Category Archives: comedy

Don’t Think Twice

Directed Mike Birbiglia, Don’t Think Twice follows a member of a popular New York City improv troupe catches the big break forcing the group to reevaluate their success and confront their fears in the hilariously honest movie.

This is a bittersweet movie about the behind-the-scenes look into the lives of six best friend comedians. If you have ever been with an improv group, like I have, you will find this to be one of your favorite films to watch with friends of the same persuasion. It is a funny movie about the angst of chasing aspirations.

I recommend taking a look at the behind the scenes featurettes. They add to the hilarity of the movie with a concept of what it takes to bring this whole movie to life. A movie about a six-person comedy team known as The Commune, working together for 11 years, has killed it onstage while waiting for their big break. Without warning, the team finds itself at a crossroads when one of the members becomes a solo success and the rest of the group realizes they may not make it big after all.

The featurette selection also includes Don’t Think Twice: The Art of Improv. It is a brilliant and enlightening piece about the love of improv, which is the heart of the movie. In this featurette, you will be able to explore the philosophy that inspired the world and comedy found within the movie.

My first thought, that is an entertainer’s nightmare. Success is great, but when other members are left out, it can feel like a long drop into the abyss of being no one.

The movie talented, funny and honest cast includes Keegan-Michael, Gillian Jacobs, Mike Birbiglia, Kate Micucci, Chris Gethard, and Tami Sagher.

 

 

 

The Great Gilly Hopkins

Directed by Stephen Herek, The Great Gilly Hopkins, is an inspiring film the whole family can enjoy. A true classic story that will capture anyone’s heart. The cast alone is worth renting or buying the movie including Kathy Bates, Octavia Spencer, Glenn Close. These talented women bring so much life to the classic young-adult novel by Katherine Paterson, who also wrote Bridge to Terabithia.

This great tale won the Truly Moving Picture award at the 2016 Heartland Film Festival. The story is about real, emotional, funny and captivating scenes featuring Sophie Nélisse, who was unforgettable in The Book Thief.  She brings her same talent to this adorable movie, which also stars Julia Stiles, who plays Gilly’s mother.

The story follows Gilly as a coming-of-age story about one girl discovering what a family really can be. We met the feisty and headstrong Gilly Hopkins where she has made a name for herself in the foster system. She outwits family after family in hopes of being reunited with her birth mother.

In a comical effort to escape her newest home and overly affectionate foster mother, Mamie Trotter, played by Bates, the young girl devises a scheme she believes will send her mother running to the rescue. When her grand plan backfires, Gilly realizes she may have been wrong about everything in her search to find where she belongs.

The movie brings up questions like “What is a family?” “What is family love?”

I was touch by this film because it holds life lessons with an impressive cast from a charmingly written novel. It all comes to life with a perfect mix of characters. I laughed, cried, and loved it.

Snoopy, Come Home

snoopycmehomI visited the Schulz museum in Santa Rosa, California for my daughter’s sake, thinking I would be bored out of my head. Boy, was I wrong, I discovered Charles Schulz, the genius who created a series of Peanuts comic strips that voiced the current social conflicts of the time and still today. Women rights, pray in schools, draft, and war. Growing up, I did read the comic strip without realizing he was bringing up social issues. As a young girl, I marveled at the expressions and characters of each personality. I watched the television specials with my family falling in love with Snoopy.

Watching Snoopy, Come Home brought memories back during the nights I’d watch the Peanuts specials with my family. I am still in love with Snoopy because he is so innocent yet creative. In this Peanuts movie, the story is quite good. It begins with him running off to visit Lila, his original owner, who is in the hospital. Woodstock goes with him, but they are captured by a rather overbearing girl who demands Snoopy and Woodstock be her pets.

Being clever the two escape, which includes some very funny and misplaced steps of amusement. Back at Charlie Brown’s home, he is concerned with finding out about Lila. Who is she? I will not share the ending of the movie, but I will tell you that it is so much fun to watch Snoopy get into many mishaps as he tries to sneak into places where dogs are not allowed.

The movie is tried and true, and now released on Blu-ray. The new format adds more of a sparkle with a widescreen format. Keep in mind parents, that the going away party for Snoopy might be a tearjerker for the kids or trouble understanding why people are so sad at a party. Still, the humor is fun to watch and offers great laughs.

In-Lawfully Yours

front-artIn-Lawfully Yours, directed by Robert Kirbyson, is a Christian faith movie where the discovery of the joys of falling in love in unexpected places makes it an enchanting romantic comedy. The sweet and wholesome movie features talented, funny and seasoned actors like Chelsey Crisp, Marilu Henner, Corbin Bernsen, Phillip Boyd and Joe Williamson. The Dove Foundation has granted the film a 4 out of 5 rating and a faith-friendly seal for ages 12 and older.

The story follows Jesse, played by Crisp, who is a New York City girl. She knows how to be fun in a heartfelt way. You just like her, right way. And you feel for her when she finds out her husband Chaz, played honestly by Boyd, cheats on her and eventually divorces her. Still, Jesse stands by her widowed mother-in-law, Naomi played by Henner and graciously helps her pack up her home in small-town Bethel Cove.

This is where Crip’s acting talent shines. She plays Jesse as a big city girl with candid wit. Yet, the small town clashes with her eccentric questions about religion and offbeat behavior around the local community, including the town pastor Ben, played by Williamson. Ben also happens to be her ex-husband’s brother-in-law.

As the story unfolds, Ben and Jesse discover what they are both looking for — each other. But when they make their relationship public, Jesse’s ex-husband rallies the community against her and gets Ben fired from the church.  Jesse leaves Bethel Cove to bring peace to Ben’s situation and to hopefully find a place where she truly belongs, in spite of the fact that she can’t stop thinking about Ben.

The ending is really great and fun to watch, but I will not tell you what happens. You have to see for yourself, but it is worth watching.

Much of the filming of the movie took place on and around Regent’s Virginia Beach with nearly 80 graduate and undergraduate students working on the film. The DVD includes special behind-the-scenes features, highlighting the student filmmakers who helped bring this really fun movie to watch to the screen.

Dirty Grandpa

TWF_BD_3DSkew copyI didn’t laugh out loud while watching the unrated version of Dirty Grandpa starring Oscar winner Robert De Niro and Zac Efron. Directed by Dan Mazer, the two characters played by De Niro and Efron take a spring break and go on the road. I viewed the Blu-ray version, which is supposed to be much dirtier than the other versions.  The movie also stars Aubrey Plaza, Zoey Deutch, Julianne Hough, Jason Mantzoukas, Danny Glover, and Dermot Mulroney. The cast is great but the directing and storyline is where my praising stops.

The idea of the story is behaving badly has never felt so good. There is nothing wrong with getting down and dirtier in funny, vulgar way. Efron plays Jason, a straight, clean cut man. He is a couple of weeks away from marrying his boss’s daughter. But everything changes when Jason’s talked into driving his foul-mouthed, free-living granddad named Dick Kelly, played by De Niro, to Florida for spring break. Jason is thrown into a series of frat parties, bar fights, and epic misdeeds on a road trip that surprisingly, eventually bonds the two men.

The Blu-ray has some awesome featurettes if you love the low-down vulgarity of this movie. They are called “The Filthy Truth: The Making of Dirty Grandpa,”Lessons in Seduction,”I Got Nothin’ to Hide: A Look at Daytona’s Most Vibrant Drug Dealer,” and “Daytona Heat.”  There is even a gag reel that I thought was pretty funny.

The situation of the story is nothing new where they are at Grandma’s funeral. Dick Kelly asks his grandson to drive him to Florida from Atlanta. He wavers because he is a responsible corporate lawyer and is getting married to Meridith, played by Hough, in a couple of weeks. He decides to go, and while n the road he discovers that his grandpa has a few vices. The movie is more humorous compared to other teen sex comedies of late but the gratuitous nudity is not necessary.

The Lionsgate sent me a promotional package of an evidence bag containing a Pill bottle filled with “Dick’s Little Helpers,” jelly beans, bikini top, condom, and a cocktail list. All this has to do with the storyline, making fun of what happens in the movie.

I know some of you will like the movie and some of you will not. That is because it is a bad-mannered movie with too much T. A.

Casual: Season One

CAS1_DVD_OCard_3DSkewDirected by Jason Reitman, Valerie and her 16-year-old daughter Laura move in with Valerie’s brother, Alex, a bachelor for eternity and maestro of casual relationships. Together, they coach each other through the world of dating while raising her teenage daughter.

Casual: Season One is for the arrival for contemporary minds, and it received a Golden Globe nominee for Best Comedy Television Series. My copy came with Digital Plus, and I popped it into my player and behold.

I find out it is a Hulu original that follows Alex, played by Tommy Dewey, and his sister, Valerie, played by Michaela Watkins, as they manage to live with one another while attempting to keep Valerie’s teenage daughter, Laura, played by Tara Lynne Barr, on the right track. Several episodes prove that both Alex and Valerie are weak on the point of keeping her on track.

If is obvious Alex and Valerie hardly set a good example for Laura with a house full of one-night stands, bizarre encounters, and attempts to master the art of dating. The series is a drama as well as comedy with bittersweet notes and sugary laughter.

With Reitman being an Oscar-nominated director for Juno and Up in the Air, which both are worth watching, the series is high on a pedestal as a comedy that explores the funny and awkward dynamics of modern families and relationships.  With that, I am curious by whose standards are “funny and awkward dynamics.”

The DVD includes all 10 episodes plus the “Creating Casual” behind-the-scenes featurette.

Drunk Stoned Brilliant Dead: The Story of the National Lampoon

drunkstoneGrowing up, I never became interested in the National Lampoon magazine and then the movement because the humor didn’t impress me. But, I cared more for the actors involved in the productions, like Animal House, which completely changed the stage for teenage comedies.

With that, Drunk, Stoned, Brilliant, Dead is a funny documentary that will shine humor for anyone who remembers the era of National Lampoon.

In the documentary, the story shows how the magazine came to fruition with examples of the covers, cartoons, stories, and funnies. I didn’t find myself laughing out loud, but I am sure a few of you will. Politically Correct hadn’t been invented yet, so National Lampoon used the freedom to upset the status quo and rock the stuff-neck-shirts of American and thus the world.

Clearly, the magazine had more freedom than we do today. There wasn’t college campus censorship or PC-police at standup comedy shows. No one pointed fingers at the magazine’s cultural humor that we don’t see today.

The documentary also notes the launching the careers of legends like John Belushi, Bill Murray, Chevy Chase, Christopher Guest, and Gilda Radner.

The documentary clearly states the magazine changed comedy in America, and Hollywood is still trying to determine how they changed it and if they can bring it back.  The only way such humor can come back is if our culture would allow us to communicate freely and opening about social issues.

 

Don Verdean

Don VerdeanDirected and co-written by Jared Hess, known for the sleeper hit Napoleon Dynamite, Don Verdean is an example of when the timing and hilarity of a movie fail to make the mark. Hess uses jokes that are there, but the subject matter doesn’t work in this storyline.

Verdean is hired by a determined small-town pastor to find sacred artifacts in the Holy Land. Verdean presents himself as an archeologist but doesn’t deliver the goods and attempts to cover up his fiasco. The hilarity enters the story when he tries to cover up his serious mistake.

Jared movies are pretty clean when it comes to harsh language, but Don Verdean changes that style. We hear the more common expletive words in the English language, and it is not funny.  Besides that, Sam Rockwell provides a performance worth watching. He offers some serious hilarity to the idiosyncrasies of a well-intended archeologist. His accent holds its own quite well with his quirky slang.  I would like to see more of an arch in his decent to misbehaving. Amy Ryan is great as Carol Jensen. Her mannerisms and timing work well with the material Hess offers.

The crux of the storyline is forced and not simply told because the movie is off-beat, slap stick, and then serious. The ending comes quickly but is worth watching because there is a surprise. Here the story comes to form, and it is easy to see what Hess is trying to get across to the audience. I should mention the co-writer is Hess’ wife, Jerusha. I am not sure what aspect she contributed to the movie, but she does collaborate with her husband on each of his movies.

I am sure some will find the humor both eccentric and indirectly nonsense. The cast is fantastic, but the comedy is not mainstream. You will probably have a good time watching the movie if you are familiar with the Bible.

Grace and Frankie

Grace and FrankieGrace and Frankie airs on Netflix and stars four legendary actors worth watching until it is obvious they have run out of material. Homosexually is not uncommon anymore. Nobody has to be in the closet because it is excepted now. I just wish the series moved forward more quickly with the story handling other situations that are funnier and not so sad.

Grace, played believably by Jane Fonda, is straight-laced and a former owner of a cosmetics company. Frankie, played over-the-top by Lilly Tomlin, is an open-minded hippie who tries to generate good vibes no matter if her life is falling apart.

The point to the series is these two women in their early 70s have nothing in common until their husbands, played by Sam Waterson and Martine Sheen, declare their love for each other and are leaving them to live as homosexuals.

All due respect, they are bisexuals and Waterson’s character clearly shows his attraction to his former wife, Frankie.

The series is a comedy with serious undertones, but it would have been much better in the 1980s with the issue a hot topic. Today, this is old news. Though husbands leaving a 40-year-old marriage for another man is not common, the idea is not shocking anymore nor is it funny.  Still the series has funny moments with more slow and off-beat situations.

The cast is what makes the series. They bring a lot of charm, verve and truth to their characters.  Sheen and Waterston are cast against type because they are not your usual eye-candies. Tomlin is as funny as ever as the flaky hippie, and Fonda timing is beautiful but a bit crusty.

I just wish the four of them would get on with their lives and deal with situations that are more entertaining for this day and age.

Shaun the Sheep: Season 2

shaurnsheep2I was going to post this review in the Kids section of Movie Roar since it really is safe for kids to watch and is really silly.  I changed my mind when I realized it really is funnier from an adult’s point of view.

Shaun the Sheep: Season 2 is hilarious. The short episodes are not too long nor too short – about 7 minutes. They are just right for any rainy afternoon or boring evening with nothing to do. My favorite one is about the bagpipe. The sheep and dog think it is a goose. I have never laughed so hard in such a short amount of time.

The package comes with two DVDs. If you have a free moment or two, just pop in the DVD and peruse the menu for an episode that catches your eye. The set has a total of 40 episodes. There are plenty of choices.

Let’s face it. These cute little sheep and the dog are hilarious. Each episode has no dialogue, just music and some grunts here and there. It is produced so well that I didn’t even think about the fact there was no dialogue.

Another funny aspect about the storyline is the dog and sheep try to steer clear of the farmer, who is as blind as anyone with a pair of opaque eyeglasses.  I just laugh thinking about it.

I recommend the DVD set for the whole family. Any age will enjoy these short stories. Just thinking about the sheep, the dog, and the farmer puts a smile on my face.