To Hollywood, the MIdwest is that amorphous blob in the middle of country that allows for the satire of corn-fed American values. Whenever a place such as Iowa serves as a film’s setting, as it does in “Butter,” you can be sure that small-town life is about to get put through the ringer.
When you let a child play with the same toys over and over again, you’re going to end up with some stale make-believe. Tim Burton has pulled his Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter dolls out of his play chest again and decided this time they’re engaged in a supernatural love story taking place in [...]
There are romantic comedies and then there’s real life. “The Five-Year Engagement,” believes it can be both. This latest collaboration between Nicholas Stoller and Jason Segel (“Forgetting Sarah Marshall”) stars Segel and Emily Blunt as Tom and Violet, a pair of totally-in-love inseparables whose plans to tie the knot keep getting pushed back to accommodate [...]
For the most part, hockey movies have been treated the same every other sports comedy or drama — with an underdog story and plenty of in-game footage. Enter “Goon,” a comedy that depicts the sport for all the guts and little of the glory. Not since “Slap Shot” has a hockey flick been this violent [...]
The two most lovable stoners in movie history return in “A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas,” which somehow continues the series’ impressive balancing act of clever humor, crude jokes, stoner gags and heart.
Timely and familiar: these are the two qualities “Tower Heist” has going for it. Heist films have a reputation for good fun, and when said heist is pulled off by average or incompetent folks like these, all the better, as the characters become even easier to like. Add that they’re stealing from a millionaire who [...]
The humor of “Wanderlust” and hippie communes share a similar mantra: embrace it or get the heck out. “Role Models” director David Wain and comedian Ken Marino have written a genuinely funny movie, only one that’s kind of pasted together like a spontaneous collage of humorous characters and moments rather than strung together with any [...]
She might have been a rom-com darling for most of her career, but there’s no mistaking now that Cameron Diaz is a natural bad girl. Sure, part of it might have to do with survival of the fittest; raunchy R-rated comedies are the new cool kid in class and those who can’t play that game [...]
Most movies don’t know how to handle cancer. Heck, most people don’t know how to handle cancer — and I’m not talking about the patients. Cancer, or any other terminal illness for that matter, almost always plays some kind x-factor in a film — that is when a film even dares to enter a realm [...]
To use a completely irrelevant but title-appropriate expression, when it comes to comedy, women tend to be the bridesmaids and never the bride. Prior to “Bridesmaids,” the only mainstream comedy driven by females that I can recall (at least in the Judd Apatow era) is Tina Fey’s “Baby Mama” back in 2008. Comedies preceded by [...]
Sports movies have always been preoccupied with what’s happening on the field, the court, the ring or what have you. They tell stories of underdogs defying the odds and champion values of honor, courage and determination. “Moneyball” peels back that obvious first layer yet achieves all those very same ends. The sport of baseball is [...]
In a world post-”Avatar” and “District 9,” where lack of creativity can no longer be blamed on the limitations of special effects (if that was ever a scapegoat), the goal of the sci-fi movie has been to innovate. Filmmakers have completely abandoned the minefield of clichés that is the retro “Area 51″ alien with a [...]
Director Ruben Fleischer should call the “making of” documentary of this film “86 Minutes or Less.” The filmmaker who landed squarely on the Hollywood directing hot list with 2009′s rollicking sleeper hit “Zombieland” has crammed the action and laughs into another unusually short runtime. Distinct advantages exist to the “all business” attitude toward filmmaking, but [...]
Oh, the body-swap comedy. You know how it starts, you know how it ends and frankly, you know most of what’s in between. To name an R-rated buddy version of this formula “The Change-Up” is essentially serving up a thick slice of irony, yet somehow “The Hangover” writers Jon Lucas and Scott Moore and “Wedding [...]
A story of average guys who become small-time crooks always has comedic value; add to that the blue-collar motivation of wanting to kill your boss because he/she makes your life miserable? Golden. Documentary director Seth Gordon (“The King of Kong”) ropes up an impressive ensemble to make “Horrible Bosses,” a vaguely dark comedy with a [...]