Tag Archives: director and writer

Ping Pong Playa

It’s all fun and games to playa hate on Ping Pong. But not to the Chinese. In a sport that originated in China (not in England, as white people claim, apparently…) Chinese people take the art of the Pong very seriously. (Balls of Fury can make fun of this one all they want. Yes, at times that movie was funny, but it is considered a sport.) But this movie

Yao Ming ballin’ it up at a Ping Pong table?

doesn’t take itself too seriously. Written by Jimmy Tsai the star of the film, combined with Jessica Yu’s directing and co-writing, comes a lighthearted and inspirational film that resets the Chinese at the top of the crop in table tennis.

At the start of the film we are introduced to C-dubs (Jimmy Tsai). He has amateur dreams of becoming an NBA basketball player, following in the famous footsteps of Yao Ming. In a mock interview with someone made to look like Ron Howard (Jonathan Oliver playing “Jon Howard), C-dubs attempts to shake the Asian stereotypes that are held over his head with his ghetto dialect, an effort in vain.

Everyone has 4th grader friends, right?

His parents, Mr. (Jim Lau) and Mrs. (Elizabeth Sung) Wang find him lazy and apathetic to the world of Ping Pong, despite owning and operating a Ping Pong equipment shop and Ping Pong lessons at the local community center. Spending all his days with his black friend, JP Money (Khary Payton) and his 4th grader friend Felix (Andrew Vo), C-dubs looks hopeless. Until the day that his older brother Michael (Roger Fan) gets into an accident with his mother, who is no longer able to host her Ping Pong lessons. It is up to C-dubs to hold down the fort and teach some Ping Pong.

As you can expect from an inspirational film like this, C-dubs is very resistant at first. He goes to the community center with no desire to

DESTROY THOSE FOOLS.

teach, despite having a talent from a young age. You know it’s getting in the way of his training for basketball, but there’s a little surprise with that… With the help of his elementary level school friends and the interest of a young and beautiful Chinese woman, Jennifer (Smith Cho). When rep is on the line, C-dubs picks it up and realizes he has been a mess his whole life. Time to step up to the paddles.

King Erotic, you’ve come back…

There are a few great appearances in this movie. Stephanie Weir from MadTV makes an appearance as the awkwardly racist Ping Pong judge. Shelley Malil from The 40 Year Old Virgin is also featured as the father of one of the awkward Indian kids who is to smart for his own good. And, what may be the best, is Khary Payton as C-dub’s black friend. Many may not recognize him, but his was King Erotic in the Troy/300 spoof, The Legend of Awesomest Maximus. Man was he latently homosexual in that movie…

The acting was fine and there were laughs and comedy throughout. Every time there is a swear word, a basketball bounce is played over it (making it funnier than if they had sworn). It’s a movie for teens that teaches a lesson about good

Asian fury.

sportsmanship, as well as race relations. Never judge a book by its cover (i.e. C-dubs and his bball dreams) and always have in the back of your mind that what you say may offend others. It has a nice message and doesn’t take itself too seriously. It’s semi-entertaining and may not be funny for everyone, but check it out. You might learn something. 6.4 out of 10.

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Four Lions: Terrorism at its Finest

In this dark comedy/mockumentary of the Islamic world of terrorism, four “lions” of men come together for one reason only, to attack the Western infidels of Sheffield, England in order to send a message. And what a message they send. In one of the funniest movies of the past five years, for me, I couldn’t stop laughing as these moderately incompetent terrorists attempt to lay some waste and terror all over some English peoples. There’s mishaps, wavering trust and faith, and even some exploding sheep. Nothing could be better than one of the most controversial films to ever deal with a hot button issue.

This misfit group of terrorists are really intent on blowing up something. Be it a drug store or the members of a fun run, Hell, even their own mosque, they plan to incite some rage and tension between countries. There’s Omar (Riz Ahmed), the leader of the group with the best head on his shoulders. He plans to leave his family and be truer to the Muslim faith than his bookworm of a brother. What shocked me most about this film was why Omar’s loving and beautiful wife and son are okay with all that

Some kooky terrorists on the prowl.

he’s doing. There’s Omar’s dim witted friend and “bro” Waj (Kayvan Novak). Always wanting to travel on those “rubber dingy rapids”, Waj has the best of intentions but always seems to screw it up along the way. Throw in the wild card Barry (Nigel Lindsay) the white Muslim converted Englander who feels he’s better suited for terrorist acts than anyone in the group. He screws up a lot, but will never admit to his mistakes. And there’s Faisal (Adeel Akhtar) the man who blows up crows in preparation for an airborne attack.

Hassan pullin’ off some Muslim rapping.

Bring together this rag-tag bunch of Muslim extremists and you have a recipe for disaster. They cook up bombs in their flat with huge amounts of bleach and other cleaning products and slang it around with one of the funniest escape scenes you’ll ever see. There’s arguments on what a Wookie is (a bear or not?) and whether being a Muslim rapper is the right path in life. There are some great scenes in Afghanistan where Omar and Waj go for training and one of my favorite muck-up scenes takes place there as well. Is it racist I attempt to put on a English tinted Muslim accent? RUBBER DINGY RAPIDS BRO.

I was mightily impressed with Chris Morris’ directing and writing in this film. He researched information on the situation of terrorism and the “War on Terror” prior to this film. This helped accurately represent the frustrated characters he created in this film that just want to blow shit up. Coming from an actor turned director that I’ve watched in a few seasons of The IT Crowd, his humor wasn’t represented, and replaced with a much darker and brooding one. The council scene in which the local residents in Sheffield debate about terrorism is hard to watch and quite frightening when Hassan (Arsher Ali) is introduced. Their ideals and views may come across as ridiculous, but there are those out there who believe infidels must be killed and women must be locked away.

Explain this. Word.

Get some, Omar.

Not recognizing any of the actors from this film really helped enhance the experience of watching this film. They’re all fine actors and you begin to believe they are strong extremist Muslim supporters in this film. The gorilla style of shooting and set ups are all interesting and give a gritty feel to the film. The Afghanistan shots seem a bit unbelievable but its only for a short time that you have to jump into the warfare of the sands. The conflicts and characters develop as the film progresses and you learn that there is a serious side to the film. The dark humor becomes more real and you’re forced to realize situations like this happen, the terrorists have families and faces, they have feelings and emotions just like us. It’s not so much a sympathy film as it is a humorously dark look into what exactly terrorism means outside of our own perspectives. And I applaud that outlook. This film accomplishes its comedic elements and also delivers a message at the same time. Impressed as I was, this movie does deserve all the critical acclaim it got. Best film of 2010? You got it. A definite 9.7 out of 10.


Rolling Kansas

This stoner film classic (a title I wouldn’t normally give this film, but apparently is its category/genre) is a movie I’ve been aware of for a while and have watched at least a dozen times on Comedy Central. Sitting down to watch it, uncensored for a baker’s dozen made it all the more satisfying. This outlandishly dull/dark comedy film with its underlying marijuana jokes (by that, I guess I mean jokes that would be found funnier if high) and hilarious insults, this movie kicks a lot of ass. And takes no names. Well, it takes some. But this film incorporates the great tribute to the comedic road-trip (i.e. Dumb & Dumber) and ridiculous occurrences (i.e. Meet the Spartans/any spoof movie with random appearances of randomness) and molds these two concepts into one great head trip of druggie proportions. But at the same time, it works for non-stoners like myself, with its hilarious actors.

So Dick Murphy (James Roday, star of Psych) is a down on his luck T-shirt decal shop. He’s been recently broken up with, repossessed, and poor. With nothing else to ride on, him, his brothers, and a few college friends take on the enormous

The Murphys and some strippers. Rolling hard.

task of stealing a bunch of weed from a U.S. growing site that their hippie parents used to frequent. With obstacles and hardships aplenty, its a wonder they get anywhere at all. I mean, come on, geese that attack at the provocation of a car horn. Damn, dirty goats? It all adds up to a failed trip in the making.

But no, these 5 determined men won’t give up at all in their quest for the nugs. Despite police, border patrol, and an unkind Southern hermaphroditic waitress, these men will stop at nothing to make bank with bud. After every scene, every line, I find something new and funnier to laugh at. Despite seeing it so many times, the movie just gets better with age, like a fine wine. I tip my hat Thomas Haden Church (Sideways and Spider-Man 3 actor, but more importantly Brendan Frasier’s antagonist

A couple of great scenes. Who knew?

in George of the Jungle) the director and writer and 2-part actor in this film for the ages.

There are some hilarious not well known actors in this film. Sam Huntington plays the crippled and angry Dinkadoo Murphy, better known as “Dinkus”. Although he has been getting more work since this and his other smaller bit roles in a few comedies, I find Sam Huntington to be far funnier than he is given credit for. Dinkus’s character is no different with his hilarious outbursts and insult thrown at anyone who pisses off the boy in the wheelchair. Charlie Finn plays Kevin Haub, confused and slightly retarded friend of the Murphys who battles the entire movie with the idea that he might be gay (inset horn sound here). This clueless character is unlike any I’ve seen before, and I could only liken it to Dumb & Dumber. Ryan McDow plays (as a one time role) Hunter Bullette, the anti-social narcoleptic with a kind soul but hulking whale body. Filling out the cast in Rip Torn, known simply as Oldman, the messiah who leads the boys to the promised land of Mary Jane. Rip must be a natural comedic actor, because ever since Dodgeball, I’ve seen him in EVERYTHING.

With such a great cast and such a simple idea, this movie is definitely worth a few views. High or sober, it doesn’t matter, I’m sure it can be appreciated by everyone. With the pursuit of a dream and some major bones, this film brings the American West into perspective painted on a faux-highway of gold bricks. With nothing safe, why wouldn’t you risk your entire livelihood for weed?