Tuesday, March 27, 2012

This Week In Tickets: 19 March 2012 - 25 March 2012

It was warm last week. Like, after working from home on Monday, I got a potato and some steak tips from the grocery store, fired up the grill, and had a delicious dinner. I watched (spring training) baseball on Thursday night, and it didn't feel ridiculous

This Week In Tickets!

So, of course, the weekend comes and it gets cold and rainy. Unfair.

21 Jump Street

* * * ¼ (out of four)
Seen 20 March 2012 in Somerville Theatre #5 (first-run, 35mm)

This movie has no right to be this funny. After all, Jump Street the TV show. though based on an absurd premise, wasn't really known as a comedy. Channing Tatum isn't really known for his comic chops. And while Jonah Hill is, I'm not exactly sure why.

Still, this is a very funny movie; Tatum proves to be genuinely funny, and the script by Michael Bacall (with Hill teaming with him on the story) is self-referential right up to the point when it would stop being funny. There's a car chase that plays off this with absolutely impeccable comic timing - while also being a remarkably impressive car chase. It's also filled with clever blink-and-miss jokes on billboards that make me grin not just because they're funny, but because they indicate an impressive level of attention to detail.

I was also kind of amused by the gags involving people who graduated high school a mere seven years earlier not getting kids these days. There was a rumor going around (as it turns out completely unwarranted) about a remake of Back to the Future, which on a certain level I know to be a bad idea, but on second thought, doing one in 2015 where Marty travels back to 1985 might be fun. I initially didn't think it would be that different, even though Detention (opening in just a couple weeks! see it!) put the weird past era in the exact year I graduated high school, but this makes a bit of an argument that things would be different after all.

And, one last thing - I loved seeing the Stephen J. Cannell animation in the middle of the closing credits. He was credited as a producer, although given that he died in 2010, I don't know how much involvement he could have had. Still, Cannell's name just makes me feel good.

Casa de mi Padre

* * ¼ (out of four)
Seen 24 March 2012 in AMC Boston Common #3 (first-run, DLP)

This one, meanwhile, winds up a pretty big disappointment. It's a dry spoof that does all right as such movies go, but almost never really takes off. At times, it feels like the joke is that there is no joke - there's an English-speaking comedian playing it straight in a Spanish-language movie, and the expectation of something wacky happening is comic tension - and at others it seems like there is no joke other than spoofing telenovelas' lousy production values.

Or maybe the joke is that there's a lot of genuine talent involved in this spoof thing. Diego Luna, like some of the others, is a legit Spanish-language heartthrob and movie star. Genesis Rodriguez has done her time in real telenovelas, and while she's mainly cast for being incredibly easy on the eyes, she certainly gives every indication that she could handle an actual character if one was given to her. But Gael García Bernal... Gael García Bernal walks off with every scene he's in as the villain, and he's really the only guy who seems to realize that it's okay to be actively funny on top of straight-faced or deliberately mocking the genre.

As these things go, it's OK - I'm not the biggest fan of the warts-and-all spoof/homage - but it certainly feels like something that was a lot funnier in the heads of Ferrell and the filmmakers than it wound up being.

21 Jump StreetCasa de mi PadreThe 39 Steps & The Lady Vanishes

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