7 items from 2017
You probably recognize Gilbert Gottfried’s name (after all, he’s the most famous Gilbert who’s ever lived), and you definitely recognize his voice, but other than his career-defining performance as Iago in “Aladdin,” how much of his work can you remember off the top of your head?
Mileage will vary, of course, but even Gottfried devotees could agree that the guy’s persona has outsized his resumé. That’s not to knock his stand-up comedy or his appearances in the likes of “Beverly Hills Cop II” and “Saved By the Bell: Wedding in Las Vegas,” but rather to say that he’s become an ambient part of our culture, less of a celebrity than the human embodiment of a modern court jester. He’s not a man, but a squint and an aggressive whine; he’s the joke you shouldn’t tell in public, the furniture at a Friar’s Club roast. »
- David Ehrlich
Depending on whether you love or hate Adam Sandler movies, you can hold old-school talent manager Sandy Wernick at least partly accountable for having encouraged his career. Wernick signed Sandler at age 22, three years before “Saturday Night Live” snatched up the young comedian and made him a star, and Sandler has remained loyal ever since — so much so that he’s built his latest sketch-stretched-far-past-the-breaking-point, “Sandy Wexler,” as an in-joke homage to his longtime manager.
Sandler repays those years of service not with a big sloppy kiss of a movie, but rather a feature-length roast (though the word “sloppy” still applies) — one that amplifies the man’s nasal voice and off-putting fake laugh into an elaborate caricature of a hopelessly pathetic bottom-feeder. The roast approach isn’t a bad way to go per se, except that somewhere along the way, this project’s too-many-cooks left out the most important ingredient: »
- Peter Debruge
The “Lawrence of Arabia” of half-assed Adam Sandler comedies, “Sandy Wexler” is an epic period piece that spans 10 years and 131 minutes of mildly amusing mediocrity before climaxing with a Rob Schneider cameo where he plays a Middle Eastern man in full brownface — it’s awful, and yet it’s almost objectively Sandler’s best movie since “Funny People.”
Of course, quality has never been a very useful metric for measuring Sandler’s work, and that’s especially true now that we’re knee-deep in an eight-picture Netflix deal which guarantees that, for the foreseeable future, we can expect new Sandler films to arrive with all the predictably of seasonal allergies. Once upon a time, he was a cottage industry — now, he’s an assembly line.
- David Ehrlich
There are good Adam Sandler movies (The Wedding Singer, Punch-Drunk Love, Reign Over Me, Funny People) and bad Adam Sandler movies (almost everything else). While his cinematic track record may be hit or miss, apparently Adam Sandler is having a hard time swaying the members of his own household to the positive side of his cinematic track record. His two daughters, Sadie and Sunny, are now old enough that they request his movies. But as Cinema Blend reports, Sandler told Ellen Degeneres when he appeared on her show last week that they don’t stick with them for very long:
I’ll put them on. Because they beg to see them. They’re like, “Please, it’s not fair! Let me watch your movies. Those people always yell things at you on the street. I don’t know what the heck they’re talking about.” So I show them the »
- Gwen Ihnat
The Eyes of My Mother, 2016.
Written and Directed by Nicolas Pesce.
A young, lonely woman is consumed by her deepest and darkest desires after tragedy strikes her quiet country life.
You can’t but applaud director Nicolas Pesce for lack of vision. His streamlined feature debut, The Eyes of My Mother, a gruesome, gaudy descent into the psychosis of a lonely woman, aims high but ultimately misses, in the process taking notes from the films of Pedro Almodovar, David Lynch, Tobe Hooper and Ingmar Bergman. It’s a puzzle made of pieces that don’t fit.
The seemingly idyllic life of an American-Portuguese family is suddenly interrupted by the presence of creepy salesman Charlie, who having worked his way into the house massacres the mother in the bathtub for little purpose. The father (characters are mostly left unnamed) decides »
- Amie Cranswick
The Love Witch has set her sights on the UK. The Final Girls have teamed up with Icon Distribution and FrightFest Presents to bring Anna Biller's latest film to select UK theaters. Also in today's Horror Highlights: Kumail Nanjiani's curates a Shudder collection, the music video for Deathless Legacy's "Witches' Brew," details on The Quacky Slasher, and The Sunken Convent festival screening.
The Love Witch UK Theatrical Release Details: Press Release: "Feminist film collective The Final Girls partner with Icon Distribution and FrightFest Presents to present a UK-wide preview tour of Anna Biller’s highly anticipated new feature, The Love Witch.
Launching at The Prince Charles Cinema, London on Thursday 23rd February 2017, The Final Girls will host a series of events, Q&A’s and discussions across the UK at venues including Glasgow Film Theatre and Bristol Watershed.
The tour will conclude on Tuesday 14th March with a »
- Tamika Jones
Judd Apatow has always been a student of comedy, but in particular (especially lately), he’s been intrigued by the lives of stand-up comics. In 2009, he explored the topic with the dramedy “Funny People,” but in the year ahead he’s putting his producing powers behind a couple of intriguing projects. Later this month at Sundance, he’ll be behind the indie “The Big Sick,” co-written and directed by Michael Showalter, and starring Kumail Nanjiani playing a man making his way through the world of dating and stand-up comedy.
- Kevin Jagernauth
7 items from 2017
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