Steve Carell, Steve Buscemi and Jim Carrey in a comedy about magic? I was in for this movie the first time I’d heard about it. Steve Carell is Burt Wonderstone, Steve Buscemi is his partner Anton Marvelton. They’re a Vegas magic act that’s been living the good life for the past fifteen years or so, they’ve been big names drawing big crowds and bigger money. Now though people seem to be getting bored with them and Steve Gray, played by Jim Carrey is the big thing people what to watch. He’s a street magician who does less magic tricks and more street stunts. Basically it’s Siegfried and Roy (with some Penn and Teller) vs. Criss Angel. Then the trailers came out, it looked alright but I still have faith that it’d be good. Then I saw it, and it wasn’t that great. In fact I sat in the theater sprawled out in the seat feeling pretty bored. The movie wasn’t horrible, it’s only real problem is that it’s not that funny. I think I chuckled at two jokes the entire time, and one of them was Jay Mohr. Jay only has a bit part in the movie but does pretty well with what he’s got to work with. Overall I can’t quite pinpoint what went wrong with this besides maybe Steve Carell’s inability to make a good comedy movie but it just wasn’t there. I guess I could point to the script; it’s riddled with things that won’t really make you dislike the movie but from anything that’ll make you laugh while watching it. Sadly I won’t recommend watching this one, though if you feel you must wait for it to pop up on TV or something so you don’t have to pay for it.
First time movie director, and first time movie writer come together to bring us a pretty damn good movie about possible time travel or a possible crazy person. We’ve got a pretty good (mostly known for TV) cast to back the movie Aubrey Plaza (from Parks and Recreation), Jake Johnson (from New Girl), and Mark Duplass (from The League) making up most of your main cast. There was also Karan Soni rounding it out as the 4th, though this is the first time I’ve seen him in anything but I think that’ll change soon, he did a great job in here. What we’ve got is Jeff (Jake Johnson) works for a paper, Arnau (Karan Soni) and Darius (Aubrey Plaza) are interns. Jeff sees this ad asking for someone to travel back in time with him, you must bring your own weapons and your safety is not guaranteed, Jeff pitches doing a story on this guy and it’s a hit, he grabs two interns and they’re off. They essentially stalk the man that posted the ad, Kenneth (Mark Duplass), or rather the interns do. It’s discovered pretty quickly that Jeff just came out here to hook up with an old flame; meanwhile it becomes Darius’ job to get in with Kenneth and find out what this time travel stuff is all about. Kenneth seems crazy and paranoid, always talking about people following him and never giving the full story, you’re not sure if he’s for real or not. This movie didn’t quite turn out exactly like I thought but I really enjoyed it. Basically I went in thinking it was going to be more of a comedy but it turned into more of a drama with humor, like Adventureland. Everyone in the movie does a great job, I actually ended up liking this way more than I thought I would, it’s among some of the better movies I’ve seen all year I highly recommend going to check this one out.
Filed under: Comedy, Movies/Shows, Reviews | Tagged: Aubrey Plaza, comedy, Jake Johnson, Karan Soni, Mark Duplass, movie, review, Reviews, Safety Not Guaranteed, time machine, time travel | Leave a Comment »
First time director Jake Schreier and first time feature writer Christopher D. Ford bring us Robot & Frank, the story of an old jewel thief and his helper robot turned partner. Taking place in what seems to be the near future there’s Frank (Frank Langella) an old man that’s pretty set in his ways. He likes reading books he gets from the library, hates all the technology that’s all around him, has a memory that’s starting to go and is an ex-jewel thief that still likes to shoplift on occasion. His son Hunter (James Marsden) basically gets tired of driving up to see him and take care of the old man so he buys him a robot that is programmed to help him around the house and look after his health. Frank is obviously very against the robot at first, as is his daughter Madison (Liv Tyler). Though after a while Frank realizes he is able to teach the Robot things, things like picking locks and cracking safes. There’s some stuck up rich people in town, they’ve bought the library that Frank likes to go to and cleared all the books out of it so for a measure of revenge and some fun Frank decides to rob the place with the help of the robot. The movie is one of those comedy/drama deals, one where it’s got some good jokes in it but you won’t be laughing through the whole thing. I was pretty excited for this because movies with robots are pretty fun and this really exceeded my expectations. I’d recommend checking this one out while you can, it’s a limited release so you might have to search for it but it’ll be worth it.
The Muppets Take Manhattan is the third in the installment of Muppet movies and I had remembered it as being the best. Sadly it doesn’t hold up to the high standard of my memory, but that’s ok because even when the Muppets aren’t at their best, they’re still pretty damn great. It starts out with the Muppet gang in a play, which is apparently in collage, which they’re graduating. The play is a big hit there so they decide to take it to Broadway. After getting to New York they discover it’s harder to get a play onto Broadway than they thought. After months of trying the gang split up but Kermit stays in New York to continue to get the play made. After a while it finally happens, but on the way to tell everyone Kermit gets hit by a Taxi and gets amnesia. The movie has introductions of some great characters like the Swedish Chef and Rizzo the rat, there are also handful of great cameos. Where the movie falls short is it’s simply not as funny as most of the Muppet movies are. There are some good jokes for sure but the sheer amount of times I found myself laughing good was pretty low. The Muppets Take Manhattan is still a good one, but it turns out it’s down the list instead on top of it.
Jason Segel is a pothead that seems to be obsessed with the movie Signs and his destiny in general. Ed Helms is his douche bag brother who thinks he has life together but actually has a pretty shitty and failing marriage. Going into this I figured it would be about 3/4 comedy and 1/4 drama, with these two in the lead rules who wouldn’t think that upon first glance. It turns out it was a total switch, the movie was about 3/4 drama and 1/4 comedy and both of these guys pull it off perfectly. Not to mention Susan Sarandon, the woman who plays their mother, she has a pretty decent sized roll and is great as well. Ed Helms and Jason Segel are primarily known for their comedy work. Ed Helms most notably from the Office. And Jason Segal, well I will see any comedy with Jason Segal, no questions asked. But after seeing this movie I think I’ll have to change that to, I’ll see anything with Jason Segal, no questions asked. He completely owns this movie. I really think Jason Segel is showing signs that he could be one of the best actors of his generation, the man is so underappreciated. I love him in comedy roles, he’s a funny dude, he hasn’t really gotten a chance to show that he can do more than that but I think this movie really proves it. He brings to full force just glances that we’ve gotten before. Behind the scenes Jay Duplass and Mark Duplass wrote and directed this movie, these are a couple of two guys where their careers basically consist of movies I’ve wanted to see but have never actually gotten around to watching. I think I’ll have to make it a point to change that. In closing here, you won’t be laughing the whole way through Jeff, Who Lives at Home, but you will see one hell of a movie. It’s one of the best I’ve seen this year.