The abundance of non-sequiturs and throwaway scenes in Hail, Caesar! is not unusual as these are the trademark characteristics of the Coen brothers’ work. As A.O. Scott put it, a Coen brothers movie is “a brilliant magpie’s nest of surrealism, period detail and pop-culture scholarship.” While this is true, you must understand before going to Hail, Caesar! that you are basically paying to watch the Coens lovingly recreate all the different styles of Hollywood product from the 1950s — westerns, noirs, swimsuit musicals and melodramas. Their new film is merely a vehicle for them to outright mimic all the films they have paid homage to previously — the Busby Berkeley dance number from The Big Lebowski, the non-self conscious roving landscapes of True Grit, the musical numbers from O Brother, Where Art Thou?
Zach Galifianakis’ latest project involves him clowning around — literally. He teams up with creators Louis C. K. (writer and star of Louie) and Jonathan Krisel (director of Portlandia) for a delightfully unorthodox comedy about pursuing your dream no matter what anyone else tries to tell you. Baskets is as odd as you would assume and then some, but its peculiarity feeds and then starves your need to know what happens next. The trailer for the show invites the curious in for a peek at the darker side of being a clown: it’s smart and refreshing. The FX show revolves around Chip Baskets (Galifianakis) and his failed endeavors to assimilate into real life while pursuing his seemingly bizarre ambition of becoming a professional clown.
Of course three minutes isn’t enough time to give audience members an unbridled view of what an upcoming movie is about. To capture the essence of a two hour movie in a condensed trailer must be a nearly impossible task, akin to describing yourself in one word or choosing a favorite band. As a result, many production companies are guilty of marketing movies in completely inaccurate ways. The trailer for the 2011 movie Drive gave viewers the impression that the feature is simply a violent action packed film in which leading man Ryan Gosling drives around town dangerously and fights drug dealers. One Michigan woman found this trailer so misrepresentative of Drive, a film she says in actuality has “very little driving”, that she sued the production company and the movie theater where she saw the film.
Mike Birbiglia is known for mixing up the standup formula. Instead of doing multiple bits, he often prefers to tell a few long stories intermingled with jokes in order to get the emotional point of the story across. He is quite good at it: His last special, “My Girlfriend’s Boyfriend” delivered personal stories of Birbiglia’s with raw emotion and humor, without being excessively self-deprecating. His autobiographical film Sleepwalk With Me (currently on Netflix) poignantly captures the isolation and sadness of being a traveling comedian. So, I was disappointed this past Wednesday at Statler Auditorium when Birbiglia performed his new show, “Thank God for Jokes,” ditching his winning formula.
Paula Poundstone, standup comedian and star of National Public Radio’s Wait Wait…Don’t Tell Me, recently travelled to Ithaca to perform at the State Theatre. She strode onto stage right after 8 p.m. with a florescent pink suit and an enormous presence. For the next two hours, she engaged the audience with her informal comedy routine. Known for never performing the same routine twice, she mixed old jokes together with improvisational banter with the audience for an evening full of laughs. Poundstone began the night by poking fun at Ithaca itself, sarcastically explaining how thrilled she was by her timing: “What is it, the Apple Festival or something?
Hundreds of students flooded Uris Auditorium Wednesday night for the sneak preview of Observe and Report anticipating some of the lovable Seth Rogen unfiltered and inappropriate humor. He did not disappoint. Any hopes of vulgarity, crudeness or indecency were fulfilled; as far as substance, meaning or refinement, not so much. Although the movie isn’t entirely overboard, as many students exiting the movie indicated, it absolutely crosses the line on so many levels.
Sex, drugs and tasers — one thing is for sure about Observe and Report (the second mall cop movie of 2009) Ronnie Barhardt would kick Paul Blart’s roly-poly ass.
You’ve got to have a sense of humor to get by at Cornell. With the fluctuating weather, the sometimes near-impossible courses, the even more ridiculously obscure prelims and the generally serious academic mood, something’s gotta give. Comedy offers no better way to balance the C.U. pressure cooker.
Cornell’s Program Board (CUPB) rolls out the laughs by hosting a gamut of comedians to offer their biting wit and spot-on observations. But did you know that there are student on-campus comedy troupes, too? And that a few of said comedians have dipped their toes — even gotten their feet wet — in the waters of stand-up? And, lastly, did you know that these kids are funny? I mean, really, really funny?
I’ve seen enough florescant-tinged signs over the past few weeks, announcing the imminent arrival of Howie Mandel, that news of the comedian’s scheduled appearance had been seared into my brain. So effective were the highlighter-colored posters, reading “HOWIE IS COMING,” my subconscious had begun to anticipate the return of the Messiah. All I knew was that I didn’t know who this “Howie” character was, but he was coming, and he must be a big freaking deal, because not even Obama advertises with neon paper.
[img_assist|nid=33048|title=Deal!|desc=Comedian and gameshow host Howie Mandel left the crowd at Barton Hall in stitches last Friday night.|link=node|align=left|width=|height=0]
A year before Mitch Hedberg’s death in 2005, one reviewer described the comedian’s deteriorating and increasingly drug-addled stand-up act thus: “Commenting that he liked drugs, especially Xanax, but he was happy with anything, several small pills found their way to the stage, at least one of which he swallowed after mumbling, ‘What is this?’ He sat back down on the stage and became the picture of a drunken, washed up loser.”
“If you’ve never seen me perform before, I’m not good live,” announced Daniel Tosh at the beginning of his show at the State Theater on Saturday night. What an opening line. Of course, this was also the first and last time that he would make fun of himself during the performance. With so many other worthy recipients of ridicule waiting to be victimized, he began by warning the audience that “offending people happens” and apologized up-front for the inevitably over-the-line nature of his show. That being said, he still managed to throw some people — or everyone, atually — for a loop.