Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Dumb and Dumber To & Penguins of Madagascar (2014)

Okay, slightly off-topic, but I figured I'd slip these in here since I took them in with my brother as a double-feature.

Dumb and Dumber To

** out of 5

It's nice to have the old morons back, and a lot of the jokes are hilarious, but a lot of this film seems like it's trying too hard, to the point of being embarrassing, as some of the gags go too far for too and get too gross, resulting in poor audience response.  In addition, to the gross-out humor that goes too far, there is something offputting about watching two grown men behave and densely as these characters do;  in the earlier film, the actors were young enough to accept it as a couple of guys too dumb to know better, but here it vaguely smacks of laughing at mentally retarded people.

Penguins of Madagascar

**** out of 5

The best part of the madagascar movies, these penguin heroes prove that they can manage a movie of their own.  This film thankfully keeps the ugly humans that kept showing up in those films in favor of more appealingly designed animals, including a rival team of world-saving polar animals, and a rubber-faced octopus villain.  The backstory of this penguin team is fleshed out in good humorous fashion, while giving us more reason to root for this team (as if we needed it), and setting up the plot that propels this fun film.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Mr. Hulot's Holiday (1953)

Mr. Hulot's Holiday (1953) Poster
**** out of 5

Well, film noir and Noirvember is behind us now, and the next month will focus on silent comedy and holiday films.  This film is only a sort-of in either category.   It has dialogue, but any speaking serves mostly as sound effects to underscore the visuals of this gag-filled comic masterpiece.  And the holiday is not Christmas, but a summer vacation of the sort Americans wish they could enjoy like the French do.

The first time I watched this, I didn't really get it.  It was slow, with very little of the laugh-out-loud slapstick-style comedy I was familiar with.  Comedy, yes, but this is not the hilariously manic-paced comedy of the Marx brothers or the wonderful eye-jabbing, face-slapping absurdity of the Stooges.  The humor of Tati is far more subtle, and requires patience and attentive observation.  Even then, the laugh-out-loud moments are few;  this film's humor is the sort that amuses and may elicit a closed-mouth laugh every several minutes, but it is an amusement that is thoroughly satisfying and universally appealing.