Stephen Root

Get Out

Year: 2017
Directed By: Jordan Peele
Written By: Jordan Peele

RYAN’S REVIEW

Here we have another movie featuring the nefarious and spooky element of hypnosis. This time around that hypnosis is simply a precursor for the real horror to come. In this thrilling horror film from the mind of Jordan Peele you’ll first find yourself sucked in, then the intrigue takes hold before the horror reaches out and grabs you.

I really enjoy this movie but there is a message I read loud and clear from it. Black people really are terrified of white people, who woulda thought right? They’re not afraid in the sense that they’re intimidated or scared. Just terrified on the deep seeded level of fear. Like, I finish this movie and I think “damn, they must really think we are crazy.” African American gentlemen beware the white woman and her iniquitous motives.

The cultural differences that remain in this country are truly unfortunate and nothing to joke about really. Xenophobia and misunderstanding are the root of a problem this country has yet to overcome.  I don’t think anybody side is truly to blame but neither knows how to relent and start the healing. Hopefully one day things will be different, but in the meantime this movie highlights a perception that white people aren’t intimidating, but scary on a high level of crazy. I think the sad truth is that people of all races can be crazy, there are always bad apples that make an entire demographic look bad.

I am a big fan of funny man Jordan Peele and I like him even more after getting behind camera for a movie like this. I like how he infused his comedic elements into the film with the delightful TSA agent but beyond that I found his work to be so impressive. In a time when I feel like all the horror films coming out are shit I see this and it gives me hope. It’s ironic that hope comes from the most unlikeliest of places. I like Key and Peele but Dave Chappelle said it best when he made the joke that he had to watch them do his show every night.

I think the fact that Peele made this movie on such a tight budget made it all the better. The best horror films are made on the cheap, even IT only cost 35 million to make. I think Peele had a good cast to work with for this film. I have always been a big fan of Katherine Keener and like her as the hypnotizing mother with her lethal tea cup. The TSA agent was awesome and brought light into this dark film every time it was needed. If I am discussing the cast I must mention one of my favorite actors of all time. Stephen Root plays the blind art dealer bidding on Chris’s body. Root is a terrific and prolific actor that can do anything; a true unsung hero in the acting world.

I really enjoy this movie because it is so subtle. You can rack your brain trying to figure out what is actually going on all throughout but clarity won’t come until Peele puts it together for you. Peele actually shot two endings to the film and I like them both. One being what ended up in the film which is where the TSA buddy comes to Chris’s rescue and throws in a quick joke before the movie ends. I like that ending but I have to admit I found the alternate ending a bit more horrific. In the Alternate ending the lights flashing across Chris’s face aren’t that of his TSA buddy’s vehicle but that of a real cop car.

In the alternate ending Chris is caught red handed trying to strangle his girlfriend to death and sent to jail. Once he is locked up he is just a black guy with a wild story. He is visited in prison by his TSA buddy and seems disinterested with getting out of jail and instead content that he brought an end to something so horrible. I think that ending is a bit of a more punch in the gut and a better way to end a horror film, but I do like what they actually went with because I loved the TSA buddy.

This was a huge hit for good reason, it’s a fresh and entertaining horror film that nobody expected to be so good. It goes to show that this day in age when something is good word will still get around. This movie was a financial success without even the presence of a superhero! It makes me respect it all the more and really look forward to what Jordan Peele might do next.

I don’t know that this movie really sets the mood for Halloween because despite being a horror film it somehow doesn’t seem right for the season. I don’t think you should watch this movie to get you in the mood for Halloween. I think you should watch this movie because it’s awesome. This movie is worth your time, your money, and your attention.

 

 

 

 

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Office Space

Year: 1999
Directed By: Mike Judge
Written By: Mike Judge

RYAN’S REVIEW

I like this movie but I have never loved it.  In fact I have always found its overwhelming popularity to be a bit of an enigma.  It’s in the collection because I found at a really reasonable price one day and I am such a big Mike Judge fan I felt I owed the movie another chance.  I didn’t love it anymore than I did before after buying it but I at least found more to like about it.

Mike Judge is mostly famous for his creation of the two obnoxious but popular characters Beavis and Butthead.  I missed the ball on that one being too young to see it for the most part.  When I did see it I thought it was funny but I didn’t particularly like it. The reason I am a huge fan of Mike Judge is for the other character he is less famous for creating, Hank Hill.  King of the Hill is one of my favorite shows of all time and as a character I have found Hank Hill to be very influential on me. In life I literally try to emulate Hank Hill to a certain degree.  Hank always did what was right, he gave 110% with everything, and he was the kind of man who earned the respect of those he met.  Those are qualities I respect and took special care to learn from during my formative years watching the show. I often look at life decisions and think “what would Hank do?” If I can figure that out I trust in whatever decision I make. I specifically take pride in professionalism, the fundamentals, honesty, integrity, and the value of hard work. I learned to love these things from Hank Hill and the inspiration I have found in that character is always with me.

As to this movie I think it is easy and fun to watch but nothing significant.  I don’t particularly care for Ron Livingston or Jennifer Aniston but there is nothing wrong with the performance of either in this movie. I like several of the other actors in supporting roles but none as much as my favorite actor of all time.  Stephen Root plays the part of Milton and is as hilarious and universally talented as ever.  Root has a long history with Mike Judge as the two worked together for a long time as voice talents for King of the Hill. Judge voiced several characters and most notably Hank Hill while Root did the same and mainly voiced Bill Dauterive. Root has gone on to find plenty of success both as a television and film actor.  What makes him my favorite actor of all time is simply his diversity. He is a highly prolific actor and he seems to find something unique to bring to every role he plays.

I know this is a disappointing review.  I barely talked about the film at all but no matter how much I try I have just never been able to love it like so many do.  It’s a good enough movie to pass the time with but that is all I will give it.  If you would like to voice your outrage over my lack of enthusiasm about it feel free to leave a comment and let everyone else who reads this know how wrong I must be.  Since I am knowingly in the minority here I will say this movie is worth your time despite how I feel about it.

AMBER’S REVIEW

Everyone seems to love this movie and that includes me. I know how Ryan feels about it, but I seem to like anything that Mike Judge touches. Most of you already know why this movie works and is funny, so let’s move on to the poster.

officespace

What’s better than this poster to support this type of movie? A guy in a suit covered in post-it notes. That’s great. Work Sucks. That’s great. This poster matches the movie. It’s a simple premise, but it completely works.

NEXT MOVIE: Old School (2003)

No Country For Old Men

Year: 2007
Directed By: Joel and Ethan Coen
Written By: Joel and Ethan Coen (screenplay) Cormac McCarthy (novel)

RYAN’S REVIEW

2007 was a big year for the Coen brothers.  They won 4 Academy Awards for this film including Best Picture, Best Direction, Best Adapted Screenplay, and Best Editing.  This movie was a big hit with the Academy and it was a big hit with the audience as well.  Despite that I am not the biggest fan of it.  I think it is a great movie but I don’t feel like it was their best movie.  This seemed to be the time that everybody realized who the Coen brothers were and that bothered me on some level because I had long since been a big fan of their work.  As good as this movie is I still wouldn’t even categorize it as one of their top 5 films and I’m always annoyed when something becomes trendy and people suddenly understand something that had always been there had they taken the time to notice.

I also think this movie drags a bit too much at times.  I think it’s the lack of music that makes it feel so slow.  Music helps a movie move at a specific pace and the absence of any score in this one slows it down for me.  Tommy Lee Jones is incredible and I think he is great in this film but during one of his monologues later in the film I wanted to scratch my eyes out with boredom. The lack of a musical score did nothing to inhibit the movie and in truth the first time I saw it I was so enthralled I didn’t even notice until the second viewing.  I think though, once the shocks have been taken in that attempting to watch this movie again seems mundane.  I loved it the first time I saw it but the more I see it the less enthused I am about it.

So much of the strength of this film lies in the performance of Javier Bardem, and he was absolutely terrifying in the part.  When watching this movie for the first time you literally never know what he is going to do.  He is so intimidating and brutal.  It’s a role that deserved to win the Academy Award and it will live on forever as one of the baddest of the bad.  With his sudden ferocity and unique weapons Anton Chigurh ranks right up there with the greats like Bill the Butcher or Heath Ledger’s Joker. Nevertheless as much as I respect the Coen Brothers and appreciate the performance of Bardem I don’t love this bad guy or this movie.  I bought into it all 100% the first time I saw it but I find myself short of lasting love for the any of it and that is unusual for a Coen Brothers film. I’m a guy that loves a good bad guy and can’t get enough of him, but this bad guy hasn’t stood the test of time for me.  Anton Chigurh is a ruthless and capable hitman but he isn’t the badass boss type of bad guy that I usually find myself shamefully pulling for.

Around this the time this movie came out Josh Brolin suddenly seemed to be in everything. He was in a number of successful films in 2007 and he continues to be a player in the industry today.  I was puzzled seven years ago about it and I’m puzzled still how and why this Goonie suddenly popped into the limelight seemingly out of nowhere.  In 2007 he had significant roles in this film with the Coen Brothers, as well as Planet Terror with Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino, and American Gangster with Ridley Scott.  How did this happen so suddenly? These are big time directors all of a sudden casting important parts to a guy who had been around but hadn’t done anything significant for over twenty years.  I suppose I have to be wrong, I must have missed some performance that stood out among the rest.  I’m not really a fan of his work so I haven’t ever made any effort to research the matter but sometimes in the back of my mind this mystery needles at me.  If anybody knows the story behind Josh Brolin’s sudden rise into success please let me know.  I would love to satisfy that curiosity without having to actually do any digging to find out.  There is something about him I just don’t like and can’t quite put my finger on it.  He is well cast in this movie though because I think he fits the part perfectly.

I like what Woody Harrelson and Stephen Root bring to the film because they are both two of my favorites but there just isn’t enough of them in this one. Root has his typical pinch hit of a role but as usual he hits it out of the park.  You just never know where he is going to be but you can always trust that when you see him he will be doing great at whatever he is doing. As for Woody Harrelson you can just never have enough of him, and I feel like his part in this movie is altogether too short.

I have been too critical in this review and don’t get me wrong.  I think this is a great film, I’m not contesting that.  I just don’t particularly like it, anymore.  I felt then that it was a shame that most people came to know the Coen’s through this film because they already had a number of incredible films under their belt.  Despite their impressive filmography they weren’t well known by any means to the casual film watcher.  Their movies were never known in the past to be high grossing at the box office but they were often awarded for their work because despite the money it had made they were great films. When people talked about this movie I would tell them to go watch Fargo or The Big Lebowski. I would ask if they had ever seen Blood Simple or Raising Arizona.  I would mention classic scenes from The Ladykillers or Intolerable Cruelty. I know that I’m just an annoying know it all when it comes to films and I take stubborn stances on things from time to time but this one frustrated me.  I wanted people to know that they had been missing out on something great and that No Country for Old Men was only one of many incredible films from these two brothers.  They are smart filmmakers in a class all by themselves, and like many great filmmakers their movies don’t always reach the widest of audiences.  When things don’t involve explosions and special effects not enough people turn out to the theaters.

 

AMBER’S REVIEW

I think this film is incredibly original and extremely terrifying. It’s hard for me to watch a movie Javier Bardem is in because I think he just did such a great job of being a completely ruthless killer. So scary. Also, there was no music in this movie. That sounds like a crazy thing to do, and yet they did it, and it just adds to the creepiness of the whole thing. It takes a strong movie maker to make a decision like no music. I often think about the Coen Brothers and wonder if their creativity tank will ever dry up. I know that I get burned out doing creative stuff all the time, and it makes me wonder what their creative process is like. Wouldn’t that make an interesting documentary?

No_Country_for_Old_Men_poster

I like this poster. It’s very much in the Coen Brothers style. Most important…DO you see how freaking scary he looks? Those dead eyes. This poster is filled with symbolism. The mouth appears to be consuming the body of the running man, and this supports the movie’s tagline…”There are no clean getaways.” The stacked typography is also a symbol for this tagline, and the meaning of the movie. It is staggered and unsupported. It could potentially tumble at any moment. I love this poster and the idea it gives for what the movie is actually about. If you haven’t seen this film, do.

 

NEXT MOVIE: No Time for Sergeants (1958) 

The Ladykillers

Year: 2004
Directed By: Joel and Ethan Coen
Written By: Joel and Ethan Coen (screenplay), William Rose (original film)

RYAN’S REVIEW

Ah, the Coen Brothers.  Those genius filmmakers that can’t help but do something special each and every time they get behind the camera.  They have a range with no limits.  They can make the dynamic award winning films that prove they are masters of their art and then on the flipside they can make silly films that make us laugh with witty dialogue and intelligent jokes. With this movie about an elaborate heist they brought together an incredible cast of interesting characters and wrote an outstanding script for them to perform.

The cast as much as anything makes this film awesome.  Tom Hanks was still at the height of his career in 2004 although his star was beginning to fall.  In this movie he plays one of the most bizarre characters he ever has and delivered an incredible performance. He looks like Colonel Sanders and speaks with a great southern draw that comes across quite eloquently   He has very unique dialogue that is loaded with whit.   He has a very deep vocabulary and Hanks delivers these lines flawlessly.  It is probably one of my all-time favorite roles from Hanks.  I think the next greatest role has to go to J.K. Simmons, hands down.  Simmons has an incredibly funny quality about him and brings humor to everything he is in.  The Coen brothers recognize this talent and have used him multiple times.  He was great as the CIA director in Burn After Reading. I have always loved him in the role of Pancake, the man who “brought his bitch to the Waffle Hut.” I have always liked Marlon Wayans too but usually dislike most of his movies.  I thought he was awesome in this movie as the “proverbial inside man.” The rest of this ensemble is just as great.  The little known Tzi Ma barely needs to say anything at all in the film and still manages to be a badass.  I love when he is “even now exercising every effort” to catch that sneaky cat Pickles when it escapes again.  I have always been a big fan of Ryan Hurst but he plays the weakest role in this movie. It’s not his fault though, that is just the way the character was written.

The ensemble might be made up of terrific characters but it doesn’t stop there in the film.  Irma P. Hall is terrific and on point for the whole film.  Is there anything more intimidating in the world than an elderly strong minded black woman set in her ways? I love the scene that opens the film with her complaining about rap music and I also love when she continually slaps Marlon Wayans for his profanity, “sometimes it’s the only way.” Stephen Root is also on hand in this film and as I have said before, the man is simply incredible.  Root can literally do anything and I think he brings something great to each and every role he plays.  Also, I don’t know who plays the part and don’t think it is important enough to look up but the man who plays the choir leader in the church is awesome.  The suit, the hair, and the expression on his face as he directs the music is just too funny.  The Coen’s have quite a knack for finding actors like him to fill into small roles and it always serves them well.

This is not the greatest of the Coen Brothers’ movies and I don’t even know if it is one of their better ones but like all Coen Brother movies it offers unforgettable and incredible scenes that make it worth wild.  I absolutely love when the two gangsters try to rob the donut shop and get nowhere.  The General just stands there expressionless and smoking as these guys threaten him and demand “that donut money.” With a movement so quick the camera barely catches it he has incapacitated the one standing in front of him and their reaction to the action is hilarious.  One of the greatest intros to a character I have ever seen hands down. I love the scene in the Waffle Hut all around from Tom Hanks demanding waffles from the waitress to J.K. Simmons bringing “his bitch to the Waffle Hut.” They always write terrific scripts and I will say again that I think nearly everything Hanks says in the film is solid gold. I loved his response to the notion that Pancake would have a pretty good lawsuit if he decided to sue them over his finger. He takes a serious tone and different demeanor as a character to explain that they are part of a criminal enterprise and not subject to typical rules and regulations.

While I do love this movie and think that it is awesome I can’t even say it qualifies as one of the Coen Brothers better movies.  I have always felt it started to come apart in the end somehow.  After Pancake is dispatched the movie starts to lose my interest a bit.  It still has its moments afterwards but it just seems to lose that captivating quality and closes kind of poorly in my opinion.  However everything that comes before makes the movie worth wild.

This movie offers some of the funniest scenes I have ever seen in a movie and I enjoy it each and every time I watch it.  I think anything the Coen Brothers do is worth the time of every movie fan out there and that includes this one.  Yes this is not their best film but this is still a good film and there is plenty to appreciate and enjoy about it.  If you get the opportunity to see it I strongly encourage anyone to give it a shot.  This movie is without doubt worth your time to see.

AMBER’S REVIEW

This is not my favorite Coen Brothers film. It’s funny and interesting, but some of the actors parts fall flat and I think they could have been a little better. The point of the story is awesome, and I support anything that these guys do. It is worth seeing.

ladykillers

This is a great example of how to include multiple characters into one poster. I love the scene and that you can’t see the lady’s face. The typography is really nice as well. I think the designer did a good job a offsetting it and making it look off in a really nice way. Sometimes, it can get out of control. Overall, really successful poster.

NEXT MOVIE: Land of the Lost (2009)

Cedar Rapids

Year: 2011
Directed By: Miguel Arteta
Written By: Phil Johnston

RYAN’S REVIEW

Amber and I watched this movie on a whim a few months ago and I really enjoyed it.  I hadn’t wanted to watch the movie at all but found myself so surprised that I added it to the DVDs Christmas list of movies I wanted to add into the collection.  This movie has a good but not great cast and a relatively typical story that they all make the most of.  The thing is that it surprised me, and I always enjoy the movies that surprise me because it happens so infrequently these days.  As a lifelong movie fan I have grown bored with all the rehashed themes and remakes that plague the industry today.  That coupled with the fact that TV has stepped up its game so significantly has made it harder to get into movies these days.  More often than not I feel like I have reached a point where I have seen everything and long for the character development we see on TV series that simply isn’t possible in a featured film.  So whenever I find myself surprised now it makes me appreciate the movie all that much more.  This movie isn’t that original or anything special really but it made me laugh, and I saw more than I expected with it.

I do not like Ed Helms.  I have always hated his character on The Office and I haven’t thought much of his movie career outside of that.  The Hangover was an awesome movie, but it wasn’t Ed Helms that made it awesome.  He was good in that movie but is out shined by his costars. He plays a part in this movie that he is well suited for.  I do like him as the straight laced and innocent guy that eventually succumbs to stress and peer pressure before going nuts.  The part where he is hanging out with a prostitute and unknowingly smokes crack was what ultimately made me decided we needed to own this movie, it was such a funny scene and situation.

I think John C. Reilly is an awesome actor and like most of what he does.  Unless he is starring along side Will Ferrell and simply acting like an idiot.  In my opinion the man has far too much talent to waste his time on movies like Step Brothers and Talladega Nights. He is really funny in this movie and manages to make me laugh without sinking to the shameless level of comedy we usually see from Will Ferrell. Anne Heche surprised me in this movie as well.  I have never really been a big fan of hers but in this movie she is witty and really sexy to boot.  I have grown to really like Rob Corddry and although he has a small part in this movie he still brought something to the table.  I was shocked to see Alia Shawkat in this movie because I haven’t seen her in anything since playing Maeby on Arrested Development (possibly one of the funniest shows ever made, oh how I miss it). Thomas Lennon has a small role in this movie and he is one of those guys that can make any movie better.  There is no end to Lennon’s versatility and he brings something funny to every role he plays.  I have always thought Sigourney Weaver was great and like that she can still play a part like the one she has in this movie. Also on board here is Kurtwood Smith and I think he was perfectly cast for his role.

Last but not least, Stephen Root.  I saved him to last specifically so I can say more about him because the man deserves any and all credit he can get.  I have been a fan of Root since he played Milton on Office Space and I am a huge fan of King of the Hill in which he voiced one of my favorite characters, Bill Dauterive. I did not think at the time, especially once Dodgeball came out, that Root had much to offer as an actor.  I could not have been more wrong because the man can do ANYTHING. He is such a diverse talent that I am simply amazed at everything I see him in.  I see him so frequently too that it only adds to the wonder.  Sometimes I wonder if there is a TV series out there that he hasn’t been part of. I have seen him play parts in Boardwalk Empire, True Blood, Justified, and 24 just to name a few.  What amazes me even more than his presence in so many shows is the fact that he plays such different characters in all of them so flawlessly.  He pops up in movies all of the time and he always brings it.  Stephen Root truly is an unsung hero in the acting world and I think he is simply great in everything. In this movie he plays Ed Helms boss and does a great job.  He has one line that is just so funny.  He tells Ed Helms that he watched him grow up with the potential to do anything and somehow he managed to do nothing.  That isn’t a specific quote but if you see the movie I don’t think you can help but laugh at that one.

I don’t think this is an exceptional movie by any means but it is a good movie that I really enjoyed.  There are a lot of funny people being funny here and in the end it all comes together quite nicely.  This movie didn’t enjoy any wide release or anything so it is probably one many have never heard of.  If you get a chance to see it though it’s worth your time to see it.