Monthly Archives: July 2015

The Overnight, Magic Mike XXL, Amy, Tig

Hey hey my peaches.

I feel like all I do lately is pack and clean in preparation for my move next week but I’ve also managed to see quite a few movies, just not write about them.

Last night, after I got sick of taping up boxes and crossed cleaning the oven off my list, I decided it would be a good time to watch “Baby Boom” again.

An evening with the Tiger Lady herself putting James Spader in his place one second and having a meltdown at a veterinarian’s office the next? Yes please. I don’t need to tell you that this movie holds up. just like “Don’t Tell Mom The Babysitter’s Dead,” which I chose as another post packing feature not too long ago.

Moving on to the present, since I have to be at the theater to sell tickets for “Mr. Holmes” in three hours, I am going to attempt to summarize each of the movies I’ve seen lately in just a few sentences.

The Overnight

downloadBilled as a sex comedy, which it is on some levels, Patrick Brice’s film also presents exploration of human relationships and problems prompted by what happens when the characters let their guards down. Adam Scott and Taylor Schilling star as Los Angeles newbies acclimated to the neighborhood by parents’ of their son’s friend, Kurt (Jason Schwartzman) and Charlotte (Judith Godrèche.) While Kurt and Charlotte may seem to not have problems on the surface and only focus on making Alex and Emily feel at home, the story shows that no one is perfect or completely happy. I especially enjoyed Schwartzman’s performance and the cast of four had strong chemistry together on screen, even in the most awkward moments. It is an impressive project and study of human nature portrayed on screen. Fun fact, it was filmed in fifteen days. 

Magic Mike XXL

mAGICI had lower expectations for “Magic Mike XXL” than I did for the first installment in 2012, which was loosely based on Channing Tatum’s days as a stripper. Steven Soderbergh’s “Magic Mike” ended up being the perfect mix of drama and stripper life, imagine that, but the sequel strayed too far from the original formula.

Soderbergh was involved only behind the scenes for “Magic Mike XXL” and his assistant director/producer Gregory Jacobs took the lead as director.  “Magic Mike XXL” is a stripper-themed road movie about the old gang getting back together with the addition of some new characters. Unfortunately it just doesn’t live up to the original. Dallas is gone, Brooke said no to Mike’s marriage proposal and the focus on making it to the big stripper convention just didn’t draw me in.

That’s not to say there aren’t entertaining moments, and I really can’t say anything bad about Channing Tatum, but I missed the more subtle style of “Magic Mike” in this installment and found myself thinking back to the ending of that film and the mystery of not knowing what the character would do next.

i did enjoy the supporting roles of Donald Glover and Elizabeth Banks in the sequel but I would recommend watching “Magic MIke” instead or one of Soderbergh’s other films starring Tatum. (Try “Haywire” or “Side Effects.”)

Amy

amyI’ll close out here with some documentaries, including “Amy,” the in-depth and unique story about Amy Winehouse’s life, and sadly, her death. The film, which interestingly uses mostly audio interviews with Winehouse and her friends and family, starts in her childhood and continues to tell the story of her rise as a musician in London and the U.S.

The film presents a disturbing glimpse into how Winehouse lived in the media spotlight while dealing with her personal struggles with addiction and bulimia and trying to continue to make music. it also shows the influence she had on other artists, like Mos Def and Tony Bennett, and their admiration for her through it all.

It’s a sad story but I feel the film strongly presented both the ups and downs of Winehouse’s life and the legacy of her music.

Tig

tigTig Notaro is one of my favorite comedians and I am still recovering from the news that her podcast with David Huntsberger and Kyle Dunnigan, “Professor Blastoff,” is now over. But if it makes room for more projects from each of the comedians like Notaro’s documentary, “Tig,” then I guess I can live with it. (Plus I still have most of the four years of archives to listen to.)

“Tig,” which was just released on Netflix, focuses on the year since Notaro became sick, her mother died and her cancer diagnosis. Notaro talked about her diagnosis, one day after finding out, during a famous show at Largo in Los Angeles and the documentary also focuses on her work leading up to the anniversary of that show. Fans of Notaro will know some of her story but the documentary provides more of a look into her life and at her as a person than what I’ve seen and heard before. I also recommend “Knock Knock, it’s Tig Notaro,” about her comedy road trip to fans’ hometowns with Jon Dore.

Well that was more than a few sentences about each film, and I didn’t even get through all of what I’ve seen lately. I’ll have to continue with that project after I set up a writing perch at my new place.

As Tig Notaro would (kind of) say on Professor Blastoff, that’s been blog.

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Top 5 Movies

Hey hey.

My friend and I had a discussion last night about how Netflix should suggest movies based on mood, not genre, the cast or critical acclaim. For example, if you’re in the mood to watch something that will make you feel like texting your ex wasn’t a horrible idea, then watch “Gremlins.” Or if you’re in the mood to be motivated to get a new job, watch Friz Freleng’s “Looney Looney Bugs Bunny Movie.”

Okay, maybe that’s not as easy as it seems because I quickly resorted to looking at my shelf of DVDs (and one VHS) to come up with ideas that most likely would not fit either of those scenarios.

But Netflix certainly has the resources, or at least an intern, to complete psychological studies in order to rework its movie suggestions to match the mood and emotions of customers.

In the meantime, here are the Top 5 movies for all your moods, I promise (plus my favorite quote from some of them.)

5. “High Fidelity.”

fidelityDo you need something to watch because you just went through a break-up, started dating someone, signed some young hipsters onto your record label or decided to reorganize your record collection? Good news, “High Fidelity” is nestled in what should be the nostalgia category on Netflix. If you’re mood doesn’t prompt you to watch this film, don’t forget that it has the best dance scene to “Walking on Sunshine” in existence.

It’s a therapeutic film on all levels, especially when John Cusack’s character Rob has fantasies of different ways he would tell off his ex-girlfriend’s new lover, Ian (Tim Robbins.) I don’t know how many times I have wanted to tell customers to “Get their patchouli stink outta my store!”) while serving up their popcorn orders and endless amounts of Diet Coke.

Customer: “Do you have a soul?”

Rob: “That all depends.”

4. “Jurassic World.”

jurassicworldMaybe everyone has seen”Jurassic World” at this point, but if you are trying to decide between blockbusters with a hunky leading man (or men) try this before “Magic Mike XXL.” Besides, I heard (through my dream nerd/hunk Chris Hardwick on @midnight) that Channing Tatum doesn’t take his shirt off until an hour into the film.

“Jurassic World” also has a bit of nostalgia in its references to “Jurassic Park,” including the score to the film. I don’t know about you but my high school band played the theme from “Jurassic Park” at our concerts so I was especially hoping that would be a part of the film.

I imagine director Colin Trevorrow must have a special place for “Jurassic Park” in his heart and decided to pay homage to it in his second feature-length film (also see “Safety Not Guaranteed.”) It’s pretty impressive what he was able to do for the dinosaur franchise while, I think, opening up the possibilities for it to continue.

Of course Chris Pratt would make an appearance in the sequel but I am also hoping for leading roles by two of the supporting characters Lauren Lapkus (Vivian) and Jake Johnson (Lowery).

Vivian and Lowery show up enough as workers in the control room of the dinosaur theme-park but their final scene alone is worthy of its own spin-off.

They certainly will (or should) be the stars of “Jurassic World in Space” or whatever the next installment of the franchise is.  In summation, “Jurassic World” has the perfect mix of camp and dinosaurs on land and water and Chris Pratt ultimately saving the day.

Lowery: “Someone has to stay behind.” (Leans in for a kiss)

Vivian: “Uh, I have a boyfriend.”

3. “The One I love.”

the one Keeping with the science fiction and romance theme (minus the dinosaurs) try “The One I Love” on Netflix. It certainly will make you think about relationships and provides and interesting look into people’s desires and curiosity and how they would act on those emotions if given the opportunity and when they think no one is watching. Elisabeth Moss and Mark Duplass play a couple trying to fix their marriage and, following the advice of their therapist, spend a weekend at a cabin away from the city.

What Ethan and Sophie don’t know is they are not alone at the cabin and the guests they encounter are there to help them dissect their relationship, what’s wrong and what’s right and figure out what can help solve their problems.

“The One I Love” is designed to make you think and the ending, despite being ambiguous as far as what really happens, is still somehow a satisfying resolution to Ethan and Sophie’s journey.

2. “Me and Earl and the Dying Girl”

earlIf you didn’t guess by the title, this film isn’t a laugh-a-minute but it is an effective and realistic exploration of friendship and loss and family and how young people cope with all the pains of growing up. It’s also set against the backdrop of a close-knit Pittsburgh neighborhood and high school with use of creative cinematography and animation to tell the story.

Greg Gaines (Thomas Mann) is the main character who is forced by his mom to start spending time with his friend from kindergarten (who he hasn’t really talked to since then) after she is diagnosed with cancer. It’s heavy, I know, but the story has a slow burn to what you ultimately fear will happen and builds its characters well to create an understanding of what they are going through, even though it is heartbreaking.

“Usually it’s when your guard is down that you find yourself saying the most dick sentences of your life.”

1. “The Wolfpack”

wolfpackIt’s hard at this point to decide which of these films is my favorite but “The Wolfpack” is definitely the most intriguing and unique story that would honestly make for a good television show or miniseries to allow more of it to be told.

The documentary focuses on the Angulo brothers, who were raised in an apartment in Manhattan and never were allowed to leave while growing up. As some of the brothers got older their curiosity to explore the outside world  grew enough to sometimes challenge their bond to stay together and especially their relationship with their father.

At the same time they learned about life and a perceived version of the world through movies and often reenacted them with costumes and props and their own scripts. By the end, one of the older brothers makes his own film that reflects his experience and emotion from being trapped inside and not knowing society for most of his life.

It’s heartbreaking on a whole other level than “Me and Earl and the Dying Girl” but also leaves a sense that the brothers will accomplish their dreams and find a way out in their own way while always sticking together.

“That’s probably the best damn apple I’ve ever tasted in my life.”

Ok, there you go, enjoy the show. Honestly I don’t know if I did these films justice, but I’ve worked on this post on and off over the past week and it’s time to move on.

Speaking of  Enjoy the Show,  here is a short film starring my Edina Cinema coworker “A Million” Mohn and manager Jed Schlegelmilch. It’s pretty fantastic.

That is all.