Archive for 2008

GHOST TOWN :: COMEDY :: 017

Posted in Comedy with tags , , , , , , , , , , on 11/16/2009 by joycereview

7bearGhost Town

Bertram Pincus DDS will help you with your smile, … nearly every second of this film.

Rick Gervais, British funnyman, and star of “The Office” is terrific in his first leading role in a feature film.  Greg Kinnear (Stuck On You) and Tea Leoni (Fun with Dick and Jane) just adds a masterful touch to create a delightfully comical trio.

Rick plays the part of Bertram “Pink Ass” Pincus, DDS (yes, a dentist); a man without any affection for any person, place or thing.  After unexpectedly dying of a colonoscopy (still one of the simpler medical procedures) and being revived after 7 minutes, he wakes up to an unusual skill. He can see dead people. [Haley Joel Osment flashback!] Obviously this couldn’t happen to a worse person.  And as the only living person who can see those past on, the dead bombard him with demands for favors that they didn’t get around to finishing.  But “Pink Ass” will have none of it, except for Frank Herlihy (Greg Kinnear) whose brazen charm persuades,… urr…. blackmails him into helping his cause; to rescue his widow, Gwen (Tea Leoni) from jumping into the arms of tree-hugging attorney Richard (Billy Campbell).

One trait that I admire highly in an actor/actress of the comedy genre, is that they don’t try to be funny.  It’s like the art of “The flasher.” Not that I’m condoning “flashing” (it’s just plain wrong, not to mention illegal), however, to many of us… it’s kinda funny.  But if you stop to think about it a moment, if you encounter a man with a trench-coat and he turns to you and opens it up and keeps it open,… that’s just gross and it can be inferred that the guy is nuttier-than-the-typical.  However, the quick flash often gets the best response and leaves you wondering “What just happened?”  You pause and then you giggle. [or you’re shocked and go directly to the nearest “Fuzz”.  whatever.]  Point is… Bertram is like the “quick flasher” and gets the laughs, chuckles, giggles out there in an efficient manner, by not appearing funny – merely agitated – and we laugh heartier for it.

It was difficult to make deductions to this film, as the entire cast performed brilliantly with one another and the script was rich, and humorous.  However, in these types of stories, ones whereby the characters are expected to “live happily ever after,” the dialogue can run a little high on sap.  But keep in mind that it’s not the normal consistency of sap.  It’s not pine sap.  More like honey. Oh so tastey.

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HAPPY-GO-LUCKY :: COMEDY :: 012

Posted in Comedy with tags , , , , , , , , on 11/05/2009 by joycereview

4bearHappyGoLucky200811671_fI’ve never given up on a movie, so I didn’t start here.  But I wanted, very badly, to be somewhere else… that is, except for the scenes with Eddie (played by the always brilliant Eddie Marsan).  The critical acclaim for this film is astounding and begs the question of, “Who’s paying these people off?”  The protagonist, Poppy (Sally Hawkins) isn’t in my opinion what the director implies through the title of his picture, as “Happy-Go-Lucky.”  She’s actually more of a… oh darn. I can’t sugar-coat this… – A dump trunk of giggly, jabbering, retardation that leaves you begging that she’d answer at least one question straight.  But no, she answers in non sequiturs and flops about the entire movie with no real aim but to stop a child from bullying another (which seemed like only an excuse to bring in hunky, romantic interest social worker, Tim [Samuel Roukin]) and to learn how to drive.

I discovered this film after watching Gangster No. 1 and it’s stunning interrogation scene with Eddie Marsan.  I was so impressed with his ability to play the fear oozing “snail” of a man in that film that I immediately looked up some of his other roles.  In Happy-Go-Lucky, he plays not-so happy-go-lucky driving instructor, Scott.  His character has a temper a mile long and is the polar opposite of Poppy, as he constantly reminds her to wear proper footwear and to watch her mirrors.  Of course, each and every demand is returned with giddy chuckles and sassy remarks that only aids in the audiences compulsion to strangle her.

There doesn’t seem to be any real plot and the dialogue is simply trite and hard to chew.  But I have to “give it up” to Sally Hawkins for playing, for nearly every scene in the movie, a character that exudes imbecilic happiness.  That’d be one monumental task for any good actor and she does it quite naturally.  I can’t help but to think of the Friends character of Janice when I look at her garb, and just praise Mike Leigh that he didn’t give her character an obnoxious laugh to-boot.

Another aspect that is hard to place is the precise setting.  The girls make mention of “texting,” which is clearly something from this decade… however, there is an awful lot of denim-wearing, colorful leggings, and loopy jewelry that seems to suggest the 1980’s.

There are two scenes that stand out, but only like an irritating herpes sore on the face of this review.  What Roger Ebert called a “profoundly effective scene” in which Poppy encounters a nonsense-jabbering homeless man came across to me as a moronic and dangerous attempt to connect with yet another character – but this time to show her empathetic side.  What Mike Leigh was trying to create comes up short and only makes me doubt the intelligence of Poppy further.  The second scene that I have a problem with is when she takes a flamingo dancing class.  She creates a wonderful first impression by not only coming in late (not her fault however) but then by disrupting class the moment the teacher is ready to get started.  She half-asses her lesson by making mocking faces and by barely participating in the classes opening stretches.  “Happy-Go-Lucky” in this case, just appears to the viewer as an appalling lack of maturity.

Not completely dreadful.  Worth seeing the clips with Eddie Marsan in it.  The rest… ( shrugs ).  Your views?

FOOD, INC. :: DOC :: 011

Posted in Documentary, Special Interest with tags , , , , , , on 11/05/2009 by joycereview

8bearfoodincSometimes, I can be not-so-intelligent. Such is the time that I sit down to watch this documentary on the Food Industry whilst eating Sloppy Joes.  I can honestly say that the sandwich had never tasted so bad in all my life.

Most of this could be in my head, but I figure it has much to-do with the images of cows, pigs, and chickens trodding knee deep in their own excrement.  Or maybe it was the mechanized churning of hundreds of cows into a (previously delectable) meaty paste.  Fact of the matter, I need to eat better.  We all need to eat better.  And this is one all-too-important documentary films that each and every one of us should take it upon ourselves to see.

Food, Inc., is a documentary film by Robert Kenner and based on An Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan.  It’s a glimpse into lives of the modern day farmer and the big businesses that own them and of everyday consumers, some financially strained enough to be forced to eat “fast-food”-style and another that lost her young son to E. Coli poisoning.  For once we have a movie, to-the-point and with a showing time of only 93 minutes!  Education for the whole family.  Watch this movie!

We need to (forgive my tactlessness) get our head out of our arses! The good-looking cowboy looking over his cattle isn’t carving up your beef and the sweet old geezers with the pitchfork and a smile aren’t churning your butter.  You’ve been had.  Our best hope for discovering real food grown by real farmers is to go to your local farmer’s market.  Or for convenience sake, do your shopping at Whole Foods.  But remember, it’s not necessarily about shopping “organic” or not (although it is best), it’s also about food grown within your area and not those shipped from far away lands (oozing chemicals that keep them “fresh”).

We as a “fast food society” have a backwards way at looking at health.  We look at a carton of organic, free-range eggs and scoff at the price… $3…$4, whatever.  Meanwhile, we’re filling our belly with a 75 cent soda or munching from a $3 bag of chips.  Our stomachs should not become the repository of salts, fats, and sugars but a furnace that we feed real foods, real energy.  Years of this thinking, and more importantly, ACTION, will produce less digestive complications, less illness and better overall wellness.  Compare the cost of eating right and exercising to a hospital bill sometime.  I triple dog dare ya.

Just remember that we as consumers hold the cards.  We supply these businesses with money.  Each item you run through the register is a vote.  Organic… not organic.  Imported… locally grown.  I, for one, am going to be more conscious of my food choices and if that means spending a little more… so be it.  Power to us [raises fist to the sky]!