The seductive, glamorous, and exquisitely fragile Glass family of J.D. Salinger’s invention might well live down the street from the fairy-tale clan that represents the soul of a fragile but bountiful New York City in Wes Anderson’s The Royal Tenenbaums. Reminiscent of Salinger’s Manhattanites, the Tenenbaums are privileged natives in a landscape that doesn’t exist, and perhaps never existed, but seduces with the possibility of having existed once in a cozier, more Christmas-y past.
We all have our personal quirks and family issues that sometimes make us say, “How can anyone else’s family be as goofy as mine?” But then along come movies bringing us dysfunctional families like Moonstruck, Ordinary People and The Royal Tenenbaums that make our personal lives seem like an episode right out of The Waltons. And make no mistake about it-the Tenenbaum family definitely has issues. Continue reading MasterChugs Theater: ‘The Royal Tenenbaums’
Comedy is always serious business, whether the joke is on the funnyman with the pie in the kisser or the woman trying, really trying, to fall for the schnook who didn’t use the condom. Funny People, the latest from Judd Apatow, the director of the hit comedies Knocked Up and The 40-Year-Old Virgin and a prolific producer, is being pitched as a bid at gravity, earnestness, adulthood, whatever. It’s an angle that sounds as if it had been cooked up by a studio flack to explain how words like divorce and death got tangled in with all the penis (and thereabouts) jokes. But the only difference is that now, Judd Apatow also seems almost lethally serious about being Judd Apatow.
Which is kind of ironic, considering the Judd Apatow name has essentially become synonymous with a new style of comedy. While Apatow has only directed 3 films including Funny People, he has written and produced countless films such as Anchorman, Step Brothers, Talladega Nights, Superbad, Forgetting Sarah Marshall and Pineapple Express-each movie carrying a distinct comedic style known as Apatow comedy. The stories all have similar themes, man children trying to grow up, hot chicks liking geeky guys, hard-core bromance; essentially coming of age stories for adults.
So the question is does Funny People live up to the Apatow legacy? Honestly, like this movie, the answer is a conundrum. Continue reading MasterChugs Theater: ‘Funny People’
Steven Spielberg is such a household name as a director that it might surprise you to learn how many fingers he has in how many pies. In the last ten years (and this list is by no means exhaustive) he has executive produced Deep Impact, The Mask of Zorro, The Haunting, What Lies Beneath, Shrek, Memoirs of a Geisha, Monster House, Jurassic Park III, Men in Black II and Transformers, as well as the TV series Band of Brothers and Taken. On top of this he’s written all of games in the “Medal of Honor” series. Oh, there’s also the small matter of directing Amistad, Saving Private Ryan, A.I., Minority Report, Munich, The Terminal and War of the Worlds. All of which were bankers at the box office, many laden with awards. Now comes another change in direction, the delightful Catch Me If You Can, which is right up there with his greatest films and one which should become a perennial favorite in years to come.
Continue reading MasterChugs Theater: ‘Catch Me If You Can’