Posts Tagged ‘Ed Helms’

My favorite movies are the ones that allow me to connect the story to my own life so that I can explore what it means to be happy and fulfilled in real time with the characters of the film. There are exceedingly few films however that have the ability to produce such a cathartic effect on me. I must be transfixed, lost, entranced. Often Hollywood movies are too formulaic and conventional to provide the realism psyche uppercut that I crave. When you feel as though you’ve seen the movie a thousand times before you are much more likely to remember that you are indeed watching a movie. That is why offbeat, low-budget films are so appealing to me. The filmmaker is often not trying to break box records; they are attempting to communicate a narrative. Independent films are the fresh squeezed orange juice that I wish everyone could appreciate on a hot day. I happen to believe that life is strange, confusing, and messy so when I see films described by these adjectives it does not strike me as a negative thing.  I flock towards it in hopes of a stronger connection with the story.

Another ingredient for a truly powerful tale is great acting. If the characters are not genuine, sympathetic, and believable your chances of connecting the film to your life are slim. At the risk of sounding like an art snob (although I like to think I’m not so sensitive to be ashamed of what I prefer) I want to mention that independent films have a boosted believability factor due to the less famous actors/actresses that they often feature. It takes extraordinary talent to overcome stardom and continue to create unique characters. And thankfully there are many that possess this talent. But sometimes even that is not enough. I love Matt Damon but every time I see him in a movie I can’t help but think about all of his other roles that I have seen him play. That does not mean that I do not enjoy his movies, it means I can’t connect to his character in a way that I feel he is real.  There are so many factors that go into a film that teleports you completely and gives you sublime reflection. The most important factor however is that the subject matter sparks your interest. This is my review of a movie I just saw that defines all of the favorable things that I just wrote about. This is my review of Jeff Who Lives at Home from the writing/directing team of Jay and Mark Duplass. (more…)

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Todd Phillips follows up his 100 million  dollar R-rated comedy hit in 2009 with a sequel set in Bangkok.  As with most sequels, there lies the difficulty in making it bigger, badder, and better than the first one and simultaneously maintaining a sense or originality.  Here in the Hangover Part 2, it doesn’t even look like Todd Phillips tried to make this second movie more original, as it’s a copy and cut paste from scene to scene.  And while the funny Alan jokes are still there and the slapstick is a bit more disgusting than the first one, the movie loses the general shock and awe that made us fall in love with the wolf pack in the first place in favor of shedding light on the dangers of Bangkok.  And with no change or twist to distinguish itself from the first one, it’s difficult to call Hangover Part 2 nothing more than a good reason to send these guys to a tropical paradise for a couple of weeks to reshoot a movie they already did.

When Stu (Ed Helms) is getting married [again], he sends himself and the wolfpack [Zach Galifianakis, Bradley Cooper] to Thailand for the ceremony and to meet his fiancé’s family.  The trio have one beer next to a calm bonfire on the beach with their fiancé’s brother and next thing they know they wake up in a motel somewhere in the middle of Bangkok, with new slew of slapstick shticks: a tattooed face, a shaved head, and a highly trained monkey.  They find out that Stu’s fiancé’s brother is missing and set out onto Thailand in an attempt to regain their memory and find him


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