It’s more budgetary double feature Blu-Rays for movie collectors that want to own two somewhat—uh—okay comedies, but don’t want to spend money on them. If you’re a fan of either film, they’re basically only available on this double bill Blu-Ray for now, sans the features. So sadly there’s no audio commentary with Jon Lovitz and Tia Carrere going over the finer nuances of “High School High.” In either case, if you’re also a nineties completist, it’s definitely a double bill worth owning.
Michael Haneke’s “Funny Games” has tested even the most devoted cineaste, and split audiences down in two thanks to its polarizing premise and concept. Going in to Haneke’s “Funny Games,” I frankly didn’t know what to expect, but what I did know was that it’d test every fiber of patience I had in me as a horror fanatic. Lo and behold, it did. Admittedly, I was shocked to see that I admired every single aspect of what it attempted to pull off as a narrative that acknowledges the audience and asks us if we want to turn away… or see what hideous violence unfolds.
Charlize Theron is a woman who can play almost any role at this point and come out looking golden. She’s been able to portray so many interesting characters, and in “Long Shot” she is a beautiful politician fighting for the role of president. “Long Shot” would be a good movie if it weren’t mired in all that Judd Apatow nonsense that was very popular in the early aughts that reduces her to a cliché. There’s the frumpy man child winning the love of the ideal gorgeous woman, and there’s even the snide BFF of said woman who hates the frumpy man child at first, but then eventually learns to love him. And of course, there’s Seth Rogen who’s made a career of playing Seth Rogen once again playing Seth Rogen.
I’m one of those people that always saw many of the Elmore Leonard cinematic adaptations very dull and often painfully smug in their cooler than thou attitudes (“Jackie Brown” excluded). “Get Shorty” attempts to mix gangster cinema, with Hollywood satire and neither of it is ever quite as interesting as its think it is. “Get Shorty,” even at its darkest, is never quite as clever or immensely cynical about filmmaking as Robert Altman’s “The Player.” It proves it with a climax that’s more of an ending based on a more comedic look at the filmmaking process rather than the dark world void of creativity it can be and often is.
Director Cameo Wood, and co-writer Ken Liu’s “Real Artists” is a slick bit of satire that folks annoyed by the dominance of certain Hollywood studios might love. In fact, “Real Artists” is a great movie regardless, as it explores the idea of actual art, and what separates actual art from homogenized products for the masses. After her edit of a big studio’s animated movie goes viral, artist Sophia Baker is called in for an interview with a very popular and dominant animation studio.
Akeda (The Binding) (2018)
Dan Bronfeld’s drama is a disturbing but fascinating bit of meta-fiction that examines the real life brutality of war and loss of innocence. Bronfeld stages the film initially like an actual confrontation between American soldiers and an Israeli family. When the surviving son of the family emerges from his spot we learn he’s actually making a film. But is he? As we learn more and more about the filmmakers and their inherent tribalism, what we think we’re seeing doesn’t quite seem as absolute anymore. We’re left to wonder if he’s making a movie, or if he’s merely lying to himself to shield from the horrors of the war and violence that’s unfolding all around him. “Akeda” makes a strong statement about the brutality and sensationalism of war, and it’s a gem of a drama.
The movie so bad that not even Netflix wanted it, “Holmes & Watson” looks like one of those movies where the only reason why its stars signed on was because studio promised a potential blockbuster. What we get instead is two very talented men reduced to delivering one of the most atrocious movies of 2018 that contributes to the death of the comedy genre in film. “Holmes & Watson” is laughless, pointless and actually poorly reflects the capability of Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly both of whom can turn in comedy gold with the right material.
For years, satirists pin pointed Dick Cheney as the man behind George W. Bush, a man who was much too smart for the man running the country, he was the man often depicted as the grouchy old grandfather, or stern dad watching over his under achiever son and pulling the strings behind the scenes while junior basically had no idea and was wiser for not knowing, and “Vice” doesn’t shy away from that common message. “Vice” is an engrossing often pitch black comedy that is so much more complex than that now infamous gag. But Adam McKay makes it clear what kind of person Dick Cheney is from the minute we see him. Upon the bombings of 9/11, he’s swept away in to a safe room and decides to commit to swift political, consciously and visually keeping Bush oblivious to the scenarios unfolding.