The Single Moms Club

By: Addison WylieSingle Moms Club poster

When people gang up on Tyler Perry, I’m there to usually defend him.  I might not be saying good things about his movies, but I’ve stood up for him from a business perspective.  He knows his audience well, and that knowledge has led him to be one of the most profitable filmmakers of our time.  But this time, I side with the haters.  And, I can’t see his fan base happily accepting this new film either.

Perry has been outspoken about how he doesn’t deal with racial or gender stereotypes.  I’m sorry, Tyler, but The Single Moms Club has characters that are developed based on how they look on the outside.  They haven’t been built by taking their motivations or passions into consideration.  The Single Moms Club feeds on stereotypes.  Even then, the film can’t get past living on life support.

Five women (Nia Long, Wendi McLendon-Covey, Amy Smart, Zulay Henao, and Cocoa Brown) are all brought together during a parent-teacher conference after their children have been caught acting out bad behaviour.  As punishment to avoid expulsion (and to creakily move the plot forward), the moms have been assigned the duty of arranging a big, shiny bash.  Miraculously enough, they all have been struggling with the same situations involving an absent father, stressful workloads, and miscellaneous evil men.  You’d think they were all in a Tyler Perry movie or something. Continue reading

And So It Goes

By: Addison WylieAndSoItGoes poster

The conception of a movie like And So It Goes doesn’t so much start with an outline or a series of ideas.  It begins with a demand no one has demanded; except for zealous producers who think they know their desired demographic.

The general public likes Michael Douglas and those same patrons are most likely to enjoy watching Diane Keaton.  The brains behind And So It Goes have taken these two variables and have spawned off of that assumption to create a “nice time at the movies”.

And So It Goes doesn’t come off as something that was made to be memorable.  It’s priority is to be a fleeting film that’ll have the audience smiling, lightly giggling and feeling comfortable that shelling out $11 was a good idea.  Or, $22 if you’re the elderly couple the film is pandering to. Continue reading

GMO OMG

By: Addison WylieGMO OMG poster

You often hear the term “edutainment” thrown around. I’ve used it in a few reviews regarding films that keep the audience thrilled while offering plenty of food for thought, but I usually pair the word to learning tools a teacher could use in a grade school homeroom.

Whether you’re watching GMO OMG for fun or using it to study up about genetically modified organisms, Jeremy Seifert’s film is able to keep you stimulated with its good naturedness while providing and delivering a lot of information in an engaging way.

After being inspired by his son’s fixation to seeds as well as his own questioning about what his kids were eating, Seifert headed out to make a film about such topics. The filmmaker brings his family along for the journey as he interviews an array of subjects including streeter interviews of people unknowing of what a GMO actually is. Continue reading

Monty Python’s Last Hurrah is Flawless (mostly)

MPlivecover

By: Addison Wylie

Legendary British comedy masterminds Monty Python gathered at London’s O2 arena and performed their last show of Monty Python Live (mostly) on Sunday, July 20.  There were plenty of animal puns, ridiculous cheekiness, and spam to go around.

Monty Python Live (mostly) opens with a silly song about llamas and leads in with John Cleese, Michael Palin, Terry Gilliam, Terry Jones, and show director Eric Idle performing a sketch about reuniting and oneupmanship regarding horribly ludicrous upbringings.  It was a hilarious mixture of wit and sprawling absurdism.

The show carried on with reenactments of classic bits such as “The Lumberjack Song” and “Every Sperm is Sacred”.  Although it was a thrill to revisit these engraved skits, it was interesting to see how theatrics and a chorus line can sometimes make things….too goofy.  I appreciated the tongue-in-cheek choreography and staging, but it really pushed its own limits of exaggeration – I didn’t know that was possible for these Brits. Continue reading

A Master Builder

By: Addison WylieMasterBuilderposter

Last year, I caught a humbling documentary called André Gregory: Before and After Dinner.  Cindy Kleine’s candid look at Gregory’s life and multi-talented career stole my heart and made me very interested in what the artist had to offer for the future.

In the doc, Gregory and his close collaborator Wallace Shawn are working on their latest work – an adaptation of Henrik Ibsen’s The Master Builder.  You may remember Shawn for his role in The Princess Bride, his recent ball-breaking turn in The Double, or as the voice of Rex the Dinosaur in the Toy Story franchise.  He has one of those faces – and one of those voices – you recognize in an instant.

During these intimate rehearsals featured in the doc, we see a different side to Shawn.  His theatrical presence was refreshing, and showed audiences that the amiable actor can reach deep inside of himself and pull out a different kind of performance. Continue reading

They Came Together

By: Addison WylieTheyCameTogetherposter

I bet if we scoured filmmaker David Wain’s DVD collection, we would find romantic comedies.  A lot of them.  It takes a certain kind of guilty affection to lampoon a genre this immaculately.

That’s what the absurdist has done with fellow writing cohort Michael Showalter.  The two collaborated on the cult hit Wet Hot American Summer – which took the piss out of camp movies – and now they go for the rom-com jugular with the ridiculous and accuratly funny flick They Came Together.  The film certainly benefits from Showalter’s talents since his directorial debut The Baxter is an adorable yet goofball view on the sugary genre.

The difference between Wet Hot American Summer and They Came Together is that the former works by itself as straight-up comedy.  If you didn’t have any knowledge of Meatballs, you could still find humour in the film’s eccentricities.  They Came Together relies more on rom-com cliches and cheesy beats that accompany them.  If this species of date movie isn’t up your alley, a majority of the jokes will either sail over your head or appear to be too campy. Continue reading

Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa .5

By: Addison WylieBG.5poster

Jackass brings back everyone’s favourite filthy grandpa in Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa .5.  Home viewing audiences get an assortment of pranks that were cut from the original hidden camera escapade as well as ideas that paid off with unsigned release forms or slacked pacing that may have bogged down Bad Grandpa’s storytelling.

Bad Grandpa .5 is an extended behind-the-scenes feature more than anything.  The indestructible Johnny Knoxville as well as director Jeff Tremaine and co-writer/co-star Spike Jonze reminisce about the birth of their full-length film dedicated to Jackass’ “old man bit”.  The men discuss unused pranks and moments that weirded them out, “marks” that supplied golden reactions, and the DIY production that was pulled off quite well for people usually revelling in crotch kicks and bodily fluids.

A lot of math went into Bad Grandpa.  First of all, Knoxville had to adjust to early morning preparation (with make-up effects conceived by Academy-Award nominee Stephen Prouty).  Next up, Knoxville had to figure out how to better define the character of Irving Zisman.  Bad Grandpa .5 does an admirable job at showing the hands-on process to mould the surly senior.  Knoxville himself seems surprised with the character development that began with Irving being an irritable fart looking to get socked, eventually ending with being a rebellious hooligan. Continue reading

Cinemanovels

By: Addison WylieCinemanovelsPoster

One of the crimes an actor can commit is to remind the audience that they’re acting.  In the case of the melodrama in Cinemanovels, the cast could all do time in the clink.  Since writer/director Terry Miles is the head of this operation and knows no boundaries for heaviness or volume, he should be committed too.

When a highly regarded filmmaker passes away, his distraught daughter Grace (played by Lauren Lee Smith) swoops in to help a retrospective of his work that was being assembled.  Having not seen any of her father’s provocative films, she watches them and is persuaded to cure her unhappiness and sexual curiosities that occupy her personal life.

Cinemanovels has a wobbly time stabilizing its potentially intriguing premise, which means my intensity of caring for anything happening in the movie wavered as well.  Miles takes the wicked misstep of turning the film’s dial to “soap opera”, and proceeds to have his company get overemotional and carried away with themes of infidelity and deception. Continue reading

Wish I Was Here

By: Addison WylieWishIWasHereposter

Epiphanies are mentioned in Wish I Was Here, Zach Braff’s return as a filmmaker.  It’s during a scene where Braff’s Aidan Bloom camps out with his two children Tucker and Grace (played by Pierce Gagnon and Joey King) on the outskirts of Los Angeles, where they find a gorgeous view of the desert on top of three isolated boulders.

This talk about epiphanies made me nostalgic for Braff’s 2004 indie hit Garden State, a work that I truly believe changed the face of how people look at independent films and an inspiration for budding filmmakers as to how they could emulate – or rip off – Braff’s quirky style.

In Garden State, audiences were enchanted by scenes featuring burn outs and drifters chatting about the cards life has dealt them.  Suddenly, someone would accidentally spout off something deep about where they saw themselves currently or how the past has affected them.  These moments of clarity were written with perfection, as if they were unintentionally rambled off with honesty fuelling them.  You could see the characters surprise themselves. Continue reading

Bird Co. Media

By: Addison WyliePoster-8.5x11

What partly hurts Bird Co. Media is its insistence to make people believe it’s a documentary.  Actions in the movie may have been inspired by real life events, but once you see how the film is formatted, you’ll have all the reason to doubt.  For instance, cameras follow our leads and then freely cut around them – including on the other sides of doors.  Those are some nimble cameramen.

Bird Co. Media is another one of those mockumentaries where a film crew chronicles the adventures of the film’s protagonists.  In this case, Brad Miller and Kabir Ali travel to India to build their advertising company where the duo attach banners to birds hoping businesses will take flight in more than one way.  According to the film’s website, Brad and Kabir play “themselves”. Uh huh.

Brad and Kabir have the presentation and attitudes of professionals.  The two have been long-time pals and budding entrepreneurs, and have unlimited amounts of eagerness and courage.  It’s a grind to watch two levelheaded guys fuel such an inane idea.  They have their plans and proposals, yet they’re headed towards the same dead end.  Shaukat (Kabir’s father who is also playing “himself”. Uh huh.) has negative feelings towards the iffy business and calls it “stupid” in one-on-one interviews.  This is why Shaukat gets the film’s biggest laughs. Continue reading