Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Sharknado 3: Oh Hell No!

***DISCLAIMER*** The following review is entirely my opinion. If you comment (which I encourage you to do) be respectful. If you don't agree with my opinion (or other commenters), that's fine. To each their own. These reviews are not meant to be statements of facts or endorsements, I am just sharing my opinions and my perspective when watching the film and is not meant to reflect how these films should be viewed. Finally, the reviews are given on a scale of 0-5. 0, of course, being unwatchable. 1, being terrible. 2, being not great. 3, being okay. 4, being great and 5, being epic! And if you enjoy these reviews feel free to share them and follow the blog or follow me on Twitter (@RevRonster) for links to my reviews and the occasional live-Tweet session of the movie I'm watching!  At this point I am totally convinced that Fin Shepard is actually causing these sharknadoes with black magic.  Considering where they went with this one, this might be the only thing left to do for the next one.



Sharknado 3: Oh Hell No! – 1 out of 5

Okay, so it seems it’s a yearly event now. The first one’s success was an accident. It was just your run-of-the-mill bad Syfy movie produced by the awful production company The Asylum but the world of social media latched on and everyone was clamoring to MST3K this bitch. The second was expected but this third one felt like we might have been reaching and it…um…I don’t want to say it was nearing shark jumping territory but the beating of a dead horse was definitely taking place. But, here we are, and since I’ve reviewed that other two, might as well do this one, too.
                                                                                                          The Asylum/Syfy Films
What?  More sharks?!?  This was never set up in any way!

                                                                              The Asylum/Syfy Films
A new actress plays April and Fin's son.  They explain the
change of hair color but never how she somehow
got younger.
After battling all those sharknadoes brought them closer together, Fin (Ian Ziering) and April (Tara Reid) are officially married again and expecting another child…but some sharknadoes have to come and mess up everything. While Fin is being honored by the President in D.C. (who is played by Mark Cuban), April is hanging out with her mother (Bo Derek) in Orlando. Not surprisingly, a sharknado hits D.C. and after it suddenly dies out Fin beats feet to get to Orlando to protect April and his unborn child. Along the way, he meets up with an old friend from the first film; Nova (Cassie Scerbo)—who has no news about Fin’s son that she was all googly eyed for in the first one. They soon realize that sharknadoes are so powerful that they need a new tactic to fight them and it involves getting Fin’s astronaut father (David Hasselhoff) and getting their asses to space (but not as far as Mars, other asses have to get there)…because of course they’re going into space now.
                                                                                                           The Asylum/Syfy Films
Nova returns and offers up no updates on Fin's son Matt?!? 
Let's assume she murdered him for the insurance money.
The sharknado insurance money.

                                                                             The Asylum/Syfy Films
It's like a cheesy, absolutely moronic, and incredibly
low budget version of Independence Day.
The first one was such a awful piece of crap that was made with absolutely no real motivation that it created something that was fun to watch. The second one just became a spectacle of trying to cram in as many celebrity cameos as it could and it ended up being too self aware to be appreciated as much as the first one—bad movies that try to be bad aren’t fun. However, there was still an element of fun to the film. This time around the joke has definitely run its course and there was nothing fun about it. The film’s subtitle didn’t need to be "Oh Hell No!"…it should have been "This is Getting Tedious."
                                                                                                             The Asylum/Syfy Films
Not even the legendary David Hasselhoff can save this film...and another thing:
Why did it take till the third film to get him into this franchise?

                                                                             The Asylum/Syfy Films
Chris Jericho is a little old to play a ride operator but
I like his enthusiasm for the job!
This time around the story tries way too hard and is attempting to get bigger and bigger with its moments of insanity—all the while they are ham-fisting as many celebrity cameos as they can. However, at this point, it seems they are reaching the bottom of the barrel of people willing to be in these films as we have to see Ann Coulter as the Vice President and see such stars as Bill Engvall, Chris Jericho, Michael Winslow, Cindy Margolis, Jackie Collins, Ray J, Jerry Springer, Michele Bachmann, and former Playboy playmates Kendra Wilkinson and Holly Madison. Occasionally, the cameos are fun like seeing Penn and Teller hanging out with The Hoff and watching George R.R. Martin die as he clearly will cameo in this stinker because he needs any reason to not write his book. However, most of the time, these cameos just feel unnecessary and, most of all, feel like they just couldn’t get more likeable people to make the time to be in the latest Sharknado film. I mean, they got Ann Coulter for the film and who in their right mind wants to see her in anything? I’ve always imagined that people’s faces melt off if you make eye contact with her.
                                                                                                          The Asylum/Syfy Films
Pay careful attention, Mark McGrath will never look at her directly.

                                                                              The Asylum/Syfy Films
Now if Obama got what he wanted and took our guns,
we'd have nothing to shoot the sharknadoes with.
I understand the need to have a sequel up the ante and make things bigger so the film doesn’t feel repetitive or like a rehash of what’s been seen but Oh Hell No! decides to do this by having increasingly growing spectacles with its sharknado attacks and it ultimately leaves the franchise with few places to proceed in the future. Each time results in more destruction, more sharks (I’m not even sure how there are sharks left anymore), more celebrity cameos being murdered, and more bad special effects. The film culminates in a space adventure (because NASA has shuttles ready to launch at the drop of a hat) and, yes, sharks end up in space (which makes total sense because they are somehow able to breathe and eat when not in the water so why can’t they breathe in space?) but, by this point, the film is clearly just trying to get to the next spectacle as quickly as it can and about getting what cameos it can get. Story has never been something that writer Thunder Levin (yes, that’s the writer’s real name) ever really considered when writing these films but I’m fairly certain that this film’s script was only a couple of pages long and just contained crayon drawings of the thing that Levin wants to happen. I then assume that the "script" is sent to returning director Anthony C. Ferrante and he and all the executives at Syfy roll them up and snort all the coke they can buy with their miniscule budget.
                                                                                                           The Asylum/Syfy Films
Impressive...usually film franchises don't head till space till after the 5th film.

In the previous films, the bad special effects, awful acting (or sometimes too strong acting like in the case of Ian Ziering—that man is giving his all to this role and more power to him for that), and the whole ridiculous nature of the idea itself made the experience fun—especially when you add in your own jokes that make fun of it along the way. 
                                                                                                          The Asylum/Syfy Films
Even this is a little gratuitous for a movie about tornados filled with sharks.
                                                                            The Asylum/Syfy Films
Even on the third go-around, Ian Ziering won't phone it in.
That's dedication.
This time around in Sharknado 3: Oh Hell No! the final result is so tiresome and so desperate to try and get to that next bit of nonsense (shit, even before the credits hit the film is overly preoccupied with pimping part 4, there’s no living in the moment with this one) and this it makes the film an act of tedium to get through. While I watched and live Tweeted jokes about this film (by the way, follow me on Twitter @RevRonster), I quickly found I was getting bored with it. Even making jokes about it felt like work. I know I said it in my review of The Second One but the joke has definitely run its course and, with the film going balls out and reaching into the depths of space this time, the fourth one has a real danger of just going through the motions when its made because there's no place left to take this dwindling franchise…at the very least, they are allowing the audience to vote on whether April lives or not. I, for one, don’t know if I can sit through Tara Reid’s dead deliver or look into her even deader eyes for another film. Seriously, though, I’m not trying to be mean here but are we 100% certain that she’s not a zombie?
                                                                                                          The Asylum/Syfy Films
Is it possible to be trying too hard with a tongue-in-cheek style?

Maggie

***DISCLAIMER*** The following review is entirely my opinion. If you comment (which I encourage you to do) be respectful. If you don't agree with my opinion (or other commenters), that's fine. To each their own. These reviews are not meant to be statements of facts or endorsements, I am just sharing my opinions and my perspective when watching the film and is not meant to reflect how these films should be viewed. Finally, the reviews are given on a scale of 0-5. 0, of course, being unwatchable. 1, being terrible. 2, being not great. 3, being okay. 4, being great and 5, being epic! And if you enjoy these reviews feel free to share them and follow the blog or follow me on Twitter (@RevRonster) for links to my reviews and the occasional live-Tweet session of the movie I'm watching!  The Governor could have learned a thing or two on what to do with your zombie daughter if he had watched this film. 



Maggie – 3 out of 5

Okay, so if you told me 20 years ago that the Terminator would one day be in a zombie movie I would have immediately called you a witch because you are having visions of the future and then would go to the heads of the town folks and see that you and your black magic loving ass was burned at the stake. However, in all seriousness, I never expected to see Arnold in a zombie film (and the Expendables films don’t count—sorry, that was an easy joke and I shouldn’t have gone for it…but I did, so let’s move on). Hell, if it was going to happen—and with how hot zombies are now in our pop culture—it would have been an action-packed extravaganza with Arnie blowing zombie brains away and delivering horrible one-liners like no tomorrow. I sure as spit didn’t expect a drama and I really, REALLY didn’t expect it to be one of the films where you see the most humanistic acting from a man that can play a killer robot really well.
He's pondering if he's ever truly been back.

After a zombie virus called the Necroambulist virus hits the globe, the world attempts to operate as normal but as normal as a world can be with zombies shuffling around. Curfews are put into place to protect the citizens and the infected—after they reach a certain stage and all bits of their humanity are gone—are thrown into quarantine zones where they are put down. Maggie Vogel (Abigail Breslin) finds herself trapped in the city after curfew and ends up being bit. Her father; Wade Vogel (Arnold Schwarzenegger), comes and collects her from the hospital and decides to do everything he can to protect her or, at the very least, allow her to live out her days in relative comfort and ease her passing when the unfortunate day comes that her transformation is complete and she becomes a decaying shadow of her former self. But until that day comes, Maggie is forced to come to grips with her life being taken away from her and the reality that she will become a member of the undead. Meanwhile, Wade must wrestle with the reality that this is the one thing he might not be able to protect his daughter from.
Nope.  None of this.  Absolutely none.  I would run and never stop if I saw this thing.

I had heard some bad things about Maggie before I got around to seeing it and went in with some low expectations but found the film better than I was ready for. I’ll admit that the movie is bogged down by a slow moving story that doesn’t have a lot of meat to it, it puts in a lot of filler in the form of moody imagery and the film could have used a few more light-hearted moments between the two main characters to show that Maggie’s journey wasn’t all depressing but, overall, the film has some merit. The biggest draw this film has going for it was the performances from Breslin and Schwarzenegger.
The virus causes Arnold to burn his crops.  What you can't hear is him yelling,
"I'm here!  Do it!  Kill me now!"

Abigail Breslin really nails the difficult performance of showing a young girl about to see her entire life slip away and become a member of the walking dead and she does it in a way that we don’t usually see in zombie fiction. Maggie isn’t ripped open by the dead and left to quickly change when she dies but rather we get to see her gradually change.  Even though she gets bitten, her transformation isn't the same we've seen in a thousand other zombie films.  Along the way we see her interact with the friends she has the horror of not being able to see again soon, she spends some time with her family and, because life loves irony, gets to connect with a young boy who is also infected. While most of Breslin’s performance is reserved and quiet, her transformation feels a lot more realistic (as realistic as someone becoming a zombie can be) than what we’ve seen in previous zombie films and it makes for the more intense moments—like watching her body fall apart and seeing how those like her are treated by the general populace—become that much more important and attention-grabbing.
Let's hope that no one in Abigail's life have seen her other zombie movie; Zombieland.
She wouldn't have lived as long in this one if they did.

As good as Breslin was as Maggie, I was absolutely floored by Arnold’s performance. I found it amazing that it’s in a zombie film that we see Schwarzenegger at his most human. Never in my life have I seen the man who is best known for telling us he’ll be back and to get to the choppa be so real. This was honestly the best acting I’ve ever seen from the man and it was unbelievable to see how real he made Wade feel.  In every scene you feel Wade’s love for Maggie and his instinct to protect her. In the more intimate moments when Wade is alone, you see the pent up sadness boiling over and you feel that he is out of his element and is nearly lost at how he can help his daughter. It was incredible and it made the film something to watch. Arnold’s performance allowed this movie to be something that everyone can relate to and, even if you’re not a zombie fan, you can find yourself sympathizing with his journey and his fatherly instincts.
Arnold's crying...let's see if any internet chauvinists have the balls to say he's
being a pussy.

Finally, I also really enjoyed the fictional realty that is established in Maggie. The movie isn’t like a lot of zombie fiction features that show a world that is completely devastated by the outbreak and man is left to fight the dead and somehow survive on a landscape that is as dead and as decaying as the enemy. While this reality isn’t quite the same as our everyday life, the production did a great job of making it believable that the world is somehow trying to cope with this virus. There are still hardships but people are still trying to live their lives like this virus isn’t going to completely obliterate the mundane and routine. It was a refreshing take and a new way to set the stage for zombie fiction and something I would be very interested to see other zombie features try.  For example, I would love to see a short film that centers on fast food worker trying to live his life in this type of reality...and then seeing the people who still think he doesn't deserve a living wage even though he has to risk being killed by zombies so he can get your tubby butt your double cheeseburger with super size fries and large diet coke.
Sure, their world is still bleak but it's not the usual zombie outbreak bleak.

Overall, Maggie is worth a chance but the film is bogged down by a slow moving story. The plot could have been assisted by some additional happier moments between Wade and Maggie—if would have helped shown their father/daughter relationship on a level that isn’t just a father protecting his zombifying little girl. Getting into more depth with the characters might have also helped the film decrease its overused go-to move of intercutting B-role imagery to help establish mood. While this tactic isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it did often make the film feel like it was padding itself out in order to get to feature length.
I'm not a father but I'm sure there would be limits to my fatherly love...especially when
my zombified daughter is giving me a kiss goodnight.
 

Maggie isn’t a terrible film and contains some great performances and offers up a fresh new look at the post-apocalypse landscape of the overly familiar zombie fic. The film does stumble greatly due to a very narrow plot that doesn’t venture out far enough or develop what it has deep enough and it makes for a story that has a tendency to drag very often. However, it’s definitely worth a shot for Arnold’s performance alone and it definitely seems like a great jumping point to make more poignant and emotional zombie films in the future.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Ant-Man

***DISCLAIMER*** The following review is entirely my opinion. If you comment (which I encourage you to do) be respectful. If you don't agree with my opinion (or other commenters), that's fine. To each their own. These reviews are not meant to be statements of facts or endorsements, I am just sharing my opinions and my perspective when watching the film and is not meant to reflect how these films should be viewed. Finally, the reviews are given on a scale of 0-5. 0, of course, being unwatchable. 1, being terrible. 2, being not great. 3, being okay. 4, being great and 5, being epic! And if you enjoy these reviews feel free to share them and follow the blog or follow me on Twitter (@RevRonster) for links to my reviews and the occasional live-Tweet session of the movie I'm watching!  If the hero thing doesn't work out, Ant-Man can take a job at the Derek Zoolander Center for Kids Who Can't Read Good...or at least the model of it.


Ant-Man – 5 out of 5

That’s right, playas!  Another Marvel Studios film has been released and Phase 2 has been shut and it’s no surprise that I absolutely loved this film!  What can I say?  I’m a huge fan and superhero films haven’t been letting me down for several years now.  So, strap in and let’s get to talking about the latest in the Marvel Cinematic Universe; Ant-Man.


                                                                                                                          Marvel Studios
Welcome to the world of being a hero, Scott Lang.  You are legally required to land all your
jumps like this.



Set after the events of Avengers:  Age of Ultron, we see Dr. Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) desperate to get his technology out of the hands of the unstable Darren Cross (Corey Stoll).  Years ago, Pym discovered how to pull a Honey, I Shrunk the Kids.  This tech would leave the subject with the ability to shrink, revert to normal size, and have heightened abilities when in the shrunken state.  Pym knew that this tech could be used for great evil so he turns to Scott Lang (Paul Rudd), a criminal desperate to reform in order to be a positive presence for his daughter.  Lang agrees and learns to control the tech and the suit that contains this ability (part of which is the ability to communicate with ants) and ends up becoming the Ant-Man.  Now, teaming with Pym, his daughter Hope van Dyne (Evangeline Lilly), and some of his former robbing buddies (played by Michael Peña, T.I., and David Dastmalchian) set out to successfully complete a heist to take away Cross’ suit that replicates Pym tech.  A suit he soon adorns in order to become the villainous Yellowjacket.

                                                                                                                         Marvel Studios
Yes, Yellowjacket is a bad guy but that suit is badass.

I know I get repetitive when I defend my perfect scores for superhero movies but I feel I have to always explain myself.  I never deny that I’m bias towards these films because I totally am.  Superheroes are just my thing and I’ve been a loyal fan of Marvel and DC superhero properties since I was old enough to actually talk.  I’ve been through the dark times and seen the horrors they made when I was a youngling and seen the adequate items that were made when I was a teenager and in my early 20s.  However, things all changed when Iron Man came out and things just seem to keep getting better and better.  Ant-Man just keeps that level of quality going and proves that Marvel Studios might be unstoppable with their shared cinematic universe.

                                                                                                                          Marvel Studios
I think this is a metaphor for San Diego Comic-Con.

Unlike the entirety of Phase One, Ant-Man ventures past just an origin story that establishes Scott Lang and Henry Pym.  In the same vein that The WinterSoldier went the political thriller route or how Guardians of the Galaxy became a loving tribute to the Sci-Fi space adventures of old, Ant-Man forgoes being just a straight forward tale of the aging hero Pym handing off his tech to the younger Scott Lang and, instead, is a heist movie with a heavy dose of comedy.  Granted, the film is still filled with the usual superhero origin tropes and familiar twist and turns that heist movies go through but they never feel tired or boring.  Part of this has to do with fantastically established cinematic universe Marvel has but a lot of it has to do with the wonderfully written comedy and the charismatic cast.
                                                                                                                           Marvel Studios
Oh, Paul Rudd...you are too damn charming and are, without a doubt, Hollywood's
most likable man!  You are a national treasure...now please lift the restraining
order.

I was very excited to hear that Paul Rudd was going to suit up and enter the MCU as Ant-Man.  I’m a big fan of the guy.  I find him hilarious and overwhelmingly charming…with the whip cream and cherry on top being the fact that he is a ridiculously talented man.  I’ve said it many times and I stand by it; I don’t want to meet the man who doesn’t like Paul Rudd.  Rudd brings his usual lovable persona and makes it work well with the redemption-seeking Scott Lang.  There was the potential that Rudd might not have fit in within the Marvel Cinematic Universe due to his comedy work but, not surprisingly, Rudd proves that he can balance his humor with heart and complete badassery and prove that he is a welcome addition to the universe and someone I’m excited as all hell to see fight side-by-side with Captain America, Iron Man, Black Widow and the rest of the Avengers.

                                                                                                                          Marvel Studios
We going to see Giant Man in Civil War perhaps?

Rudd isn’t a lone wolf in this film and is surrounded by an excellent cast.  Smaller roles filled by Judy Greer and Bobby Cannavale play just as well as the bigger roles of Michael Douglas and Evangeline Lilly.  Some of the highlights include the great chemistry between Douglas, Lilly and Rudd in the core of the heist team and special mention has to be made to Michael Peña who provides some of the strongest laughs in the film and proved to be just an absolutely and fantastically entertaining character.  Finally, just like Rudd nailed becoming Scott Lang, Michael Douglass proved to be insanely captivating to watch as the mentor and creative genius Hank Pym.

                                                                                                                           Marvel Studios
Seriously, try and take your eyes away from Douglas when he's on screen...
you can't do it.  He's that good.

The only downside I had to the cast was Corey Stoll as Darren Cross/Yellowjacket.  Stoll is never outright terrible in this role and actually proves to be quite intimidating once he puts the suit on but early in the film he comes off a tad cheesy.  His performance made it seem like Cross was seconds away from spontaneously growing a mustache before he started twirling it and tied Hope van Dyne to some railroad tracks.  And speaking of Hope, Lilly's performance was so good that I really wanted to see a bigger character arc for her.  Her character isn't written badly at all but she was so cool that I wanted more...which is definitely going to happen as it is hinted A LOT!

                                                                                                                          Marvel Studios
Not to spoil anything but during the button scene in the credits we learn
*COMMENT REMOVED DUE TO SPOILERS*


Stoll’s performance proved to be the only real downside I had for the film for the most part.  Occasionally, the action is difficult to watch because of the scale.  When Ant-Man is small, the action is fast and sometimes hard to focus on because the scenes are so busy but, for the most part, the action is satisfying—even though it’s on a much smaller scale than the previous Marvel film…pun intended.  This also leads to the very cool special effects that successfully provided a sense of scale that showed you how different the world looks when you’re the size of an insect and it was just awesome to see how they created the shrinking effect and did so in a way that honored the source material wonderfully.

                                                                                                                           Marvel Studios
The design of the suit is so rad!  And I'm not trying to be ironic by saying "rad."
I really mean it, it looks very cool.

Finally, no adaptation—whether it is a book, comic, video game or cave drawings—will ever been 100% accurate and translated exactly.  I don’t expect it to be because I honestly think that would be boring.  I want just enough changes that makes what I’m seeing to be fresh and new and Marvel Studios is doing an amazing job of adapting their characters so they are familiar from the pages but different enough so they exist in a realm that can cater to a mass audience.  This story captured the spirit of the characters extremely well—heck, even taking the character of Yellowjacket (who is actually Pym in the comics) felt like it was a nice mix of the source material but molded so that it fits in the MCU.  What I saw on screen feels like the characters I read on the pages but shown through a different filter for the MCU and it works.

                                                                                                                          Marvel Studios
Just going to say it again:  Michael Peña is a show-stealer in this film.

My complaints for Ant-Man are very minimal because I had a blast watching it.  The story is solid as it tells a great heist story and blends it with themes of passing on the torch, redemption and personal responsibility.  The humor is fantastic and helps keep the movie light enough and the cast is an ensemble of talented people that fit right into this universe.  This film, much like Guardians, was a big risk for Marvel because Ant-Man isn’t a mainstream hero and the realities of his abilities might be considered silly to the average movie goer but Marvel Studios knew how to play the game and proved that this gamble was successful and they crafted another fun and wickedly entertaining film.  Now, it just sucks that I have to wait until next year to watch Captain America:  Civil War…well, at least Jessica Jones will be coming out on Netflix.  That’ll be my Marvel fix!  And then, of course, there's season 2 of Daredevil and that contains Jon Bernthal as The Punisher!  Oh my glob, I can't wait for that!

Thursday, July 16, 2015

7 Days in Hell

***DISCLAIMER*** The following review is entirely my opinion. If you comment (which I encourage you to do) be respectful. If you don't agree with my opinion (or other commenters), that's fine. To each their own. These reviews are not meant to be statements of facts or endorsements, I am just sharing my opinions and my perspective when watching the film and is not meant to reflect how these films should be viewed. Finally, the reviews are given on a scale of 0-5. 0, of course, being unwatchable. 1, being terrible. 2, being not great. 3, being okay. 4, being great and 5, being epic! And if you enjoy these reviews feel free to share them and follow the blog or follow me on Twitter (@RevRonster) for links to my reviews and the occasional live-Tweet session of the movie I'm watching!  Tennis anyone?  No, not for me...unless it's a comedy about tennis.



7 Days in Hell – 4 out of 5


You’d never get me to play a game of tennis (unless Wii Tennis counts or the times I played tennis on GTA V in order to get 100% Completion) and you sure as hell can’t get me to watch a game of it. I’m sure it is a very physically challenging sport and no hate to the people that love it but I’m not a sports guy and I find all sports to be equally boring. That being said, if you take tennis and put it in a blender called the mockumentary genre and then add in Jon Snow, a host of talented comedians, a dash of absurd comedy, and have it all narrated by Jon Hamm than I am so fucking in! I call that a Goal!!!! (Wait, are there goals in tennis? What is the scoring system in that game? Is it to the death or something?)

                                                                                                                             HBO Films
Or maybe they play for the hand of a princess or something?
I really don't understand sports.


7 Days in Hell is a faux-documentary (commonly referred to as a "mockumentary") about an epic tennis duel between Charles Poole (Kit "You Know Nothing, Jon Snow" Harington) and Aaron Williams (Andy Samberg). Williams was the "bad boy" of the tennis game who eventually left the sport to be disgraced in the public eye and, meanwhile, Poole is the naïve up-and-comer. After an offhand comment is made, the gauntlet is thrown down and the two enter into a competition that ends up lasting for—you guessed it—7 days!

                                                                                                                             HBO Films
Shooter McGavin's tennis playing sibling?

The mockumentary is a really hard art that, if done right, looks as easy as pie—not homemade pie because that shit can get time consuming. I’m not even talking about the pie that is in the freezer section because even that can get hard because you have to defrost it. I’m talking about a pie that you buy from a baker…and you don’t have to buy it because even that is a form of work. This is a free pie that the owner and head baker of the bakery comes to your house, cuts the pie, puts the piece on the plate and even feeds it to you. Heck, he even hand operates your jaw to replicate chewing and then massages the food down your throat so you don’t have to do anything. Fuck, I got really off track here and I really want some pie right now.


                                                                                                                               HBO Films
I really like Will Forte and I can't wait for season 2 of The Last Man on Earth.


To get back on the rails, mockumentaries are really easy to screw up and a bad one can look messy and unfocused. However, thanks to mockumentary-like elements becoming so popular in media today (think The Office, Parks and Recreation, and Modern Family), this art is being crafted well and 7 Days in Hell really made this craft work for it. Occasionally, the film goes off-the-rails and enters a tangent not too different from my one about pies that feels like it doesn’t belong in the overall story arc (for example, there’s an amusing section that goes in-depth on a faux-courtroom artist history that involves artists experimenting in their art) but considering this film is rooted in silly and absurdist humor it just seems to work well and never truly takes away from the overall product.

                                                                                                                              HBO Films
I may not know about sports but I do know who this guy is...he's a dude who has
been in some Adam Sandler films.

The film also does a fantastic job with its characters. Williams and Poole are very eccentric and over-the-top and the product doesn’t try to outdo them by adding a whole host of more outrageous people to be the experts and the ones interviewed about the match. Sure, there are some goofy ones with Fred Armisen’s character and Will Forte’s performance but many of them are played straight and serious and it equates to being that much more entertaining and amusing. Especially when you have guys like David Copperfield, Serena Williams, and John McEnroe providing insight about this fictitious battle. Additionally, all the players in this film are fantastic and doing a great job with their characters.

                                                                                                                             HBO Films
David Copperfield is one gawd damn amazing magician!

The comedy in 7 Days in Hell can be quite raunchy at times—like when Williams has sex with some people on court and the reality there are a lot of computer generated penises in the movie—and it can be pretty out there and absurd—like the section that talks about the courtroom sketch artist who was inspired by Disney animation. The movie mixes your typical gross-out type humor with a lot of off-the-wall material and the end result might not work for all audiences. My tastes in what constitutes funny is amazingly varied so this film was extremely hilarious for me. The comedy also is pretty relentless and there are very few moments that are absent any kind of joke. Considering the mockumentary is only about 45 minutes long, that’s a lot of gags and laughs to cram into every second.  The jokes per minute ratio is high in this film.

                                                                                                                             HBO Films
This is probably the moment I laughed the hardest.

The only real complaint I had about the film is the story seemed to focus a lot more on the story of Aaron Williams’ rise and fall from tennis and not enough on Charles Poole’s journey. There were some great moments with Poole—for example, the way sports reporter Caspian Wint (played by Michael Sheen) had an obvious attraction to the young player—but the film missed a lot of great opportunities to play on his unhealthy relationship with his mother (played by Mary Steenburgen). Poole’s mother is desperate to see him succeed and be the best (even though Poole doesn’t seem to like tennis at all) and there are some great moments that play off of this but it still would have been nice to see more moments or just more moments of Poole in general. The film did really feel Williams-centric. That’s not a huge complaint because I really like Andy Samberg and find him hilarious but it would have been nice to see some more from Harington as well.

                                                                                                                              HBO Films
Ha ha...that's inappropriately hilarious!

With 7 Days in Hell being a mockumentary and with its unique humor the movie might not be for everyone. However, I definitely felt like I belonged with the audience for this feature and had a lot of fun watching it and was laughing my rear off to it. Its presentation felt like an authentic documentary but was off-kilter enough to still be funny and it has a tremendous cast all playing ridiculously hilarious characters.