comedies

Adult Swim’s Weird, Wonderful Christmas Movie Is a Trip of the Senses

Ben Friedman

Adult Swim released its version of a Christmas movie, and it is as weird as one would suspect from the channel that airs Rick and Morty, The Eric Andre Show, and Smiling Friends.  Directed by Casper Kelly, Adult Swim Yule Log (aka The Fireplace) follows a couple who travels to an Airbnb for the holidays, only to discover their cabin has been double-booked by a group of stoner friends. Forced to board together, the two parties uncover a dark and mysterious presence that abides within the cabin.

New Comedy Follows a Day in the Life of a Brothel Worker

Ben Friedman

Despite a strong leading performance from Lea Thompson, who gives an emotionally compelling and often humorous performance, this film fails her by not giving her enough to do. The film works best when Thompson is on screen. Yet, the story insists on cutting back to the magician, thus grinding any form of positive momentum to a complete stop. His character does not have an arc, and the story’s attempts at philosophical musings fall flat.

My Evening With Kevin Smith: ‘Clerks III’ and The Convenience Tour

Ben Friedman

For fans of the indie director, Clerks III is essential viewing, especially if you get the chance to see The Convenience Tour. Touring across 50 theaters in North America, Smith personally presents the movie and ends the show with an hour-long Q&A (though in typical Kevin Smith fashion, the Q&A went an hour overtime). His show is a love letter to the fans and offers great insight into the behind-the-scenes making of a movie.

‘Barbarian' Is Surprising, and One of the Best Movies of the Year

Ulises Duenas

The film begins with a young woman named Tess arriving at her Airbnb to find out that it’s already occupied by a man named Keith. She ends up agreeing, begrudgingly,  to stay in the house for the night and starts to hear strange noises. In the morning she discovers that the rest of the neighborhood is completely run down except for the house she’s staying in. The movie does a good job of building tension while keeping the viewer wondering in which direction things are going.

Fine Acting, Wit, and Stunning Visuals Make ‘Umbrella Men’ a Fond Addition to the Heist Film Genre

Ben Friedman

Everyone knows the filmmaking conventions that make a good heist movie: a mismatch of eccentric characters each with their own skill set, speeches about how the impossible task is actually possible, and the execution. Heist movies always feature the debonair hero, the hothead, the uneasy alliance, the romantic interest, and a villain. A heist film lives and dies on its storyteller’s ability to overcome the derivative and craft something exciting. John Barker’s The Umbrella Men represents the highs and lows of the genre.

‘Spirit Quest’ Attempts to Combine Stoner Comedy and Strong Characters, and Ends Up With Neither

Ulises Duenas

The basic premise of the movie is that two friends are on a trip to the desert where they decide to eat a bunch of mushrooms that will hopefully take them on a spirit journey. Tip is there to get over a recent breakup, and his friend Brent is his self-appointed spiritual guide. While their friendship and interactions are the core of the film, they don’t have great chemistry together for comedy.

‘The Weasels’ Tale’ Delivers Great Characters and Unexpected Twists and Turns

Ulises Duenas

The chemistry among these four characters is great. Mara is stuck living in the past and sees her jaded friends Norberto and Martin as tormentors for wanting her to confront the reality that the good days are long gone. They constantly take small jabs at each other but are much more overtly hostile towards the realtors trying to manipulate Mara. While Mara is clearly delusional and self-centered, you do feel sympathy for her to some degree.

‘Love and Monsters’ Is Frightfully Fun

Forrest Hartman

Love and Monsters may not become a classic, but it’s a truly great time. It’s scary enough to work as a Halloween film, romantic and funny enough to transcend the horror genre, and written with both an edge and wit. Writers Brian Duffield and Matthew Robinson deserve significant credit because – while genre-crossing films are sought after – they don’t always work. But Love and Monsters succeeds exceptionally well.

‘The War With Grandpa’: A Sweet but Painfully Unrealistic Family Movie

Forrest Hartman

De Niro and Thurman are too good – and too famous – to be in a picture like this. The same can be said for Christopher Walken, who appears in several scenes as one of Ed’s buddies. These actors elevate the movie to a degree, and I admittedly laughed, probably more than I should have. That said, The War With Grandpa is not objectively good. It mixes TV comedy plotting with an A-list cast and thematic elements that are slightly disturbing.

Remembering Harold Lloyd: The Third Genius of Silent Comedy

Benjamin Wright

Harold Lloyd lacked the vaudeville training and natural comedy of Chaplin and Keaton, yet he could make us laugh as hard as we did when watching Chaplin, and could elicit as much sympathy and suspense as Keaton, but he had to work harder at being funny. And work he did, churning out more pictures over the course of his very prolific film career than Chaplin and Keaton combined.

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