Sunday, January 10, 2010

Youth in Revolt - 2010 - Dir: Miguel Arteta
Location: Regal Galaxy 10

I love Michael Cera. I will make no excuses for my crush. So what if he plays practically the same character in every movie. Is that really so bad? Luckily for audiences his quiet but confident geeky thing works really well here.

In the film, based on the book Youth in Revolt: The Journals of Nick Twisp by C. D. Payne, Cera plays the young intelligent hopeful novelist Nick. He spends his time watching Fellini films and listening to Frank Sinatra records and wondering if he'll ever lose his virginity. At home his single mother's (Jean Smart) current no good boyfriend (Zach Galifianakis) is living there and causing problems with some members of the Navy so they have to leave town for a while. They go to a trailer park a safe distance away and there Nick finds the girl who steals his heart. Sheeni (Portia Doubleday) is very much a kindred spirit, with the exception of being a Francophile, but they are torn apart when Nick has to go home. To do the dastardly things he needs to do he creates another persona named Francois Dillinger who talks him into doing the bad things he never thought he could. All in the name of love.

What is so great about these bad acts is that, for the most part, they're not very bad, but hilariously harmless. Seeing Cera in his Francois clothes with the thin mustache is giggle worthy itself. Plenty of this R-rated comedies strong points come from the more "adult" themes surrounding sex, his ultimate goal. A few rows ahead of me at the theater was a teenage boy and his mother. I couldn't help but wonder how uncomfortable the two of them were when some of the more graphic sex talk was going on. It is really nice that his mother will take him to films like this.

There are plenty of wonderful laughs and most of them are thanks to the great cast. Steve Buscemi plays Cera's dad and the hilarious Fred Willard is a crazy neighbor who protests for human rights and harbors illegal immigrants. Once I got home I looked up the cast on IMDb and realized the girl who plays Sheeni's horny prep school roommate, Rooney Mara, is Nancy in the remake of A Nightmare on Elm Street. I still don't know what to think of that whole situation but at least we'll have something nice to look at for 90 minutes. Don't worry Heather Langenkamp, you're still my number one No-Doz gal.

One of the other great aspects of the film are the transitional scenes, mostly while traveling, which are animated. Each time the style of animation is different but they are all kind of crude and fun - from stop-motion to animated stills photos. These moments made me smile and I think the stop-motion figure of Galifianakis looks like the Rankin/Bass Santa with a brown beard.

The film is great and definitely worth the watch. I agree with Jenny when she said she hopes Michael Cera continues and goes into more "grown-up" roles instead of going the route of Anthony Michael Hall.

Hamlet 2 - 2008 - Dir: Andrew Flemming
Location: The Comfort of My House

When I saw the first trailer for this online a long time ago I knew I wanted to see this. After not seeing it in theaters and not jumping on it the moment it hit DVD, I was reminded of it by a friend. After all my waiting I was not disappointed with what this fun little film has to offer.

Steve Coogan plays Dana Marschz, a talentless actor who gave up on Hollywood and moved to Tuscon to teach Drama. His class is only two strong and their plays are just staged versions of movies (like Erin Brockovich), and they suck. Suddenly his class grows when a bunch of tough inner-city types are forced there after a mishap in their portable buildings and Marschz gets the word the the Drama department is getting the ax. Now he must write something new and original if he wants to show the district what they are missing. His opus is unleashed - the controversial, offensive Hamlet 2.

The premise of the play is wonderful and I really wish I could sit through the whole thing and not just the select scenes the film shows. Hamlet has a time machine so he can try to go back in time and stop all the death that happens in Hamlet. Through his time travels he meets up with Jesus and all the girls in more modern times find him rather foxy. This leads to the awesome hit song "Rock Me Sexy Jesus." I really need to find this tune and get it on my iPod or else it may never leave my head (you can get the MP3s here).

The script was co-written by Pam Brady, and name you may not know but her work you probably do. She is a writer/producer on South Park and co-wrote their movie and Team America: World Police with Trey Parker and Matt Stone. The other co-writer is the director, Andrew Flemming, who previously made Dick (1999), The Craft (1996) and, a favorite of mine, Threesome (1994). Together the two wrote a very funny film with some very catchy songs and Elisabeth Shue playing herself.

Buy the DVD here, it's only $12.49!


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