Friday, July 31, 2009
Tuesday, July 28, 2009
Good Time Max directed by James Franco who co-wrote with Merriwether Williams stars Franco and Matt Bell as two genius brothers who have taken very different paths in life. Franco plays the titular Max who has natural talents for academics and getting in trouble. After getting busted ripping off a drug dealer Max clings to his brother Adam's (Bell) moving to California for a medical residency as his way out of trouble. Trying to get clean and lead a productive life Max quickly gives into temptation and soon is mixed up in peddling crystal meth. Adam pursues his career as a doctor but he too eventually succumbs to temptations of his own.
The film's rather simplistic plot is anchored by the two strong performances of the leads that sometimes allow it to elevate to something more, but as a whole it never quite catches on. The film as a whole doesn't quite work as a cautionary tale or redemption story, though seemingly strives to be both. It is established early on that both brothers are geniuses and I couldn't help but wish that would have been dealt with more. The parallel of addiction between the brothers comes as a subplot that is too little too late. The ending does seem to be hinting that the accumulative pressure that comes with being identified as a "genius" too early in life could have caused the problems the brothers face is intriguing, but the film mostly ignores those complications.
Good Time Max is a huge improvement though over the last film I saw that Franco wrote and directed, which was the abysmal dramedy The Ape. Franco, who studies fiction and creative writing, does show quite a bit of promise as both a writer and director, but still is rather green at both. The dialogue of the film seems particularly strong in being naturalistic, but story itself just doesn't have that much going on. I found the characterizations of the brothers far more interesting than the drug plot that dominated the film. As a whole it would be worth renting if you are a fan of Franco, but otherwise it may be wiser to wait for his next endeavor.
Saturday, July 25, 2009
Sacha Baron Cohen’s Bruno is a hilarious attempt to shock the masses with the wild antics of an outlandishly gay Austrian. Using a similar mocumentary style to that of his 2006 smash hit Bruno, Cohen poses in disguise to reveal the not so hidden prejudices many have against gay and/or European. The plot centers on titular character Bruno, an recently fired Austrian fashion TV presenter, trying to make it big in Hollywood. Bruno travels around the US and as far as the Middle East to find the secret of success in America.
Bruno is a hysterically funny film for those who are not easily offended by graphic nudity, homosexuality, foul language, child endangerment and ethnic stereotypes. The comedy works well in every sketch. The best moments are those that prey on the all to common quest for fame in America, the desperate wannabes who will do anything to get ahead. Most memorably are the parents who agree to let their babies and toddlers pose under any circumstances ranging from a controversial crucifixion setting to downright dangerous stunts with bees and machinery. The sheer audacity of somebody willing to risk anything for a chance to have their kids in pictures is ripe grounds for this type of satire. Other sketches involve gay conversion therapy, swingers parties, peace talks, focus groups, celebrity interviews and wrestling matches.
While the movie is funny, it doesn’t quite all work as a whole the way that Borat did. The basic premise of Borat was that he was sent with a camera crew to research American culture, so the setup for each segment was always there. In Bruno the plot has him being fire at the beginning, yet still somehow being filmed throughout his travels. It doesn’t make sense when he breaks through the fourth wall because there shouldn’t be anybody filming him. The affect is that it comes off more like The Office and less like an actual documentary, which takes away the realism of the situations. There also were a few segments that felt as if the people in them knew this was being done for comedy and weren’t acting naturally. Maybe that isn’t the case, it is possible that everybody was unsuspecting rube but it just didn’t always feel that way. The other problem I had with this movie is that from scene to scene everything felt disconnected. His departure to the Middle East offered some big laughs, but getting there on the flimsy premise that being kidnapped by terrorists would make him famous didn’t really work.
Even though there were some problems the film is definitely a fun time at the movies. It is a great movie to go to with friends and watch from between your fingers and you cringe and the increasingly wacky and humiliating stunts Cohen puts himself through. The genuine shock on people’s faces when he pulls a baby off a luggage carousel and outrage at his controversial photos with the child are priceless. Funny, appalling, envelope pushing there has never been a comedy quite like this before.
Saturday, July 18, 2009
I love Gwen as a solo artist, don't get me wrong, but I much prefer her with the band and it was wonderful to see them all back together after so many years without touring together.
Adrian Young is always my fav because the boy just loves to be naked as much as possible as much of the time as he can
Friday, July 10, 2009
After seeing this appearance I get the distinct impression that they are trying to be funny, or something, right? There has to be some excuse for producing music this terrible. Are these actual serious musicians? Either way, if they are serious then they seriously suck and if they are trying to be funny they are failing at that as well. And also, I live in Minneapolis (aka the Twin Cities) the local radio plays a version of this that says "I'm in The Cities trick" which I find more irritating because of the local connection, and because it's just stupid when the lyrics clearly are not about Minnesota.
Here's a short clip from Esquire of our best gal Mary Louise Parker reading a bedtime story. Yeah, it's not the greatest clip in the world...but isn't the thought of curling up in bed with milk and cookies and having mama Botwin read you a bedtime story just wonderful? And also, aren't you just insanely jealous of how perfect her skin looks every time you see her?