Posts Tagged ‘Comedy’

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Arliss Howard also pwns! “Plain Clothes”

October 14, 2015

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This is the latest in my “pwns!” series in which I extol the virtues of under-recognized or under-appreciated actors. Previous installments covered Stephen McHattie and Bob Hoskins.

And now for a different Seattle cop story…

I suppose I’ve been seeing Arliss Howard in stuff for decades, but I never really noticed him until his amazing turn as the ice-blooded former spook Kale Ingram in the late, lamented Rubicon. With his laid-back style and flatter-than-the-topography-of-Illinois Midwestern accent, Howard manages to simultaneously anchor and enliven any scene he’s in. So when I discovered he starred in a little-seen 1987 comedy about a detective that goes undercover in a suburban high school, well, I don’t know what deity I need to make a pagan offering to, but this goat’s sure not gonna sacrifice itself.

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Proof that in the ’90s anything could get green-lit: “Destiny Turns on the Radio”

August 8, 2015

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1995’s Destiny Turns on the Radio is one of those movies that, for a long time, I just assumed I’d imagined. After all, there couldn’t possibly be a movie in which Quentin Tarantino plays a supernatural agent of fate that comes out of a swimming pool, right? Hallucinogens weren’t all that popular in ‘90s, so why would anyone think that was a good idea? The movie’s near-total absence from the home video market seemed to support my theory that this was just a product of my fevered imagination, fueled by heroic amounts of Mountain Dew and endless rewatchings of Pulp Fiction.

Yeah, but nope, it’s real. And now it’s on iTunes. And holy god, it’s so bad.
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I’m choking on the whimsy: “Violet & Daisy”

October 6, 2013

Violet & Daisy

And sometimes you get a movie that’s like shooting fish in a barrel. In the case of Geoffrey Fletcher’s Violet & Daisy, those are some big fish in a small barrel. They might be mentally-retarded fish. Possibly even dead. Because with this film, Fletcher took all the cache he acquired from his Best Screenplay Oscar (for Precious) and spent it on a movie in which pretty much every decision in every part of the creative process was a terrible one. Violet & Daisy is one of those movies that desperately wants to be cute and quirky, but instead just makes you think that many of the characters—and possibly the filmmaker—need a serious round of antipsychotic meds.
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Deado on arrival: “R.I.P.D”

September 17, 2013

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Poor Ryan Reynolds. He’s a capable enough actor with solid comedic chops and a ‘40s matinee-idol face and hair. He’s already famous, yet can’t seem to catch a break when it comes to movies. And with RIPD, he, um, he still hasn’t caught one. As a matter of fact, he’s managed to find himself in the center of a gigantic suck to rival that of Green Lantern. I’m beginning to think that Ryan Reynolds is to massive flops what trailer parks are to tornadoes—they don’t cause them, but they sure as hell manage to be in the same proximity of them an awful lot.
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No one cares about all those AP courses you took: “How I Got Into College”

May 23, 2013

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Every year around this time millions of parents throughout the country live on tenterhooks as the future of their children is decided by various groups of strangers in darkened rooms that smell of cigarettes and sweat and barely-repressed hostility. These people are college-admissions officers and while you and/or your teenager live in a state of perpetual anxiety, they are busy sizing up your financial status and deciding whether or not your money will go far enough toward paying off their various debts to the finest brothels and cockfighting syndicates in Tijuana to make it worth their effort to let your kid into their school. And since that season is upon us, it’s a good time to review the little-seen, barely-known, utterly charming 1989 comedy How I Got Into College.
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The next Best Picture winner: “Killer Joe”

December 17, 2012

Killer Joe posterHa ha ha! No, I’m totally jerking your chain. Killer Joe is the long-awaited, somewhat-anticipated return of William Friedkin to the helm of a motion picture. His last outing was the 2006 flop Bug—a movie that was not about an infestation of killer bugs, regardless of what the commercials and trailers would have you think (promotional materials basically exist to screw with you). Like that film, Killer Joe is also based on a play by Tracy Letts. Unlike that film, Killer Joe arrives amid a swirl of low-key awe within the critical consensus—which still only amounted to a limited release. Anyway, after seeing Killer Joe, I gotta tell you two things: 1) KJ is a black (very- very-black) comedy, so be prepared for that; and 2) There is no way the Academy is touching this movie with a ten-foot pole while wearing welder’s gloves.
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It lacks bite (crud, no…) Pretty toothless (no, no, no…) Not too bat (Ah, screw it): “Vamps”

December 2, 2012

posterThis one is kind of a toughie, since Vamps is a pretty slight movie. I mean, it’s pleasant enough movie, inoffensive, and not terribly taxing. Kind of like a retarded beagle or something. Not quite so retarded that it, say, tries to lick the electrical outlet or anything, but instead just sits there, staring at you and wagging its tail. Problem is, that’s pretty much the only thing Rover is going to do. Whether you a throw a ball or those werewolf Nazis from An American Werewolf  in London bust in and begin machine-gunning everyone, its’ just going to sit there wagging its tail. In short, this dog is not Lassie. Wait, we’re still talking about a movie, right? Yeah, okay. Got a bit bogged down in the metaphor, there. Okay, so on to Vamps
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