Archive for the Comedy Category

CABIN FEVER REVIEW :: HORROR :: 064

Posted in Comedy, Horror with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on 06/29/2018 by joycereview

Cabin Fever (2002)

This review is not so simple to make. To movie critics, it is my opinion that this genre, “horror-comedy”, is the most troublesome to dissect. Take for example the amazing and hysterical, Cabin In The Woods (2012)- clearly a comedy. Evil Dead (1981) and Evil Dead 2 (1987) were horror films that introduced audiences to the not-so-serious, “campy” horror flick that some people try to successfully make. Obviously when juggling the weight of two genres, you may miss on both fronts.

Plot
A group of five college graduates; Paul (Rider Strong), Karen (Jordan Ladd), Marcy (Cerina Vincent), Jeff (Joey Kern) and Bert (James DeBello) rent a cabin in the woods and things go south when they begin to fall victim to a flesh-eating virus.

Eli Roth’s Cabin Fever (2002), now a cult classic, is certainly a film I enjoyed elements of and while some scenes and acting were cringe-worthy, it often feels like many of these were on purpose. Can you fault something performed or delivered poorly if it’s done on purpose? (See, The Room)

For instance, some of the dialogue is so bad it’s good. As a teenager in the 90s, the time period that this story takes place in, it paints a very realistic picture of the way kids talk.

Paul: “Why would you want to kill squirrels?”
Bert: “cus’ they’re gay.”
Karen: “Bert, don’t be a $&#ing retard.”

Sex…
Thank you Eli Roth and Cerina Vincent for adding the two sex scenes and the bath scene that are quite the stable of horror movies. And quite realistic too! Not only would this be what would really happen, but is what attracts many teenage horror fans – let’s be honest. As chauvinistic as it is, the “the nude girl” is kind of a staple and the “treat” to the viewer’s “trick or treat” night. Some people would learn from this… like Michael Bay walking away from Friday the 13th (2009) because there was “too much sex.” BTW, thank you (Winston-Salem native) Julianna Guill!

Gas Station scenes…
Perhaps the clichés of all clichés in the horror genre (besides teenagers in the woods) would have to be an eerie gas station stop. This movie was no exception and one of the highlights of the film. I won’t spoil it for you here… but watch for it!

In any respect, Cabin Fever is beloved by many, especially “splatter” B-film lovers. Director Peter Jackson liked it so much that he held three showings for his crew while filming Lord of The Rings. While it would be fun to watch with a group of friends, I doubt I’d watch it more than once. However, would I add it to my list of must-own horror flicks … this, most definitely!

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TRAILER:

________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________Be sure to follow me on Instagram, as every 3rd picture will feature a brand new Joyce Review. Also, let me know in the comment section if there is a particular film you’d like me to review. But first… let me know what you thought of Cabin Fever (2002)

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GAME NIGHT :: COMEDY :: 061

Posted in Comedy, Crime with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on 06/14/2018 by joycereview

Game Night (2018)

“Tonight we’re going to take came night up a notch.”

-Brooks

Max (Jason Bateman) and Annie (Rachel McAdams) are a couple that came together over their love of games. Now, years later, they host game night parties with their fun (and often hysterical) group of friends. On one particular night, Max’s older brother Brooks (played by Kyle Chandler) joins them and, like he always does, goes above and beyond the norm. However, everything goes wrong when his mock hostage situation goes array.
There is so much to like about this movie! Jason Bateman is… Jason Bateman, but who doesn’t love him? Rachel McAdams plays his wife and does so with great zest. It seriously looks like she’s never had more fun making a movie in her life. The one-upper, older brother Brooks is played by Kyle Chander of Friday Night Lights and Bloodline fame. Both he and Rachel hold their own in these comedic roles.


Lamorne Morris of New Girl, plays friend Kevin and gives a stellar performance in every scene he’s a part of. Unsuspectingly though, many of the heartiest laughs come because of Max and Annie’s creepy cop neighbor Gary (Jesse Plemons). Sometimes mistaken (before he made more of a name for himself) as Matt Damon’s twin (they are not related), Jesse has continued to impress the wife and I in all that he’s done (Black Mass, Hostiles, Bridge of Spies, and Friday Night Lights, etc). As an interesting note, he got engaged to actress Kirsten Dunst just last year (2017).While this is in no way a perfect comedy, it is highly entertaining, well-paced and written (Mark Perez). You can also add well-directed as Horrible Bosses (2011) director/actor/writer John Francis Daly adds to his list of achievements. John, one of the main stars of the cult classic Freaks and Geeks, does a great job behind the camera as well. John’s cameo as at the beginning of the film as the tavern’s Game Night questioner that asks the question “What’s the name of the purple teletubby?” … To which they answer together in unison, “Tinky Winky!” And the love connection was made!

There IS one cameo that would possibly be a spoiler if I mentioned it here – so please don’t go searching for it (unless you don’t care for surprises). In the film he goes by the name of The Bulgarian.

Let us know what you thought of Game Night?

How was our ranking? On point? Or way off? If so, why?

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Trailer:

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Don’t forget to follow us on Instagram at ChenCenter.

Every 3rd photo is a brand new review. Or simply check back here from time-to-time. Either way enjoy!!!

 

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DEADPOOL 2 :: ACTION :: 060

Posted in Action, Comedy, Fantasy with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 06/01/2018 by joycereview

Deadpool 2 (2018)

“Deadpool. That sounds like a franchise.”

Nearly every film falls short on the sequel and Deadpool 2 is no exception – but not by much!

In Deadpool we meet Wade Wilson (Ryan Reynolds) a foul-mouthed mercenary that undergoes an experiment that leaves him with amazing, self-healing abilities and enhanced physical prowess. We learn quickly that this “Merc with a mouth” isn’t your typical superhero – often roasting his colleagues and screen stars with sarcasm, pop-culture references and insults. Like his actual comic persona, he occasionally is guilty of “breaking the fourth wall.”

“I may be super but I’m no hero.”

Deadpool 2 has all the same elements of the first, but this time they double-downed on the action and gore. They also added some new characters, including one, time-traveling terminator named Cable (Josh Brolin). Sister Margaret’s Tavern, a pub frequented by shady characters and mercenaries becomes HQ to a special team or “force” whose first directive is to rescue a misguided youth (Firefist) before he is killed and/or does something monstrous. Friend and bartender, Weasel (T.J. Miller) is hilarious…again, and new-comer, Domino (Zazie Beetz), many times, stills the show!


Deadpool movies are perfect for those of that relish with glee witty and racy remarks (especially those of us who grew up in the 80s and 90s). Director Tim Miller (Deadpool) and director David Leitch (Deadpool 2) have similar styles, it seems to me, which adds to the continuity. They also keep with the same primary writers (Rhett Reece and Paul Wernick) but this time, instead going with a group effort like they did in Deadpool, they added Ryan Reynolds to the writer’s table.

The action, dialogue and story moves along quicker than the first and can be rather daunting to take it all in. Keep in mind that some people, not a lot, believe the opposite. While I won’t scoff…. I feel strongly that the action had more of the Hollywood effects element. And though Deadpool continues to flirt erotically and sometimes homo-erotically (like in the first) the sexuality seems a bit toned down, possibly with the studios expecting a younger crowd.


Be on the lookout for some surprise cameos and prepare yourself for a good time!

Let us know what you thought in the comments!!!!

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Trailers:

Deadpool (2016)

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Deadpool 2 (2018)

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THE LIFE OF BRIAN :: COMEDY :: 058

Posted in Classic, Comedy, Special Interest with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 05/17/2018 by joycereview

Life of Brian (1979)

“He’s not the Messiah, he’s a very naughty boy!”

In a recent look-through of my film library, a comedy masterpiece sits, staring back at me, Monty Python’s Life of Brian. John Cleese himself heralds this piece as “our masterpiece.” Released when I was a mere infant, it would be approximately 14 years before I would see it with my best friend and henceforth, quote it’s many memorable lines – especially the lisping Pontius Pilate.

Invariably on every top list of comedy classics (i.e. Airplane, The Jerk, etc.) you’ll see The Life of Brian, often ranked within the Top Ten. That’s how universally applauded it is. And even with the controversial nature of the film… it actually didn’t get quite as much flack as you might have thought. Though it was banned and protested in areas, I believe it was due to the fact that it focused on Brian (not Jesus Christ) as a false prophet, it was done with great research and comedic brilliance and was handled well as a media campaign. It was marketed in Sweden as “a movie so funny it was banned in Norway.” It obviously helped that Monty Python was hugely popular and that fans of the show, especially after their previous success, The Holy Grail, was bond to see what the fuss was about.

The biggest hurdle they had to go through was, believe it our not, funding. EMI backed out of the contract only weeks before production, so musician and Beatle George Harrison put up the $4 million dollars and saved the film. When asked why he did it, Harrison calmly replied, “because I want to go see it.” As financier of the film and both friend and fan of the Pythons, he was given a cameo. Did you spot him? Famed actor Spike Milligan was on vacation in Tunisia at the time of filming and was also given a cameo. If you spot either….put it in the comments.

The Life of Brian is the story of a man who is mistaken as a messiah during the time and location as Jesus. Originally it was to be called “Brian of Nazareth.” Though Jesus is shown (played by none other than Imperial Admiral Piett from Empire Strikes Back and The Return of the Jedi, Kenneth Colley) giving his sermon on the mount, the story focuses hysterically on the people of the time; prophet followers, religious groups and of course, the Romans.

Since there is are not enough words to describe how great this film is, I’ll let you in on why I don’t think it’s a “perfect 10.” Keep in mind this is solely an opinion, and because of different tastes in comedy, many of you will undoubtedly say, “that’s a bit nit-picky.” However, and I don’t understand this, but in each feature film of the Python’s there seems to be a clip that either thrown in for complete lunacy, or for some other reason I can’t fathom. For example,… in their first feature film, Monty Python and the Holy Grail there is a scene of monks beating their head with a prayer board, turning into animation, and falling of the script like a bunch of lemmings. In the Life of Brian, Brian is running away from the Romans and falls into an alien spacecraft.  Perhaps the reason was to feature some type of signature, Monty Python animation, or quite simply take ownership of what can easily be called the most random event in cinematic history.

If you haven’t seen this film, it should definitely be on your list of films to watch! Especially nowadays, when it seems that everyone gets offended over the simplest of things – sit back, relax and laugh as the Python boys poke fun and manage to piss off nearly every world religion.

“See… not so bad once you’re up!”

 

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Trailer:

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THE DISASTER ARTIST :: COMEDY :: 45

Posted in Comedy, Drama with tags , , , , , , , , on 03/21/2018 by joycereview

The Disaster Artist (2017) 🎬

Though it currently receives 7.6 stars on IMDB, The Disaster Artist gets a 9 out of 10 from the Joyce Review.

James Franco is spot-on and magnetic as leading man Tommy Wisseau. James also went on to win a very deserving Best Performance by an Actor at the Golden Globes (2018). For anyone that has seen the cult classic film, The Room, likely has dreamed of the day that this film would be made. Alas, it has and doesn’t miss a (weird) beat as the book, by Greg Sestero gets transformed into a movie.

I didn’t read the book, however the entertainment factor and brilliant likeness of the characters and scenes from The Room ensures that your eyes are always peeled to the screen. “Oh, hi Mark.” 🏈

Trailer:

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NOTE TO READER:

This is the new format. One of the reasons that I stepped away from movie reviewing (though I loved it) was the amount of time that it ended up consuming. Early in 2018, I had the idea of doing one review through Instagram on every 3rd picture and link it to this website. If you’re on Instagram more often and would like to see the “surprise” review, be sure to follow me at the following link – https://www.instagram.com/chencenter/

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UP :: COMEDY :: 039

Posted in Animation, Comedy with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 02/23/2010 by joycereview

Since I was little, Disney movies always held a sense of magic and wonderment.  As the animation became more detailed, it has come to the point where it hardly feels like your watching something designed for children.  If it weren’t for the brilliant colors, a house being carried away by balloons and a pack of dogs with voice translators, one would never know.

As the 82nd Academy Awards rolls around; now only 12 days left (Sunday, March 7th), I am desperately trying to see each title up for Best Picture.  UP, the Disney/Pixar sensation, is the only animated film in the listing and although the underdog to win (up against Avatar, The Hurt Locker, Precious, The Blind Side, Up In The Air, A Serious Man, Inglourious Basterds, An Education, and District 9), it is certainly in my Top 3 personal choses to win.

BEAR BONES

Up is the story of Carl Fredricksen, a 78-year-old whose dream it has always been to visit and explore the wilderness of South America (like his childhood idol Charles Munts).  Thwarting his “capture” by the Shady Oaks Retirement Village, Carl heeds his late wife’s words of “…go have an adventure of your own” and sets sail to the sky via house and helium balloons.  Little did Carl know that wilderness explorer Russell (age 8), still looking to earn his “Assist The Elderly” badge, is along for the journey.  There are snipes, dogs, and enough fantastically cute moments that you will may feel a bit light-headed from all the laughter.

Similar to Pixar’s other brilliant work, Wall-E, the first act of the film is almost entirely bereft of dialogue.  For Up, we see the meeting between two young, like-minded and playful souls and it builds cements (quite delicately) an emotional foundation that carries the audience “up”, “up” and beyond most animated films of today.

The folks at Pixar are geniuses.  I’ve been convinced of this for a long time (even as I am getting older and more critical).  I was surprised, however, to see them break the mold and have as its main character, a crotchety old man named Carl.  Every generation believes that, when they were young, people respected their elders.  “Elders” are definitely looked over these days, until Christmas & birthdays roll around.  This movies shows that, although life gives hard lessons, the spirit of adventure seldom dies completely.

Remember all!

A wilderness explorer is a friend to all, be a place or fish or tiny mole!

I’m off to explore!  I hope you’ll explore your thoughts about this movie and write them below*.

*Your chance to win a FREE DVD.  Simply comment on the review of your choice and you’ll be instantly entered into the month’s random drawing.

JUNEBUG :: DRAMA :: 038

Posted in Comedy, Drama, Indie with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 02/21/2010 by joycereview

I’ve been lucky the past few weeks.

I say “lucky”, because as a film buff,… as someone who loves to dive into the gigantic pool of cinema (often daily), I watch many films that lack substance.

Away We Go wasn’t like that, and Junebug certainly isn’t either.

JuneBug was absolutely a joy to watch from the moment George Johnsten uttered his character’s first words, “I’m from Pfafftown, North Carolina.”

As many of my readers know, I’ve lived and grown up in the city of Winston-Salem, not fifteen minutes away from where this story takes place.  And although North Carolina is the host state for many movies (primarily Wilmington, NC), very few have had stories so closely affixed to our “Southern ways,” not-to-mention the universal complications within families, Life, and our place in them.

BEAR BONES

Meet George Johnsten (Alessandro Nivola) a charming, near-perfect Southern gentleman.

It’s been three years since he’s been home to visit his family, and it just so happens that his wife, a passionate and career-driven Chicago art dealer, Madeleine (Embeth Davidtz), must visit a reclusive artist in Pinnacle, North Carolina (not far from where George grew up).  Seeming like the perfect opportunity to meet her hubby’s family for the first time, her visit creates a windstorm of emotion and uncovers more than could ever have been perceived, about her in-laws, her relationship with George and herself.

Strangely enough, my celebrity crush of Amy Adams, who plays George’s doe-eyed, child-like and very pregnant sister-in-law didn’t  officially begin until I saw this film.  Nominated for an Academy Award for “Best Supporting Actress (2005)” for her role as Junebug’s “Ray of Southern light,” is an inquisitive and perpetually “sunny” character that says (virtually all in one breath):

[Ashley; about Madeleine] I wonder what she looks like.  I bet she’s skinny.  She probably is.  She’s skinnier’n me and prettier too.  Now I’ll hate her.  I can’t wait!

But obviously she never does (hate her)… as Ashley doesn’t seem to hate anyone.

Ashley’s clearly the “creme-filled center” of Junebug (if you find the “creme” to be the yummiest part of the doughnut), however this film’s sugary-goodness comes from the remaining cast.  Peg (played by Celia Weston), the matriarchal mother-in-law to Madeleine, does two things: voices her opinions and looks after her young’ns.  Her husband, Eugene (Scott Wilson) plays the role of the tight-lipped father… a common trait among spouses of brazen, out-spoken, women.  Even though through most of George and Madeleine’s visit Eugene’s looking for a lost screwdriver (a “Phillips head”), his character shines with the reality of what many good ol’ Southern boys become (especially with a wife such as Peg).  Sometimes what Eugene says is for his benefit only, mostly he keeps quiet, and (like many of us) conveys a Buddhistic wisdom.  Consider for a moment a tense moment in the film when Madeleine walks in on a private conversation between Eugene and Peg.  Maybe she heard what Peg had said about her; maybe not.  Peg gets up from the table and leaves the room.

[Madeleine] She’s a very strong personality.

[Eugene]  That’s just her way.  She hides herself.  She’s not like that inside.  (pause) Like most.

Where the story comes up short is through the character of Johnny (Ben Mckenzie), Ashley’s frustrated and tantrum-giving husband.  He’s a torrent of anger and self-loathing; second-rate when it comes to his successful brother, and emotionally handicapped when it comes to showing affection (this is, perhaps, because he feels that he is undeserving of it).  This is evident in the scene where Johnny desperately scrambles to tape a television show on meerkats.  He knows Ashley loves them.  But like everything in his life thus far, he fails.  Either the acting of Ben Mckenzie was over-done, or it was poor directing on  Morrison’s part,… but it was very hard to believe that Ashley; adorable and pregnant – quite plumply of a bump with his child, could ever arouse such anger and internal discord.

The only other sour point, comes by way of the mentally-challenged, heavily accent, “sought after” genius artist, David Walk.  He lives in Pinnacle, NC (which gives us sentimental Carolinians a beautiful shot of Pilot Mountain) but paints lurid, allegorical pictures of American history.  Madeleine, intent on signing and representing him in the art world, comments over a particular piece –

I like all the dog heads and computers,… and scrotums.

I know very little of art, but the art that I do have an appreciation for… makes sense.  People look like the people they are drawn after.  Picasso, someone whose work I wouldn’t pay for (if I never knew the value) seems more like art than the shallow and jejune “art” described as “breath-taking.”

Junebug, written by Angus MacLachlan and directed by Phil Morrison, is…above all else… a story that shows that the problems of Life can seldom be solved within the scope of a single film.  The evolution of the character’s relationships with one another, the deep undercurrent of emotion and pain, and any sort of resolution or understanding cannot be deciphered in 106 minutes (nor could it be solved in 300).  I can’t wait to personally own this film, not only to watch again, but to pass amongst my fellow North Carolinians as a relatable, highly-authentic story about real people… living, loving… and dealing.