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The Lost City – Aaron & Adam Nee (2022)

Sandra Bullock (1964) is Loretta Sage, an author of sensual adventure novels who actually wants to start to take things more slowly. She is talked into finishing her new novel. During the presentation of the boo, Sage is kidnapped and finds herself into one of her own stories.

“The Lost City” is a not-too-special India Jones type romantic comedy with an amusing Bullock and a great Brad Pitt who unfortunately has but a short part.

The Paragon – Michael Duignan (2023)

  • comedy

In a bit of a “Snatch” type comedy we follow Dutch, a somewhat questionable New Zealander who is hit by a car and left for dead. He survives and finds it his mission to catch the driver that hit him. He responds to an ad to learn how to become psychic, but of course, he did not really have to respond to that.

Dutch becomes an apprentice of Lyra who has all kinds of psychic tricks for him to learn, but Dutch is only interested in the finding of objects. When it turns out that Dutch is somewhat gifted, Lyra also has a task for him.

Somewhat screwball with witty dialogues and weird situations, the film goes from comedy drama to more of a fantasy thriller. The result is amusing, but not great.

The Mask – Chuck Russell (1994)

  • comedy

A while ago I was looking for movies that contain cartoon elements. “The Mask” was not the first one that came to mind, but somebody mentioned it. I could not find an easy way to watch it and I forgot about it until it popped up on Amazon Prime when I was looking for something else.

I am not sure if i saw the film before. I was never a bit Jim Carrey fan and comedy is not my usual genre. In any case, “The Mask” is fairly funny.

You probably know the story. The very boring bank employer Stanley Ipkiss (Carrey) finds a wooden mask that turns him into an overly hip green faced guy. Fast, unkillable and weird. In a good neo-noir story, we have a beautiful nightclubsinger in the form of Tina Carlyle (Cameron Diaz) who has a criminal boyfriend.

No surprises in the story and perhaps not even in the cartoon film ‘genre’ that was shortly popular in these days, but “The Mask” is -like I said- fairly funny. It did not change my opinion about rubber face Carry, so I am not planning on watching his other films that I might have missed as well.

Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2 – James Gunn (2017)

The new troupe of heroes from ‘vol. 1‘ have become a team. The talking tree Groot has been replaced by a baby tree, but for the rest, the group remained the same. Even the villains partly did.

The movie is more to the comedy side of the Marvel franchise with silly jokes and screwball humour. The adventure this time involves the father of Peter Quill who may not have such great plans for the universe.

So there is some humour, some drama, some action, a not-too-interesting story. A bit of a filler in the Marvel franchise perhaps. Not even an addition to the Marvel Cinematic Universe it seems.

Not boring, but nothing that needs to be high up on your watch list.

Asteroid City – Wes Anderson (2023)

Anderson comes with another quirky arthouse comedy. Perhaps it is even more quirky than “Grand Budapest Hotel“.

Somewhere in an American desert, an incoming asteroid left a crater. Near that crater Asteroid City was built. A tiny, sleepy town which consists only of a road, a railway and a few buildings. Every year the commemoration of the asteroid brings a gathering of young and upcoming scientists to show off their latest investigations.

“Asteroid City” is a film about the making of a play with of course a story in a story. That starting point may not be unique, but Anderson worked it out wonderfully. The stages look like colorful play-stages which allowed the director to create wonderful ‘symmetrical camera work’, slowly moving shots, amusing animations, long motionless shots and of course the picture-like shots of Scarlet Johansson.

Just as in “The Grand Budapest Hotel” there is an interesting range of actors. Tom Hanks, Edward Norton, Tilda Swinton and Jeff Goldblum as the alien.

The story is minimalist, slightly absurdist, the odd characters play odd games, even the speeches are weird. The result is a highly amusing arthouse film of which too few come to my attention.

Zombieland – Ruben Fleischer (2009)

A zombie film with quite a cast. Woody Harrelson, Emma Stone, Jesse Eisenberg, Bill Murray.

We start with the nerdy Columbus who so far survived the zombie apocalypse by following his strict rules. Trying to reach the town where his family lives, Columbus runs into the rugged Tallahassee.

The two decide to travel along for a bit when they run into two sisters who outsmart the men on a few occasions. Of course you get the usual zombie slasher scenes and bloody splatter horror along with crude humor and weird dialogues.

I found this film because it supposedly had comic book elements, but that is not really more than Columbus’ rules that appear on screen when he mentions them.

In any case, amusing, but it is but a zombie film.

Red Notice – Rawson Marshall Thurber (2021)

A thirteen in a dozen action comedy with a very annoying Ryan Reynolds as super thief Nolan Booth, an unconvincing John Hartley and of course there is a pretty lady, “The Bischop” played by Gal Gadot.

The Egyptian queen Cleopatra used to have three priceless eggs. Of two the owners are known, of the third the whereabouts are lost. Booth and “The Bishop” are both after all three eggs as some rich Egyptian is willing to pay a whopping amount of money to be able to give all three eggs at his daughters wedding.

So we get the usual ‘who’s the good guy, who’s the bad guy, who’s trying to play whom?’ type situations with some attempts at comedy. The movie goes from action and chasing to a more Indiana Jones type hunt for a secret treasure. All not boring, but very unsurprising.

White Noise – Noah Baumbach (2022)

The name of Baumbach does not immediately ring bells, but I reviewed two hof his films before. “White Noise” is again a ‘somewhat different’ kind of film. Just as in “Marriage Story“, Adam Driver is in it.

“White Noise” is an amusing, absurd comedy. Driver is a professor on Hitler on some prestigious university. A colleague of his teaches Elvis. When this is not enough of a clue that the story should not be taken entirely seriously, the people in the film constantly bombard each other with intelligent dialogues and strange ‘mundanities’.

Then a truck with chemicals collides with a train with chemicals, resulting in a toxic cloud that floats towards the little town where Jack’s family lives. Initially trying to stay cool, panic takes over and the whole town flees to another town to take shelter. How harmful for everyone were these events exactly?

Then the film switches to an entirely different subject. Jack’s wife is afraid of death and is treated for her condition in quite an unusual way. This brings the film another odd turn.

Indeed, do not expect an easy coherent story, rather just let the absurdity and intellectual humor pass by. I actually quite enjoyed this film.

Last Action Hero – John McTiernan (1993)

Even though 46 at the time, a young looking Schwarzenegger is the main character in a series of action movies. The teenager Danny is a huge fan and a magic ticket transports him into a movie in which Jack Slater is that main character.

I found this film because it supposedly combined comic book elements with film. There is -indeed- a cartoon cat in two scenes. For the rest the film is a bit of a screwball action film. The story is better than the film itself. Schwarzenegger is actually quite funny, but I am not too fond of kids in major parts.

McTiernan took the opportunity to experiment with filming going from 1950’ies black and white to hip action stunts. Also he opened a can of (then) famous actors towards the end.

Everything Everywhere All At Once – Kwan & Scheinert (2022)

I was somewhat surprised that an action comedy would win an Oscar, let alone seven, so out of curiosity I watched the now famous film.

Sometimes said to be an action comedy, but adventure and science-fiction are also descriptions. Indeed, the film has a bit of all of that. We follow Evelyn, a Chinese immigrant running a laundry with her husband. Extremely busy, but mostly in her head, she tries to be a beacon in a chaotic life. Then her husband from a parellel universe presents himself and a story unfolds that reminds a bit too much of “The Matrix”.

While different versions of the “multiverse” present themselves to Evelyn and she slowly learns how to go from one to another (introducing a very silly element), the film gets more and more chaotic.

The story seems to be patched together from other films and the jokes are usually only mildly funny. Overall the film is somewhat amusing, but I still wonder why the film got to many Oscars. There is one scene in which the title is shown in a surrealistic caleidoscoop which I find the best scene in the in movie, but taken as a whole, “Everything…” is mostly more of a ‘could watch sometimes’ Netflix film than an Oscar winner. Of course, opinions are there to differ.