Monday, September 17, 2018

Men & Chicken (2015)

When asked who is the greatest Danish filmmaker of all time, most people will say Lars von Trier, Nicolas Winding Refn or maybe Susanne Bier.

They would all be wrong.

Because none of those can compete with the greatness that is Anders Thomas Jensen. Although his name is not even half as well know as those above, it only takes a short glimpse at his filmography to realize his superiority. Actually, I found it quite overwhelming to discover that all the greatest Danish films from the last 20 years, were either written or directed by the same guy:

In China They Eat Dogs, The Green Butchers, Adam's Apples, Flickering Lights, At the World's End... all from the mind of Anders Thomas Jensen. Heck, the first thing the guy wrote was the short film De Nye Lejere, which was later remade into the Oscar winning The New Tenants.

Everything he touches turns to gold, and Men & Chicken is no different. As a perfect mix of drama, comedy and mystery, with a hint of sci-fi, it entertains to no end.

So don't be left out. Jump on the Jensen train!

IMDB

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Neal Brennan: 3 Mics (2017)

I'm not recommending this stand-up special because it is funny. It is funny, sure, but that's not what makes it interesting.

The show is actually three in one, where comedian Neal Brennan gives three quite different performances, into three different mics. As he jumps from mic to mic, he also changes subjects, and while one mic is dedicated to snappy zingers, he only lingers there for a short while before moving on to another mic where he tells a rather tragic tale about his own dysfunctional father. And if the honesty starts feeling a bit heavy, he quickly changes mics once again to bring in a new brand of humor.

In a world of stand-up comedy, where everyone is all focused on getting the most laughs, this way of mixing in moments where he simply focuses on the human condition in a most naked way, comes across as fresh.

It feels like were watching a guy talking to his therapist, spicing up his tragic episodes with gallows humor. Brennan is certainly not the only one doing this, and "stand-up therapy" might even be a sort offbeat genre in recent comedy, with other examples being Tig Notaro, Carl Barron, Henry Philips, and of course Louie C.K. All of them can be hilarious when they want, but they're also bringing so much more than just lulz.

However, Brennan takes it to a new level in this special, and while certainly not for everyone, it might just have a sort of cathartic effect on those who are just as sad as they are happy.

IMDB

Saturday, September 15, 2018

A Clockwork Orange (1971)

"Doobidoob, yarbles! Great bolshy yarblockos to you. I'll meet you with chain or nozh or britva anytime, not having you aiming tolchocks at me reasonless."

If that all seemed like nonsense to you, that's only because you've somehow managed to miss out on one of the most celebrated films of all time. This is another one of those that everyone has seen hundreds of times, and it's such a big part of popular culture that not having seen it basically renders you less intelligent.

But for those that are already in the know, it's also quite fun to revisit the dystopian society of Clockwork Orange and view it through the glasses of current times. Like any classical science fiction, the future that director Stanley Kubrick imagined in the 70s, has turned out to be both wrong and right in so many ways.

So why not give it yet another go, and get lost in the colorful future of the past. You might still not understand my first paragraph afterwards, but I can guarantee you that you will enjoy it nonetheless.

IMDB

Friday, September 14, 2018

Brazil (1985)

If you look up satire in a dictionary, there might just be a picture of this film. The colorful retro-futuristic dystopia in which even the simplest thing is over-complicated by walls of paperwork, is just as relevant today as it was when it was released some 30 years ago.

Drawing heavy inspiration from George Orwell, the film was originally supposed to be called 1984 ½, but the title was changed so as not to be confused with the other adaptation of 1984 which came out the year before.

It's easy to spot where the hellish predicament of 1984 still lingers in the script, however the genius of former Monty Python member Terry Gilliam, is that he also injected his movie with a hefty dose of fun! And as such, this might be the most entertaining nightmare you'll ever experience.

IMDB

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Jam (2000)

From dark to darker, this one plunges to new depths of pitch black comedy.

It's a sketch show, with loosely connected bits that will have you gasping at their audacity. Rape, murder and mutilation is only the start of it, as the creative wickedness knows no bounds.

And if the subject matter wasn't bad enough, the technical aspects are also intentionally off. The aspect ration, color grading, lip-syncing and editing keeps making "mistakes", which adds to the general fucked uppedness, and had someone call it "An acid trip in a hospital for the criminally insane".

The darkness actually goes so far, that the show was once voted the 26th scariest in film and television history. What other comedy show has ever won awards for being scary?

The whole thing is currently available on Youtube, so hurry on over and check it out before someone is offended enough to take it down.

IMDB

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

A Man Called Ove (2015)


And while we're on the subject of Swedish comedies about old men, this one is just as good, if not better than The 100 Year-Old Man.

It's a bit darker again, as instead of the jolly reminiscing of an content gentleman in the aforementioned film, this is about a grumpy old fart who's sick and tired of it all. He hates everyone in his cozy home town, and it doesn't get better by the fact that everyone seems to keep interrupting his many suicide attempts.

But if suicide does not sound especially funny to you, then you might be convinced by the fact that Tom Hanks actually thought it was hilarious enough to produce and star in an upcoming remake.

However, if the last time mr. Hanks starred in a remake of a dark classic is anything to go by, my hopes aren't exactly high. So check this one out before the new one comes along, and you'll be able to tell all your friends that: "Dude, the original is sooo much better" ;)

IMDB

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

The 100 Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared (2013)

On the more feelgood side of the track, we find this little gem. As you might have guessed from the elongated title, the filmmakers aimed for quirkiness and were very successful at that.

We follow the titular 100 year-old man as he goes on one last adventure, intercut with wild episodes from his past. Of course, he's met some pretty famous people in his life and even influenced world history in several ways. The result is a Swedish version of Forrest Gump, with all the whimsical tomfoolery that implies.

There was also a sequel, but trust me: you don't want to waste your time on that rushed cash-grab.


IMDB

Monday, September 10, 2018

It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia (2005 - )

It's been going on for some 13 years now, and still, this is the funniest thing on TV. With surprisingly few dud episodes, I find it quite amazing how they manage to keep it fresh and hilarious after all this time.

With a stellar cast, fantastic writing and perfect comedic timing, it might not be that hard to see why it's become such a favorite.

However, a big part of the success may also be attributed to the simple fact that it jumps head first into any subject that might be considered "offensive".

In today’s thin-skinned culture, where everyone seems to compete in finding the next thing to deem “inappropriate”, it’s almost cathartic to watch a show that makes fun of anything from transvestites to army veterans, race, religion, suicide, abortion, molestation, the handicapped and the homeless.

Quite frankly: It's always sunny when nothing is out of bounds. And since the show was just renewed for a 15th season, there's hopefully many more belly-laughs to come from Philadelphia.

IMDB