Nation, it's our first presidential election in a while without constant commentary from Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert. Maybe you're satisfied by the plethora of politicallysavvylate night television hosts on the air, maybe you're happy to take on this election without watching any of this kind of nonsense. But I'm not.
Luckily we got a taste of classic Colbert earlier this week with The Word making it's debut on the late show—it was truthiness v. Trumpiness and it was beautiful.
Then, last night, Stewart took over Colbert's desk for a full 10 minutes. Watch here for a dose of old school Comedy Central:
He even got an Arby's jab in there. We miss you, Jon. See ya election night?
Summer is coming to an end, meaning our streets will start filling up again sometime soon. The students will return, and they'll be followed by the snowbirds. Take advantage of the emptiness while supporting local businesses by spending this weekend out of the house, taking in a local show, dancing on the streetcar, enjoying a shorter wait at Bobo's or whatever else.
Maybe when you're done with all that, you'll feel like taking in a movie. Here's a list of the top 10 most rented DVDs at Casa Video last week:
By Bob Grimm
on Thu, Jul 21, 2016 at 10:00 AM
A bunch of comedians lend their voices to some cartoon characters, and the results are moderately entertaining—hey, it’s not a ringing endorsement, but this is good for a laugh or two, and the occasional whacked-out moment that qualifies it as a semi-original animated movie.
OK, still not a ringing endorsement.
Louis C.K. voices Max, a Jack Russell terrier who loves his master, Katie (Ellie Kemper of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt), with that undying loyalty that makes dogs so damn cool. Katie brings home a new brother for Max, a big brown shaggy dog named Duke (Eric Stonestreet), and it creates some turmoil in the household.
Max and Duke wind up in the hands of Animal Control, and eventually fend for themselves in the sewers of Manhattan. There they become enemies of the Flushed Pets, a group consisting of alligators, lizards, snakes and furry critters led by Snowball the Rabbit (Kevin Hart on a sound booth tear). The advertised premise for the film suggests the movie might be about what our pets do in the house when we leave home. That part of the film is out of the way early in the movie’s opening minutes. (They basically eat all of our food, have parties, and listen to punk rock.) The rest of the movie is the band of pets in Max’s neighborhood trying to find him and Duke when they get lost.
Some of the sequences are borderline deranged. Max and Duke wind up in a sausage factory, where they gobble down hot dogs in an almost hallucinatory scene set to Grease’s “We Go Together.” This doesn’t feel like the stuff of kids’ movies; it’s a sequence that seems as if the animators took a little LSD break, came back to their computers, and dreamt up some wild shit.
Where does The Secret Life of Pets rank in the list of animated movies released so far in 2016? Well below Zootopia, and somewhat short of Finding Dory, but still OK. No, you don’t need to run out and see this one, but if it should play in front of your face somewhere in the future, there’s a good chance you will enjoy substantial parts of it.
By Bob Grimm
on Mon, Jul 18, 2016 at 9:31 AM
While this isn’t one of Todd Solondz’s best movies, Wiener-Dog does have some moments that are among his best.
The movie follows the life of a wiener dog as it passes from owner to owner, resulting in four separate stories.
Story number one involves a child cancer survivor, Remi (Keaton Nigel Cooke) receiving the dog as a gift from his dad (Tracy Letts), much to the chagrin of his mom (Julie Delpy). The dog helps Remi to come out of his shell, but this is Solondz territory we are in, and things couldn’t possibly end happily for the family. An incident involving a granola bar lands the dachshund at the vet, and the dog is kidnapped, ironically enough, by Dawn Wiener (Greta Gerwig).
Fans of Solondz might remember Welcome to the Dollhouse, which featured a bullied teenager named Dawn Weiner played by Heather Matarazzo. Matarazzo turned down the opportunity to play the character again, so Gerwig stepped in. Shortly after adopting the dog, she meets Brandon, the bully from Dollhouse (this time played by Keiran Culkin). This portion of the film stands as a sequel to Dollhouse, and is one of the movie’s better stretches.
Danny DeVito then shows up as the next owner in the dog’s life. DeVito is decent as a disgruntled film professor looking to sell a screenplay.
Finally the dog winds up with Nana (Ellen Burstyn), who names the dog Cancer and endures a horrific visit from her granddaughter (Zosia Mamet). This segment of the movie features the film’s best moment, a vision of Nana’s where she visits with many versions of her young self. It’s wonderfully funny and nasty when young Nana introduces all the people she could’ve become had she done a few things differently. Solondz has a gift for mirth, and he achieves mirth bliss in this sequence.
Overall, the movie is a mixed bag, but Solondz fans will find plenty to like, including a fun intermission. Dog fans might get upset by a film that shows a dachshund stricken with diarrhea after a granola bar, and much lousier things later in the movie.
Gerwig is good as Dawn Wiener, although a return for Matarazzo would’ve been interesting. Fans of Dollhouse will remember that Wiener-Dog was the bully name bestowed upon her by Brandon all those years ago. The two have a much nicer time in this movie. A nicer time, but still weird and dark.
The Loft Cinema (3233 E. Speedway Blvd.) is hosting A Hard Day’s Night Sing-A-Long on Saturday, July 16 at 7:30 p.m. featuring the film that typifies the height of the Beatles' revolutionary career. The movie follows John, Paul, George, and Ringo as they prep for a London TV gig in the midst of shenanigans and screaming fans. Directed by Richard Lester, A Hard Day’s Night includes some of the Beatles' most famous tracks like, “Can’t Buy Me Love,” “I Should Have Known Better,” “Tell Me Why,” and “If I Fell."
The 87-minute film will have all the lyrics to your favorite Beatles tunes displayed on screen for the optimal sing-a-long experience, and pre-show entertainment includes Beatles music videos and a costume contest. 10 bucks won't 'buy you love' but it is the general admission price, and children under 12 get in for $8.
By Bob Grimm
on Tue, Jul 12, 2016 at 12:00 PM
Cinematographer Anna Rose Holmer makes a thought provoking feature film directing debut with the story of Toni (the unforgettably named Royalty Hightower) an 11 year-old girl who spends her days hanging out at the boxing gym with her brother (Da’Sean Minor), but yearns to join the local girls dance troupe.
Set in Cincinnati, the film takes a surreal turn when girls on the dance squad start suffering seizures with varying symptoms. Exactly what is happening to the girls is never really explained, apart from some theorizing that it’s got something to do with the drinking water. The seizures could also be symbolic of each girl’s struggle to make it in society and the obstacles keeping them from being successful despite their drive and talent. Or, it could be each character coming into a new stage of adolescence in strange and unique ways. Or, as stated before, it could just be the water.
It’s the sort of movie that will spark many theories and opinions, none of them entirely right or wrong. Holmer has made a majestic looking, rather short (71 minutes) movie that will have you thinking about it for days after. Hightower is a real talent, who absolutely shines in the lead role. It’s a unique movie for sure that will frustrate some, and enchant many others.
By Bob Grimm
on Mon, Jul 11, 2016 at 10:30 AM
Writer-director Hong-jin Na has put together an epic, rather long South Korean horror film that keeps messing with your head nearly to the point where you just can’t take anymore.
A strange old man (Jun Kunimura) shows up in visions, and then is discovered in the flesh, in a small village where Jon-Goo, a hapless cop (Do Won Kwak), lives with his young daughter. Village residents start killing each other off and occasionally acting like zombies covered with strange boils. Then, Jon-Goo’s daughter starts exhibiting symptoms of possession, setting Jon-Goo off on a crazed mission to find the root of the evil pestilence destroying his town and his family.
Na makes things scary without resorting to jolt scares or quick edits. The movie unfolds, sometimes slowly, in a way that maintains a high level of tension and creepiness. He mixes in some humor, even during some of the more grisly scenes.
The movie is over 2 ½ hours long, and it makes you work a bit, but it’s all worth it in the end. Kwak is especially good as the father figure who thinks he has it all together, only to find out any sense of security he thinks he’s giving his family can be wiped out in an instant.
The Wailing is genuine nightmare fuel, and another strong entry to the horror genre, which is experiencing one of its periodic renaissances these last few years.