Just an incredibly traumatising cinematic experience…
Anyone familiar with Greek director Yorgos Lanthimos’ most famous work Dogtooth will know not to expect a barrel of laughs from his latest effort The Lobster. If you were thinking Lanthimos’ first experience with an English speaking feature film and an all star cast might result in a more conventional film then you would be bang wrong. Oh boy would you be wrong. The Lobster is unsettling, jarring, genuinely hard to watch at times, but somehow still occasionally funny.
The weird B side to 2010’s other real life super hero flick Kick Ass.
When Kick Ass hit four years ago people sagely stroked their beards, pulled on their pipes and proclaimed ‘This is what would REALLY happen if somebody tried to become a super hero in real life’. This was to be revised almost instantly upon the release of Super a few months later.
Super is as close as you will get to a realistic superhero film and even then that realism only really stretches to the midway point of the film. To concentrate on this though is to miss the point. Super is a weird film almost to the point of distraction but it also contains enough laughs and heart to be labelled a success.
Rainn Wilson overacts in all the wrong places but is still hilarious as always and makes for a good protagonist. Ellen Page channels Juno in slipping back into the more annoying forced quirkiness seen in some of her earlier performances but also raises a smile here and there.
Director/Writer James Gunn (currently taking over the world with Guardians of the Galaxy) doesn’t seem to know what he wants Super to be. The brutal depictions of rape and violence don’t really sit that well with Rainn Wilson shouting ‘SHUT UP CRIME!!’ over and over, although this is easily the greatest superhero catchphrase ever, and the ending seems a little rushed and ill conceived. On top of that antagonist Kevin Bacon plays that same villain he plays in every film these days. I think maybe that is just who he is in real life now and he doesn’t realize that he is acting in a film at all…
Super would make a great real crime fighters trilogy with Kick Ass and God Bless America but on second viewing I would probably say it is the weakest of the three.
Rom Com parody only elevated above being terrible by Paul Rudd’s beautiful face.
There is so much comedy gold to be mined from a Rom Com parody but They Came Together plays it pretty safe and is actually so close to being a romantic comedy at times it is indistinguishable.
The premise of a romantic origin story being told around the dinner table between Amy Poehler, Paul Rudd, Bill Hader and Ellie Kemper (Erin from The Office) is awesome and these scenes provide the funniest moments. Another thing that director David Wain does get spot on is the story structure and the accompanying cheesy soundtrack.
Unfortunately It is in the flashbacks themselves where most of the (many) jokes fall flat. They Came Together is aiming for Airplane but ends up closer to Scary Movie 2. It was a bold move to have Rudd sending up the genre that has been his bread and butter for the last few years and it all comes across a bit too smug and knowing akin to an 83 minute SNL sketch.
A really great comedic supporting cast (Ed Helms, Chris Meloni, Jack McBrayer, Jason Mantzoukas) are pretty much wasted. If you are not a big Paul Rudd fan (took a long hard look in the mirror) then don’t waste your time with this.
The closest any film has ever been to capturing the absurd pointlessness of working in an office.
Beavis & Butthead creator Mike Judge has always endeavoured to slip biting social satire into his work (he would later go too far with this concept with 2006’s messy feature Idiocracy) and he captures life working for a big corporation perfectly with Office Space.
Gary Cole’s slimy boss Bill Lumbergh is somebody we have probably all been confronted with and likewise I imagine many see themselves as a Pete Gibbons type figure. Like Ricky Gervais’ The Office, it is seeing these recognizable caricatures that we have all encountered that makes Office Space so enjoyable.
I really don’t understand why protagonist Ron Livingstone has not appeared in more stuff as I loved him in this and Band of Brothers. Admittedly it is the first half of the film that cements Office Space as a modern classic but it has it moments right until the end and it a must see for anyone who has ever swore at a photocopier.