Archive for the ‘Comedy’ Category


Director: Paul King
Writers: Paul King (written by), Paul King, Hamish McColl (screen story), Michael Bond (character “Paddington Bear”)
Starring: Hugh Bonneville, Sally Hawkins, Nicole Kidman, Madeleine Harris, Samuel Joslin, Ben Whishaw (Paddington’s voice)
Release Date: November 23, 2014 (UK), January 16, 2015 (US)
Runtime: 1 hr. 35 mins.
MPAA Rating: PG



It’s always a risk when taking a beloved childhood story or character and trying to translate it to the big screen. It takes a deft hand, a sensitivity to the source material, and an understanding of the ongoing relationships that are developed between children and their favorites. In this case, it looks as though writer/director Paul King, along with co-writer Hamish McColl, have managed to maintain their childhood connection to Michael Bond’s little bear from darkest Peru, Paddington, giving children who are current fans, and parents with fond memories, something to enjoy together. Click through for my full review.



Director: James Gunn
Writers: James Gunn (written by), Nicole Perlman (written by), Dan Abnett (comic book), Andy Lanning (comic book)
Starring: Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Bradley Cooper, Vin Diesel, Lee Pace
Release Date: August 1, 2014
Runtime: 2 hrs. 1 min.
MPAA Rating: PG-13




When was the first time you remember watching a gang of ragtag misfits flying around trying to save the galaxy from a force intent on utterly destroying its enemies? A lot depends on how old you are, but for me, it was Star Wars back in the summer of 1977. I was eight years old, and it was a magical experience. I have a feeling that this same magical experience is being relived by other 8- or 9- or 10-year-olds all around the world tonight, as they go with mom or dad or older siblings to watch the latest Marvel outing, Guardians of the Galaxy. But you don’t have to be young – it can still be a magical experience at any age, as this 44-year-old will attest.


Director: Richard Donner
Writers: Steven Spielberg (story), Chris Columbus (screenplay)
Starring: Sean Astin, Josh Brolin, Corey Feldman, Kerri Green, Martha Plimpton
Release Date: June 7, 1985
Runtime: 1 hrs. 54 mins.
MPAA Rating: PG

In our lives, there are certain moments, events that will always stick with us and elicit the same emotions they originally wrought those many years ago whenever we think of them. Things like weddings, births, deaths, moves when we were young. But there are other, less dramatic events, that can have a similar effect. A concert, a trip taken with family, or a film seen at the right time, at the right age. For me, The Goonies is one of those films, and today marks the 29th anniversary of the film’s original theatrical release. For people of my generation, watching it again is an enjoyable ride down memory lane; for those of younger generations, read-on – I have a real gem to share with you, one that you may have missed growing up.


Director: Edgar Wright
Writers: Simon Pegg, Edgar Wright
Starring: Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Jim Broadbent, Paddy Considine
Release Date: April 20th, 2007
Runtime: 2 hrs. 1 min.
MPAA Rating: R




The second installment in the Wright/Pegg/Frost trilogy (or should it rather be called an un-trilogy?), Hot Fuzz moves us away from the zombie killing ways of Shaun and his best friend Ed in Shaun of the Dead (see my review here), and introduces us to PC Nicholas Angel [Simon Pegg], London’s top cop. Unfortunately, he’s a little bit too good (the Chief Inspector [Bill Nighy] tells him he’s “rather been letting down the side”), and therefore gets reassigned to the quiet country town of Sandford, where almost nothing ever happens, let alone crime. Appearances are not, however, what they seem, and Angel begins to smell something foul – and it’s not just the town’s missing swan.


Director: Edgar Wright
Writers: Simon Pegg, Edgar Wright
Starring: Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Kate Ashfield, Bill Nighy
Release Date: September 24th, 2004
Runtime: 1 hr. 39 mins.
MPAA Rating: R





The “Three Flavours Cornetto Trilogy” (note the British spelling is not a mistake – the title is British), a series of three movies combining the writing talents of Edgar Wright, Simon Pegg, and the acting talents of Pegg and Nick Frost, began ten years ago with this little gem of a movie, Shaun of the Dead. Written as a spoof of zombie film classics, it combines the sensibilities of American zombie horror with British humor, and throws in a little romance for good measure. Is Shaun of the Dead the perfect comedy/horror film? Click through after the break to get my take.


Directors: Pierre Coffin, Chris Renaud
Writers: Cinco Paul and Ken Daurio
Starring: Steve Carell, Kristen Wiig, Benjamin Bratt, Miranda Cosgrove, Russell Brand
Release Date: July 3rd, 2013
Runtime: 1 hr. 38 mins.
MPAA Rating: PG





2010’s Despicable Me was a surprise hit worldwide, pulling in more than half a billion dollars at the box office. It’s sequel, 2013’s imaginatively title Despicable Me 2, did even better, nearly doubling that total while hitting upwards of the $350 million mark domestically. But just because a sequel does better at the box office doesn’t mean that it is necessarily a better movie. Will Gru [Steve Carell] as a good guy be as entertaining as Gru as a bad guy was? Click through after the break to see my take.


Director: Dean Parisot
Writers: David Howard (story)
David Howard and Robert Gordon (screenplay)
Starring: Tim Allen, Sigourney Weaver, Alan Rickman, Tony Shalhoub, Sam Rockwell
Release Date: December 25th, 1999
Runtime: 1 hr. 42 mins.
MPAA Rating: PG







In the same vein as my earlier review of Ghostbusters, here is another one of my go-to movies. I define these as movies if, as I’m flipping through the channels, I should see them on, I’ll stop and watch them through to the end. These aren’t always the best movies of all time, or even the ones that did well at the box office, but they are, for whatever reasons, the ones that do it for me.


Director: Ivan Reitman
Writers: Dan Aykroyd, Harold Ramis, Rick Moranis (uncredited)
Starring: Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Sigourney Weaver, Harold Ramis, Rick Moranis
Release Date: June 8th, 1984
Runtime: 1 hr. 45 mins.
MPAA Rating: PG




This last Monday, Harold Ramis passed away from a rare vascular disease at the age of sixty-nine. For a lot of people, this “Harold who?” may seem to have very little impact on their lives; but if you’re a fan of comedy, a fan of anything funny, you’ve likely either encountered Ramis already, or have watched those heavily influenced by his body of work. And if you grew up in the 1980s like I did, you couldn’t avoid him even if you didn’t have a funny bone in your body. He wrote and acted in some of the funniest films of all time: Animal House, Meatballs, Caddyshack, Stripes, and of course, Ghostbusters. If you think this reads like Bill Murray’s resume rather than Harold Ramis’s, you’d be half right: the two worked together, with Murray often being the star (or scene-stealing bit part, such as his groundskeeper in Caddyshack) of the movies Ramis wrote. Ramis never hogged the spotlight, allowing others to shine, but those movies he appeared in would not have been the same without his uncomfortable, dorky-yet-human characterizations. In honor of Ramis’s passing, I’m going to review my favorite of his films today: Ghostbusters.