Friday, April 25, 2008

Something Funny: How to make your own Judd Apatow movie


>>Have you ever wanted to make a smash comedy hit, just like Director/Producer/”Writer” Judd Apatow? Now you can! Follow these simple steps and you’ll be on your way to crafting a wry, witty, irreverent romantic comedy chock full of heart, without ever having to generate a single fresh concept!
Difficulty: Can be tricky the first time, but once you’ve got the hang of it, you can pump them out yearly.
Time: 6 months (4 hours for scripting and casting, a weekend for shooting, and 5 months and 28 days for editing, advertising and “make ‘em wait” time).
Things You Will Need:
-A beloved failed TV show from which to pull your cast
-A thorough knowledge of basic sexual slang (for help with this, see my other manual, “From Pearl Necklaces to Donkey Punches: the Eight Comedic Sexual Maneuvers”)
-A disdain for continuity
-An old High School yearbook from which to pull ideas and characters
-A shitload of film to allow actors time to improvise (ie, “write the script”)
-An understanding of improvisational comedy that entails two guys speaking in unconnected one-liners
-Paul Rudd’s phone number
-A giant bag of weed (usually Paul Rudd can provide this)

Continued here.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Review: Forgetting Sarah Marshall (2008)

Has Judd Apatow spread himself too thin? 
You'd think, what with the movie trailer fatigue of "From the guys who brought you Knocked Up", etc.. they could take a break. Nope.
Forgetting Sarah Marshall is written by Apatow protegé Jason Segal (Freaks and Geeks, Knocked Up) and is loosely based on his long-term relationship with Linda Cardellini (Also Freaks and Geeks). The question is asked: IS he as good a writer as, say, Seth Rogen?
The simple answer is: No. He is not. 
However, I found this movie quite enjoyable. The jokes were clever and relevant to pop culture, like so many Apatow-based movies are. A guy gets dumped by his famous girlfriend and takes a vacation in hawaii, except she's also there with her new boyfriend. The boyfriend, played by brit Russel Brand, is possibly the film's greatest part. You got the narcissistic, sex-crazed, rock star londoner. He's pitch-perfect, and, like Segal's character Peter, it's impossible for me to dislike him, even though he tore the two apart.
The biggest problem this film had was timing. 
Oh, hello edting. Cut about 30 minutes off the movie and you're golden. Otherwise, a highly enjoyable film, and proof that Judd Apatow knows what he's doing... Right?
Grade: A- 

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Reviews: Recent Rundowns (3 films)

I absolutely fail at this blog! Lightning quick rundowns. 

Run, Fat Boy, Run (2008)
--Endearingly generic romantic comedy with my all-time favorite Simon Pegg, who probably boosts the likability of this movie about 80%. The other 20%? The soundtrack. It's surprisingly good. I almost forgot that David Schwimmer directed it until about 2 minutes before the movie ended. Still, I expected it to be bad and I was very pleasantly surprised. 
Grade: B-
The Bank Job (2008)
--A heist movie I honestly expected to be more "fun". Jason Statham has long been a favorite of mine, and we see him here in his natural element. The movie is certainly dramatic and more based on the before and after of the actual "job". Still, it was very smart, well crafted, and well acted by a cast of virtual unknowns (at least, to me, which in the world of british actors, is rare. I usually recognize most people).
Grade: B

The Grand (2008)
--On the surface this "mockumentary"-style film is an attempted remake of "Best in Show", but set in a casino. They even have the two outlandish commentators. However, later throughout the film it truly comes into its own. A dynamic cast led by the often underrated Woody Harrelson (becoming one of my favorite guys to watch), supported by such comic greats as David Cross, Chris Parnell, and Cheryl Hines, and even a fantastic cameo by famed director Werner Herzog as a sadistic german gambler out for blood.
Grade: B+

Random News: My life is a little more complete

From The Guardian
Spaced duo savour sweet taste of success
After Shaun of the Dead (zombies) and Hot Fuzz (cops), comes The World's End: the final installment in what Simon Pegg and Edgar Wright have called their three-flavour Cornetto trilogy. The working title can be revealed today, but what the genre might be is another question. Asked by the Guardian if it suggested a sci-fi/doomsday theme, Wright said: "It's kind of going in that direction."

Wright was speaking yesterday as a two-film deal with the UK's leading production company, Working Title Films, was announced in London. The deal will involve him making the comedy with Pegg, as well as a separate action thriller, currently called Baby Driver.

Pegg and Wright, who first teamed up on the Channel 4 sitcom Spaced, said the Cornetto theme was a tribute to Krzysztof Kieslowski and his Three Colours (blue, white and red) series of films. A strawberry Cornetto appeared in the pair's 2004 breakthrough film Shaun of the Dead, an original flavour in Hot Fuzz and for the final film it will, somehow, be mint choc chip. "We're still waiting for the box of Cornettos to be sent to us," said Wright.

Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz were phenomenal successes and laid a path to Hollywood for the pair. Wright, 33, is working on two films in the US: Scott Pilgrim vs The World and an adaptation of the Marvel comic book character Ant-Man. Pegg, meanwhile, has been playing Scotty in the forthcoming Star Trek film.