Search Results for: steve buscemi

MOVIE REVIEW | Paris, je táime (2006)

“By acting like a man in love, he became a man in love again.”

Movies are often called a love letter to the city in which they’re set.  But usually, that geographical admiration is underneath a more standard narrative.  Characters go through the motions of a romantic comedy with the backdrop of a city constantly there, trying everything together.  Paris, je táime takes the concept a little more literally.  Translated as Paris, I Love, this collection of 20 odd short films by an impressive roster of A-list directors and actors never lets a story stick around long enough to get in the way of that city’s love letter.

Of all of the directors given the reigns to a part of this anthology, the contributions by the  Coen Brothers and Alexander Payne were the two I was looking forward to the most.  And they both deliver.  But the fact that the both tell stories about being American outsiders in the City of Lights makes me worry that my own cinematic tastes are a little too pedestrian and mainstream American. The Coen’s entry is them at their quirky, silly, slight best, as silent tourist Steve Buscemi reads his guide book a little too slowly to avoid a confrontation on a metro platform. (more…)

MOVIE REVIEW | The Incredible Burt Wonderstone (2013)

Burt Steve Carell is a really funny dude.  Jim Carrey is a really funny dude.  Alan Arkin is a really funny dude.  Even Steve Buscemi can hold his own when it comes to comedy.  The Incredible Burt Wonderstone is a really almost funny movie.  That’s a little harsh, because this movie did make me laugh out loud more than few times, it’s just that it never really comes to together as anywhere near equal to the sum of its parts.  But those parts are pretty funny in fits and starts.

Carell and Buscemi play Burt Wonderstone and Anton Marvelton, childhood friends, now a team of Las Vegas magicians, a combination of David Copperfield and Siegfried and Roy in their 80s and 90s heyday.  The joke is though, this isn’t the 80s or 90s anymore, but Wonderstone and Marvelton are still performing the same act and wearing the same costumes that made them a draw back in the day. It’s an easy laugh, but putting characters in over the top, campy magician outfits from the 80s is just funny.  The problem is, The Incredible Burt Wonderstone relies on those kind of easy gags too often. It doesn’t really build on them or ad anything.  It just kind of says “Here’s Steve Carell in bedazzled crushed velvet and a lion’s main of streaked hair.  You laugh now”.

Jim Carrey is a David Blain-esque street magician and provocateur named Steve Gray who’s new style of stunts and self-mutilation is stealing crowds from the out of date antics of Wonderstone and Marvelton.  I guess Carrey is the villain of the story, but The Incredible Burt Wonderstone uses that in a weird way.  Carell and Carey only share two or three scenes, and they only really interact in one of them (that I can remember).  So it’s hard to get behind the hero when his enemy is so disconnected from the rest of the characters.

Alan Arkin plays Rance Holloway, the magician who was the original inspiration for the childhood versions of Carell and Buscemi to pursue their magical dream.  Present day Wondersotne is hitting rock bottom when he discovers Holloway in a retirement home.  Then it’s comedy redemption arc business as usual as the mentor reminds the hero why he loved magic in the first place.  The clichés aren’t so bad though, when outweighed by some vintage Alan Arkin awesomeness.

Also, Olivia Wilde is in it.  That sentence might actually give her character more depth than the movie does.

The major redeeming quality of The Incredible Burt Wonderstone is its anything-for-a-laugh attitude.  While something like Now You See Me tries to make magicians cool, edgy and dangerous, Wonderstone realises all things magician are actually pretty goofy.  There’s nothing cool about David Copperfield, he’s obviously a huge geek.  Carell, Carrey, Buscemi and Arkin all recognise and embrace the geekiness of their characters and milk it for every laugh they can.  Which is good, because the script doesn’t have many.  Anything funny about this movie comes down to the actors and their performances, not the screenplay.

The Incredible Burt Wonderstone
Directed By – Don Scardino
Written By – Jonathan M Goldstein, John Francis Daley

MOVIE REVIEW | I Love You Phillip Morris (2009)

In a nutshell, Bored & Dangerous says: “A movie that will stay with me.  And stay pretty high on the list when I think of the best Jim Carrey or Ewan McGregor movies.”

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“From the moment we met, you’ve done nothin’ but lie. Our whole relationship, just lies.”

Netflix and at home streaming is obviously awesome for its convenience.  When I was a kid, and trips to the video shop were a special treat, the idea of having access to countless movies at home, anytime, would have seemed as insanely awesome as it was impossible.  But more than convenience, one of the great things I’m finding about Netflix is the habit I’m getting into of watching movies that look kind of interesting, but I’d never normally put in any actual effort to see them.  Lazily and aimlessly scrolling through the endless menu is the only situation in which I could imagine myself ever actually committing 100 minutes to a movie like I Love You Phillip Morris.  And it’s a lazy, aimless gamble that paid off.

Ever since finding out he was adopted, Steven Russell (Jim Carrey) tried to live the quintessential life he thought was normal.  Working as a local cop, singing in the local choir, marrying a local girl (Leslie Mann as Debbie) and starting a family in his local, Texas town.  But after a car accident, Steven realises that he can never be truly happy living a lie and embraces life as the gay man he has always kept hidden. (more…)

MOVIE REVIEW | ***FLOP WEEK 2*** Cowboys and Aliens (2011)

In a nutshell, Bored & Dangerous says: “It’s all goofy, not very good CGI aliens, little winks to the camera about the wackiness of high-tech meeting the old west, and one awkward battle scene after another. ”

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“Don’t yank on it, it’s not your pecker.”

In 2011, Jon Favreau had played a major part in establishing what is now the behemoth Marvel Cinematic Universe, by directing two mega successful Iron Man movies. In 2011, Daniel Craig had helped reinvigorate the James Bond series and after only two movies, was already considered one of the best to ever play the titular spy. In 2011, Harrison Ford decided to soil the pants of Star Wars nerds everywhere by taking a role in another alien centric, sci-fi movie. In 2011, Olivia Wilde was one of Hollywood’s next ‘it’ female stars. In 2011, Paul Dano, Sam Rockwell and Keith Carradine all held status as some of the leading character actors of their respective generations. In 2011, the nerds had won and comic book movies were officially ruling the big screen, with fatigue yet to set in. Yet, with all of that going for it, Cowboys and Aliens kind of shit the bed.

It’s the old west, and Jake Lonegran (Craig) wakes up with no idea where he is or how he got there. What he does know is, there’s a strange metal brace clasped to one of his wrists. When some no good cowpokes stumble across Jake, they think the brace is a handcuff, which means they think Jake is an escaped prisoner, which means they think there might be a bounty on his head. When they try to take him down, Jake reveals himself to be one of those movie bad asses who can perfectly land any bullet or punch without even looking at the target or breaking a sweat. Winning the day, he takes their clothes, a horse and one of their dogs, and heads to the nearest town. (more…)

MOVIE REVIEW | Dumb and Dumber To (2014)


“That’s Butthole. I found him out in the alley.”

All the way back in the early to mid 90s, Dumb and Dumber was a bit of watershed moment. Jim Carrey had already done Ace Ventura: Pet Detective, but he was still a The Mask away from being the biggest paid comedy star in Hollywood. And the Farrelly Brothers were still two movies away from making There’s Something About Mary, one of the highest grossing comedies ever. Dumb and Dumber kind of defined a brand of silly, gross comedy that would dominate the genre until a decade later when Judd Apatow would take over with his man-child, heartfelt gear. So now, 20 years later, is there still a place for silly, gross comedy? Well, Dumber and Dumber To definitely does its best to find out.

Harry (Jeff Daniels) visits Lloyd (Jim Carrey) in a mental hospital. He’s been in a catatonic, wheelchair bound state since the end of the last movie. Only, he hasn’t really been catatonic. It’s all been an elaborate prank. It’s a joke that worked when I saw the trailer months ago, and it’s a joke the works here. But they can’t bask in the glory of the prank forever, because Harry has some bad news. He’s sick and needs a replacement kidney from a blood relative. Visiting his Asian parents, Harry finally learns that he’s adopted. But he also learns that he has a daughter from a romance before the events of the first movie. (more…)

MOVIE REVIEW | Foxcatcher (2014)


“Coach is the father. Coach is a mentor. Coach has great power on athlete’s life.”

When Bennett Miller made Capote, I remember I liked it and thought it was a reasonable enough choice for its Best Picture nomination and Philip Seymour Hoffman’s Best Actor win at the Oscars. But it’s not a movie I thought about much after it’s time past, and I’ve never felt the need to see it again. But Miller’s follow up, Moneyball, really made me take notice of the director.

It wasn’t about playing baseball, it wasn’t even about coaching baseball, it was about the back room dealings of managing baseball. That sounds pretty boring, add to that the story’s other a major aspect, maths and stats, and it really is shocking how entertaining Moneyball ended up being. Entertaining enough that when I heard Bennett Miller had a new movie on the way, I was immediately excited for Foxcatcher. (more…)