Tag Archives: Giovanni Ribisi

Ted

For the first time in a while, I went to the cinema by myself. Gillian has let her Cineworld card expire and mine only runs for another week or so. Too many gigs coming up, and one extra munchkin in the house to look after! My first solo film was supposed “gross-out” comedy:

Ted

“Death to Ming!”

Plot-in-a-nutshell: Man lives with magic teddy bear who’s a bit of a bad influence on him, but has to split up his lifelong friendship to keep his girlfriend happy

See it if you like: Family Guy with actual swear words, Bad Santa with stuffing

You can see the plot above. It’s just a play on an old favourite; a well-meaning guy caught up between single life with his best friend (who in this case just happens to be a sentient teddy bear) and moving forward with his long-term girlfriend. So far, so “seen it all before” although it’s not a bad riff on the basic scenario. Beneath all the foul language and sex jokes is a decent enough story.

Seth MacFarlane directs, script-writes, motion-captures himself and voices Peter Griffin Ted. If he were a live action character he’d be played by Zac Galafikinoiwsis. Galafikinosos. Galak… the fact dude with the beard. Or Seth Rogen. You know, the other fat guy with the beard. Mark Wahlberg, complete with rather bizarre accent, plays John – a car rental employee who’s managed to land himself a rather hot and high-flying girlfriend played by Mila Kunis. She, in turn, is being hunted down by her misogynist rich payboy boss Rex (Joel McHale from TV’s Community). Added into the mix is a rather manic Giovanni Ribisi who is on a misson to capture Ted for his own little boy and you have a couple of little plot threads.

The humour is, generally, gutter-level. If you don’t like bad language or euphemisms for female genetalia (or jokes about poo, visual sexual humour, off-colour comments about race, flippant remarks about terrorist atrocities…) don’t come in. Go and see Batman again or something. Having said that, I didn’t get quite the kick out of it that I did with the aforementioned Bad Santa that genuinely did have me bent over, laughing so hard that I couldn’t breathe at points.

It’s not that Ted isn’t as funny, it’s just that there’s no continuous bam-bam-bam joke after joke after slap after punch after off-colour-remark that Billy Bob Thornton‘s hastily-buried (by the studio – they hated it) classic managed. Aside from a couple of moments it also seems to lack the shock value, too. Perhaps I’m jaded. Bad Santa was very novel for its time. Since then, we’ve had the likes of Family Guy, American Dad! and The Cleveland Show on TV plus a fair number of bad taste comedies in the cinema.

What really did make Ted for me was the nostalgia and references to the 1980’s, plus all the little in-jokes and guest appearances. Without giving any plot details away (I hope): Ted Danson in a fake Cheers DVD extra; Ryan Reynolds in a non-speaking walk-on; Sam J. Jones as Sam J. frickin’ Flash Gordon Jones.

If there was a sad moment, it was the realisation that – judging by the type of laughter in the theatre at the relevant moment – I was on the only person in there who’d seen the original Airplane! film. Good grief.

Having a brief review at some of the reviews (a handful linked below), some have said in harsher terms what I would agree with. As a comedy it’s just not funny enough. What jokes and situations there are do hit the mark – I don’t think there’s a single fall-flat effort in there – but there aren’t enough of them.

It doesn’t detract too much from an otherwise decent film and as I said at the start at least it’s got a decent story, so you’re not sat there twiddling your thumbs waiting for the next fart joke with nothing to concentrate on. Just don’t go in expecting to be in rib-wracking pain and you should come back out having enjoyed the ride.

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Rum Diary / In Time

By إبن البيطار (Own work) [GFDL (www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-SA-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0 (www.creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia CommonsTwo films for the first time in a while. It should have been three, but despite battling traffic (and a slightly dodgy sat-nav) to get to the cinema in time I arrived to find out that the performance of Tintin I had aimed for wasn’t on. Not for the first time has Cineworld’s web site lied to me. Boo. So, McDonald’s for dinner and then back across the car park for the first of two films.

The Rum Diary

“We’re out of rum.”

Plot-in-a-nutshell: Alcoholic writer arrives in Puerto Rico, gets involved in local (dodgy) politics. Weirdness and mild amusement ensues.

See it if you like: Slightly weird, off-kilter dramas and/or Johnny Depp.

If you know of Hunter S. Thomson then you’ll know what to expect. Slightly off-centre characters, a touch of illegal drugs and a vat of alcohol form the basis of this entertaining story. Set in 1950’s Puerto Rico, Depp plays Kemp – a reporter brought in from the US to work for the slowly dying local rag.

Disillusioned and drunk, Kemp wants to write about what’s wrong with Puerto Rico. His editor, on the other hand, wants fluffy pieces about bowling alleys and sandy beaches. Unwittingly, Kemp ends up embroiled in one of the very corrupt escapades he despises.

Buddied up with a completely brain-fried Swede (Moburg played by Giovanni Ribisi) and a burnt-out photographer (Sala – Michael Rispoli), he soaks up the island, gets arrested, meets the girl of his dreams, annoys an underworld boss and rails against the bringing-down of the newspaper he was brought in to work for.

There are a handful of genuinely laugh-out-loud moments, and sadly the funniest of these is in the trailer. Other than that, it’s just continually amusing. Largely this is due to the performances from the cast as a whole. The dialogue is poetic and insightful in places, while quick-witted in others. A genuinely nice mix.

It is also, however, a little slow going and the last act does feel a bit “cludged together” just to get the story done.

I did enjoy it, but I don’t think it’s the rolloer-coaster ride of hilarity the trailer made it out to be.

In Time

“Don’t waste my time”

Plot-in-a-nutshell: Time is now currency. Run out and you die. Have loads and you’re effectively immortal.

See it if you like: Sci fi thrillers with a twist, and not having to use your brain too much

I love the premise for this film. When you reach 25 years of age, a little clock kicks in on your arm giving you a year to live. Every second on that clock is currency which can be used to buy things. On the downside when it hits zero, your heart stops. In the meantime, your body doesn’t age.

But how is this currency controlled? What happens when people realise they’re running low, or if they manage to amass a fortune? In Time gives its answers to these questions along with a story of what happens if one man, Will Salas (Justin Timberlake), tries to level the playing field a little.

This isn’t a brain-bender along the lines of Total Recall or Inception. It’s a far simpler and the premise isn’t explored beyond the fact that the world simply is like that. No history, no major twists. The overall theme would likely appeal to all those 99% protesters – isn’t it a little unfair that so many people struggle and suffer while a small percentage have the vast majority of the wealth?

Salas, living in the ghetto just getting by day to day as his job tops up his time, finds himself the beneficiary of a windfall. A hundred years. He decides to use it to get into the more exclusive districts and find out who’s controlling all this time. After all, someone’s making a profit from people “timing out”.

He ends up paired up with excessively-skinny waif Sylvia (Amanda Seyfried – seriously, could get legs be any thinner and still carry her weight?) while being chased by Time Keeper Leon (Cillian Murphy) as he fights to expose the high-end corruption that’s costing ordinary people their lives.

It’s a nice enough popcorn movie with some decent action sequences and, as I said, a great premise. It’ll never be a classic but I don’t think it’s trying to be.

Certainly not  waste of time.

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