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In 2012, comedy nerds everywhere were heartbroken when the Lonely Island left Saturday Night Live. Their Digital Shorts from “Dick in a Box” to “The Creep” became instant hits and completely changed how the legendary show was seen or accessed. They helped kick Youtube and file sharing into high gear with “Lazy Sunday.” And they even made a successful comedy you may have forgotten about called Hot Rod. It’s been ten years since they got onto the show, seven years since they made that movie and three since they departed to do other things. Guess what that other thing is? A new movie!

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New in Theaters May 1st

It’s amazing! Furious 7 has held on to its spot for a month now as the top grossing movie. People really do love their action. Obviously number 8 is going to be underway shortly if a movie this far into the series can rake in all that money. Let’s hope that’s not the same case for Paul Blart Mall Cop, since number 2 is also still in number 2 this week. And Last week’s timeless romance Age of Adeline claimed number 3. But that’s all old news, here’s what’s out this week.

  10869325_591589580977275_2778898650041679518_o   The Avengers: Age of Ultron is some little foreign movie you wouldn’t have heard about. It’s hardly opening in any theaters around the globe so it’s barely worth mentioning… kidding! It’s only the second most anticipated movie of the year. You all know what’s number one, don’t fight me on that. I will say, I’m not an Avengers fan, the lone wolf in this world I think, so it’s pointless for me to tell you about it. You’re all waiting in line to see it already anyways. Just keep in mind Rotten Tomatoes has already given it a 72 percent.

54dcc93873b710d476cfb70a_welcome-to-me-posterWelcome to Me is one I can get behind. Sadly, it probably won’t be in your small town theater, but if you know about it and eagerly wait for a DVD release, I think that’s fair. Just listen to this premise. Kristen Wiig plays a real life woman who won the lottery, quit her medication for borderline personality disorder, and bought her own talk show! It’s all true and it looks fantastic. It’s a comedy-drama that debuted at festivals last year, and its Will Ferrell produced! Rotten Tomatoes say 83 percent. I personally can’t wait.

ride-posterHelen Hunt stars in and directs Ride, a comedy-drama co-starring Luke Wilson about a single Mother who moves to California to be with her son and live a surfing beach filled lifestyle. Doesn’t seem to be very earth-shattering, but if you’re looking for a low budget spiritually uplifting film or you’re like me and actually like Helen Hunt, check it out. Rotten Tomatoes say 83 percent as well.

If none of those sound good, which I doubt, there is also Far From the Maddening Crowd that has Carey Mulligan returning to her routes in a British Victorian era period picture. If you read The 100 Year Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared, the film version finally gets a limited theatrical release. And good old Viggo Mortensen still rocking foreign language films stars in the French Albert Camus adaptation of Far From Men. That’s what’s playing for the week of May 1st, happy movie watching.

A New Look at Vampires or Why Jemaine Clement is Awesome

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The Mockumentary is one of the rarest but most loved genres out there. Ever since the hilarious rockumentary This is Spinal Tap was put forth by Rob Reiner in 1984, these things have been a source for parody and humor for the past 30 years. Christopher Guest has since come up with some of the most popular including Best in Show (1999), and A Mighty Wind (2003). I love these movies but I was thinking, due to the very low budget, freedom to improvise, and inherently large fan base, why isn’t there more?

The answer lies in the subject matter. They are incredibly hard to pull off and nearly impossible to convince people that the characters could be real. The writers really have to know the subject inside and out and the actors need to be strong and deep inside their character if they want to be convincing. Then I thought maybe there aren’t that many subjects to be tackled in mockumentary form; it’s usually reserved for bands and fake famous people. But over in New Zealand, Jemaine Clement and his writing partner Taika Waititi managed to cook up something new, fresh, and surprisingly not done yet.

What We Do in the Shadows is a hilarious look at vampires rooming together in a dark 21st century house. We follow Waititi as Viago, the flamboyant vampire with high tastes as he takes us around his daily routine with his roommates. There’s Jemaine Clement who plays Vlad the poker, a ruthless lothario dealing with his arch nemesis “The Beast”, and Deacon, the cool young vampire of the group. Locked far away in a tomb downstairs is the oldest and most terrifying of them all; Petyr, a Nosfuratu like monster who doesn’t have much to contribute since he’s so old. Together, we follow the group hunt for victims, adjust to 21st century life, and make friends with a plain human named Stu.

The movie is very clever, playing on classic Vampire tropes and even hitting on new Twilight type humor like the gang’s feud with a struggling group of werewolves (not swear wolves) led by the Flight of the Conchords old manager Rhys Darby. It goes way over the top but stays grounded with a few heartfelt moments about vampire feelings and downsides. We see them struggle with their long ago pasts as they try to teach a newly turned vampire the techniques for draining humans of their blood. Mostly, they’re just interested in going out and dancing.

It’s also a strong testament to independent filmmakers as it was made for less than two million dollars but still looks great. I feel we can all agree New Zealand isn’t the most burgeoning of places for film besides Lord of the Rings. Taika Waititi and Jemaine Clement have been behind a few comedies including the goofy love story Eagle Vs Shark in 2007 and a short film that inspired this mockumentary. It would seem these guys fill a certain niche of goofy humor filled with lovable losers, puns, and absurdist type comedy.

Jemaine seems to pop up in small flashy roles in films that people love like Dinner for Shmucks or Men in Black 3. Here, he balances nicely with the other cast, Bret McKenzie free in another bright role. If you’re a fan of his, don’t miss this little horror comedy gem. It might be his best role so far. On a semi related note, my friend saw him in a Chapters Bookstore in Vancouver last week. Apparently he shops in Chapters. Who knew?

So if this movie has taught us anything, it’s that mockumentaries can be damn hilarious and if you haven’t experienced one, go check out any Chris Guest movie or re-watch The Office. It’s just such a different and fun way of doing things. Number two, it’s taught us that if you want to make a cheap film, why not try a mockumentary? They are easy, fun, and usually get a good response. Number three, New Zealand comedy is hilarious and there are plenty of films to check out by this great group who never forgets their roots down there. And Number four, vampires can actually be hilarious. If you’re a staunch new age vampire film hater, give it up and see this one. Watching Jemaine try to turn into a cat for a split second will make it all worth it. More Mockumentaries please?!?!!

By Ryan Uytdewilligen

New in Theaters April 24th 2015

2013-06-04 16.56.16 (2)   You guessed it! Furious 7 is still number one at the box office, beating Paul Blart Mall Cop 2 and leaving the social media horror film Unfriended at number three. This is the film’s third week at number one, earning a whopping gross of 1.15 Billion worldwide. That puts it at the 7th highest grossing movie of all time! That’s pretty insane considering it’s a seventh installment but I’m guessing everyone just wants to find out what happens to Paul Walker. As the week continues only time will tell if it will continue to climb that ladder. But that’s all old news, here’s what’s out this week.

downloadThe Age of Adaline stars Blake Lively and a dramatic Harrison Ford in a sweet Benjamin Button type drama about a woman from the early 20th century who becomes immortal after an accident and doesn’t age. She spends most of her life in solitude but meets a man that may cause her to age when she starts to fall in love. It looks fairly traditional and dare I say cheesy, but these romances often do us good. From the trailer, it looks like nothing new, but if you like sweeping period romances, here’s your chance. Rotten Tomatoes isn’t giving it much love with 55 percent as of now.

download (1)The Water Diviner is Russell Crowe’s directorial debut about an Australian man who travels to Turkey to find three missing sons. First of all it’s crazy that Crowe hasn’t directed before since he always struck me as an actor who had specific visions and control, and second, it’s good to see him in straight drama again. After all the flack he took for his singing in Le Misèrables, and his steady stream of action flicks like Broken City, Man of Steel, and the god awful Winter’s Tale, he is once again proving himself as one of the most talented and dedicated actors of this generation. Rotten Tomatoes says 65 percent which is the highest rating of the week.

download (2)Adult Beginners is a low budget comedy starring the up and coming Nick Kroll about a struggling entrepreneur who moves in with his pregnant sister, her husband, and their child. The irresponsible loser soon learns something from family life and the through spending time with the kid. It looks pretty standard as far as these types of comedies go, but there is a long list of comedian cameos including SNL’s Bobby Moynihan, 30 Rock’s Jane Krakowski, and Joel McHale that could boost the film up. If you want a laugh go ahead, but Rotten Tomatoes is saying 48 percent. Looks pretty stale to me.

Also in theaters, Emily Watson stars in a WWII drama/ comedy called Little Boy while comedian Kevin Pollack explores the link between comedy and misery with a documentary filled with comedian interviews called Misery Loves Comedy. That’s what’s playing for the week of April 24h, happy movie watching.

New in Theaters April 17th 2015

No surprise, Furious 7 is still number one at the box office, raking in millions every day from its massive fan base. The family animated alien adventure Home staring Jim Parsons, Rihanna, and Steve Martin is in number two, and the Nicholas Sparks bull riding romance The Longest Ride is in number three. So last week did little to break down the top earners, but that’s all old news, here’s what’s out this week. Continue reading

Why you should be Watching The Last Man on Earth

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I know, new television really isn’t my thing. I’m still watching old reruns of MASH and Mary Tyler Moore. I did indulge in True Detective and the first two seasons of House Of Cards (I can’t get into season three and I have no clue why). Now I’m working my way slowly but surely through Tina Fey’s new Netflix series Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. It’s really funny with 30 Rock type humor, it’s just not a good one to binge on. I gave up on Mulaney despite my love for Martin Short and I am the only person who doesn’t watch Orange is the New Black; but I just discovered a show that believe or not is on a network, is completely original, and less than 10 episodes in. The Last Man on Earth is the first show I’ve been hooked on in a long, long time. Continue reading

Saturday Night Live’s 40th Anniversary Special

Word’s cannot describe how excited I was for this special, I mean I’ve been watching the show faithfully for at least twelve years and I at one time owned every single Best Of DVD you see in those bargain bins at movie stores. The kickoff seasons in the 1970’s are of course the very best and I assure you they hold up even today, but there have been a long list of hilarious moments over the years featuring some of the best minds in comedy like Eddie Murphy, Mike Myers, Will Ferrell, and Tina Fey. So I made myself some spinach dip, opened a bottle of wine, and watched the stars pour out for an anniversary forty years in the making.

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