Posts Tagged ‘Steve Coogan’

This week’s releases include: a martial arts picture; a unique love story; the most recent season of TV’s most popular comedy; the sophomore season of a high school musical; an intriguing family drama; a documentary about a long, sci-fi debate; a woman ascends above her “station”; the fight for abnormal protection continues; a gladiator thrives to meet his goal; a pair of brothers battle evil to save their souls; a couple of real-life friends go on a voyage; and the beginning of the mutant war is revealed. (more…)

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Paul Rudd in Our Idiot BrotherWe all know someone like the lead character in Our Idiot Brother: generous, kind and, consequently, indescribably gullible. We worry they’ll be taken advantage of or that the unforgiving, competitive world will eat them alive. But you also can’t help but to adore them for being so hones and having all these qualities. That’s the relationship director Jesse Peretz builds between the audience and Ned. (more…)

Rob Brydon and Steve Coogan in a scene from The TripNot many actors can be successful portraying themselves on screen, but Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon have made names for themselves by doing just that. Their previous outing, A Cock and Bull Story, was a film about making a film in which the pair portrayed the lead characters and the actors playing them. Though this has been done before, there was something about it that was different… better. The Trip is based on a British television series of the same name in which the actors once again play themselves – only fictional. (more…)

The buddy cop movie has been produced to great success many times, with the Lethal Weapon series being a prime example. There is a template that most follow and a short list of scenarios that show up in each. Writer/director Adam McKay was the man behind the widely popular Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy and Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby. However, in creating The Other Guys, McKay appears to have ignored most of the standards as well as his own recipe for funny.

NYPD Detectives Christopher Danson and P.K. Highsmith (Dwayne Johnson and Samuel L. Jackson) are the baddest and most beloved cops in New York City. Two desks over and one back, sit Detectives Allen Gamble (Will Ferrell) and Terry Hoitz (Mark Wahlberg). They’re not heroes – they’re “the Other Guys.” But every cop has his or her day and soon Gamble and Hoitz stumble onto a seemingly innocuous case no other detective wants to touch, but it could be New York City’s biggest crime.

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If more high school plays were about sex and violence, maybe they’d sell out more shows.

Dana Marschz (Steve Coogan) is a failed actor and because those who can’t do teach, he heads the drama department at West Mesa High. Up to now, his class has consisted of two sheltered stereotypical thespians. With major cuts to other arts programs, the class size grows vastly and now consists of mostly Latinos. However, rather than inspiring the students, the kids must encourage Dana as his life rapidly unravels. When drama suddenly gets the axe too, Dana makes one last effort to save his career by putting on a controversial original musical: Hamlet 2.

It becomes obvious fairly quickly this is a parody of the inspirational teacher movie, which usually involves a white educator changing the lives of inner city ethnic youths. This movie turns that formula on its head, with the white people actually being altered through relationships with the Latino kids. One is forced to face his sexuality, another overcomes her prejudice and Dana is simply inspired.

The trailer made this flick seem less thoughtful than it really is; aside from the sight gags, most of the film is quite pointed. Then again, nothing less should be expected from a South Park and Team America writer. In addition, in keeping with Shakespearean tradition, the narrative is separated into five acts – even though the divisions and titles are entirely senseless.

One of the real kicks is Elisabeth Shue who plays Elisabeth Shue. Jaded by Hollywood and the acting industry, she has become a nurse but is lured back to the spotlight by Dana’s enthusiasm. Shue’s embrace of the bitter self-portrait is admirable. Catherine Keener and David Arquette also have minimal roles but their imprint is equal to Coogan’s. And while none of the teens are under 20, they are all excellent in their roles.

In line with the movie, the bonus features are comical. The deleted scene fills in a hole in the narrative, while the audio commentary is an absurd chat between writer/director Andrew Fleming and co-writer Pam Brady. The “making of” featurette is similarly humoured. And since the lyrics are so catchy, the DVD provides a sing-along track for two of the songs.