1992 | Les Mayfield
With an incredibly low budget, Encino Man sets incredibly low standards for itself, made more evident by the casting of Pauly Shore in a prominent role. Oddly, he is also the most compelling part of the film but is typically smirk-worthy in small doses, and unbearably annoying more often than not. One’s enjoyment of the film hinges entirely on their tolerance for Pauly Shore. In my case, it isn’t very high, but he provides one or two smirks in a film which otherwise contains precisely zero other legitimately funny moments.
1999 | David O. Russell
Russell’s cynical Gulf War film, shot and presented in a very journalistic style, seeks to deliberately detach us from its characters and their motives. We are merely observers, intended to be emotionally removed from the actions of Major Archie Gates (Clooney), Sergeant Troy Barlow (Wahlberg), Sergeant Chief Elgin (Ice Cube) and PFC Conrad Vig (Spike Jonze) as they chase down the hidden bunkers of Saddam Hussein, rumoured to be filled with stolen Kuwaiti gold, just like the journalists following them, desperate to find great stories about a war recently finished.
Continue reading “Three Kings | B”
1999 | Ron Howard
The EDtv experience is a disappointingly common one. While the film isn’t particularly bad, it isn’t particularly memorable, either. Released shortly after The Truman Show, the films draw obvious comparisons. Both are satires on reality TV and human nature. Unlike The Truman Show, EDtv‘s main subject, Ed (Matthew McConaughey) is very aware he is constantly being broadcast around the country. Where The Truman Show‘s poignancy lies in its protagonist’s ignorance, EDtv fails because of its protagonist’s genuine likeability. Aside from his Hollywood good looks, Ed is average. He is an unambitious video store clerk. He’s completely ordinary, with no discernible personality flaws whatsoever. He makes a great subject for the meta-show of EDtv because he is so relatable. His down-to-earth “normalness”, however, just makes the film inoffensively predictable.
Continue reading “EDtv | C”
Warning: this article has been written with the assumption that the reader is familiar with at least the first season of the show. Although efforts have been made to avoid any major spoilers, this writer apologises if any spoilers for the first season are revealed.
As much as the first season of Misfits was about isolation, the second season is about togetherness. The band of juvenile offenders have survived multiple murders and Nathan finally learned his superpower – a real A-lister. We are introduced to new characters with new powers, but ultimately this season is inconsistent, confused and riddled with logical inconsistencies. Continue reading “Misfits: Season Two | C”
2013 | Luc Besson
After helming a string of successful films such as Nikita, Léon and The Fifth Element, French auteur Luc Besson wrote an even longer string of successful action films like Taken, The Transporter, Unleashed and any and all related sequels. Prior to this year’s Lucy, it had been almost a decade since he directed an internationally successful live-action film, instead devoting most of his time to the animated Arthur and the Invisibles and writing seemingly as many sequels to Taken and The Transporter as possible. The Family is somewhat of an action comedy, however it features very little action and lacks the true oddball humour Besson became known for with The Fifth Element, but the film is still incredibly bizarre.
Continue reading “The Family | C”
There is one major, overriding theme in the first season of Misfits: isolation. Each character in the show has a story deriving from a sense of feeling alone. And despite the fact they spend the majority of their time together, as a group they would hardly be considered a comfortable component of the machine which is society. Continue reading “Misfits: Season One | B+”
2000 | Joel Coen & Ethan Coen
The Coen Brothers are no strangers to quirky, offbeat cinema. In the thirty years they have been producing, writing, directing and editing their films, their unique brand of metaphorical humour has shared time with their unbelievable knack for chilling drama. Never more than ambiguous, almost every film contains some aspect of deliberate humour, whether the film calls for it not, and more often than not it works. Continue reading “O Brother, Where Art Thou? | B+”