A Different Style of Comedy Movies

Hot Tub Time Machine

Comedies have undergone a revival of sorts in the past decade of film-making. Directors are reacting to changing preferences among audiences across the country. Sequels are highly popular, as proven by the success of films like Hot Tub Time Machine 2 and Night At The Museum: Secret of the Tomb. These sequels capitalize off of the financial success that their predecessors have demonstrated for viewers. Movie goers tend to stick to a proven formula that makes their trip worthwhile. But there are some directors trying to break the mold and create a new genre of comedy films for people to enjoy.

Popular cast members include stars such as Will Ferrell and Seth Rogan. They are personalities that have added to the mix by expressing their own unique characters in a film setting. Modern comedies tend to be chic and stylish, using state of the art directorial techniques like no other. Some may utilize surrealistic motifs that challenge traditional mindsets while viewing film projects. Modern comedies emphasize the absurd and may not immediately make sense to anyone viewing them. Some directors choose to use references to other comedies released in a similar time frame. Fans of the genre will expect these films to build upon one another when they are released.

News stories still play a major role in modern comedy movies. Films such as The Interview take advantage of modern tropes to introduce audiences to a brand new motif like no other. It even gives audiences a glimpse of news events as they unfold, unseen in any other form of media. This trend is pushing the boundaries of what can be previously thought of as comedy. It blends documentary style film-making with modern sensibilities that are fresh and new. As 2014 unfolded, it was a banner year for films that tested the limitations of comic tastes.

Family friendly comedies are still the norm in the movie-going world. Comedies are popular among younger crowds and help viewers adapt to all new standards in the industry. Animated films are experiencing a rebound recently, but there is a twist to this phenomenon. Artists are using 3-D rendering to create new worlds and characters unseen elsewhere. Comedies rely on this take to keep production cost to a minimum. But artists have also honed their 3-D craft and produce reliable characters like no other. Reliable studios such as Pixar are well known for the great movies that they produce annually.

So as you can see, today’s comedy movies have been able to appeal and even take it up a notch to all ranges of audiences out there.



Will There Ever Be Another Matrix Movie?

 

Neo

The Matrix was a movie series which defined a decade. This has been both good and bad for fans of the series. It’s been over 12 years since the last movie in the series,The Matrix Revolutions. This is long enough for many people to simply assume that the series was a product of its time. It changed how people looked at a lot of things. But many feel that the changes it brought have become so ubiquitous that a new entry would be a tough sell. Somewhat cerebral action movies are the norm these days. And bullet time has become a dated cliché. Is there room for a new Matrix film?

While some skepticism is prudent, there’s some reasons to believe that there may be a new movie on the horizon. There’s nothing solid yet, but there’s a few reasons to remain optimistic. The first is, ironically, a fake rumor from a few years ago. Out of nowhere people began to speculate that there was a new movie coming. It’s difficult to know how or why the rumor was started. But people within the industry must have noticed the amount of attention. Studios pay big money to test the interest of potential audiences. And the rumor was a free glimpse into the mind of the public. And the public was very obviously eager for more Matrix movies.

A more concrete reason to think that there’s a new Matrix movie on the horizon comes from the Latino Review. Obviously some skepticism is warranted. But they’ve a solid track record when it comes to movie predictions. They’ve reported that the Wachowski siblings have turned in early treatments and outlines to Warner Bros.

Another reason to think that another Matrix movie’s on the way has to do with Warner Bros. The studio lost the rights to Terminator, a franchise that’s ready to be rebooted. They obviously need a big franchise in order to compete with the other studios. The Marvel movies have shown that modern audiences love a serialized storytelling experience within a shared world. The Matrix was one of the earliest examples of this storytelling technique done right. Even apart from the evidence shown by Latino Review, it simply makes sense that they’d be interested in bringing the franchise back. It has name recognition, and a huge universe to tell stories within. In fact, a number of comics have shown just how open the world is to new stories.

Will there ever be a new Matrix movie? While firm evidence is still hard to come by, there’s a better than average chance that we’ll see one.



Top 3 Clint Eastwood Movies of All-Time

Clint Eastwood

Clint Eastwood has been in many movies, and’s known as one of the greatest actors in the history of Hollywood. Throughout his career, he has been in many movies of the highest caliber, but none greater than the Sergio Leone trilogy.

The Top 3 Clint Eastwood movies of all-time are:

  • A Fistful of Dollars
  • For a Few Dollars More
  • The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

A Fistful of Dollars was a remake of an old Japanese film that has the same feel that a lot of Leone’s movies have, and was an incredible starting point for the protagonist of this trilogy. It established that the hero (Clint Eastwood) is a mysterious character who deals with a lot of shady types but in the end prevails as a figure of justice. What’s interesting about this film is that it was the first western where the protagonist is almost questionable at times. He has no regrets about working with gang members as long as he gets his pay, at least that’s how he seems at first.

For A Few Dollars More is the first movie in the trilogy that introduces Colonel Douglas Mortimer played by Lee Van Cleef. This character is the perfection of a foil character, as this movie displays how he’s very similar to the protagonist. He works as a bounty hunter and ends up teaming up with the protagonist, has the same skills as the protagonist, and even has the same sense of cool as the protagonist. Lee Van Cleef arguably brings just as much to this movie as Eastwood, which’s a lot. His devilish smile and dark clothes make you trust him just slightly less than Eastwood, setting him up for the perfect villain in The Good, The Bad and The Ugly.

The final film of the series, and the greatest is The Good, The Bad and The Ugly. Many who have taken from Sergio Leone’s style of film making, including Quinton Tarantino, state that this is their favorite movie of all-time. It has influenced action movies, drama movies, comedy movies, Japanese anime, and more. This movie changed the way we view media. A movie doesn’t have to be either action, drama, comedy, or art; it can be all of them and pull it off brilliantly. This film proves that dialogue can be simple and normal, yet poetic and dramatic. It’s not only the best Clint Eastwood movie, but the greatest movie of all time.

And there you have it. There are other movies he acted in that could rightfully be in the Top 3 like Dirty Harry. Give us your thoughts!



Generation Muppets

Muppets

When Jim Henson created The Muppets in the ’50s, its intent was for both children and adults to enjoy these characters. Decades later, we’re still enjoying them. Having The Muppets reach out to so many generations are what so many franchises have failed to do.

The early days started with Kermit the Frog and Rowlf the Dog making TV appearances doing political humor for adults in Washington, D.C. When Seasme Street started in 1969, that’s when The Muppets took off

The Muppet Show premiered on TV in 1976 and was meant for both children and their parents. With such a cross generational appeal, there were big things on the horizon for them such as succession of movies and all sorts of memorabilia.

The Muppets are still going strong today as they approach their 60th birthday. They’ve been featured in Toyota Highlander commercials, ESPN’s SportsCenter, WWE, and they have made appearances on The Daily Show and Jimmy Kimmel Live! They even presented at the Academy Awards and the Emmys.

So many characters, critters and heroes have come and gone. It’s a testament to Jim Henson’s remarkable vision and creativity that the Muppets are still as popular as ever. The magic of a gentle green frog with a pure heart is still bringing smiles to faces across multiple generations.



A Rocky Movie Rematch I Would Want To See

Rocky vs. Thunderlips

I would like a rematch of Thunderlips, aka Hulk Hogan versus Rocky Balboa in Rocky 3. They sparred in a charity match and it was full of fun and antics. Rocky Balboa is seen as an invincible man. He has the heart of a fighter and never gives up. Thunderlips is an aggressive wrestler and outweighs Balboa a great deal. He also has the ability to pick Rocky up and hurl him across the ring.

I think that the rematch could come about in an organic way. Both men would be around the same age. They could decide to have a rematch as a way to prove if boxers are stronger than wrestlers. The two men could be getting up there in age and both want to have another headline match with each other.

One part of sports that needs to be touched on more is when an athlete finally decides that it’s time to pull the plug and hand the reins over to someone else. The two men could finally come to grips with the fact that their bodies will no longer carry them through the tough matches that they wish to compete in.

Thunderlips is a wrestler who loves attention, especially from women. He thrives on being booed and he likes when the crowd shows hatred towards him. Rocky takes public opinion seriously so when the two meet, there is bound to be drama. This would be an incredible rematch.

I would like to see Tony being Rocky’s new manager. He helped Apollo Creed during his career. No one can take the place of his former trainer, Mickey but it would be nice to see the two be able to come together for one final match. Rocky always puts a lot of time both mentally and physically into training for a fight. This fight would make him have to change up his routine so he would have to learn to wrestle as well.

Rocky needs to branch out a bit so that people can see that he is multi-faceted. This rematch would challenge him in every way possible and would give viewers a great show.



A-List Appearances on The Simpsons

Liam and Homer

Since airing in 1989, The Simpsons continuous rise in popularity expanded into merchandising and The Simpsons Movie back in 2007. One of the key factors that made this show so awesome to watch were the guest celebrity appearances. In Season 2 of the show, Tony Bennett made his debut as himself. Phil Hartman, who’s an actor and comedian appeared on the show a record 52 times. With that said, we made a list of other notable guest appearances:

Meryl Streep: 1994 Episode ‘Bart’s Girlfriend’

She turned Bart’s world upside down as his girlfriend. Streep is known for her work in Sophie’s Choice and Iron Lady, and has won the Academy Award for Best Actress in both films. She has more Academy Award nominations of any other actor or actress in history. In 2010, she was awarded the National Media of Arts by President Barack Obama.

Conan O’Brien: Episode ‘Bart Gets Famous’ in 1994

O’Brien had previously been a writer on the show. He wrote ‘Homer Goes to College,’ and ‘New Kid on the Block.’ He also wrote for Saturday Night Live. He’s known for his antics hosting both Late Night and The Tonight Show. He has also done voice work on shows such as Robot Chicken and Futurama. He is currently the host of the talk show Conan.

Liam Neeson: 2005 Episode ‘The Father, the Son, and the Holy Guest Star’

This was originally set to air directly after Pope John Paul II’s death but was postponed. He plays Father Sean and gets Bart interested in converting to Catholicism. Liam Neeson rose to fame during his role on Schindler’s List. He’s also known for his work in Star Wars Episode I, Taken, Batman Begins and The Chronicles of Narnia. He has been nominated by both the Academy Awards and the Golden Globe Awards for Best Actor.

Stephen Colbert: Episode in 2007 ‘He Loves to Fly and He D’ohs’

With Colbert’s extensive voice acting experience on everything from The Venture Bros. to Harvey Birdman: Attorney at Law, it’s surprising that Colbert wasn’t on The Simpsons sooner. Though he’s obviously got a decent range, at some point the showrunners decided they basically wanted Colbert’s character to be more or less the same one he plays on his parody pundit show.

Eva Longoria: Episode ‘The Kid is Alright’ in 2013

She plays Isabel Guiterrez, a new student who begins a friendship with Lisa, but it turns out she’s Republican. Eva Longoria is known for playing sizzling housewife Gabrielle Solis on the series Desperate Housewives. She received a Golden Globe Award nomination. She has also been in films such as The Sentinel and Over Her Dead Body.



The Rise of the Superhero in Mainstream American Culture

Superheroes

Superheroes, since Superman debuted in the 40’s, have always held a special place in pop culture. Though they’ve always had their place, they’ve never had the mainstream popularity that they do now, largely due to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. They’ve almost always been popular in movies, with pre-MCU movies like ‘Superman’, ‘Batman’, ‘Batman Begins’, ‘Spider-Man’, and ‘The X-Men’ were largely successful. The MCU’s model has certainly contributed to the mainstream popularity, but that’s in part because they’re great movies that really stuck to the source material. That leads me to believe that it isn’t necessarily the movies that people love, the movies simply made great characters accessible to people in a medium that without it, they wouldn’t have come across. We don’t just love the movies, we love the heroes.

Superheroes are the new mythological heroes. Ancient civilizations had characters like Hercules and Theseus. The Medieval Europeans had King Arthur and Thor. Today, we have characters like Superman, Spider-Man, and coincidentally, Thor (Thank you, Marvel). We’ve always had that fascination with larger than life heroes. They move and inspire us. Superheroes serve to inspire us to find our greatness within. A character like Spider-Man, a meek and quiet teenager as Peter Parker, but secretly a powerful hero once he puts on his costume, resonates with us because Peter can be seen as an everyman, but is secretly truly special. We all want to feel like we have that in us.

We may not be from an alien planet, like Superman, or been bitten by an irradiated spider like Peter Parker, but we want to know that we are capable of greatness. We also want to feel like there may be someone out there looking after us. They’re symbols of hope. Superman was created by two Jewish men during the rise of Nazi Germany. It was also not lost that superheroes regained popularity in the wake of the September 11th terrorist attacks. Superheroes can be that reminder that maybe all hope isn’t lost because after all, in the comics and the movies, no matter how bad things get, you know that Superman will show up right when you need him.



The Draw of the Horror Movie

Dracula

Horror movies have always had a prominent place in American pop culture. Some of the biggest movies of all-time have been horror movies. There isn’t anyone who doesn’t know Dracula or the Frankenstein monster. They may not be viewed as being necessarily scary anymore, but at the time, they were considered to be absolutely terrifying. Even prior to that, the silent movie ‘Nosferatu’, an unlicensed Dracula story, became incredibly popular. Even the part of the vampire mythos that a vampire will die in sunlight came specifically from that movie (to avoid being sued, they added the Count disappearing as the sun rose as opposed to the traditional Dracula ending). What makes these movies so popular though? Or the more modern ones like ‘The Conjuring’?

As people, we’re always enthralled with what scares us. Physiologically, fear can cause a big dopamine response, which naturally makes you feel good, but psychologically, what is it about fear that captivates us so much? On the surface, fear is seen as a negative emotion, but in a safe and controlled environment, we love it. The nature of fear though is a good thing. Fear keeps us honest, and fear keeps us from making foolish mistakes. Fear can protect us from ourselves, and let you know when there’s danger. Fear is natural, and it can be captivating in the right environment.

I personally think part of the appeal of the horror movies that stay with us, iconic movies like Dracula and Frankenstein, is our fascination with the supernatural. We’ve always been curious about the unknown, and in a world that gets smaller and smaller every day, and there seems to be less and less that we don’t ‘know’, the unknown can become even more fascinating. Who really knows though? Whether the appeal of horror is in the physiological or the psychological, our draw to horror shows no signs of slowing down.



The Marvel, DC, and Universal Cinematic Universe Revolution

Justice League

It began with ‘Iron Man’, the blockbuster about narcissistic billionaire alcoholic-turned superhero Tony Stark. It was a gamble on Marvel’s part. Though Iron Man is a popular character now, at the time, he couldn’t hold a candle to Spider-Man or the X-Men in terms of popularity. Unfortunately for Marvel, both of those franchises were owned by different studios with Spider-Man being at Sony and the X-Men being with Fox. So they rolled the dice on what was at least to the mainstream audience, a relatively unknown character. The gamble paid off in a big way. In what will probably go down as one of the most compelling moments in movie history, after the credits, Tony Stark returned home to find Nick Fury, the Director of S.H.I.E.L.D. waiting for him to tell Tony that he was far from the only ‘special’ person in the world, and with that, the Marvel Cinematic Universe was born.

Each movie coming after ‘Iron Man’ was a hit, including the Iron Man sequels, which were both considered to be two of the weaker installments. The huge success of the MCU has caused other studios to follow-suit. Marvel’s main competitor, DC Comics, is now in the process of their own unified cinematic universe. They launched it with ‘Man of Steel’, a reboot of the Superman franchise. They have such confidence in the potential of the universe model that they’re going all-in on it in spite of ‘Man of Steel’ not being as big of a box office or critical hit as many of the MCU’s titles. They’ll be looking to continue with a Man of Steel sequel titled ‘Superman vs. Batman: The Dawn of Justice’, bringing in not only DC’s other big hero, Batman, but also characters like The Flash, Green Lantern, Aquaman, Wonder Woman, and Cyborg. They seem to be doing the opposite of what Marvel did. Marvel went with lesser-known actors in their star roles and focused on building each individual franchise leading to the ‘Avengers’. DC is trying to load their movies with big stars like Ben Affleck as Batman and jumping right to the introduction of the Justice League, so we’ll see if it plays out as successfully as Marvel’s.

The idea of a cinematic universe isn’t specifically designated to comic book superheroes. Universal Studios is doing one with their classic monster line, beginning with last year’s ‘Dracula: Untold’, and Sony is now planning one for the ‘Ghostbusters’ franchise, starting with an all-female reboot of the classic movie. The idea of building an intertwining universe paid off big for Marvel, now we just have to wait and see if other studios can mimic that success.



Making the Case for Daredevil

Daredevil

Nowadays, nearly every blockbuster is based on a comic book. It’s easy to forget that that wasn’t always the case. If not for Marvel and the Marvel Cinematic Universe, we may have never even had that superhero movie revolution. There were some solid ones before Iron Man came out, which had been the official launch pad of the MCU, and Daredevil was one of them. Don’t get me wrong, while I was a fan, and am certainly biased due to Daredevil being my favorite superhero, the movie had big flaws.

One of the biggest issues is simply that it didn’t hold up well. At the time, there hadn’t been a dark and gritty superhero movie since Batman Returns in the early 90’s, and when Daredevil came out, fans on numerous message boards were calling for DC to take notice because that was how you made a Batman movie. That statement has validity too. Daredevil is arguably a poor man’s Batman and the movie included many elements of Batman’s mythos like the gritty street-level vigilantism, using fear as a weapon, and creating an urban myth around himself. The issue with this thought though, is that Batman Begins came out a few years later, and that was better on every conceivable level than Daredevil.

Another flaw was that it was too short. Fox called for the movie to be stripped down to simply being an hour and a half cookie-cutter action movie. If you watch the director’s cut of the film though, there is about thirty minutes of plot that’s added that makes the movie feel far more complete than the theatrical release did.

The third major issue was the casting. I liked Ben Affleck as Matt Murdock/Daredevil, but Jennifer Garner’s Elektra and Colin Farrell’s Bullseye were both horrendously miscast. Garner simply doesn’t look Greek in the slightest and doesn’t seem to possess the viciousness that the character requires. Farrell on the other hand, chose to play Bullseye as if he were a cast-off from Batman and Robin. The character was portrayed as so horrendously campy it was cringe-worthy.

I credit many of the mistakes made with the movie to the executives behind the scenes and director Mark Steven Johnson, who also did the terrible Ghost Rider movie. That said, in spite of its flaws, the movie, especially the director’s cut, captures the true essence of the character, and has genuinely good action scenes as well as good elements of romantic comedy. Sure, it’s choppy and cheesy at times, and it looks like the new Daredevil Netflix series will rectify these mistakes and be truly awesome, but the Daredevil film was solid, especially for its time, and may be worth watching again.