Tag Archives: comedic

Berry & Fulcher’s Snuff Box

You wanna talk about dark and strange to the point of comedy? This show encompasses that idea. Seeing the faces of Matt Berry and Rich Fulcher once again warmed my heart to the sound of “Holy Shitnuts!” and Berry’s sultry pickup lines. I’m glad these two met through Noel Fielding and Julian Barratt’s The Mighty Boosh, because who knew such bizarre comedy could be made! Add some rap song about babies and Matt Berry’s whimsical singing voice and you have a campy comedy about Hangmen.

But it’s far more than that. Using their own names as the personas for their characters, Rich Fulcher and Matt Berry deliver skit after skit that may seem unrelated, and usually is. Berry wants his women and his silver cowboy boots, while Fulcher just wants Matt’s approval (and maybe some women). They both cavort around in a one room brothel/tavern occupied by cantankerous old farts, saying what they want, even traveling back in time. There’s no limits to their

The strange men who are Matt Berry and Rich Fulcher.

brashness and I loved all 6 episodes.

Looks quite old for a show from 2006…

If you liked The Mighty Boosh (and I have a blog on it from way back when) then you will most likely like this show. But it’s not a given. This show has some differences. Matt Berry and Rich Fulcher, although outrageous, have hits and misses in their show. For some people who like references in their comedy to draw from, this show has about a 20-80 ratio of referential comedy. It features no big Brit comedians, other than the occasional pop-up from Richard Ayoade from The IT Crowd and the Shaman from Boosh.

A coffee… For those awkward moments of Snuff Box.

But what I can’t get over is how bizarre this show actually is. Most sketches have nothing to do with what’s going on, and, like Little Britain, this show returns to sketches that may or may not have

Leave it to an American to make love to a lollipop…

worked out in previous episodes. It’s rather alarming to see the amount of progress made throughout this six episode series from start to finish. But if you are fans of Rich Fulcher and Matt Berry, this show will work for you.

It really worked for me.

There’s really not that much to say about this show. It’s one of those see it to believe it kind of deals. And there really isn’t anyway to describe it. So just check it out. It’s Brit comedy to the extreme of strange, the edge of darkness. It is, in a word, wonderful. 7.7 out of 10.

But really, leave it to an American on British Television to do things like this. Unbelievably witty.

 


An Idiot Abroad Series 1

… Or as Karl Pilkington would’ve liked to call it, “Karl Pilkington and the Seven Wonders”. Either way, executive producers Ricky Gervais (star and creator of UK’s The Office) and Stephen Merchant (co-creator of The Office), along with Sky1 programming, made this an experience that Karl would never forget. In 7 episodes (and a hindsight 8th episode), Karl Pilkington visits the seven wonders of the ancient world. What happens in the meanwhile makes all the comedy.

I love Ricky Gervais’s idea for this show. He calls it “the most expensive prank on national television”. He wants to throw Karl out of his comfort zone and make him do

This… is Karl Pilkington.

terribly uncomfortable and wacky things he would never do. If Karl brings something up (like rather living in a cave than in a nice house so he can see the nice house) they do that. His sometimes backwards and small minded opinions on the world come out constantly and he must deal with those consequences.

Unimpressed.

That’s what I loved about this travel documentary. Karl is constantly talking. (He says he hates noise, but a lot of it is coming from him.) He complains, in a very comedic way, although he may not know it, and has this constant set of stand up comedian like scenarios and jokes when he talks about native cultures. He won’t try any foods (sensitive gag reflex, he says) and his three favorite phrases are:

1. I’m completely knackered.

2. This is doing me head in.

3. Insert ethnically racial stereotype here.

A little bit jealous of the Shaolin Wushu…

He is unabashedly forward with people and, for some, that may come off as insensitive and stupid. For me, it was comedic timing and forward humor at its best. He has this insane amount of diction in his head that he can apply to any situation in order to describe it to another layperson such as himself. He is thoroughly unimpressed by every wonder (“It’s alright…”) and finds any way to use Sky1’s money in order to relax when he can.

But that’s where that stops. Gervais and Merchant are constantly calling Karl up in order to get him to do funny things for the camera. He awkwardly rides a camel, wrestles with pro wrestlers in Mexico, is unwittingly asked to stay with a gay crossdresser in Brazil, and is

Like a needle in a haystack…. (Preview of Series 2…)

always being pushed to live in terrible hotels and hostels. Seeing Karl as “the kid crying in the corner getting poked with the stick,” really is enjoyable television. I do feel bad for him sometimes though…

Is he truly an idiot? That face kinda says so…

Either way, Karl Pilkington gets to do some incredible things and see some incredible sights. He showed me, and all the other thousands of viewers who have watched him, how to rough it in other countries and where/what to steer clear of. Karl goes well beyond my own comfort zone and travels and does things I would never enjoy doing. If I had the opportunities he had, there would still be no show. So I salute you, Mr. Pilkington, for doing what Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant made fun of you for. Now, on to Series 2: The Bucket List of Karl Pilkington! 8 out of 10.


Black Swan: I Kinda Laughed.

People may get pissed off at me for this one. I… laughed quite a bit at Black Swan. It wasn’t a bad movie overall, but the things I found strange or wrong with this movie made me laugh out loud, kinda like watching a dark comedy. Although this movie wasn’t a comedy. Oh well, it can’t be helped. I hope Natalie Portman never sees this post and hates me for the rest of eternity if some infinitesimal chance allows me to meet her. Let’s just keep this post a secret.

What a beautiful pout. Still in love with her since I was 9.

So this is a movie about the ballet Swan Lake. The twist? The ballet she is performing is Swan Lake and she is living out the events of Swan Lake. Oh the twist! Other than the WTF middle section of the film, yeah, it follows it pretty closely. Prince has party, Prince meets White Swan, fall in love, Black Swan tricks Prince, Prince and White Swan commit suicide for love. The end. I think it’s the liberties that Darren Aronofsky took at assuming ballet is synonymous with sex. I would sayyyyyyy… No. That is an artistic leap and assumption I wouldn’t necessarily associate.

So… plot now. Nina Sayers (Natalie Portman) is an up and coming ballerina at her dance studio. She’s nice and quiet and just hopes to make a bigger name for herself. And then her dance director Mr. French McCreepy Bastard, Thomas Leroy (Vincent Cassel) announces they’ll be having a Swan Lake run at their production company. He, like every other pompous director who thinks they’re a visionary, says they’ll be doing it differently than ever before. I guess he was going for more rape and sexy. Alright there Leroy, that’s your own choice.

Ah yes, the creepy mother.

Nina begs for the position and gets mouth fondled by Cassel, because for some reason in 2011, it’s still shocking for a director/boss to take advantage of his cast/employees. With all that said and done, Nina takes on the lead role of the White and Black Swan. From this point on comes some “messed up” and thriller like elements that push the boundaries of what’s real and what’s not. The arty version of The Matrix, if you will. And don’t call me sexist or naive or ignorant at this point. People can have their opinions about a film, negative or not. I can say these ignorant things because from what I’ve seen of the hundreds of movies I’ve seen before, this movie isn’t necessarily anything impressive in the way of

Vincent Cassel, crossing toolish lines since… this movie.

groundbreaking. It seems more important for me, at this point, to say how disappointed I was with this film. Because, as serious and mentally disturbing as it was supposed to be, I still laughed.

Should I talk about my problems with this film? Let’s go. I knew there was going to be a conflict when Nina’s mother Erica (Barbara Hershey) flips out. She’s bought Nina this nice big cake for getting the part and Nina simply says no, I can’t eat right now, my stomache is upset. Reasonable reason right? “Well that’s fine, don’t have any.” The music becomes serious and tension filled, she heads towards the can with the cake. A simple pleading no from Nina and you see the smile instantly and bizarrely  return to her face. I laughed. Hard. Yes, this was supposed to point out the stressed and overprotective relationship that sparks Nina’s problems in the film. But it was campishly delivered and I enjoyed it. For any Tim and Eric fans out there, this scene may tickle your fancy.

I wanted to put this next to the word “lesbian”.

All the lesbian/finger banging scenes in this film feel out of place. That’s probably because I don’t make an automatic connection in my mind between ballet and sex. For me, ballet in particular, is a purist sport. It has a set amount of moves that allow you to express a gamut of emotions. Other forms of dance, sure, why not? There’s sex everywhere at a high school dance. Just not with ballet. Nina is exploring her sexuality and, for the whole film, until she said it, I thought she was 18, maybe 21 at most. Living with her mother threw off my radar on her age and calling her Mommy (with her room and clothing choices) I assumed 18. Why would a 28 year old dancer be attempting to get big in dance? Her prime is gone. Error right there.

I disliked Vincent Cassel in this movie. I think you’re supposed to. To the extent I did, maybe was a bit extreme. Not death threat level, I’m talking more ruined any scene he was in for me. As a sex icon in the movie? Didn’t really believe it. Mila Kunis though? She was her normal, old relaxed That 70’s Show self in this one. Typical Mila out for a good time, who just happens to be a diabolical dancer. I did love

You made this movie better Winona.

Natalie Portman’s performance in the film. She did have to do a lot of things you never typically see her do in this film. And I was IN LOVE with Winona Ryder’s performance in this film. The fallen dancer and raging spurned lover? That was a convincing and devastating performance for her.

Let the weird begin.

Other than that, I don’t really wanna shit on this movie too much. I just didn’t like it. It wasn’t my cup of tea. I do see how this movie didn’t beat The King’s Speech for best film. It was too edgy for the Oscar community. But it was a well done film itself. The cinematography was jarring and uncommon, something I just can’t stand. Watch this movie again and see if the still shots outweigh the fluid and nauseating moving shots. You’d be surprised. The acting for the most part is what you would expect from a movie with Oscar buzz and all that good stuff. Just not my film. And because I’m the one rating for my own interest, I have to give this movie a 4 out of 10.


Leaves of Grass (The Film)

I was pleasantly surprised by this film I had never heard anything about. The second I saw Edward Norton playing twins, my mind jumped to Nicholas Cage in Adaptation. And I love that film because of him and everything about it. So I got a little bit excited once I saw both of them interacting together onscreen. A film that centers around the lifestyle of weed and academia, I know one half of. But that didn’t detract from my enjoyment of the film. It enhanced it with how intelligently represented both sides are.

I think it was best said by whoever put it on Wikipedia when they said this film has everything of the great tragedies. Mistaken identity, betrayal, violence, loss, and all that good shizz. I was hooked the second Ed Norton stepped on camera as his

Two brothers, one person.

intelligent half, Bill Kincaid. He gives such a convincing performance as the well-to-do, goody-goody brother of the family that went off to college to become a thinker. And that scene is completely contrasted by his portrayal as Brady Kincaid, the equally intelligent marijuana grower. Both sides have an intelligent way of speaking (despite the Oklahoma “Southern” accent) and it comes off as very entertaining to hear their rapport.

A great little cast.

So the movie’s about Bill and Brady, the Kincaid twins. One has aspirations of Harvard and the other aspirations of a lucrative weed business. They parted ways long ago after differences in family experience and got on fine. But things haven’t been going so well for Brady. Brady tricks Bill into flying out by faking his own death and meeting up with Brady’s associate, Rick Bolger (Tim Blake Nelson). After everything gets figured out, Bill finds out that Blake needs him to pose as himself while he goes out on some business. All he has to do is visit their mother, Daisy (Susan Sarandon) and everything will be fine. But, of course, that’s not how things turn out.

There’s a great quality of culture clash in this movie when North meets South, East meets West. Although both characters started out in the OK, they have drifted apart and need to reconnect. There’s a great subtle love/seducing interest between Bill and a small town girl, Janet (Keri Russell). She noodles and ropes them broncos and all that shit, and its strange for Bill to find a girl just as knowledgeable when it comes to poetry. There’s a clash between the greater Christian community and the Jews in this movie as well. Big props for Richard Dreyfuss pulling off the kinky role of Jewish mob boss in this film. And never forget about the little guy, a great job by John Pais.

What a great Jewish badass.

People had a problem with the move from the comedic to the dark and tragic, but it didn’t bother me as much. Moving from quirky to murky isn’t as hard as people take it to be in films. This movie leans in that direction from the beginning with the drug running and gang violence and can’t end well because movies have to have that element of loss or gain. If Bill came down and visited his mother and nothing bad happened and things went off without a hitch, this movie would be about 45 minutes shorter. So I give the benefit of the doubt to this film for tiptoeing around that issue.

I was pleasantly surprised how well Tim Blake Nelson directed and wrote this movie, as well as starred in. He pulled off the trifecta well and made a compelling story all at once. From only knowing him as

That’s some great work you’re doing there, Mr. Pendanski.

Mr. Pendanski in Holes, he made one hell of a movie. There’s not a lot of focus on the life Bill had (obviously this movie is meant to change him towards family) and it’s a lot about going back to your roots. I thought Edward Norton did an amazing job in both roles and made me think (if I didn’t know it was Edward Norton) that it was two different people. Let’s jump back 50 years when filming two people at once was more of an amazing thing and blow some minds. Maybe roll up a joint (this movie is really not about weed at all…) and enjoy some Leaves of Grass. Its limited release and Sundance Premier really secured this as a not well known good movie. I’ll give it a 7.7 out of 10.


Hellraiser 3: Hell on Earth

And this is where the Hellraiser series begins to fall flat. Bought by Miramax, an American company. Pinhead crosses the ocean and finds his feet on shaky ground in Hellraiser 3: Hell on Earth. Claiming that “Hell has come to Earth,” this installment enters the club scene of New York in the early 90’s. (Or some such city…) With Clive Barker becoming a co-producer and a basis for the series, this is where the Jenga tower gets wobbly.

In this part of the series, Kirsty is no longer involved. She did her duty to send back the Cenobites to Hell and gains a well deserved rest. It is now her testimony on a couple of psychiatric tapes that give clues to the new main female protagonist of the film. Pinhead has been rent in twain and his former self as Captian Elliott Spencer and his id as Pinhead (both Doug Bradley as classically usual) are about to throw down. It is up to young reporter Joey Summerskill (Terry Farrell) to reunite the two.

This really was the best scene though. Yay sacrilege!

Basic plot? Here goes. J.P. Monroe (Kevin Bernhardt) is a pimpin’ playa hatin’ psycho club owner of the aptly named Boiler Room. (This club was incidentally the most expensive aspect of the production and was filled with cast, crew, and friends.) In order to exude this strangely masochistic feel, J.P. gets his hands on the pillar of souls from the last movie, containing Pinhead’s veracious killing streak. After sucking in one of J.P.’s sluts, Pinhead emerges, asking for more souls to release him from his prison.

J.P.'s pimpin' Pillar of Souls!

Meanwhile, Joey Summerskill is on the case! Like a modern day Nancy Drew, Joey walks the bad streets of her newly formed beat, somehow stumbling on this supernatural case of torture. With the chance meeting of J.P.’s main squeeze Terri (Paula Marshall). Once they discover the secrets of the Lament Configuration, things get weird. Although, Joey has been having some strange Vietnam flashbacks of her father dying in Vietnam. I don’t know the time frame on this movie, but I really am not seein’ it.

The bastardized Cenobites pull Joey's hair!

With a whole new crew of Cenobites (because all the originals died in the last movie, but come back in the fourth for no reason…), these rip-off cyborgs must be stopped at all costs and Pinhead must be stopped from his sacrilegious ways. I wasn’t so sure about the ending, but hey, this movie was the weak link.

I dunno about this movie, it was just strange overall. After having so much fun watching the first two, the third kind of burnt me out on the series. What makes the next one even better is a little secret about the director (I can’t wait to tell you all!). With Clive Barker as a backseat driver in this series from this point on, it makes it hard knowing he is not the driving force behind what’s going on onscreen. The acting became worse, I cared less about the characters, and the only good thing that came out of this one in the series was a bit more development with Pinhead’s character. Leave it to an American company to make a great horror series lame (insert every Asian horror movie and its destruction when turned into an American remake).

With that in mind, I am not disappointed with the Hellraiser series overall. This one had a bit less gore and animatronics, but just a bit. The kill scenes became comedic, and the Cenobites were bastardized American versions of Chatterbox, Butterball, and The Female. With the amount of over the top gore in this movie, I felt short changed. It gets a bit better in Bloodline, but not a whole lot. Hopefully the stride will be regained in 6… But I gotta give Hell on Earth less than 1 or 2, it’s a saddening 3.8 out of 10.

I will survive.


Soul Eater: The Nightmare Before Anime

Ever since my girlfriend and her sister cosplayed the Thompson twins from Soul Eater, I had developed a growing

Liz and Patty. Yes.

interest in watching Soul Eater. I didn’t realize at the time what this show would hold in store for me. (Added bonus if Christopher Sabat does any voice in an anime.) As I began watching this 51 episode anime, I found myself falling in love with the characters and caring for what would happen to them (although I had the ending ruined for me by complete accident.) It didn’t detract from the pulse-pounding episodes of battle after battle that ensued, and I found a new love in this Halloween-type anime that sent chills down my spine and laughs throughout my body as I spent a week watching this amazing anime. I was enraptured.

This anime follows the story of three “Meisters” and their “Weapons.” These duos of weapon and wielder take on what are known as Kishins, the tainted souls of creatures that have become monsters and feed on other people’s souls. Once 99 Kishin souls are collected, and one witch’s soul, then the weapon is deemed worthy of being used by Lord Death. This grim reaper is the essential Headmaster of the DWMA, also known as the Death Weapon Meister Academy. He installed this school to battle Kishins, and it has done a good job up to this point.

The doom and gloom of Death City.

It is at this point that things begin to go downhill. The evil witch Medusa (Luci Christian) and others have made plans to bring down the DWMA, and it is up to three brave Meisters, Maka Albarn (Laura Bailey), Black Star (Brittney Karbowski), and Death the Kid (Todd Haberkorn) to defeat the evil plot of the witches and Kishins. Teamed up with their weapons, Soul Eater (Micah Solusod), Tsubaki (Monica Rial), and the Thompson twins Liz (Jamie Marchi) and Patty (Cherami Leigh).

So it may seem weird that Meisters, who are people, are fighting using weapons who are also people. But these people are born with the ability to change into weapons at will. These weapons are special as well. A Meister and its Weapon have a special bond known as Soul Resonance. This bond allows Meister and Weapon to combine into one soul and creates a higher power in which to defeat enemies. But these three are not on the level of the Professors or Lord Death himself at the DWMA. And it is the school’s purpose to train these Meisters and Weapons in order to make them formidable opponents against Kishins.

The one thing that stands out about this anime, to me, is the style in which the plot is set. The doom and gloom of death and souls is combined with the comedic

Soul Eater. With some pizazz.

drawings of the artists. This gives it an anime meets Nightmare Before Christmas feel to it. The grinning Sun and Moon with blood dripping from their teeth give it that comedic element, mixed with the morbid. The grim reapers and monster encountered, drawn in what appears to be Jack the Ripper Whitechapel area sets up one of the best environments I’ve ever encountered in an anime.

Black Star. Badass.

And there are some great english voice actors that are in this anime. It would take too long to give a whole list, so I’ll just highlight a few. I thought Micah Solusod gave a great performance as Soul Eater, Maka’s weapon scythe. His grave voice and determined attitude comes across great through Micah, although I’ve never heard of him before. Brittney Karbowski was amazing as the cocky Black Star, my all time favorite ninja child and all around badass. John Swasey was great as Lord Death. His goofy voice gave the anime a Jack Skellington element with his personality and outlook. Vic Mignogna was hilarious as Maka’s father and Death Scythe Spirit. His obsession with seeking his daughter’s approval was always worth a laugh. Chuck Huber was fantastic as the madness induced Professor Doctor Franken Stein. His tormented character fought back and forth, and this was amazingly done by Huber. Maxey Whitehead was great as the insecure, gender-bender Crona. The duo of Crona and Ragnarok against the world and the lack of acceptance was heart wrenching to say the least. And yes, Troy Baker was amazing as Excalibur, the useless, fool dueling weapon of legend and lore.

And that’s about it. To get too much into the story might ruin the anime with spoilers, so I’ll leave you with this. If you’re looking for a light-hearted shonen with gore, guts (courage/bravery), and glorious fighting, this anime is for you. I give Soul Eater a 9 out of 10.

And here’s a taste of the show with a tribute to Death the Kid and the sexy Thompson Twins. Hooray.