Comedy

The Bye Bye Man (2017)

Editor’s Note: I started writing this out of pure unadulterated passion when I got home after watching this. After sleeping it off, I continued writing it in a much more calm, cool, and collected fashion. I decided to keep the bits I wrote the night of.

I’m writing this while sipping on a pilsner and riding out a sugar high from too many Mars bar bites. My friends and I made an evening out of this. We assembled with snacks and whiskey and craft beer and watched one of the worst received movies this year. We do this often, bad movie nights, but this feels special. It’s a bittersweet feeling, making a ritual out of consuming somebody else’s art to purposefully make fun of it.

Wait, did I just call The Bye Bye Man art? Fuck me. I’d like to formally apologize to the entirety of human arts and culture.

mv5bmtcxote5nzqwnf5bml5banbnxkftztgwotmzmtc1ode-_v1_sy1000_cr006741000_al_This movie is a piece of trash. On fire. In a dumpster. That’s also on fire. A fucking dumpster trash fire fire. The Bye Bye Man, while being the worst named horror movie ever (maybe even worse than Hellraiser: Deader), feels like it shouldn’t be joked about. It’s too easy. The jokes practically write themselves as the story flashes on screen in front of consistently disbelieving eyes and open jaws.

Elliot, Sasha, and John are moving into a new house, and find a dresser drawer with the words “don’t think it, don’t say it” scribbled on it and then “The Bye Bye Man” scratched into it. Fun fact: this drawer belonged to some dude in the ’60s who committed a mass shooting and suicide because he was spooked by some paranormal entity named the Bye Bye Man. Now, the Bye Bye Man is terrorizing these three teenagers because they read his name. Who’s the Bye Bye Man, you might be asking? Well, that’s a good question, and don’t hold your breath, because you won’t find out. (more…)

Goon (2011)

For those of you who don’t know, I’m a Canadian boy, born and raised. Bagged milk is a staple in my fridge, I measure distance in time, and I constantly shit on the Imperial system despite using it almost as much as I do the Metric system. Even despite being a huge nerd who doesn’t go oatside outside and hates sports, my eyes can’t help but gravitate towards any hockey game that shows up in my field of vision. I couldn’t tell you anything about hockey history or this season’s stats, but it’s instinctive for me as a Canadian to watch hockey if it’s put in front of me.

goon_poster-2Goon is a hockey/ comedy movie about a man named Doug Glatt (Seann William Scott), a lovable oaf who doesn’t really have much going for him and constantly lives under the shadow of his prestigious and snooty family of doctors. Doug is really good at one thing, though: fighting. After defending his loudmouthed friend (Jay Baruchel) at a local hockey game, a coach sees his potential to become an enforcer, a hockey player who is only put on the ice to beat the ever loving shit out of people on the other team.

Doug begins moving up the ranks and eventually makes it to a the Halifax Highlanders, a minor league team where he’s tasked with helping defend Laflamme, a hot shot kid (Marc-André Grondin) who used to put away pucks like nobody’s business. Unfortunately, a recent on-ice incident with Ross “The Boss” Rhea (Liev Schreiber), the league’s most brutal enforcer has Laflamme paranoid and off his game. With Rhea returning to the league before retirement, Doug has to make sure Laflamme is in top shape by the time his and Rhea’s inevitable confrontation starts staining the ice red with blood.

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The Squid and the Whale (2005)

As I continue to burn through my newest pile of DVDs, I decide to watch a film I bought on two principles. The first being that it was a movie inducted into the Criteron Collection, and the second being that I found a pre-Criterion edition of it on sale for under two dollars (Canadian, meaning it was roughly four American cents).

mv5bztm4mgqymtgtyzdkoc00mzbkltlintctztg5ywvmytq4odzmxkeyxkfqcgdeqxvymtqxnzmzndi-_v1_sy1000_cr007081000_al_The Squid and the Whale is an independent dramatized autobiographical comedy-drama written and directed by Noah Baumbach and produced by Wes Anderson. Don’t worry, it’s not entirely as pretentious as I made it sound there.

The Squid and the Whale follows the Berkmans, a family of four in 1986 being torn apart by an incredibly messy divorce between Bernard (Jeff Daniels) and Joan (Laura Linney). Their two sons Frank (Owen Kline) and Walt (Jesse Eisenberg) immediately take sides, with Frank siding with his mother and Walt his father. While it isn’t apparent why Bernard and Joan are separating in the first place, information begins coming to light, further dividing everyone in the family and cementing which sides they have chosen in this petty battle of favors.

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The Big Short (2015) & Arrival (2016)

Let’s take a break from the Halloween madness that’s been going on here on the blog and move towards adult films. No. Not, like, porn. Like, films with more mature themes than dumb slasher flicks. Okay, mature themes still sounds like porn, but I swear they aren’t porn. Just, screw it. I watched The Big Short a while ago and never wrote about it, and I saw Arrival in December.

The Big Short (2015)

mv5bndc4mthhn2etzjmznc00zdjmlthiztgtnthly2uxzwmznjdkxkeyxkfqcgdeqxvyndk3nzu2mtq-_v1_sx640_cr00640999_al_The Big Short is a drama based on the true story of a small group of people in the financial industry who predicted the housing crisis of the mid-2000s and tried to play it to their advantage. It stars Christian Bale as Michael Burry (the most metal hedge fund manager ever), Steve Carell as Mark Baum (just serious Steve Carell), Ryan Gosling as Jared Vennett (a bit of a sleazey salesman, but still my bae), and Brad Pitt as Ben Rickert (an eccentric, retired trader).

I honestly really liked The Big Short. I’ve never found a subject like the housing crisis an interesting topic of conversation (let alone a movie), and the folks behind The Big Short understood that I sat in the majority  with that opinion. They managed to make a fun, lighthearted, and still effective drama about a couple of dudes who wanted to play the major banks and make a ton of money. While there was a cast of protagonists, there was still no clear cut “good guy” throughout the movie, but the writing was pretty heavy-handed when trying to establish the big name banks of the United States as the “bad guys”.

The constant celebrity cameos and fourth wall breaking were a nice touch to keep things speeding along pretty quickly despite a running time over two hours. My only complaint with the hyperstylized non-narrative bits (and the fact that this movie focuses mostly on high rolling business folk) felt very much like a carbon copy of Scorsese’s The Wolf of Wall Street, which only came out two years prior.

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I also really enjoyed the ensemble cast of the film, particularly because their characters were all of different moral fibers and had different motivations throughout the film. A few of the characters actually never interact with each other, which is nice, because going in to this movie, I thought it would be a big financial superhero team up where a bunch of fund managers fight off the big banks. I also enjoyed how the film focused on these characters interacting and reacting to the plot of the housing crisis, and didn’t get muddled by becoming a personal drama. Once the results of the plot unfolded, the film ended. I’ve got to commend The Big Short for being  a tight little drama that stayed fun, engaging and interesting despite it’s heavy subject matter. This is definitely in my list of favorite movies from 2015, I would highly recommend it.

Arrival (2016)

mv5bmtexmzu0odcxndheqtjeqwpwz15bbwu4mde1oti4mzay-_v1_sy1000_cr006401000_al_Flipping 180 degrees from a realistic drama about one of the most crippling financial crises in Western history to a mind-bending sci-fi drama about aliens landing on Earth, Arrival stars Amy Adams and Jeremy Renner and was directed by Denis Villeneuve (Prisoners, Sicaro, Enemy), one of the best directors working today. Adams and Renner play linguist Louise Banks and physicist Ian Donnelly respectively, who are called to action by the U.S. military (Forest Whitaker plays Colonel Weber) after twelve mysterious space crafts have landed across the globe. Banks and Donnelly are in charge of developing and establishing communication with the aliens on board the ship to determine their motivations. They’re racing against the clock though, because not every nation is keen on making scientific inquiry with these visitors, and global tensions rise by the minute.

It’s so exciting to see really interesting, restrained sci-fi coming out. As much as I like space schlock, neat, coherent, intelligent sci-fi flicks always have a special place in my heart. While I would consider this a kind of alien invasion film, don’t get your hopes up for  Arrival to be Independence Day 3. A large portion of this film is dedicated to Louise and Ian learning to communicate with the aliens and learning their language. Only near the end do things start escalating quicker and quicker before the movie takes off with one of most interesting conclusions to a story arc I’ve seen in a long time.

The acting was superb in Arrival from everyone, and the great sets, effects, and score helped keep me immersed for the whole thing. I got lots of Under the Skin and 2001: A Space Odyssey vibes from the way certain scenes were shot, particularly the sequences inside the alien ship. The haunting and almost ambient music sounded almost like the film was scored by Sunn O))), and the monolithic design on the ship paired with the unexpected design of the aliens made for a pretty unsettling experience whenever it all came together.

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Similar to Enemy, Arrival is a little open ended in the way you can interpret it. It’s definitely a movie that benefits from repeat viewings, with lots of little, subtle hints in the script and screenplay that all work together like clockwork to help keep the movie as neat and clean, yet as deep as possible. One of the best sci-fi films I’ve seen in a long time, and one of my favorites from last year. Check it out as soon as you can.

-David

La La Land (2016)

Whoops, I guess I lied when I said I won’t be going to a theater anytime soon. Turns out I’ll be going out to the movies more times in December than I have all year. My family makes a tradition of going out to watch a movie on Christmas Day, and this year we were torn, so we all got together and watched the trailers for a handful of new releases and then voted on which we’d want to watch. The options were Sing, Moana, Lion, and La La Land. Based on the title of this post, I’m sure you’re smart enough to deduce what we ended up seeing.

mv5bmzuzndm2nzm2mv5bml5banbnxkftztgwntm3ntg4ote-_v1_sy1000_sx675_al_La La Land is the third full length film from writer/ director Damien Chazelle. “Hmmm… Damien Chazelle, how come that name sounds kind of familiar?” I hear you say. Maybe it’s because he wrote the cartoonish Grand Piano, or the dour and intense 10 Cloverfield Lane. Maybe it’s because his last directing effort was a little movie about drumming and throwing chairs called Whiplash. Chazelle has only been on the radar for a handful of years, but apparently he’s only able to crank out the hits.

La La Land is a very simple movie with a very simple premise. Ryan Gosling plays Sebastian, a jazz pianist aspiring to own his own jazz club and keep jazz alive and thriving in the L.A. scene. Emma Stone plays Mia, an aspiring but struggling actress who is trying to navigate her way through the Hollywood minefield to make a name for herself. They meet, and fall in love. Life ensues.

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Darkman (1990)

It’s been a while since my last post. Between finding a new job and Pokémon GO, I haven’t had much time for anything.

Sam Raimi is one of my favorite directors, ever. Some people dismiss him as just a B-movie schlock director and lots of people hate him solely because of how Spider-Man 3 turned out, but he holds a special place in my heart. Sam Raimi comes across as a guy who just loves making movies. He’s like a demented Spielberg, focused on making movies fun and entertaining rather than just churning out cash grabs for an easy paycheque. More than a decade before 2002’s Spider Man, Raimi took a crack at the superhero genre with his first Hollywood film, 1990’s action/ comedy/ drama flick: Darkman.

mv5bmtc5mzuxmjk4nf5bml5banbnxkftztgwntezndk4nje-_v1_sy1000_cr006781000_al_Peyton Westlake (Liam Neeson) is a scientist researching synthetic skin cells to be used for skin transplants or reconstructive surgery. His cells are perfect replicas of regular skin cells except for one major flaw. If exposed to light, they only last 99 minutes before dissolving. His girlfriend, Julie Hastings (Frances McDormand) is an attorney that comes across a document that incriminates some of the city’s untouchable gangsters. Once word gets around that Hastings is keeping the letter hidden, mob leader Durant (Larry Drake) and his goons go looking for it and find it in Westlakes’ lab. After finding it, Durant disfigures Westlake before blowing up him and his lab. Left for dead and transformed into a hideous monster or a person, the scientist formerly known as Westlake goes on a roaring rampage of revenge, using his scientific knowledge to help him destroy everyone who was a part of ruining his life all while trying to reunite with the love of his life.

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Zootopia (2016)

Oh-ho! Caught you off guard didn’t I? You thought all I did was write about ’80s slasher flicks or pretentious arthouse films, didn’t you? But here I am, writing about a family movie. And a good family movie at that. Not a kids movie mind you. A family movie. A lot of people lump media for kids and media for families together, when they are completely different beasts. Sure, the two of them usually have bright colors and silly characters but when you dig in to the actual content of the film or television show or whatever, family-oriented ones usually have more to offer. A kids movie is something like the 2004 Spongebob Squarepants movie (I love this movie, but I can recognize that it’s a dumb movie for dumb kids), a movie that is made to entertain children only. The jokes are juvenile and there’s not really anything to gain from its story or characters. Parents buy the DVD or Blu-Ray or stream it on Netflix just to shut their kid up for an hour and a half while they take a nap. Family movies are movies that are meant to entertain kids and adults, and usually contain more delicate and real life themes that can actually teach kids something or spark an actual discussion afterwards. Sometimes they even throw the parents a bone, and slip some mature jokes in that would fly over a child’s head. Prime examples of movies and TV like that would include titles like:The Legend of Korra, The Lego Movie, Martyrs, and Disney’s newest box office crushing movie: Zootopia.

mv5botmymjeynzizmv5bml5banbnxkftztgwnziynju0nze-_v1_sy1000_sx675_al_Zootopia is essentially a buddy cop crime drama that happens to involve goofy looking anthropomorphic animals. It was directed by Byron Howard, Rich Moore, and Jared Bush, all super talented guys who have been involved with directing or writing in projects like Big Hero 6, Tangled, and The Simpsons (from ’89 to ’98 in case you were wondering).

This film is about a young, country bumpkin rabbit named Judy (Ginnifer Goodwin) who moves to the bustling metropolis of Zootopia to become a cop. She’s the first ever rabbit to become an officer and being new and different to the force lends Judy to face discrimination and prejudice from the rest of her co-workers. She eventually bands together with a sly con artist fox, Nick (Jason Bateman) to solve a series of disappearances around Zootopia. Adventure ensues. (more…)