Wish I Was Here (2014) - directed by Zach Braff

Wish I Was Here is a mixed bag of a dramedy with a sweet and tender spirit at its core. It’s definitely meant to be a feel good film while tackling head on very existential and natural issues and fears. For that I admire Zach Braff for even trying, and while it doesn’t succeed 100% of the time, it has its moments. I laughed occasionally. I cringed and rolled my eyes. Hell, part of the ending made me damn near cry. It’s half-way there, and won’t change anyone’s mind about how they feel about Zach Braff as a writer, actor, or filmmaker. The whole Kickstarter controversy should sway you one way or the other, or maybe it’ll leave you curious. I don’t think the film will be as crazy influential or memorable as Braff’s Garden State, but the same sentiment is there. And I know there are people who judge Braff’s films in the same way they frown upon people who idolize, let alone still appreciate Wes Anderson, Michel Gondry, and the likes. I get it- they’re cute, but cinema progresses from there. Yet that doesn’t mean that there isn’t magic to be explored, enjoyed, and appreciated here. There are good ideas in Wish I Was Here, and for it, it’s good enough.

Wish I Was Here (2014) - directed by Zach Braff

Wish I Was Here is a mixed bag of a dramedy with a sweet and tender spirit at its core. It’s definitely meant to be a feel good film while tackling head on very existential and natural issues and fears. For that I admire Zach Braff for even trying, and while it doesn’t succeed 100% of the time, it has its moments. I laughed occasionally. I cringed and rolled my eyes. Hell, part of the ending made me damn near cry. It’s half-way there, and won’t change anyone’s mind about how they feel about Zach Braff as a writer, actor, or filmmaker. The whole Kickstarter controversy should sway you one way or the other, or maybe it’ll leave you curious. I don’t think the film will be as crazy influential or memorable as Braff’s Garden State, but the same sentiment is there. And I know there are people who judge Braff’s films in the same way they frown upon people who idolize, let alone still appreciate Wes Anderson, Michel Gondry, and the likes. I get it- they’re cute, but cinema progresses from there. Yet that doesn’t mean that there isn’t magic to be explored, enjoyed, and appreciated here. There are good ideas in Wish I Was Here, and for it, it’s good enough.

What to Watch! Theatrical Releases for the Week of July 25, 2014

thelawnwrangler:

I wrote about movies coming out this weekend. It’s FUN.

thefinalimage:

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Happy weekend all and welcome to another Theatrical Release edition of What to Watch! You’ve got some light affairs from the likes of Rob Reiner and Joe Swanberg balanced out by an action packed release from Luc Besson! This week also sees new movies from Woody Allen and Brett “Rehearsals are for f*gs (Figs)” Ratner! If David O. Russell had a movie coming out this week, it’d be the ultimate slate of movies directed by polarizing directors with a reputation for being scumbags! Ahh but seriously, folks… I Heart Huckabees is the best, and I’ll take any chance to express that feeling I can get.

Also let’s look at the movies and talk about some of them! Note “some”!

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Weaponized Humour Revue - Episode 1: Welcome to Comedy Bang Bang

thelawnwrangler:

Welcome to the first edition of Weaponized Humour Revue, my look back at the legacy, timeline, and progression of Comedy Bang! Bang!

Let’s commence with the very, very first episode, simply titled on Earwolf as "Welcome to Comedy Bang Bang", featuring Rob Huebel, Tom Lennon, and Doug Benson! Hosted by Scott Aukerman.

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Lucy (2014) - Written and Directed by Luc Besson

Someone tell me how many times I use the words “dumb”, “crazy”, and “stupid” in this “review.”

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Lucy is like a Simpsons joke. Specifically, the joke where a student fills out everything BUT the bubbles on a test sheet. It’s got a ton of creative merit behind it, but it’s still absolutely and incredibly wrong. Lucy is similar in that is has so many weird ideas and crazy ways of showing you what it’s thinking about, but is still nothing transcendent of the bombastic nature behind it.

I had fun with Lucy, even if it left me incredibly confused. There’s A LOT not working for it, concerning bad dialogue, tonal stability, and some performance issues, but it’s generally outweighed by the fascinatingly dumb and interesting things at play. You’ll be as dumbfounded as Morgan Freeman looks in the film by its closer, and in a B-movie popcorn kind of mindset, it works. It asks you questions, presents you with crazy ideas, and has some refreshing style. That said, director and writer Luc Besson gives you a LOT to digest, and it doesn’t seem mandatory to register it all immediately. The film has an urgency to it that heightens the stupidity/fun factor. Lucy poses as intelligent, but is only partially so, and yet continues to function as if its ignoring judgment or any sense of grounded realism. It just chugs along until its ridiculous conclusion. I can’t say everyone will enjoy it, but if you’re open to the downright ridiculous and balls-to-the-wall nature of filmmaking that could be found in something like the Crank films, then Lucy might be the right dosage of stupid and stupefying you can have this summer.

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ANNOUNCING: THE WEAPONIZED HUMOUR REVUE

thelawnwrangler:

THE WEAPONIZED HUMOUR REVUE - A Recap of EVERY EPISODE of COMEDY DEATH-RAY/BANG! BANG! TO DATE!

I shall discuss the introduction of characters/comedians, creation of jokes/world-creation details, the number of times this would be for an appearance or mention, the developing of the Earwolf family and TV shows being released/plugged, and overall studying the developing science of comedy from early 2009 until now. I might rate the episodes? We’ll see.

I’ve found it so fascinating that let’s say an episode in 2010 with Nick Kroll, Jon Daly, Andy Daly, Paul F. Tompkins, James Adomian, and all these great comedians that weren’t popular but were at the top of their game could be contrasted with a 2014 episode, or at least perspective: Kroll and Andy Daly have their own shows now (of which Jon Daly appears frequently and brilliantly on Kroll’s), Tompkins has 5000 things going on, and Adomian is slated for an IFC show and has gained popularity as a stand-up. And now the podcast has been adapted into a growing and constantly improving tv show slated for at least 90 EPISODES ON IFC! THAT’S CRAZY!

Time sure has flown by quickly, and Comedy Death-Ray now Bang! Bang! has served as a road-map and time stamper for the ever changing state of comedy of all kinds, as well as the careers of those involved. 

I shall start this written expedition soon, and it’ll occur weekly with write ups about episodes 1-???. Considering the show has been released weekly since its first episode over at (RIP) Indie 103.1, I’ll try and work a little faster so I can catch up. 

THAT SAID, I don’t know the exact date-based frequency of these write-ups. That will become apparent with time, so… yeah. I’ll keep you posted on that. In fact, I just realized this, I might do a couple of episodes in a row! Like a post would have write-ups for episodes 1-3. Maybe I’ll do that to play catch-up.

EITHER WAY. I’m excited to go through the back catalog in a uniform and scientific matter. This should be fun (and good discipline for me, looking for things to work on on a constant basis.)

WISH ME LUCK AND STAY TUNED. COME ON THIS JOURNEY WITH ME. IT’LL BE FUN, TRUST ME.

rocky who likes comedy movies is annoyed by some comedy movies and those who make them.

here’s a poorly written yet passionate thing i wrote about the state of comedy films these days and voices that i think need to do better/stop/more. 

thelawnwrangler:

listen.

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ROCKY’S MID 2014 FAVORITE FILMS

thelawnwrangler:

Top 10 so far:

  1. Boyhood
  2. Locke
  3. The Double
  4. The LEGO Movie
  5. The Grand Budapest Hotel
  6. Snowpiercer
  7. Only Lovers Left Alive
  8. They Came Together
  9. Nymphomaniac
  10. Jodorowsky’s Dune

Not placing yet: 

  • Edge of Tomorrow
  • The Rover
  • Obvious Child
  • 22 Jump Street
  • Joe
  • The Immigrant
  • Ernest and Celestine

Saw, liked, but won’t make top billing:

  • Grand Piano
  • For No Good Reason
  • Chef
  • Captain America 2: The Winter Soldier
  • Alan Partridge

Not seen yet:

  • The Raid 2 (I know.)
  • Under the Skin (I KNOW.)
  • Enemy
  • Cheap Thrills
  • Happy Christmas
  • Willow Creek

So yeah… tell me if I’m missing something. Seen it or not, I’ll talk back! Because it’s a slow 4th of July. Basically catching up on movies. I’m in the middle of Life Itself. It’s interesting.

Let’s talk about movies, friends!

Some thoughts about Frances Ha, my favorite film of 2013.

thelawnwrangler:

I’m so embarrassed. I’m not a real person yet.

My favorite thing about this movie is how it doesn’t linger on too many things, especially moments where an amateur like myself would have a scene of, like, Frances crying or pondering the depressing things about her life. I mean I wouldn’t actually do that, but you know what I mean.

Instead, the film just keeps going. We only see the heartbreak and the public result where Frances desperately tries to look like everything is okay and she’s on her feet. She lashes out maybe once, and has one or two scenes where she’s alone and quiet, wallowing in something missing, but they’re immediately undercut by pain and anger (the pan) or her mother trying to get into the bathroom while Frances is half submerged in the tub.

That moment is very special to me because it says a lot. After being independent for so long and being back home with your parents. The space they displace in your life can feel very invasive, or at least make you feel like you’ve got less of your own. Privacy is respected but also less of a thing. As well, the scene calls to mind what I think Frances Ha is all about, to myself at least; life will not stop for you. The film moves at such a surprisingly fast past, allowing us only glimpses into moments and conversations sometimes, and not being afraid to use montage to get us places (and getting us there with great style).

Frances trying to have some time to literally soak in all that bothers her in life is being interrupted by a force treating things like there is absolutely no time. Frances just has to get out and go. She’ll find time to think in the future, but it might be short time as well, because things just keep going. You can plan, but like the film instates over and over again, shit fuckin’ happens. You just have to learn how to act when it does happen, so you don’t, you know, go on a trip to France in the stupidest decision possible.

These are the final images of each season 3 episode of Moral Orel, also including the final image of season 2’s “Nature”, which kicked off the following season’s whole arc. - Part One

Season 3 of Moral Orel turned the Adult Swim show (originally a darkly comedic and satirical sitcom taking the claymation style of Davey and Goliath, spinning those religious morality play roots into insanity) into a sprawling, non-linear, multi-perspective narrative full of strong character development and a penchant to get dark and sad without hesitation (fun fact, one episode was written by Academy Award winning screenwriter Charlie Kaufman.) Still dark and hilarious, but in a more thoughtful and challenging way, the show was cancelled after its 4th episode, entitled Alone, was deemed so depressing and non-fitting with the Adult Swim brand.

Starting with the final episodes of season 2, a 2-parter entitled Nature, Moral Orel turned into a fascinating beast that is highly admirable for trying to do something memorable and special with its 11-minute format. The animation style ramped up into full-on cinematic impressiveness (one great example is a drunken, first person staggering through a depressing scenario while “No Children” by The Mountain Goats plays violently into the day in the season 3 premiere episode entitled Numb), complimenting the witty yet non-passive narratives and arc-based writing. The show was cut short of 6 more episodes, which would’ve fleshed out the Moral Orel story so much to its other characters that it would’ve been renamed “Moralton”, which would’ve made the whole town in which the show takes place the main focus.

And yet, the Moral Orel legacy ended quietly, and yet with a slightly open door. In 2012, a 30 minute long special episode, a prequel to the entire series entitled Beforel Orel - Trust, was released and continued the show’s streak of brilliant and careful comedy writing, as well as delving deeper into the world of the characters’ past, seeing how things got so messed up in the first place for our beloved little Orel. Showrunner Dino Stamatopoulos never officially put the nail in the coffin for the show, but Adult Swim and other factors haven’t been kind in letting him bring back the world of Moralton in full effect. Perhaps some day we’ll get to see Orel struggle to grow older in a world full of unhappiness and strife, where we’ll laugh and cry in equal stride. 

To watch Moral Orel, head to the Adult Swim page.

Part Two of the Photoset.

-Intern Rocky for The Final Image


The Rover (2014) - directed by David Michod

The Rover is an ingeniously practical approach to telling a story about a world that has ended. Within its setting and framework lies a subtle character study so bleak and violent, yet driven by intrigue. Director David Michod’s visual handle on the barren wasteland that is post-apocalyptic Australia is cold, calculated, and brooding, complete with perfectly handled cinematography and pitch-perfect tonal pacing. That said, this comes second to the performances of the lead actors, Guy Pearce and Robert Pattinson. Pearce’s intensity and minor deconstructions of his determined performance is unnerving in such a way that makes you yearn to learn more from and about him. Even more successful is a surprising and impressive Robert Pattinson, who is slowly starting to prove his worth as an actor with projects such as this and David Cronenberg’s Cosmopolis. His character Rey is of a slower, unique cloth that requires a performance of specificity, detail, and nuance, and Pattinson delivers in making him a well rounded and very tragic being as opposed to something even slightly lesser. Pattinson plays it naturally and yet manages to give you a lot to think about without going too far, and it’s damn impressive, and can dig deep just as much as Pearce’s grittier performance.
Generally quiet and brooding, when The Rover winds up the tension and action, it borders on horrifying and sometimes so tense that it’s unbearable- this is a compliment, truly, to the expert filmmaking at hand, delivering a dark but incredibly human tale of consequence and determination. I’d draw it akin to something like Nicolas Winding Refn’s Drive, where the action isn’t constant, but when it happens, it’ll have you on the edge of your seat, and when things are building up, the inner context is just as thrilling and intriguing, even when you’re just watching something like a man zoning out with flies buzzing around his face for about a minute- it actually ends up being some incredibly thrilling cinema that isn’t worth missing.

The Rover (2014) - directed by David Michod

The Rover is an ingeniously practical approach to telling a story about a world that has ended. Within its setting and framework lies a subtle character study so bleak and violent, yet driven by intrigue. Director David Michod’s visual handle on the barren wasteland that is post-apocalyptic Australia is cold, calculated, and brooding, complete with perfectly handled cinematography and pitch-perfect tonal pacing. That said, this comes second to the performances of the lead actors, Guy Pearce and Robert Pattinson. Pearce’s intensity and minor deconstructions of his determined performance is unnerving in such a way that makes you yearn to learn more from and about him. Even more successful is a surprising and impressive Robert Pattinson, who is slowly starting to prove his worth as an actor with projects such as this and David Cronenberg’s Cosmopolis. His character Rey is of a slower, unique cloth that requires a performance of specificity, detail, and nuance, and Pattinson delivers in making him a well rounded and very tragic being as opposed to something even slightly lesser. Pattinson plays it naturally and yet manages to give you a lot to think about without going too far, and it’s damn impressive, and can dig deep just as much as Pearce’s grittier performance.

Generally quiet and brooding, when The Rover winds up the tension and action, it borders on horrifying and sometimes so tense that it’s unbearable- this is a compliment, truly, to the expert filmmaking at hand, delivering a dark but incredibly human tale of consequence and determination. I’d draw it akin to something like Nicolas Winding Refn’s Drive, where the action isn’t constant, but when it happens, it’ll have you on the edge of your seat, and when things are building up, the inner context is just as thrilling and intriguing, even when you’re just watching something like a man zoning out with flies buzzing around his face for about a minute- it actually ends up being some incredibly thrilling cinema that isn’t worth missing.