Tag Archives: mockumentary

Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon

It’s been a long while since I’ve seen a witty and clever homage to horror films (last, I guess, being Scream), but this one takes a whole new angle from breaking down horror movies. Behind the Mask examines not only every slasher movie ever made, but attempts to recreate it down to a science. And, because it’s a movie, of course it does. Combining the refreshing take of a mockumentary and not taking itself too

A stunningly shredding performance.

seriously with a bit of ironically dark humor, this movie proves that even horror movies can be original.

Taken from the angle that Jason Vorhees, Freddie Krueger, and Michael Meyers are real people, this movie accepts the idea that there really are slasher serial killers out there. And what they do, they do for a living. It’s an art form. And, more than that, it’s all planned out to be executed flawlessly. There’s not escaping the killer, he does cardio.

She looks like Erin, right? It’s not just me?

So we follow Leslie Vernon (Nathan Baesel), a relatively unknown actor to me, but one that will stand out forever after his entrancing performance in this film. After accepting the terms of a documentary crew following him around, he is joined by Taylor Gentry (Angela Goethals), an aspiring journalist. He shows off his farm and the legend behind his supposed “death”, and lays it all on thick. Taylor & crew can’t believe at first that this is all real, until they accompany Leslie on his stake-outs and preparation trips for his night of killing. And then it all becomes too horrifyingly real.

This movie leaves no idea unturned or examined. Everything is

Oh Robert Englund, you…

explained from a reasonable and logical standpoint to the extreme that someone could pull this off without much trouble (provided that humans can be predictable). The documentary style really added a level of eeriness that the movie-like scenes detracted from the film. You get that generic feel of Halloween or Friday the 13th, but I much rather liked following Leslie around on his preparation and first killings. It’s all a matter of preference.

Amusing.

What impressed me most about the movie, that I kinda mentioned, was the meticulous detail to movie conventions and plot in this movie. Everything was answered for and accountable. There were homages all over the place to other films (Robert Englund as the therapist character from Halloween, Zelda Rubinstein from Poltergeist as the storyteller, it’s all there) and great little tidbits you have to look for to appreciate. As a horror film enthusiast, this movie was right up my alley.

I don’t really have many complaints (did Angela look like Erin from The Office at all? Anyone?) and enjoyed the film thoroughly. A friend of mine’s boyfriend did a frighteningly good costume of this, and that made me appreciate it all the more. If you love to deconstruct movies and love the horror genre, this movie is a must have in your collection. It takes you in all the places you wanna go, and does it with a dark laugh hiding in the shadows. 8.4 out of 10.

These teens are in for destruction.

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Come Fly With Me: Walliams and Lucas, At It Again

I am a huge fan of Matt Lucas and David Walliams’ hit British comedy, Little Britain. Their sketches and the characters/situations they create are groundbreaking and traditional all at once. They take the old British gag of dressing up as women and take it to the next level. They know no boundaries of race, religion, or moral. They will make you feel uncomfortable, all the while laughing at their zany antics.

And now, they bring you a new show. New characters, a new setting, but the same old tricks. It’s not necessarily overdone because we’ve seen

Taaj, keeping it fresh with the biatches.

the same style before, but they keep it fresh, just by being themselves. This time around, Matt Lucas and David Walliams are a variety of characters, all centered around an airport. In this mockumentary, entitled Come Fly With Me, Lucas and Walliams keep their fans happy with a brand new hilarious show.

Praise to the Lord they will not sue!

And what a show it is. With talking-head interviews supplementing situational comedy throughout the airport, Lucas and Walliams play over 30 characters in a feat I haven’t seen on Television comedies before. Every character feels unique and everyone can choose their own personal favorite. With the makeup being so well done, you may not even recognize Matt Lucas some of the times if you are just a casual watcher of the show.

But there is a problem people have with the program. They say it’s racist. And yes, I can admit to laughing hysterically every time Matt Lucas plays Precious, the coffee store worker. (It’s an inside joke about the name and personality, but it comes across as funny all the same.) Or, even the

All in a day’s work for Matt Lucas.

Japanese fangirls… But that’s not the point. I think this show proves that airports, despite racist characters like Ian Foot (Walliams), the airport head of security and customs, an airport is a place of a widening array of people. Unlike America, the “true” melting pot of all nationalities, an airport such as this one does have people from all over the world flying from all other places. It is a unifying experience, known simply as “flying”. Even Lucas and Walliams recognized that themselves when Moses (Walliams) approaches a Chinese man as the airport liason, and, saying, “Sprechen Sie Deutsch?”, he surprises himself with the Chinese man responding in German. And, despite all that, they show embraces and pokes fun at the homosexual community, Matt Lucas being a proud member of that group. So how could a show that pushes all the limits not go on doing so? Come on…

How much do you love Disney World?

Despite racist allegations and shots at the show’s ego in spite of being after Little Britain’s success, I’m damn proud of Lucas and Walliams getting back out there and doing more comedy. I missed them immensely and was just looking for another show to fill the hole in my comedic heart. This show did it (with the help of Snuff Box).

So set aside your politically correct mind for 6 episodes and sit back and relax and allow yourself to giggle at the occasional profanity or stereotype. I promise, when all’s said and done, you won’t be a

Get a load of that…

redneck. Or whatever you fear you may become. This show lightly grazes over a topic I didn’t know you could go over for 6 episodes for. Flying and airports. Hating the experience of flying itself, I felt this show handled a bunch of jokes that comedians have been pondering for years. “Why is airline food so bad…” And why is this show so good? 9.5 out of 10.


Life’s Too Short

Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant have done it again, this time exploiting the little people. Or as they like to be called, dwarfs. The dwarven kind in this mockumentary are represented by Warwick Davis, dwarf star extraordinaire. In a fake and awkward version of his true life, Warwick Davis explores what it’s like to have no work, a divorce, and unending amount so debt. And I laughed through every second of it.

Thanks to HBO, this show and Ricky Gervais’ Animated Podcast were brought to my

Let the awkwardness ensue.

attention at the same time. I love both of them and this show was just quicker to finish (other review coming shortly). Life’s Too Short follows Warwick Davis, the person and the character, around for 7 episodes seeing just what kind of mischief he gets into in his typical life. But this isn’t your average Warwick Davis, the lovable Wicket Ewok we see when he was 11 in Star Wars: Return of the Jedi. This is something more horrendous.

Now that’s a great pic.

Warwick in this show is a selfish, deceitful, and overall poor sport actor down on his luck. He feels his fame should be giving him more than it is right now and he won’t let anyone get in his way. He has small man syndrome (and appropriately so) and is always offended by midget. I have a fear of midgets usually (saw Chucky too early and connected the two) but when it’s Warwick Davis, you have to love him.

I mean, look at his career. There’s Star Wars, The BBC specials of C.S. Lewis’s Narnia series, and the amazing Leprechaun series (I love it and always will. Too funny and classic.) The 10th Kingdom, my favorite, and the Harry Potter series as Flitwick, the Charms Professor. He has a better and more lucrative career than a lot of little people, and people love him for that. I haven’t seen Willow yet (a running joke in the

The creators shunning the little guy. Classic.

show) but I damn well plan on watching it now.

This show highlights everything that Gervais and Merchant wanted to do in The Office. After meeting Warwick in Gervais’ Extras, they started talking about this project. With my hopes up for more than a Christmas Special (come on Season 2…) I really enjoyed this awkward social situational comedy from the masters.

Rosamund Hanson. She’s got nothin goin on… upstairs.

Every episode hits you harder than the last, with some great star appearances thrown in. I must say, I don’t like Johnny Depp, but in this show he really knows how to make fun of himself. Liam Neeson was hilarious (although unintentionally), and Sting was just a dick. I loved Warwick’s dimwitted assistant, Cheryl (Rosamund Hanson) and everything she said and how she said it was pure comic gold. I know it’s wrong to think that when Warwick falls over during the show is the funniest part, but it’s one of those old gags you never get tired of seeing. Warwick himself was funny, but he knows how funny it is for a little person to struggle in normal everyday things.

Critics said this show was too awkward and similar to The Office that Gervais and Merchant were just getting lazy. Sure they were lazy. But they were lazy with a formula that was going to work from the

The toilet troll emerges!

beginning no matter what. I sincerely relish awkward moments in TV and movies (especially real life) and seeing a show that focuses on it to the point of painful, that’s spot on comedy. The drier and darker the better. Although I did at some points want Warwick to win some of the moments in life, it just wasn’t in the cards. Oh well, you win some, you lose most.

So with an awkward show like this and a dwarf who can poke fun at themselves, it’s fun to watch a car wreck comedy. Don’t wanna look, but can’t stop. Oh, and here’s the real Warwick for ya, just so you know where he’s coming from. Enjoy just like I enjoyed Series 1. 8.6 out of 10.

 

 


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.


Trollhunter

I’m coming at this movie from a very strange angle, being a horror film fan and confused at the audience this film was for. Set in Norway and filmed by Norwegians, a barrier of lore is put up between what I think a troll looks like and what the Norwegian depiction of a troll is like. Besides the fact that I have rarely heard a Norwegian speak their native language, I would consider this movie a culture clash of mythology and a rendition of The Blair Witch Project.

This film, also known as a mockumentary, takes place in the foothills around Norway. In the western woods of Norway, a group of college filmmakers come upon a story of a hunter who is killing bears out of season. After establishing this mysterious man as an actual person, the group comes upon his truck and trailer at an outpost. Wanting to speak with him, a bit of secretive filming is underway. It is not until the group goes too far that they discover that the bear hunter they want to out for his criminal behavior, is actually a troll hunter.

Not understanding the repercussions of their actions, and a huge dose of incredulity, these college kid fools partake in the hunting and rangling of trolls. This is where the movie gets interesting. Throughout their whole fantastical endeavor, the filmers keep asking questions of Hans the trollhunter (Otto Jespersen). With his vast knowledge of lore turned into fact through the act of interacting with the trolls, these college kids learn that what Hans says, goes. In a final confrontation you’ll have to “see” to “believe”, this movie pushes the boundaries of the fantastical and mythical.

The trollhunting crew.

I think what threw me off the most in this film was the way the trolls looked in the movie. I had my knowledge of trolls from Bilbo Baggins and the dwarves from The Hobbit. I had the various depictions I’ve seen in fairytales and what a bridge troll acts/looks like. I was caught off guard to see a shambling, bumbling, big nosed troll come strolling through those trees. With the look came no threat of danger or horror for me. But, after looking at paintings of Norwegian trolls, and some more plot from the movie, I have come to a better understanding of the Norwegian’s connection to trolls. At the time it was hard to see how these CG trolls could be of any threat, but the element of scientific belief that went into making this movie seem real was excessive and believable, to say the least. I give it to them for that.

A cryptic image...

Other than the disbelief that went into watching this movie, I enjoyed the overall feel and dialogue behind the characters and plot. This movie, like an academic paper, set out to prove a point, and the point was delivered home. The only part I question is what Christian blood and believing in God had to do with anything in the end. As a device of horror, yes. As a strange prerequisite to interact with trolls, it was odd. But the movie did just enough showing without having to beat into your head that you’re looking at trolls in the film, but leaving them as these evil beasts that can come upon you in the night. And I think the scientific explanation of why trolls turn to stone was quite good. So, despite my skepticism, I enjoyed the film in the end. Especially the last scene with the Norwegian president. Throw him that curve ball. A solid 6.1 out of 10.

What could've done this?