Louis C.K.: “I like to think I’m a nice person, but I don’t know — a lot of it is context”
So how long has everyone known about Louis C.K.? You try to be a culturally aware person, up on the latest things, familiar with the trending performers, and so on and so forth. But every now and again one or more slips through the cracks and you just … miss it. Then, you’re behind the curve, and the more people go on about him or her, you figure, well, I’ll get around to it eventually. And then you do. And then you realize … what took me so long?
Case in point, Louis C.K.’s latest special, Oh My God. If you read my review of it that ran on PopMatters yesterday, you might be forgiven for thinking that this particular writer had been following this guy’s career for years, when in fact it was a very recent development, and long overdue.
Anyways, it’s a great hour of comedy, here’s part of my review:
Whenever Chuck Klosterman gets tired of writing the New York Times’ “Ethicist” column, the editors there should consider throwing out a feeler to Louis C.K. They might have to put up with a few gags about the Holocaust and child murder, but he’s actually a good fit for the position. His media profile is that of the controversial shock-comic who leaps into territory that might daunt Sarah Silverman. But what’s always been most interesting about C.K. is his quaintly earnest examination of morality and life’s purpose, with the occasional joke about cannibalism…
Here’s the promo:
And so begins the last couples’ brunch of the 21st century…
Almost perfectly designed to come and go quickly from theaters, leaving mostly silence but a few nattering and persistent fans in its wake, It’s a Disaster is a tart comedy for chilly times. From my review at Film Journal International:
The current vogue for apocalypse stories gets a refreshing redo in Todd Berger’s nimble comedy about a miserable brunch that turns only mildly more sour after the realization that everyone is just hours away from death. The lack of both zombies and stars, not to mention the inside-out mockery of genre tropes, will keep wider audiences at a distance. But strong word of mouth could result in a small cult hit, at least among those who don’t mind a film whose attitude toward its doomed characters is simple and damning: Good riddance…
It’s a Disaster opened yesterday in very limited release; find it however and wherever you can.
Here’s the trailer:
Judd Apatow has done more than just about any other filmmaker to revive the American film comedy as a vital force. But his influence has been much more positive as a writer, producer, and show-runner (Freaks and Geeks to Adventureland) than it has been as a writer and director of his own work. This is 40 follows squarely in that slightly disappointing line.
It came out last week on Blu-ray and DVD. My full review is at Film Racket; here’s part of it:
In 2007’s Knocked Up— also known as the last funny movie Judd Apatow directed — Pete (Paul Rudd) and Debbie (Leslie Mann) were the fractious married couple who served as a warning to the commitment-phobic Ben Stone (Seth Rogen). With This Is 40, Apatow makes the wildly unnecessary move of spinning them off into their own film…
You can watch the trailer here:
Mike Birbiglia’s funny, heart-tweaking film Sleepwalk with Me, one of the more refreshing comedies of the year, hits DVD and Blu-ray today. It’s an odd choice for Blu-ray (you could really see the crumbs when he was chowing on that pound cake…) but to each his own.
I reviewed the film when it came out in theaters earlier this year for PopMatters:
Based on his one-man show, Birbiglia’s film is a not-even-veiled account of his struggles as a standup comic who’s also battling fears of commitment and the possibly life-threatening sleepwalking that seems to get worse as his career gets better. Changing his character’s last name to Pandamiglio (a nod to the many mangled mispronunciations his real name receives from emcees) and little else, Birbiglia does a solid job of translating the downbeat, confessional humor of his show to the screen…
Here’s the trailer:
With its can-you-believe-this? story, slacker protagonists, and rueful gravitas, Sleepwalk With Me could easily have been This American Life: The Movie. That it’s not, even though writer, star, and co-director Mike Birbiglia is a longtime favored TAL performer, is a testament to his multifaceted appeal. The movie doesn’t quite translate that appeal, just as it doesn’t translate the original bit’s conversational stage format to a narrative…
Sleepwalk with Me is playing now in (very) limited release; it should be expanding much wider through the fall. My review is at PopMatters.
You can see the trailer here:
Somewhere buried deep in an email chain that’s been slung like Spider-man’s web from producer’s office to various screenwriters to yet other producers in Hollywood right now may well reside infinite variations on this question: How do we make a movie out of the board-game Clue?
It’s extremely likely that nowhere in this abstracted committee of moviemaking has anybody suggested, “Hey, how about making it into something of a sex farce that’s also an allegory for the McCarthy era?” That’s not just because it was already done but because such an idea would never fly. Except it did, in 1985. Somehow…
The Blu-ray release of Clue: The Movie hits stores today; and yes, it includes all three endings. My full review is at PopMatters.
Joseph Cedar’s high-toned Israeli comedy about an embarrassing scandal in the world of Talmudic scholarship is overflowing with coolly-delivered mockery, but tempers it by delving deeper into the tense father-son relationship at the center of the scandal. Shot in sky-bright blues and backed with a richly emotive score, this is a rich banquet of a film, even if the final course leaves you wanting…
The Oscar-nominated Footnote is now available on DVD and Blu-ray. My full review is at AMC Movie Guide.