me. I remember seeing it in the theatre, getting the plastic hand puppets from Pizza Hut, and eventually acquiring a VHS of the film through some other restaurant’s promotion. There was something about it that allowed for its message of friendship, love, and whatever else to come across without a shred of overt manipulation or…

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REVIEW: The Hangover Part II [2011]

“I don’t get it. Is this a magic show?” It’s very weird to go into two films with completely different feelings despite them having almost identical plots and comedic upside. Two years ago, I couldn’t wait to check out The Hangover and see if the hype was real. My contact at Warner Brothers was even compelled to confirm my RSVP for the screening by saying it’s the funniest thing she had seen in years. Somehow—and this is rare—Todd Phillips’s self-proclaimed Star Wars, due to the amount of money he earned…

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REVIEW: Cedar Rapids [2011]

“You’re what I like to call a Richard. A Richard Head.” On paper, Cedar Rapids seems an odd choice for a Sundance Selection. With a star in Ed Helms at the center, a man enjoying continued success on “The Office” and breaking out in The Hangover, you think overdone Hollywood vehicle to cash in on some timely exposure. Just look at that poster with his too wide grin and airplane pillow that doubles for a life preserver on quick glance next to the title. But then you go deeper and…

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REVIEW: The Goods: Live Hard, Sell Hard [2009]

“Looks like a refugee camp for dirty men” Sometimes you just have to get over the fact that a film needs a good/coherent plot to be a success and let the stupidity flow over you. This is exactly what I did when sitting down to watch The Goods: Live Hard, Sell Hard. You cannot argue the comedic talent involved, but you can make the point that Gary Sanchez Productions could bring the whole shebang down. I know I am in the minority on my feelings for Will Ferrell and his…

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