Will Preston

Tag: Michael Keaton

Mark Wahlberg can be funny too!

by on Oct.13, 2010, under Films, Review

I’m going to stop going on about Will Ferrell films for a while. Mainly because the last few articles have been about the fuzzy haired improv-happy chappy. Look at him, though; he is a happy looking man. And he should be. Him and Adam Mckay have finally come close to beating Anchorman. It’s been five long years, but it’s finally happened. One of the main things that attracted me to The Other Guys from the start was dragging in Mark Wahlberg, Dwayne Johnson and Samuel L. Jackson to a movie which spoofs their character archetypes from most movies they’ve been in.

And for some reason, this happens...

Wahlberg is the moody cop with a plate of chips on his shoulders, whilst Jackson and Johnson both play the hyperbolic cop buddy action due. Wait a sec. Jackson and Johnson? There’s a sound to that I like. Someone inform all the studios about my possible new idea for a spin off cop show. Thankfully, those two big names don’t overshadow the film as they are taken out of play in the first act of the movie. This provides the characters of Ferrell and Wahlberg to step in as the comedy counterpart.

A few years ago, Empire magazine (or was it Total Film? It’s like trying to tell the difference between Nuts and Zoo…) ran a small article on the roles of Ferrell with a short conclusion that his funniest roles are dependent on whether he is wearing a wig at the time; Ron Burgundy and Mugatu being good examples. When the barnet comes off, his quality can waver a lot like his hair underneath. Without a cranium rug, the man is naked. Not to say that he is dependent on comic props, it just helps his character. His character in this new addition is Allen Gamble, an annoying accountant for the NYPD, or a ‘fake cop’ as Terry Hoitz (Wahlberg) labels him.

The odd couple goes beyond the act; being that Wahlberg has never been in any role near Ferrell’s silly style. And he really took to it well, a good example being the fight talking argument between the two at the very beginning. Granted, Ferrell comes out as an unexpected winner (and a funny winner at that), but Wahlberg shows he can play a loser character just as well as the clowns. Even Michael Keaton gets the laughs in as their boss; a police captain who has a second job working at Bed Bath and Beyond in order to fund his bi-sexual son’s college degree. Heartwarming, eh?

Jackson and Johnson hugging in a manly way

There’s nothing much to say about the story, unsurprisingly. It’s generic, but tips the hat to a lot of cop clichés. There’s the ex-girlfriend that causes the hero grief, there’s the one terrible act of his past and there’s the over the top car chases (‘Where did you learn to do that?’ ‘Grand Theft Auto!’). In it’s own right, this could easily be the next light hearted cop buddy film instead of a spoof. It really gets under the skin of its counterpart and wears it well. Ok, that was a bit creepy.

The jokes come fast and frequent and there’s rarely a dull moment. My only gripe was Steve Coogan, who provided the McGuffin and not much else apart from a few Partridge-esque lines (‘I know a place where we can lay low – my Penthouse. I use it for prostitutes and meeting my parents. Not at the same time, as that would be weird.’). Granted, he got more screen time than expected, but I can’t figure out whether his role was over shadowed or he wasn’t given enough to work with. It was nice to see him anyway, old Coogers!

My main thought after seeing this was whether it was better than Anchorman. The jokes are on the right level and the cast is strong, but it’s a high mantle to take over from. As you read this I’m still debating over it.

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Can Ferrell brush down Anchorman with some Hot Fuzz? A First Look at The Other Guys.

by on Sep.16, 2010, under First Look

“I'm being physically threatened by an ex fuzz!” - Alan Partridge

Alight, Will Ferrell hasn’t come close to raising the previous bar set by his own Anchorman Accomplishment, but let’s give the man a chance to topple over that towering spire of comic silliness that we all love. After a barrage of slightly funny affairs, I’m a bit reluctant to spend my salt at the cinema. Not even 3D Ferrell could draw me in. For once, I might have to venture out my cave.

The Other Guys  looks like the B-Side to a kick arse single; the A-Side being the Samuel L Jackson/Dwayne Johnson combination. This first duo play the typical Lethal Weapon cop duo; a pair of New York City cops who have as much respect for public property as they do for their modesty. They might as well have 15 inch long hand guns shaped like dongs that shoot man lasers. You get the image, jah? But the film isn’t about them. It’s about the other guys, the ones back at the office who do the paperwork. Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg are two (wait for it) mismatched detectives who would be more likely to misfile an arrest warrant then beat a confession out of a bastard.

Cue the typical fish out of water comedy. But it does look funny. I laughed more than once during the trailer. That’s a rare thing, keep in mind. Ferrell looks on form, but he’s not usually good playing fairly straight characters. One part of the trailer see’s them shaking up a typically nervous Steve Coogan. When is the Alan Partridge movie coming out? Hopefully this will be the next good Ferrell film and not the US trying to do Hot Fuzz.  It’s out tomorrow, so let me know if I need to lower my anchorman DVD from it’s high pedestal.

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Pixar up their game by trying to make grown men cry

by on Aug.17, 2010, under Films, Review

Forget pirates versus ninjas; It's all about cowboys versus spacemen!

Anthropomorphising always leads to people emotionally attaching themselves to the strangest things; and It usually ends in tears. If you gave the dishwasher a name, and age and a personality, the moment it conks out, replacing it would be a tearful process. Rest in piece Platey McWasherton.

As it’s been mentioned by myself here, you can’t fault Pixar for great feature films. My only gripe with seeing them in the cinema is the inevitable younger audience. Conditions of reception turns sour from babbling bastards talking over the film, something that I barely get away with. Kids, eh! This was no different when I paid the extra money for an extra dimension and went with an old friend to see Toy Story 3: The Saddening. In 3D!

From what people would tell me, this was supposed to be an experience capable of making a grown man cry, more so than a disappointing football result or a genital malfunction. Well for most of it my tears were of laughter. It was pretty funny. Whilst the first film came to terms with a toy being replaced by another favourite toy, as well as the coming to terms of your identity as a toy, this new venture looked at the end of an era; what happens when someone too old to play with them. There was no doubt that this them would enter the films at some point.

I’m just surprised it’s taken 14 years to finally cover one of the obvious subjects in such an end game affair. But it was worth waiting for. Andy, the vacant lad who has a habit of leaving toys in the wrong place for the sake of plot device has now become a teenager. A teenager who looks uncomfortably like Zac Effron. He could have broken into song at any moment. But he didn’t. There was no gun related incidence in the cinema that day.

Anyway, now that my gun is holstered, Andy is obviously too old for these toys, unless he’s a big sweaty nerd at heart and annoyingly refers to a doll as a “collectable.” Woody and the rest of his playthings revert to attention seeking tactics that could have been easily influenced by lonely housewives. But you still feel sorry for them, but wonder into the whole “toy” mythos. At which point during their construction on the production line did they suddenly gain sentience? Why do they have to stop moving when a human is present?

There’s a lot of unexplored facets of this films world that should probably be left explored for the sake of plot holes. Oh, and it’s a kids film. You don’t need to overcomplicate this sort of thing; leave that to the recluse fan fiction writers. Speaking of which, please don’t google “Buzz gets a Woody”. With Andy leaving to go to college (hopefully not to do performing arts; thus completing the Effron factor), the toys are endangered of being thrown out into the garbage and choose to take the alternative of going to a da care centre, where they will be played with (ooer) everyday with no fear of the kids growing older; the older kids move on, the new ones come in.

It’s a nice metaphor for a possible toy afterlife; Day care centre is a heavenly land of plenty, whilst being thrown out into the trash is the one way ticket to a hellish end. Of course, this heaven doesn’t pan out. Despite being aimed for a younger audience, the story isn’t that patronising. It all ties nicely and is compelling enough to keep you engaged. Also there’s a strong cast with the welcome return of Tom Hanks and Tim Allen, with a nice surprise from Michael Keaton playing a Ken doll (“I’m not a girls toy” was a fantastic line). There were enough well constructed visual gags to make me titter like a tit.

Not that it was all smiles and farting with joy. It got sad. And in some cases, it got dark. After a few altercations leading to reaching (dum dum dummmm!) The Dump, the toys are in danger of being crushed, shredded and burned. During the last moments of this harrowing scene, Woody, Buzz and the rest (there’s a few to name, ok?) are stuck in an incinerator with absolutely no way out. Rather then panic, the characters all held hands and stared at each other with an expression of frightened futility. They were accepting death, yet were terrified. It was a surprisingly bleak image which took me by surprise.

For some reason, the kids weren’t crying at this point. I nearly was. I can safely say by the end of the film that we had reached the end of the series. No need to ruin the ending, but you can tell it’s going to be a happy one, if a little sad. At this point I’m still umming and erring wither it’s better than the first.

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