Tag: paul rudd

Sausage Party

by on Mar.26, 2017, under Movie Reviews

sausage partySausage Party is not your typical Pixar-inspired feel good animation love fest. No, this one is rated R for very good reasons and is NOT for the family. That aside, the film is as brilliant as it is crude, and believe me, it’s plenty of both…

The story is set mostly in a grocery store, where at night the products of said store come to life and have their own aspirations and adventures. The goal of these items including food, soap, paper towels, basically anything you can buy, is to get picked up by one of the “gods” (humans) and taken away to the promised land beyond the doors of the supermarket to live happily ever after. Only the truth of it is, these poor sundries have no idea that they’re being set up for consumption, a fact that is revealed to them later to great dismay.

The humor in this film is both low-brow and high-brow at the same time. Many cultural references are placed throughout the film, like how bagel and falafel don’t get along so well in the beginning and how this is creating tension between these different types of food. Now, you might not understand what I mean at first, but if you place bagel within the Jewish cultural landscape compared to falafel from the Middle East, you’ll see what I’m getting at. There’s a lot of subtle nods like that permeating the film in a way that I know I’ll have to go back and watch again to pick up on all the references I missed the first time around.

And I will watch this film again as it is super funny and had me laughing nearly throughout the whole thing. The humor is truly brilliant, at moments tongue-in-cheek while at others totally overt and just bashing you over the head with absurdity. A good example is the orgy at the end, which is of course the “climax” if you will, of the film which was so over-the-top ridiculous you can’t help but get lost in it, laughing out loud all the way.

The actors must’ve had a blast making this one; they’re a lot of fun to listen to and watch through their characters. The crazy ass lineup in this one includes Seth Rogan, Jonah Hill (both of which helped to write the film as well), Kristin Wiig, Michael Cera, James Franco, Bill Hader, Salma Hayek, Anders Holm, Nick Kroll (who is brilliant as “Douche”), Danny McBride, Paul Rudd, Lauren Miller and believe-it-or-not, Edward Norton.

This movie is a blast to watch, I can’t remember the last time a film that made me laugh so much. Definitely check out Sausage Party, but not with the kids!

reviewed by Sean McKnight

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Captain America: Civil War

by on May.22, 2016, under Movie Reviews

captain america civil warThis is the film that Batman v. Superman should have been. The contrast in terms of quality and organization is astounding by comparison when looking at the Marvel Universe, which is extremely well thought out and organized, against the discordant mess that is DC’s world. Captain America: Civil War is the film to see if you want to see a serious hero fight with a highly entertaining story…

The writing is fantastic. There’s political intrigue, some great character development and arcs, as well as other topical subjects like freedom and the cost of it. The main basis for the conflict between the heroes is an accord they’re asked to sign where they will need to answer to a special UN council that will decide if they are needed or not. Unfortunately for our heroes, there’s been a bit too much collateral damage as a result of their confrontations trying to save the world from certain doom. Overall, the story is compelling and interesting to follow without being muddied up, it has some unexpected twists here and there and resolves itself in a way that is familiar but a little surprising too. I’ll let the story speak for itself but suffice it to say, it’s a great script and is expertly executed.

Action-wise the film is going to grab your attention right away with The Avengers on a mission that gets them in trouble when things go awry with one of Cap’s arch enemies, Crossbones. The film is packed with action but not constantly and not in a gratuitous way, all the sequences moved the film forward nicely. The action sequences themselves actually SHOW you the action (cough, cough Zach Snyder and your bullshit shaky cam). The clash between Team Iron Man and Team Captain America is super entertaining! It was great to see them all tangling and seeing how they combat each other. One of my favorites is Ant Man penetrating Iron Man’s armor to dismantle him from the inside out, fun stuff! The action is peppered throughout the film that helps pace it nicely with the slower moments giving the audience a nice ebb and flow through the excitement and intrigue.

The introduction of new characters was also really nice to see. Marvel is gearing up for the next wave of heroes and of course retiring some along the way. Among the newer lineup of heroes in the film is Black Panther, Ant Man, and the introduction of the new Spider-Man! Spider-Man’s inclusion in here is a blast! Tom Holland does a great job as the webslinger and the way he’s written in here was one of the best moments of the film. He gets in on the fight too and goes up against Captain America and his brother Bucky.

Speaking of the actors, the powerhouse lineup in the film does not fail to deliver! Great performances all around with some profound emotional moments delivered by Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Sebastian Stan, Anthony Mackie, Don Cheadle, Jeremy Renner, Chadwick Boseman, Paul Bethany, Elizabeth Olsen, Paul Rudd, and Emily VanCamp. Overall an excellent cast that worked well under the direction of Anthony and Joe Russo.

Clean the bad taste out of your mouth from BvS and go check out Civil War in theaters while you still can! Don’t forget to stay the whole way to the end of the credits! And I mean, until the VERY end!!

reviewed by Sean McKnight

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by on Jul.26, 2015, under Movie Reviews

Ant ManThe latest addition to the Marvel universe comes from a comic I didn’t expect them to make into a film with the addition of Ant-Man. I collected this one as a kid too and enjoyed the adventures of Ant-Man and Wasp, so this film was a pleasant surprise when I heard it was being made. The film turned out to be a solid superhero film with some great action, a well written story and tight performances from the cast…

Dr. Hank Pym (the original Ant-Man played by Michael Douglas) is retired now and has passed the reigns of his company on to his protege’ who has less-than-honorable motivations for the future. Pym has kept his shrinking technology that gave Ant-Man his power a secret because of what he fears it could unleash in the wrong hands. Darren Cross (portrayed by Corey Stoll from House of Cards) has discovered some of Pym’s notes and has tapped into the technology with the hopes of selling it to the highest bidder, which in this case turns out to be Hydra. So yes, Ant-Man is tying in with the rest of the Marvel universe with references to the Avengers, Iron Man and Captain America along with an appearance from Falcon.

The story is entertaining and well written with one of the writing credits going to Edgar Wright (Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz, etc.) who was also supposed to originally direct the film as well. Word has it that Wright’s vision didn’t line up with Marvel’s so he decided not to stay on the film which is a shame as his style would’ve really been interesting to see applied to this movie. Peyton Reed directs and does a fine job but doesn’t have the flair that Wright does so Wright stepping down was a bit of a disappointment for me.

The effects and design are great. The miniaturizing scenes are well-crafted and look believable even when Ant-Man is leading a charge of an army of ants during his various assaults. Among the things that make this film entertaining are the battles between Ant-Man and nemesis Yellowjacket (aka Darren Cross) when they’re both shrunk down and interacting with the scene around them. The scenes are full of action but with some comedic moments thrown in that make this movie a lot of fun to watch.

The acting is tight. Paul Rudd is the lead as Scott Lang whose smarmy style of acting fits the film and the character well. Evangeline Lily turns in an intense performance as Pym’s emotionally distant daughter while Stoll does a fine job as the menacing Yellowjacket. It’s good to see Michael Douglas in pretty much anything he does. The talented cast is rounded out by Judy Greer, Michael Pena, Hayley Attwell, John Slattery, Anthony Mackie and Bobby Cannavale.

If you enjoy superhero films, take a look at Ant-Man.

reviewed by Sean McKnight

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Our Idiot Brother

by on Jan.12, 2014, under Movie Reviews

This Paul Rudd vehicle depicts Ned, a man that has a bit of a hippy lifestyle and a sweet heart trying to start over after getting out of jail from a pot charge. His three sisters all lead more traditional lives and each makes an ill-fated attempt at helping Ned get back on his feet. Along the way, everyone learns something about themselves and their lives and that maybe each of them needs to think about making some changes…

Rudd’s character exudes this naive innocence that adds an interesting layer to his character, he’s a little “too nice” at times which leads to a compelling conflict when things build to a head at one point in the film. It’s nice to see Paul Rudd in this role as he plays it well. His range is a bit wider than I think people give him credit for and his delivery is relaxed and natural too.

The writing in the film is well put together. None of the characters seem out of place nor are their actions or dialog. As far a label for the film, I would call it a family comedy. It’s got some peaks and valleys to it as well as some genuinely funny moments that make the film fun to watch.

There’s a great cast here with strong performances all around. Just given how everyone plays off each other on-screen, it seems like the cast had good chemistry and that they had an enjoyable set to work on. The lineup includes Elizabeth Banks, Adam Scott, Rashida Jones, Zooey Deschanel, Emily Mortimer and Steve Coogan. Keep an eye out for my friend Victoria Gates from our Cinema Alliance film Jane who makes an appearance as the blond ballerina Ned is trying to get to sign a release form early in the film.

If you’re looking for something light-hearted, funny with warm sentiments, take a look at Our Idiot Brother.

reviewed by Sean McKnight

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Anchorman 2

by on Dec.30, 2013, under Movie Reviews

Anchorman 2 is one of those guilty-pleasure movies for me. I love different kinds of humor including the silly, over-the-top antics of Will Ferrell and his crew. I was a fan of the first film and am glad to see that the sequel was finally made after years of back and forth as to whether it would come to fruition.

The film picks up pretty much where the first one left off with Ron and Veronica (Christina Applegate) married and forming a joint news team. Fast forward to them with a child and a new conflict in their careers as Ron is fired and Veronica is promoted to a network gig. Ron’s meltdown ensues propelling us to when he gets a new job of his own…

I’ll leave the rest for the viewer, but I have to say that it’s pretty damn funny the whole way through if you appreciate Ferrell’s brand of humor. There are plenty of nods to the first film including another battle scene between rival news networks only this time taken to a much higher level of enjoyable goofiness. One of the more satisfying moments is when Brick (Steve Carell) obliterates Kanye West during his mercifully short cameo. West’s performance is really poor here, he comes off like a beginner acting student, his delivery being stiff and unnatural and not the slightest bit funny. I guess he left his “genius” in the studio with his producers.

And speaking of celebrity appearances, the cast in this film is really impressive. Paul Rudd and David Koechner are back alongside Ferrell and Carell (I did not plan that rhyme, it just came out that way, I love that). Other actors in the lineup include James Marsden, Kristen Wiig (who is awesomely funny as Brick’s quirky love interest), Sacha Baron Cohen, Kirsten Dunst, Tina Fey, Sacha Baron Cohen, Harrison Ford, Greg Kinnear, Amy Poehler, Vince Vaughn and Liam Neeson among others. Crazy lineup, eh?

The film is not only a lot of fun but it’s also topical in terms of how the media has evolved including some of the scandals associated with it. Ferrell and Adam McKay turned out a great production as well as a goofy but entertaining script. I don’t know that you’d need to see this in the theater, but if you liked the first one, you’ll want to check this one out.

reviewed by Sean McKnight

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Dinner for Schmucks

by on Feb.04, 2012, under Movie Reviews

Here’s the setup: Paul Rudd’s character is trying to get a promotion to impress his girlfriend into marrying him. While working the corporate ladder, he discovers the seedier underbelly in the attitudes of those he’s aspiring to rise with. Not only does he have to kiss the right asses but he has to stoop down to playing a childish, mean game that involves inviting “extraordinary” individuals to dinner one evening for the sole purpose of making fun of them and crowing a king idiot. This all takes place without the contestants understanding the true nature of the event and the supposedly elite laughing at their guests while pretending to honor them.

Leading up to the event is where the story builds and the characters are introduced. After being faced with the dilemma of having to find his own guest for the dinner, Rudd’s character literally runs into Steve Carell through which event Rudd realizes he’s found his guest. So here’s where the conflict starts and doesn’t relent until about 3/4 way in.

Now they start to establish some of the schmucks with Carrell as the center piece. Granted he’s supposed to be annoying but I found him too much so to the point where some of the scenes were not only hard to watch but genuinely made me want to turn off or fast forward. It was hard to feel or even want to feel any sympathy for him. His rudeness, stalker-like qualities, and awkward weirdo vibe isn’t very fun or funny, perhaps that’s the point but it still doesn’t make it very enjoyable to watch.

Rudd too for that matter considering how much of a spineless dick his character is. Not only is he being a deceptive kiss ass but he lets everyone just kind of do what they want without doing much to prevent getting sand kicked in his face. It was a bit much when he had his car destroyed by a crazy ex when he could’ve simply drove off, that just seemed set up and kind of stupid.

Luckily by the time the dinner starts, there’s a shift. It’s when the characters start to arc that you not only start to feel sympathy but that they come off genuine, interesting, funny and a dare I say, endearing. When the truth comes out about the dinner and the mayhem ensues, the movie becomes a lot more enjoyable to watch, The mice segments at the end are a hoot and the redemption delivered by Rudd completes the upward trend and ends the movie on a high note.

Some good performances in here that include the talents of Zach Galifinakis, Jemaine Clement (from Flight of the Concords), Ron Livingston, Larry Wilmore, Bruce Greenwood, and Kristen Schaal. Jay Roach directs.

If you can sit through the first 3/4 of the movie, I think you’ll find the last 1/4 makes it worth the wait (hopefully).

reviewed by Sean McKnight

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