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Francine Graff, MH Columnist

 

Christine Fugate, MH Creator

Lily Williams, Movie Reviewer

Thursday
Nov202008

Tropic Thunder (Director's Cut)

Actors: Jr. Robert Downey, Nick Nolte, David Pressman, Amy Stiller, Tom Cruise

Directors: Ben Stiller

Language: English

Subtitles: English, French, Spanish

Number of discs: 2

Rating:

Studio: Dreamworks Video

DVD Release Date: November 18, 2008

Run Time: 120 minutes

Price: $22.99 on Amazon

Reviewed by Christine Fugate

I love Ben Stiller and will watch anything he stars in or directs. (I loved The Cable Guy). I have to say though that this movie made me feel old and out of touch. Hubby and I barely laughed in Tropic Thunder even though it is a complete farce. We find it hard to laugh at missing limbs while our country is in the middle of a war where this is the reality. But listen up, we are in the minority. Obviously, this movie did very well at the box office and in the video store. Moreover, my film students loved it.

This movie would make a perfect gift for someone in their twenties and maybe even thirties. I doubt that anyone in their forties would like it, unless of course, they voted for Sarah Palin and think that wolves should be shot from helicopters. They might think it is funny.

Ben, you let me down. You are obviously hitting that fountain of youth these days because the young ones loved it!

I didn't watch the extras because I gave it to a student in my class.

5 out of 10 binkies.

From Amazon:

Go deeper into Tropic Thunder with this extended version of the hit film, packed with more action, more comedy, and more madness than ever before.

When three of Hollywood's biggest stars head into the jungles of Vietnam to shoot a war movie, they have no idea how real things can get.  Starring Ben Stiller, Jack Black and Robert Downey Jr., Tropic Thunder is the most unexpected and controversial movie of the year.

 

Thursday
Nov132008

Lewis Black's Root of all Evil

Actors: Matt Price

Directors: Keith Truesdell

Format: Color, DVD-Video, Full Screen, NTSC

Language: English

Number of discs: 2

Rating: 

Studio: Comedy Central

DVD Release Date: September 30, 2008

Run Time: 176 minutes

Price: $19.99 on Amazon

Reviewed by Christine Fugate

Lewis Black is one of the funniest comedians on television right now. Unfortunately, this show does not star Lewis Black but some guys who didn't make the SNL auditions, so they took this gig as lawyers prosecuting pop culture icons as the root of all evil. I get the concept, but not the laughs. I want Lewis Black to talk to me one on one and dissect our culture, not through this quirky idea which probably had a room of television executives slapping each other on the back for their brilliance.

On the flip side, hubby found it funnier that I did so maybe it's a man thing. Might be a good present for the man's man you have in your life.

5 out of 10 binkies

From Amazon:

Las Vegas. YouTube. Paris Hilton. What do they have in common? They all make Lewis Black want to strangle himself with a television cord. Join the abrasive comedian as he and his brethren take on pop culture, politics and all the things that most stupefy and pervert our society. With the help of comics like Patton Oswalt, Greg Giraldo and Andrew Daly, Lewis Black will help you find the Root of All Evil.

 


 

Saturday
Nov082008

Birds of America

Cast: Matthew Perry, Ben Foster, Ginnifer Goodwin, Lauren Graham and Hilary Swank

Amazon Price: $18.99

Language: English

Rating: R

Studio: First Look Studios

DVD Release Date: October 21, 2008

Run Time: 85 minutes

Reviewed by:Cricket

From First Look Studios:

"Morrie is the keeper of all things family related, including his siblings. In this comedic foray into sibling relationships, Morrie's little brother Jay is beyond peculiar, homeless and humorously, but clinically, depressed. His beautiful sister Ida is a promiscuous insomniac and sometime photographer that is starved for attention. Morrie's wife Betty has waited patiently for seven years for their hard work to pay off so they can start a family. As Morrie’s life begins to unravel, he comes to realize that his family will stand by his side no matter what."

"Morrie is no stranger to unconventional families. After his parents passed away during his childhood, he was left to care for his little brother, Jay, and his sister, Ida. When his siblings fail to take flight in adulthood, Morrie begins to find his role as caretaker much overdue. Irresponsible and emotionally destructive, Jay and Ida feel a certain comfort from each other that only family can bring. To balance out their instability, both siblings seek refuge at Morrie’s home while he suffers in quiet desperation. Between Ida’s late night trysts and Jay’s comedic antics, Morrie watches his life unravel as his marriage begins to go on the rocks and his dreams of tenure at the high school fade away. Faced with the choice of turning his back on his family or standing by them despite their flaws, Morrie discovers the strength of the ties that bind them and what it means to be a family."

I have to remind myself when I see the words "comedy" and "independent film festival" together, I should not expect the same kind of humor in big budget films or blockbuster hits! This movie is the kind of film that touches so close to home, you feel like you are on the inside of the "inside joke" because you sit next to that dysfunctional relative at Thanksgiving. But it's just dark enough to hurt a little to watch. The following quote taken from IMDB is a great snapshot into the characters of Morrie and Jay from Birds of America. "Jay: People need to be jolted. Morrie: No, people need to be comforted, and you don't comfort them by satisfying your own curiosity about breaking down boundaries and rules. Some people really like their rules, they've chosen them, and you don't get to choose what rules other people obey or not; they do."

The acting in this film is very believable and Matthew Perry reminds me why he was the "Friend" I loved the most. (Always completely underrated in my opinion!) He has a way of endearing himself to you and in the role of frustrated teacher, hardworking husband and caregiving brother, you just want things to get better for him. The best part for me was watching his walls of frustration with his slightly unmotivated and troubled siblings come down and the longstanding bond emerge, regardless of the distraction to his precise and planned life. There are some interesting scenes of drug use. I had no idea you could smoke pot in such a way! And a pretty gross, yet at the same time satisfying display of bathroom humor. (In his uptight neighbor's yard!)

Birds of America is a film about a family, but not really a family film. Good for movie night with hubby, but make sure the kiddos are asleep!

7 out of 10 binkies!

 

 

Tuesday
Oct282008

Lil' Bush: Resident of United States - Season Two

Lil' Bush: Resident of United States - Season Two

Reviewed by: CPA Mom

List Price: $26.98

Format: Animated, Color, DVD-Video, Full Screen, NTSC

Language: English

Number of discs: 2

Rating: Not rated

Studio: Comedy Central

DVD Release Date: October 14, 2008

Run Time: 220 minutes

I read a review that catagorized this Comedy Central series as "a political satire" that is "immature" and contains a "lack of subtlety." Boy, does it ever. And I thought it was hysterical. Granted, I'm already a big fan of Comedy Central, especially the Daily Show and the Colbert Report, so it was not a big stretch to see I would like Lil' Bush. Sure, it's not a high brow show and sure, it's easy to make fun of this current Presidency - he almost makes it too easy for comedians, doesn't he? But this is still a funny show - now I'm going to have to buy Season One!

 

from Wikipedia: Lil' Bush is a satirical, politically-themed animated television series which premiered on June 13, 2007 on Comedy Central. The series features childlike caricaturized versions of members of the George W. Bush administration, and other American and international political leaders. It was created by Donick Cary, initially as content for Amp'd Mobile. The first season episodes each consisted of two story segments, with each segment featuring a musical performance by a band composed of main characters. The second season, which premiered on March 13, 2008, consists of 10 episodes, and features thirty-minute storylines including the musical segment.[1] The second season finale aired on Thursday May 15, 2008 and the show has yet to be renewed for a third season. Lil' Bush takes place in an alternate reality version of the present day, where George H.W. Bush is president and George W. Bush ("Lil' George" on the show), along with his cronies (members of George W. Bush's real-life staff), are children attending Beltway Elementary School. Issues in which the current Bush Administration is involved—for example, the Iraq War—are transferred to the elder Bush, but feature the younger Bush interacting with them in various ways. Also, just as George Bush's father is president, the parents of the other kids are members of the elder Bush's cabinet (all depicted as their present-day real-life adult counterparts, with the exception of the elder Cheney, who is depicted as Cheney with a Darth Vader helmet). The show pokes fun at George W Bush's policies in an indirect manner and provides scenarios that he handles recklessly.

 

Learn more on Comedy Central's website: Meet the Characters: Lil' George Bush is the leader of the Lil' Cronies, Washington's baddest gang of juvenile delinquents and the spawn of America's biggest power brokers. Life at Beltway Elementary and the White House would be pretty dull without this band of crazies. When they're not trying to ruin the lives of the Lil' Dems or hustling to cover up their own screw-ups, you can find them rockin' out to the latest GOP jams (detailed descriptions here). Link to Special Guests. 

Wednesday
Oct222008

The Sarah Silverman Program Season Two, Volume One

Studio: Comedy Central

Cast: Sarah Silverman, Laura Silverman, Brian Posehn, Steve Agee, Jay Johnston

Amazon $18.99

Reviewed by Cricket

I have to admit it was hard to watch this DVD set without my “Mom hat” on. I made sure my almost 16 year old was gone for the evening. Not that he hasn’t heard everything and then some at school, but I try to maintain some control at home. In an effort to have some balance to my somewhat conservative taste in comedy, I had some 20-something guy friends watch it as well, and we all put in our two cents.

A fair synopsis of the show would be that it is about a single, Jewish girl living on her own with her dog Doug, a pug/Chihuahua mix. Next door are her pot smoking gay neighbors, Brian and Steve. She also has her sister, Laura (played by Sarah Silverman’s real-life sister, Laura) and Laura’s boyfriend, Police Officer Jay.

This DVD set features the episodes from Season Two of the Comedy Central series and finds Sarah involved in everything from dating God to trying to prove Jewish Americans have it worse than black people. In an effort to prove her point about racism, she attends an all black church, in black face, commandeers the choir and is promptly and literally thrown from the church. In what might be considered a particularly irreverent episode, she dates God, only to find him needy and too time consuming. Some people might feel that smacks in the face of blasphemy to those who place a high value on their faith, but it is Sarah Silverman’s bold approach to sketch comedy that makes it hard not to laugh.

The jacket of the DVD set quotes Time Magazine as saying the show is, “As filthy and sweet as an x-rated lollipop.” I think what they are saying is that Sarah is a good actress and a funny girl, but her willingness to tackle subjects and stereotypes, mostly considered taboo, makes you laugh at things you should probably feel bad about. That is what makes her so good. The ensemble cast works well together and they are equally willing to boldly go where no one wants to admit they’ve mentally been. They are just all willing to do it out in the open. Perhaps the critical acclaim is due to the show being an evolved, adult version of I Love Lucy. While it certainly isn’t a show I am going to catch on t.v. now that I’ve watched to DVD set, I think Lucy herself would be proud of this gutsy comedienne doing her thing with such candidness.

Overall, the set was good if you like crude, audacious humor. I didn’t find the bonus features all that great. Sort of boring actually but if you are a true fan perhaps it would be more entertaining. I would definitely NOT recommend it for family viewing, but if you want permission to laugh about things you wouldn’t admit to, this might be for you!

6 out of 10 binkies