Archive for June, 2009

23
Jun
09

The Hangover

20090611-the-hangoverWhen thinking of the comedy hits of the “20 something” generation, many incredible titles come to mind. There are the killer comedies from the “Frat Pack” (Old School, Wedding Crashers, Anchorman, etc). There is the off kilter humor of Broken Lizard (Super Troopers, Beer Fest, Club Dread). And of course let’s not forget the Seth Rogan era (40 Year Old Virgin, Knocked up, Super Bad). The Hangover will easily find its place among these great comedies. It follows the recipe perfectly for gut busting entertainment. Soon everyone you know will be reciting the witty one liners, and updating their Facebook statuses with paragraphs of dialogue. The Hangover is an extremely fun movie, and will make every guy in the world want their bachelor party in Vegas. But lets be honest, “some guys just can’t handle Vegas”.

The Hangover runs with the idea of having a balls to the wall bachelor party in Vegas. Doug Billings is getting married, and as one last hooray hits the Vegas strip with his buddies Stu, Phil, and soon to be brother-n-law, Alan. Of course a night out in Vegas is never dull, and the boys “misplace” the groom to be. They must back track their steps to remember what happened the night before, and find Doug before he has to step up to the alter.

Todd Phillips could possibly be one of the greatest comedic directors of our generation. First he brought us Road Trip, the ever hilarious Old School, and now the 2009 hit The Hangover. It is one thing to have a hilarious script with dream dialogue, but if you do not portray it to the audience correctly, all that comedy gold is lost. Todd Phillips does an excellent job of keeping the audience rolling. Sometimes comedy is made through reaction shots. Catching the reaction of a character at the right moment can, most times, be a lot funnier than the actual dialogue. Phillips grabs those reaction shots with great close ups of the characters. Zach Galifianakis’s character, Alan, is so incredibly hilarious that to not shoot his facial expressions would be a sin. There are also great landscape shots of Vegas. This helps the audience get the full ambiance of the bachelor party. Seeing the Vegas lights foreshadows the insanity..

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What truly makes this movie, is the dynamic characterization and their interactions. A great comedy has characters that have distinct personality traits whose energies feed off each other. The Hangover is an excellent example of this. First off you have the suave, asshole, teacher, Phil (Bradley Cooper). Anytime you have a party movie you need this character. A guy who knows how to party and most definitely adds fuel to the fire. Next there is the conservative, whipped lap dog, Stu (Ed Helms). You always need a character like Stu; a guy who is always freaking out, but will follow the party guy to hell and back. His unease with the situation heightens the suspense of the plot, and of course adds some funny one liners. Then there is the socially awkward, odd ball, of the group, Alan (Zach Galifianakis). This is the character that is a little off his rocker, and sticks out like a sore thumb. This inevitably is the star character of the movie. The character people will be quoting for years to come. His awkwardness provides the movie with a constant flow of random, hilarious dialogue, and a catalyst for the movie’s action. If you look at Old School, Alan can be compared to Frank the Tank. Will Farrell’s character is quoted more than Maya Angelo on Valentines Day. And as many of you have already seen or heard, Alan’s lines will easily be recited at drunken college parties, and on Twitter updates for a long time.

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This movie looked like it was a lot of fun to make, and that energy is easily portrayed to the audience. The Hangover is getting a lot of hype, and for once it is actually deserved. Get off your butt and stop watching Old School reruns on TBC. Go see this movie, and leave the kids at home. P.S if you are offended by male frontal nudity you will LOVE this movie!

03
Jun
09

Drag Me To Hell

drag_me_to_hell_posterLet me just start off by saying, THANK YOU SAM RAIMI! The motion picture community has waited too long for a film that exhibits complete originality and guts. Drag Me To Hell is being called the “perfect” horror film, and I could not agree more. It produces on the simple figments of the horror genre that have worked for years, keeping the audience gripping their theater chairs and covering their eyes.

Drag Me To Hell is about a loan officer, Christine Brown (Alison Lohman), fighting to be promoted to assistant manager. In order to get herself noticed, Christine must decline an extension to an elderly, gypsy woman. Cursed by her decision, Christine has three days to appease the evil spirits that are coming to take her to soul to hell.

Curses, demons, old woman without teeth; this horror movie has it all. Sam Raimi makes his stunning return to the horror genre, and speaking for all the fans out there, we are grateful. For those of you who don’t know, Sam Raimi was the writer and director of the Evil Dead saga, as well as the director of all three Spider-Man movies. Once you see Drag Me To Hell you will know for sure what genre Raimi belongs in. It is refreshing to see that a horror movie does not need to have an overkill of blood and guts to shock its audience. Raimi reverts back to the simplicity of horror that made the genre so great in the 60’s and 70’s. The simple use of build up in a scene will suck an audience in and then send them jolting back in their seat at the peak. Raimi does this effectively with the use of amazing visuals and sound.

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The look and feel of this movie is like a colorful comic book. It sounds like a weird combo for a horror film but it works. The colors make the audience more intimate with the surroundings, making them a lot easier to scare. Raimi did not use blood and gore as a fall back to a weak plot. He used the cheap, age old trick of the ghoul jumping out of the bushes, and it worked every time. But lets be honest, a horror movie just is not as fun without a little bit of the disgusting. Don’t worry fans, Raimi might not use a lot of blood and guts, but he sure does keep the audience at max gross out. The old, gypsy lady is constantly gnawing at Christine’s face, and for some reason always spewing some sort of gross liquid. We all know old ladies make us sick sometimes; well this definitely exploits that uneasy feeling around the elderly.

Also the sound and music in this movie are amazing. Christopher Young, who also worked on such classic horror films as Hellraiser II, and the Fly II, was responsible for the chilling background music. The sound fits perfectly into the idea of the build up. The film has an eerie way of getting very quiet right before the peak. You could tell the entire audience knew what was coming by their frightened squeals, but they still jumped out of their seats every time. On the opposite end, the movie knew when to blast your ear drums. The film is full of sound bits that sound like metal fingernails on a chalkboard, creeping you out at every turn. There is one instance during a sayounce where the audience is attacked with a loud, ear piercing roar. It is paralyzing to the characters, but it is also right at the edge of unbearable for the audience. This peak of the sound gives the audience a sense of panic just long enough to put them at edge and expect more jolts.

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It has been a long time since a horror movie has kept me on edge through out its entirety, but Drag Me To Hell did it with ease. It has a completely original plot line, with an ending that will easily satisfy movie goers. This movie is guaranteed to make you think twice before crossing a gypsy woman, and check your back seat a few times before you leave the parking lot.