REVIEW: Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back [2001]

They don’t deserve their own movie. It’s easy to forget that Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back was supposed to be the View Askewniverse’s final chapter. Writer/director Kevin Smith had finally decided to grow up (a relative term) and leave the foul-mouthed, pot-dealing miscreants he and Jason Mewes brought to life in Clerks (before subsequently popping-up in every film) behind. He even capped the credits with God (Alanis Morrisette) closing the proverbial book after corralling as many familiar faces and stars he could for what proved a self-conscious and self-referential…

Read More

REVIEW: Zeroville [2019]

Your head precedes you. An autistic architecture student at a seminary in Pennsylvania watches his first ever film (A Place in the Sun) and has an experience akin to hearing the voice of God. This new world is opened to Jerome “Vikar” Isaac and he decides he needs to be a part of it. So he travels to Hollywood with the model of a church he constructed under his arm, arriving in this wonderland of magic twenty years too late. The Hollywood of 1970 simply isn’t the same one that…

Read More

REVIEW: The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part [2019]

Listen to the music. A film like The LEGO Movie is a once-in-a-decade type achievement (so to see its filmmakers Phil Lord and Christopher Miller also write/produce another once-in-a-decade feat with Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse only shows how inventive and original the two are). It daring to use its subject matter’s tactility and utility rather than pretend its nothing more than aesthetic was an ingenious choice, the surprise lifting of the curtain to reveal a human element behind the characters’ machinations the stuff of legend. So the inevitable demand for…

Read More

REVIEW: Oh Lucy! [2018]

“Meow. Meow. Smooch.” I saw Atsuko Hirayanagi‘s short film Oh Lucy! back in 2014 and thought it to be a bona fide charmer. It told the story of a lonely woman named Setsuko who does her niece a favor by recouping the cost of English classes the cash-strapped girl had decided quit. The American teacher was an eccentric who used wigs and fake names to allow ‘Lucy’ to disappear into a new, more candid version of her buttoned-up self. It’s a whirlwind of emotions when the teacher goes back home—enough…

Read More

REVIEW: The Big Short [2015]

“Trust me. This happened.” I can honestly say I learned something watching The Big Short. That’s no small feat considering it was directed and cowritten by funnyman Adam McKay. His collaborations with Will Ferrell acting like a doofus are generally the exact opposite of educational. But he couldn’t have told this story about the handful of eccentrics who bet against the American economy and won by seeing the mortgage bubble everyone else couldn’t (or fraudulently ignored) without a financial crash course. CDOs, tranches, and sub-primes were as synonymous with gibberish…

Read More

REVIEW: Get Hard [2015]

“Have fun with it” It was only a matter of time before Will Ferrell and Kevin Hart paired up. The former’s fading critical success is in need of an injection of freshness to work alongside his tired shtick and the latter’s firmly planted star atop Hollywood couldn’t hurt from a little face time with a fanbase that may not have fully transitioned over to the new guy. On paper Get Hard should be a resounding win-win as a result both financially and creatively. Just think of the comedy gold that…

Read More

REVIEW: Tammy [2014]

“You wanna go ride a cow?” I like Melissa McCarthy and her trademarked hard-edged, scumbag persona in films. She’s often the best part of things that don’t work—Identity Thief—and those that do—Bridesmaids. So I’d love to blame someone else for how tired and frankly unfunny her latest Tammy is despite knowing I can’t. She co-wrote the road trip comedy with her husband Ben Falcone while he also directed. Maybe there was some interference courtesy of Adam McKay and Will Ferrell lending their shingle to the production, but I’d be surprised…

Read More

REVIEW: The LEGO Movie [2014]

“All this is true because it rhymes” I am a child of the 80s. Ask me about Lego Star Wars or Lego Harry Potter and my response will be a quizzical look devoid of comprehension. I was a builder with a giant card table set up in my basement full of city locales and blank street platforms to create a world not unlike the one Phil Lord and Christopher Miller have in The LEGO Movie—albeit at one one-thousandth the scale. Space world? Western world? They weren’t in my vocabulary. If…

Read More

REVIEW: Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues [2013]

“You knocked him back to the fifth grade” When you couple my dislike of Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy with my obvious indifference to the announcement of its long-awaited sequel, watching Harrison Ford on “Jimmy Kimmel Live” in August proved a hilariously spot-on validation of my sheer inability to understand what everyone sees in Adam McKay and Will Ferrell‘s comedy classic. Brought on to shoot a yet-unknown cameo despite never having seen the original, Ford said, “I got down there; I had no idea who those guys were. And…

Read More

REVIEW: Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy [2004]

“Rule number 1: No touching of the hair or face… AND THAT’S IT!” People have been telling me for almost a decade that Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy needs a second viewing to fully appreciate its genius. I’m happy to say they were correct. I watched it again last night and increased its score a whole point. That’s right, I still don’t get what you all do when it comes to writer/director Adam McKay and writer/star Will Ferrell’s first foray onto the big screen after collaborating on “Saturday Night…

Read More

Posterized Propaganda December 2013: ‘The Wolf of Wall Street,’ ‘Her,’ ‘American Hustle’ & 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. Is the industry overcompensating a bit with almost every film in December having character sheets? And I’m not even talking about Fox’s Walking with Dinosaurs (open December 20)—the one that…

Read More