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Entries in comedy (98)

Monday
Jan262015

Sundance: 'Entertainment' is a Twisted Misfire

Michael C here reporting from Park City

 

The failing comedian at the center of Rick Alverson's Entertainment performs as if he loathes the very idea of humor. He flings his hackneyed one-liners at disinterested barflies with a disdain that aims to wound, not amuse. His appearance mocks the very idea of a comic, a slouched caricature of failure who takes the stage in a cheap tuxedo with a microphone and a vodka in one hand and three more vodkas cradled in his other arm. His desperate combover is pasted to his head giving the appearance of permanent flop sweat. It would be surprising to learn that he has genuinely laughed in years...

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Monday
Jan122015

Big Eyes Surprise? Final Best Actress Predictions

One of last night's most unnerving moments may well have been hearing Big Eyes mentioned multiple times. It's easy to forget that the movie is out in theaters now, since it didn't make big Christmas waves in the media or the box office (it's likely to end its run as Burton's second least successful film of all time after Ed Wood which is 100 times better), didn't earn rave reviews (it's sitting at 70% on Rotten Tomatoes which is, shall we say, generous) so Amy Adams surprise upon winning is entirely understandable.

To say that I am ill prepared for this moment is a huge understatement. Huge."

The surprise win reminds us that she's been generously adored by nearly all the awards communities for years now, an embryonic-Meryl perhaps. This season provides the biggest test yet of how much of a default nominee she truly is with AMPAS. If she manages an Oscar nod this year against much stronger competition in much better films (Reese, Julianne, Felicity, Marion, Rosamund, Hilary, and Emily) and a much more willful campaign for another performance that's better than its movie (Hi, Jennifer Aniston!) you should expect her to be nominated for every film going forward, as you would Meryl herself.  

Nevertheless I don't think it's going to happen and the dye is set on this category. Our nominees will be

Best Actress Oscar Predictions
Jennifer Aniston, Cake
Felicity Jones, Theory of Everything
Julianne Moore, Still Alice
Rosamund Pike, Gone Girl
Reese Witherspoon, Wild

A few critics groups made a valiant stand for Marion Cotillard but in the end Two Days One Night killed that dream itself by arriving in theaters way too late to build any presence of its own as an impressive movie, which would have bolstered support for the shockingly real performance at its center from an actress that keeps topping her Oscar-winning role without the Academy paying her any mind. 

In conclusion, may Big Eyes greatest pop culture legacy be the opening monologue joke from Tina Fey and Amy Poehler. They announced that there was a live Margaret Keane painting at the ceremony. Cut to: Emma Stone. Well, they are gigantic. They take up her whole face like an anime character. What really sold the punchline was its coda; Tina & Amy are great at those little joke extenders when you're already laughing.


Emma reactions to a BIG EYES joke aimed at her gif via Vulture

It's cute. But it's creepy."

We might say the same of Amy Adams Awards Haul!

Sunday
Jan112015

"Excuuuuuuuze me, will ya, I'm talking to him!"

Walter: Now, look Bruce. You persuade Hildy to do the story and you can write out a nice fat insurance policy for me. 

Today is the 75th Anniversary of the premiere of Howard Hawks classic His Girl Friday (1940). Here's a double sided bitchy moment to savor in which Walter Burns has dangled an insurance policy carrot for Bruce, who doesn't bite but Hildy does, eyeing the green while milking Walter for a bigger payday. Walter feigns objection, while egging Hildy on...

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Thursday
Jan082015

A Quick Chat with Jenny Slate Who Will Love Her Future No Matter What!

Jenny Slate, one of last year's biggest breakthroughs, started 2014 on a career high and still hasn't come down. Obvious Child was so buzzy at the 2014 festival that you can be reasonably sure that comedies from the forthcoming 2015 festival will see themselves held up in comparison 'what's this year's Obvious Child?'  After a successful limited release, Jenny Slate found herself on red carpets and snow she's up for a Critics Choice Award a week from today.

Best Actress in a Comedy, Critics Choice Movie Awards
Rose Byrne – Neighbors
Rosario Dawson – Top Five
Melissa McCarthy – St. Vincent
Jenny Slate – Obvious Child
Kristen Wiig – The Skeleton Twins

Whether or not she wins it, it seems likely that she'll enjoy herself. Perhaps it was her character Donna Stern's abrasive caustic humor that led me to picture someone either darkly funny or like the stereotype of the sad clown but instead the new star is relentlessly cheerful and super positive, and determined to stay that way. She even makes lemonade from lemons when I mention This Means War.

Here's our conversation...

NATHANIEL: This has been such a huge year for you? How would you rate it on a scale of 1 to 10? 

JENNY SLATE: Oh man. I guess i’d give it an 8 but I feel like most years I usually rate them pretty highly because I like life!  But this has been the most satisfying year of my career so far: Obvious Child really changed things for me.  [more...]

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Friday
Jan022015

The Funniest Films & Performances of the Year

 Two year in review lists per day for a few more days... Here's Michael to look back at the year in laughs

That was a tough year for good comedies that weren’t animated or special effects blockbusters. By my count only 7 of the box office top 50 were live action comedies (depending on whether or not you count Gone Girl) and of those all but Neighbors were immediately disposable. So if you want to find good comedy without animated toys or talking raccoons you had to look to the margins. In fact, the film that sits on the top of my list of list of 2014’s funniest is currently ranked 157th for the box office year.

Also interesting is how few of 2014's funniest came billed as pure comedies. Aside from the animated and sci-fi extravaganzas the laughs arrived smuggled in such genres as horror/thriller (The Guest) mystery (Gone Girl) and drama-fantasy hybrid whatchamatcallits  (Birdman).

So here are 2014's funniest movies, keeping in mind that this isn’t based on overall quality, but is ranked solely by which films most tipped the needle on the Laugh-O-Meter:

2014’s Ten Funniest Films 

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Sunday
Dec212014

Top Five's Top Five

Have you seen Chris Rock's Top Five  yet? I found it affable and intermittently funny but perhaps never more than mildly so. Here are five quick notes on it..

1. Maybe a little too navel-gazing on Chris Rock's part but we'll let it pass since most comedians turned actors play it like that from Woody Allen back in the day to every comic with a sitcom deal from the past thirty years.

2. True story: This movie has a super cast. It would have made a smarter SAG nomination than The Theory of Everything. (But then what wouldn't? Sorry Theory. I like ya but that nom is a big "D'oh!"). It's great to see a film about a guy actually give actresses fun things to do and Sherri Shepherd, Gabrielle Union, Rosario Dawson, and Leslie Jones all have good moments. I attended a Paramount party a few weeks ago that sort of morphed into a Top Five party because Interstellar left early. I am usually very social at these things but somehow I spent most of it off in a corner discussing Vanessa Redgrave and Faye Dunaway with another writer (appropriate!). I was going to talk to Gabrielle Union but I didn't want to be one of those people and bring up the East Compton Clovers, you know? The reaction would surely have been...

Brrrrrr. It's cold in here.

I did actually talk to Rosario Dawson, though... 

Three more bits including that "top five" after the jump... 

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