You've got to hand it to Seth Rogen: the guy wanted to make a superhero movie, so he found a hero nobody was doing anything with, one that he could conceivably play, and he wrote a script (with collaborator Evan Goldberg) that successfully hybridized the Green Hornet's atypical origin story with a slacker buddy comedy. When his director and co-star backed out, he found another director and another co-star, and the end result, the 3-D, Michel Gondry-directed, visually stunning Green Hornet, is unlike any superhero movie I've seen. It manages to take Rogen's idiotic, confrontational comedy shtick and make it a seamless part of the story of a hero's rise. Because what kind of idiot puts on a mask and goes out looking for a fight?
Depending on how you feel about security guards, Lyme disease, Matthew McConaughey, claymation, Avatar and the French, this is either a very good week for DVDs or the worst week ever.
Apparently, Funny People wants to be all things to all people. In a trend hinted at in 40-Year-Old Virgin and attempted in Knocked Up, Judd Apatow seems to want Funny People to be a raunchy comedy and a touching romantic drama about second chances. We have no idea if he can pull that off (Knocked Up doesn't give us much hope), but you have to give him credit for trying, especially since he's assembled one of the pound-for-pound funniest casts we've seen in a while. Of course, for every funny movie one of these stars has been in, there's been a dud, so there are no guarantees. We ran down the cast's capacity for funny in our Funny People Risk Assessor gallery, so check it out before you decide whether to roll the dice on your comedy.
Since its inception in 1990, the MPAA has slapped the NC-17 on several undeserving movies. It has also withheld said application on more deserving films, either due to public fear or corporate pressure. Both cases yield ridiculous results. For example, Martin Lawrence's comedy concert film, You So Crazy, is rated NC-17, yet Mel Gibson's The Passion is rated R. One film spends 90 minutes talking about crap, Prince and getting a piece, the other spends over two hours beating the crap out of the Prince of Peace. Actions speak louder than words, and should be rated as such. If I go on a date, and we spend the evening talking, that's R (for profanity and sex-related begging). If I'm invited upstairs "for coffee" at the end of the date, that's NC-17 (for graphic sexu--oh, who am I kidding--for brief sexuality and extreme charity). Kevin Smith probably used a similar example when the MPAA rated his actionless film Clerks NC-17. He had more 'splainin' to do than Lucy Ricardo, however, when they slapped the dreaded rating on his latest, Zach and Mimi Make A Porno.
Yes, Observe & Report is the second comedy about a mall security guard to come out this year (a fact Seth Rogen savagely mocked in his SNL monologue). However, if Paul Blart: Mall Cop was the Die Hard of mall security guard comedies (plotwise, at least), then Observe & Report is the Taxi Driver, and while I love me some Die Hard, O&R is infinitely more disturbing, and satisfying, and disturbingly satisfying. Depending on where your personal line is, this movie may not cross it, exactly, but it certainly walks up to the line and tasers you from a safe distance.
Mall cop movies: there's one for everybody these days for some reason. There were no mall cop movies in the history of movies before last year (there were security guard movies, but that's not the same. Security guards work at banks so they can rob them. Mall cops work at malls so they can not work all day and get paid to eat hot dogs on sticks) and now all of a sudden there are going to be 50 Paul Blarts, and Observe and Report is opening Friday. But a trend is a trend, and while I admire Seth Rogen for recognizing one and hopping right onto that caboose, he's still playing the exact same character he always plays. Like most people on the internet, I think Observe and Report will probably be pretty good, actually (I love a good mob mentality!), but still -- let's go over this guy's resume. Read closely, and you may notice a pattern: It's like Ferrell-level same guy every timeness. It's like Michael Cera-level same guy every timeness. It's like Tommy Chong-level same guy every timeness. Cal-bong, take me away!
So we all heard about the spate of Iron Man and Avengers-related films that Marvel is putting into development in the wake of Iron Man's success. But it seems like Shellhead's big box office has done more than that. As a long-time Iron Man fan, and a pretty big comic book reader, I had no idea that Iron Man was considered second-tier. But apparently, he was a huge gamble compared to known superheroes like Spider-Man, Hulk, Batman, Superman and, uh, Ghost Rider. (Okay, I guess they're all pretty big players, but Blade was totally second-tier, and didn't he do pretty well, considering he got two sequels? But I digress.) Anyway, because a no-name superhero like Iron Man did well, B-list heroes are getting booked for big-screen endeavors in a big way.
Star Wars fanboys. They're everywhere -- especially in Hollywood. So when it was announced that someone was making a movie called Fanboys, chronicling five Midwestern geeks' cross-country trip to steal a copy of Star Wars: Episode I for their friend with terminal cancer, there were plenty of famous fanboys ready and willing to be involved. Director Kyle Newman lined up a host of celebu-nerds to make cameos in the film, ranging from geek icons to actual Star Wars film legends. If the killer leads (Sam "Superman Returns" Huntington! Dan "Balls of Fury" Fogler! Jay "Tropic Thunder" Baruchel!) weren't enough to convince you to see it, we thought we'd run down the celebrity eye candy that will teach you the true meaning of the Force. (Note: While we try to avoid giving out any spoiler-ish plot information, we are totally killing any surprise that you may get from these actors showing up. Be warned!)
The recently released Pineapple Express DVD is all it's cracked up to be and more, folks. It's funny, packed with goodies, and so very educational. Here, we share the knowledge, with five things the DVD taught us (we're talking about the two-disc set or the Blu-ray, by the way; you won't learn nearly as much from the cheap, lame edition).
If you look closely at James Franco's T-shirt in Pineapple Express, you'll see that it's one of the most awesome T-shirt designs ever: a shark devouring a kitten. When asked about it in interviews, Franco always credits the design to Pineapple director David Gordon Green, but that apparently isn't the case. T-shirt designers WOWCH created an astoundingly similar design for Urban Outfitters back in 2005, which was apparently tweaked and flipped to create Franco's movie getup. Unless Franco's drug dealer character traded merchandise with the knock-off clothing manufacturer next door, there better be a good explanation for this.