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Archive for the ‘Dark Comedy’ Category

[Little Miss] Sunshine Cleaning

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Watch the trailer for Sunshine Cleaning here

So after ripping the living (or I guess, undead, in some cases) crap out of the actors in Twilight, I felt like I needed to write about a good trailer. Sunshine Cleaning is a great one—it describes what the movie is about, it’s got a great song, and it manages to show Emily Blunt vomiting without making her the least bit unattractive. Then again, I’m fairly sure that Emily Blunt would look attractive covered in a pile of moldy marshmallow fluff (if marshmallow fluff weren’t 100% plastic and could actually mold).

And speaking of attractive actresses (attract-resses?), this movie’s even got Amy Adams, who has been on my “Women I’d totally go out with if I liked women that way” list for years. Not only is she gorgeous, but she’s extremely talented; what’s great about Sunshine Cleaning is that it gives us a chance to see her in a serious role, giving her a break from the peppy, super-naïve roles she previously played in Enchanted and Drop Dead Gorgeous.

Most importantly, this movie has Alan Arkin in it, and anything with Alan Arkin in it is fantastic. He doesn’t even try to be funny. He just is.

And how cute is that little kid? Where did he come from? I want one!

I also have to give Sunshine Cleaning kudos for a creative and original plot—there aren’t too many out there these days. I can’t stand how many crappy book-based movies have been made. I couldn’t even sit through Ella Enchanted—a butchered version of my favorite children’s book. And don’t even get me started on The Owls of Ga’Hoole.

Sunshine Cleaning is wrought with some witty dark humor and some great twists that leave you alarmed and delighted. The dialogue is surprising and well-written, the soundtrack is great, and the acting is fantastic. This movie is so great that I’m even willing to forgive the makers for creating two movies with the word “sunshine” in the title (the other being Little Miss Sunshine). I can even almost forgive them for including the token “female protagonist talks to herself in a mirror because she needs to boost her self-confidence” scene. Almost.

Seriously though, go watch this. I mean, well, see it, but be prepared to cry a lot (but then again, I cried in Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls because there was a raccoon stuck on a log).

Written by Sally

July 21st, 2010 at 4:42 pm

Posted in Dark Comedy,Drama

Dedication: Dr. Manhattan Has a Major Case of OCD

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Click to watch the Dedication trailer at Zuguide.com

Click to watch the Dedication trailer at Zuguide.com

In case you hadn’t heard, Watchmen comes out on Friday. Given the level of anticipation this film has produced in die hard fans of the graphic novel and the general public alike, it’s quite possible that Billy Crudup will go from being that rock star guy who called himself a golden god and jumped off a roof into a swimming pool (Russell Hammond in Almost Famous) to that scientist who accidentally disintegrated himself and came back as that blue guy who can control matter and energy at will (Dr. Manhattan in the aforementioned Watchmen). I’d call that a slight upgrade. But, before Friday rolls around and Crudup becomes known as the most powerful Smurf ever, I thought I’d take a moment and offer up the trailer for Crudup’s last, less than widely released film, Dedication.

In Dedication, Crudup plays an obsessive compulsive man who hates people but writes children’s books. When Tom Wilkinson, Crudup’s only friend and the illustrator of his hit “Marty the Beaver” series, dies, Crudup is forced to share a beach house with Wilkinson’s replacement, Mandy Moore, in order to finish up the latest Marty installment. Take a wild guess what happens next.

Highlights of the Dedication trailer include: 1) Crudup rattling off all his OCD symptoms the first time he meets Moore. 2) Crudup telling a little girl girl at a book signing that Santa Claus doesn’t exist. 3) Wilkinson describing Moore as being “lovely like an antelope in a junkyard.” 4) Crudup wearing a yellow football helmet to overcome his fear of riding in a car. And, 5) Crudup pretending to be upset when Moore falls asleep next to him on the couch.  My favorite part of the trailer is when Crudup vaporizes Mandy Moore and uses her atomic material to annihilate a squadron of attack helicopters and over forty tanks (not really). Dedication opened August 24, 2007. Check of the Dedication trailer at Zuguide.com.

Written by Adam

March 3rd, 2009 at 8:53 pm

Choke: A New Way to Make Friends

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Click to watch the Choke trailer at Zuguide.com

Click to watch the Choke trailer at Zuguide.com

In Choke, the second of Chuck Palahniuk’s novels to be adapted into a film (the first was Fight Club), Sam Rockwell plays Victor, a sex addict who works as a re-enactor at a colonial theme park.  After a long day at ye olde office, Sam likes to cut off his oxygen supply by shoving huge chunks of steak down his throat, partly for the attention and partly to leech cash off the men and women who save his life. Besides covering the tab for his own deviant interests, Sam also has to pay for Anjelica Houston’s hospital care because she’s his mother and she has Alzheimer’s. Given the going rate for a mediocre, unmotivated, partially historically accurate colonial townsperson, it’s reasonable to assume that Rockwell has preparing for the Heimlich Maneuver down pat.

Rockwell kicks off the Choke trailer by advising a stripper that she should have a mole on her thigh looked at by a doctor. After learning the stripper’s stage name (Cherry Daiquiri), we see that Rockwell likes to attend sex addiction support groups more for the social aspects than for receiving any type of help. There are a few random hookups, and then Rockwell goes to the hospital where he meets Kelly Macdonald, his mother’s new doctor. Even though Houston doesn’t recognize him (she calls him Frank), the visit to the hospital proves to be an important one for Rockwell. After demonstrating his technique for eating a porterhouse in a single bite for his friend Brad William Henke, Rockwell realizes that he’s attracted to Macdonald on a deeper level than he’s used to and can’t jump straight to sex like usual. Forced out of his comfort zone, Rockwell and Henke head back to the strip club, where they find Cherry Daiquiri has changed her hair color in order to stave off skin cancer.  My favorite part of the trailer comes when Rockwell is cheered on by a bunch of senior citizens as he bashes a walker against a set of lockers in a hospital locker room. Choke opens September 26, 2008. Check out the Choke trailer at Zuguide.com.

Burn After Reading: Sweaty Secrets

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Click to watch the Burn After Reading trailer at Zuguide.com

Click to watch the Burn After Reading trailer at Zuguide.com

Even though there might be a few random chuckles to be had in No Country for Old Men, no one would go so far as to call it a comedy. But, for the most part, that’s what the Coen brothers are known for: dark, quirky laugh-out-loud funny movies. Putting aside a few forays into the world of mostly serious, nostalgic crime thrillers (Miller’s Crossing, Barton Fink, The Man Who Wasn’t There) and a couple of forgettable missteps (The Ladykillers, Intolerable Cruelty), the Coen brothers have made a name for themselves with a string of unusual and beloved films that get their laughs more from situations and characters than from point blank jokes (Raising Arizona, Fargo, The Big Lebowski, O Brother, Where Art Thou?).

Hoping to add to that list, the Coen brothers have written and directed Burn After Reading. The story revolves around a CD containing John Malkovich’s CIA memoirs. After Brad Pitt finds the disc in a locker room, he and fellow gym employee Frances McDormand set out to use their newfound leverage to lighten Malkovich’s wallet. The trailer begins with Pitt explaining what he’s found to a few skeptical coworkers. He then sets up a meeting with Malkovich over the phone, and it’s obvious that in the early going both Pitt and McDormand are treating their caper more like a game than an actual crime. When Pitt finally comes face-to-face with Malkovich, he gets a dose of reality and realizes that his plan might not go as smoothly as he once thought. From then on, it’s an all-out battle between the bitter, condescending Malkovich and the flighty, misguided Pitt. Also, somewhere along the way, McDormand gets romantically involved with George Clooney. While it’s not abundantly clear from the trailer what part he plays in the story, apparently Clooney is also sleeping with Tilda Swinton, Malkovich’s ex-wife.

My favorite part of the trailer comes when Pitt meets with Malkovich for the first time. Sitting in Malkovich’s car, Pitt tries to explain that he is merely a “good Samaritan.” But, Malkovich instantly sees through his load of crap and punches Pitt square in the nose to make it perfectly clear that the gym rat is messing with the wrong dude. Burn After Reading opens September 12, 2008. Check out the Burn After Reading trailer at Zuguide.com.

Donnie Darko: Seth Rogen's Big Screen Debut

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Click to watch the Donnie Darko trailer at Zuguide.com

Click to watch the Donnie Darko trailer at Zuguide.com

Before appearing in The 40 Year Old Virgin, Knocked Up or Superbad, or even showing up as Eager Cameraman in Anchorman, Pineapple Express star Seth Rogen played bully Ricky Danforth in director Richard Kelly’s 2001 cult classic Donnie Darko. While Rogen didn’t get too much screen time, he was present the first time Donnie and Gretchen spoke, delivering the classy line, “I like your boobs,” and was also responsible for throwing Gretchen to the ground moments before she was hit by a car. Not exactly the funniest role ever, but at least it served as a stepping stone for Rogen from his TV roles in “Freaks and Geeks” and “Undeclared” to his current streak of feature film success.

The Donnie Darko trailer begins with Drew Barrymore reciting a melodramatic passage from a novel to her English class, which includes Jake Gyllenhaal, or Donnie, and Seth Rogen. From there, it transitions to explaining Jake’s fragile mental state and his frequent conversations with a giant, sinister bunny rabbit. After Patrick Swayze makes a brief appearance as a motivational speaker, Jake begins talking about time travel and predestination with Noah Wyle, his science teacher. All in all, the trailer has a very bleak, creepy feel to it, and it’s clear that they decided to try to market it as a kind of horror film, even though it’s really not. I think it would have helped if they incorporated some clips that show the dark humor that runs throughout the film, and played up the fact that it takes place in the 80s by including some music from the soundtrack. My favorite part of the trailer is when Jake looks into a mirror and sees Frank, the giant rabbit, and creates a ripple in the spacetime continuum when he tries to touch the image. Donnie Darko opened October 28, 2001. Check out the Donnie Darko trailer at Zuguide.com. [digg=http://digg.com/movies/Donnie_Darko_Trailer]