Monday, November 28, 2005

Movie Mon. - Bunnies? I don't know what you're talking about but I like the sound of it!

I got a total of four movies watched this week, three of which I really enjoyed; coincidentally, three is also the total number of people I could confidently recommend any of them to; strange and off-beat, every one.

Werewolf Hunter: The Legend of Romasanta: Inspired by the story of a 19th century serial killer, this Julian Sands vehicle is the story of Manuel Romasanta, a psychopath who used lycanthropy as a defense for his actions. Do not be fooled by the title, this is not a true werewolf film; it does, however, feature a very interesting transformation sequence which is probably worth the price of the rental for FX freaks. Not a bad movie, just not a terribly good one, either.

Martin and Orloff: As I watched this film starring and written by two members of The Upright Citizens Brigade, I thought to myself "Man, I need to recommend this to Zinger and to, um, let's see, how about, um, no, maybe, er, uh . . . well, Zinger." An odd movie, that zooms all over the spectrum of tone and style. Several sections felt like they belonged in an ep of the UCB's old Comedy Central show, while others felt more down to earth . . . not too down to earth, but definitely not in the "putting little girls in Rib costumes and plunging them to their doom in a giant bowl of dipping sauce from a booby trapped bridge" range of comedy like other scenes. And if that last sentence does not intrigue and/or amuse you in the slightest, then this movie about a suicidal man and his unconventional therapist probably isn't for you. Lots of cameos, including Janene Garofolo and Rachel Dratch as actresses in a Steel Magnolias rip-off written and directed by David Cross in a dinner theater managed by Andy Richter.

Happy Endings: You know, I really didn't know what to expect from this movie, but it definitely wasn't whatever the heck I wound up with. What a strange, strange movie; well-done, well-written, well-acted, but strange. Here's a brief synopsis; Lisa Kudrow plays an abortion counselor who is being extorted by a prospective film student (a very scummy looking Jesse Bradford) with information about her long-lost son, so she sets up a scam with the help of her Mexican masseuse boyfriend(the very funny Bobby Cannavale); meanwhile, her gay stepbrother has started to suspect that his lesbian best friends' child was actually fathered by his partner (played by David Sutcliffe, a.k.a. Christopher on Gilmore Girls); also, one of the stepbrother's employees (John Ritter's son, Jason), who happens to have a crush on the stepbrother, finds himself being taken advantage of by a coniving young woman (the excellent Maggie Gyllenhaal) who threatens to out him to his father if he doesn't let her move in, before quickly deciding that the dad (Tom Arnold) makes a better target. Is that everybody . . . yeah, think so. The use of title card inserts throughout was well-done; informative, funny, and not over-used. And hey, if nothing else, after seeing this movie you can tell all your friends "I just saw Tom Arnold's first big screen love scene." Now, who wouldn't want to brag about that?

Reefer Madness: The Movie Musical: While you don't have to have seen the original Reefer Madness to appreciate this movie, you should at least be familiar with it; a "serious" anti-drug film from 1936 that decried the dangers of "marihuana" and its tendency to turn wholesome all-American teens into axe-wielding mass murderers, which later became a cult classic as a comedy in the 60s and 70s; it's so over-the-top and poorly done you'd half expect it to have been directed by Ed Wood. Anyway, the musical version borrows heavily from the original's plot and dialogue, but with a modern tongue-in-cheek twist, not to mention some catchy tunes with wicked lyrics. Don't know which lyrics I liked more: "You once had all the brains now they're just carpet stains!" or "Creeping like a communist, it's knocking at our doors, turning all our children into hooligans and whores!" I thought Christian "Neve's brother" Campbell did a great job as the poor all-American boy turned reefer freak, and it was fun to see Kristen "Veronica Mars" Bell as his all-American girlfriend; there was at least one scene where her resemblance to Emma Caulfield as Anya on Buffy was uncanny, especially when she exclaims "Bunnies!" But then it turns out she's pro-bunnies, so the illusion was ruined. Again, not for everyone; mom and I laughed all the way through, but dad was forced upstairs into his office to read before the second number was done.