Entries in Jim Carrey (4)

Friday
Dec222017

Jim and Andy: The Great Beyond- Featuring a Very Special, Contractually Obligated Mention of Tony Clifton- review

 

“Jim and Andy: The Great Beyond- Featuring a Very Special, Contractually Obligated Mention of Tony Clifton” (2017)

Directed by Chris Smith

Starring Jim Carrey, Andy Kaufman

Running Time 94 Minutes

4 Mitch’s out of 5

Mitch Hansch/movieswithmitch.com

 

The year was 1999, I was in my 19th year of existence and my Jim Carrey obsession was at it’s peak.  Ace Ventura and Dumb and Dumber spoke to me the way they should to a 14-15 year old (through their buttcheeks), but now I was 19 and considering myself more mature, especially through my film taste (I mean, I had just seen “Run Lola Run” in the theaters for goodness sake!).  Jim Carrey wanted to be taken seriously, and so he cast off his clown attire with the very successfully “The Truman Show”, which I saw in the theaters 8 times and is still to this day my favorite film of all time.  I felt spiritually linked with Mr. Carrey through his film choices, and I wanted my growth to mirror his growth.  

Cue his first entry into the biopic genre with “Man on the Moon”.  Chronicling the story of the actor Andy Kaufman, whom I had only known from watching some “Taxi” reruns (Kaufman’s greatest probable fear), which I was not all that fond of.  I had my eyes and ears glued to every tidbit that came out of this production.  I was mesmerized by the fact that I that Carrey was going all DeNiro with full method acting as the polarizing bizarro comedian, and so in turn I did my homework on Kaufman and I was hooked.  Here was a performer who cared more about doing what he thought was funny than what the audience thought was funny; a man who often made the audience in fact the joke.  Youtube wasn’t around then yet, but I watched all the Kaufman footage I could and when the Milos Forman directed film finally came out, I didn’t see Jim Carrey up on the screen I saw Kaufman up there and while the film was good but not great, Carrey gave one of the better performances of our generation (damn you Oscars!).  A documentary from Chris Smith aptly titled “Jim and Andy: The Great Beyond- Featuring a Very Special, Contractually Obligated Mention of Tony Clifton” shows just how far Jim Carrey went for his ‘performance’ and the toll it took on him, his director, and everyone else involved in the production.

 

The film is intertwined with a plethora of behind the scenes footage that Universal didn’t want released (because at the time Carrey was the biggest star in the world and the higher ups didn’t want him to be viewed as an asshole) and a sit down interview with a present day Carrey recalling the process.  It’s fascinating to watch Carrey truly give into Kaufman; stating that after got his dream role he looked over the ocean trying to telepathically communicate with Kaufman who died in 1984 to cancer, and that’s when “like 30 dolphins” rose up from the water and Kaufman “tapped” him on the shoulder and said “Sit down, I’ll be doing my movie.” From there Carrey never broke character, by either playing the mischievous Andy Kaufman who resented his fame from “Taxi” or his alter ego, Tony Clifton, a crude lounge lizard that he half played along with his manager/accomplice Bob Zmuda.  Carrey, I mean Kaufman drove many people nuts and nearly broke the proud Oscar winning director Milos Forman.  Some of the onset antics are mean; as in the way Carrey harassed former pro wrestler Jerry Lawler, who plays himself in the film reenacting the famous “feud” he had with Kaufman who for a time wrestled only females lovingly playing a heel.  Lawler remembers Kaufman as someone who respected him, always calling him sir, but Carrey’s Kaufman tormented him on set, to the point of making the world believe in a very Kaufmanesque way that Carrey had broken his back during their filmed wrestling scenes.  

Present day Carrey carries himself now as someone who believes none of existence truly matters, and we are all but a blink in the existence of the cosmos.  He says he ‘wants’ for nothing anymore, and you can’t help but wonder if he’s tapping into Kaufman when he waxes intellectual, “I wonder what would have happened if I just decided to be Jesus”, he says with a grin of confidence.  This confidence shows Carrey’s amazing talents, and he feels like one of those great performers who I want so much more from.  I miss him like a Prince or Michael Jackson even though Carrey is neither addicted to anything to our knowledge or deceased, also unbeknownst to our knowledge. This film lets me savor a former obsession of mine that I hope only gets finer with time.   

1 John 4:1

 

Sunday
Aug182013

Kick-Ass 2- review

 

“Kick-Ass 2” (2013)

Directed by Jeff Wadlow

Starring Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Chloë Grace Moretz, Christopher Mintz-Plasse

Running Time 103 Minutes, Rated R

2 Mitch’s out of 5

Mitch Hansch/movieswithmitch.com

As soon as I heard that director Matthew Vaughn wasn’t coming back to the fan propelled sequel for Kick-Ass, I couldn’t quite muster up the excitement level that one should have when that one is a film reviewer, and that film was the first perfect 5 Mitch Head (star) rating ever given out by said reviewer.

I was worried that without Vaughn’s skilled touch, the amazing piece of meta ultra violent crackling dramatic fun of the original wouldn’t be able to be replicated -- that the satirical essence and the coolness would be lost and even fall prey to the cliches that were so wonderfully turned on their ears from the first Kick-Ass.

Writer/director Jeff Wadlow has brought my worries to reality with Kick-Ass 2.

In the original, bored high schooler Dave Lizewski (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) tries to make a difference by donning the superhero persona Kick-Ass and becomes an internet sensation overnight.  This garners the attention and help of two actually effective superheroes; the father and daughter team of Damon (Nicolas Cage) and 11-year old Mindy Macready (Chloë Grace Moretz), aka, Big Daddy and Hit-Girl.  As their plight against organized crime escalates in a showdown with mob boss Frank D’Amico (Mark Strong), heroes rise leaving Frank’s son Chris (Christopher Mintz-Plasse) without a father and with a need for revenge against Kick-Ass.

A couple years later Dave breaks his Kick-Ass retirement when his itch to make the streets better or to escape normality (Wadlow doesn’t make this clear) becomes too strong.  Kick-Ass’ team up with Mindy’s Hit-Girl is short lived as her cop/guardian played by Morris Chestnut wants Mindy to salvage her childhood and live a normal girls life.  Kick-Ass looks elsewhere and joins a team of nerdy-misfit-similar-wannabe-do-gooders called Justice Forever that’s lead by an ex-mob now born-again Christian called Colonel Stars and Stripes played by the great and graying Jim Carrey.  When Chris D’Amico catches wind of Kick-Ass’ return, Chris makes himself the first true supervillain (with a name that’s a bigger swear word than ass) and uses his wealth to hire his own team of bad guys to pit against good.   

Vaughn awesomely deconstructs the superhero cliches and fantastically filters it through the “real world”. Characters are fully developed, and as the usual archetypes unfolded, I was mesmerized by just how fresh it all felt and how much I cared.  My eyes were in a constant wide-eyed wonderment when they weren’t balling.  

Wadlow’s sequel- not so much.  

Wadlow tries to get the message across that you have to be yourself while still trying to make a difference.  This message weakly criss crosses itself because Wadlow can’t figure out who our young leads should be.  The point is made that if you put on a mask and go all vigilante that you have some serious issues and that in the “real world” there are consequences for doing something that nobody ever attempts besides in the movies;  however, in the next moment Wadlow glorifies the gory violence that the masked avengers exalt in.  The violence that isn’t nearly as entertaining as it was in the first. It tries to be dark, but instead is sometimes just offensive.  An attempted rape scene tries to get off the hook with the villain having performance issues, this was not funny.

The young Moretz stole the show in the first film as the foul-mouthed Hit-Girl who sliced and diced her foes. Watching an 11-year old girl drop the “c” word did have a “whoa” factor to it, but as a 15 year old she just sounds like another kid trying to be cool that I used to hear on the subway.  More than just a kid actor, Moretz is the real deal, but even she couldn’t escape Wadlow’s mistakes.  There are shining moments, such as Mindy’s attempted assimilation in the “Mean Girls” high school clique, effectively showing that female teenagers can be more scary than street thugs and murderers, but those satirical moments are far and few between.

I have no idea why Jim Carrey took this role and think he made the right decision when he decided not to promote the film with his new hard stance on gun violence.  Carrey’s Brooklyn Stars and Stripes character is seriously underdeveloped, and the sin of Wadlow’s direction is that he thinks this sad attempt at a character can duplicate the effect that Nicolas Cage’s Big Daddy had.  Wadlow misses the satire all the way to the end of the film where the showdown finishes with a quiet thump, and the goosebumps the first Kick-Ass delivered were replaced with a heavy sigh.

As for a possible third installment- no thanks.

As for "this" possible third installment- no thanks.

Romans 12:17-21

 

Thursday
Mar212013

The Incredible Burt Wonderstone- review

 

“The Incredible Burt Wonderstone” (2013)

Directed by Don Scardino

Starring Steve Carell, Steve Buscemi, Jim Carrey

Running Time 100 Minutes, Rated PG-13

2 Mitch’s out of 5

Mitch Hansch/movieswithmitch.com

The Incredible Burt Wonderstone pulls off some pretty impressive slight of hand.  Here’s a film that somehow is magically able to make laughs almost entirely disappear that stars comedy giants Steve Carell and Jim Carrey.

Wonderstone isn’t abysmal- it’s basically the equivalent of 1997’s Father’s Day.  That dud wasted the pairing of funny bone legends Robin Williams and Billy Crystal, and Wonderstone equally does the same with their dynamic duo.  

In the vein of over theatrical Las Vegas magicians Siegfried and Roy, Carell is the pompous and heavily spray tanned title character, and Steve Busecemi plays his childhood friend and stage sidekick Anton Marvelton.  Their popularity starts to go on the decline when a different kind of magician by the name of Steve Gray (Jim Carrey) pops up.  Where Carell stole scenes in Carrey’s Bruce Almighty, Carrey returns the favor here by channeling the absurdity of the David Blaine/Chris Angel street performer.  Most of my limited laughs came from Carrey going old school flailing all around and, at one point, performs what he calls “magic” by actually putting a screw through his head.   

Wonderstone is victim of lifeless direction.  TV veteran director Don Scardino moves from one gag to the next without any tricks up his sleeve.  Scardino and writers get nothing new from a tired ‘fall from the top and having to recapture the passion’ story.  The supporting cast of Olivia Wilde, Alan Arkin, and James Gandolfini get lost in the mix; worst of all, Scardino isn’t able to let Carell’s Wonderstone be interesting and comes off as anything but incredible.

“this” comes off as anything but incredible.  

 Acts 19:19

Monday
Dec062010

I Love You, Phillip Morris- Review

“I Love You, Phillip Morris" (2010)
Directed by Glen Ficarra, John Requa
Starring Jim Carrey, Ewan McGregor
Running Time 102 Minutes, Rated R.
3.5 Mitch’s out of 5
Mitch Hansch/ movieswithmitch.com

With the directors of “Bad Santa” on board, you know “I Love You, Phillip Morris” is going to be a colorful film.  Shot in 2009 but delayed over various legal distribution problemos, the film starts by declaring; “This is a true story.  It really is.”  You need that proclamation because you’d roll your eyes to the unfathomable farce if it weren’t.  This is the story of Steven Russel (Jim Carrey), a Bible belt family man on the local police force who after a near death experience, decides to come out gay.  Or as Steven professes on a stretcher to the ambulance driver and the world, “gay, gay, Gay, gay, gay”!

Steven moves to Florida and comes to the conclusion that being gay is expensive.  This realization leads to him committing all sorts of fraud, eventually landing him in prison.  Where upon, he meets the love of his life, the effeminate sweet-hearted Phillip Morris (Ewan McGregor).  This is Jim Carrey’s best work since “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind”. Carrey sprinkles light on the slapstick and huge comic rubber grin of his and focuses on creating a genuinely sweet romance with McGregor.  McGregor is just as convincing, wowing me with his courageous transformation.  

Once the two are outside of prison it’s not long before Steven inappropriately filters his love for Phillip and resorts to his old ways of scamming and extreme fraud.  At times, “I Love You, Phillip Morris” plays out like a very flamboyant “Catch Me If You Can”, as Steven finds new ways to talk his way out of anything and ingeniously break out of prison.  His lies give temporary victories that only last so long but Carrey’s Russell moves straight forward with tunnel vision as another opportunity will arise to make everything better. And that creates plenty of laugh out loud moments.  A fraud committed by Steven towards the end, that I won’t give away, will make you take a deep breath and then let out a laugh.  

“I Love You, Phillip Morris” has as much chance at succeeding at the box office as the next Tyler Perry film succeeding with the critics.  Carrey’s fan boys won’t flock to see a very openly gay themed love story and it might be to broad for the gay community to be taken seriously, but “I Love You, Phillip Morris” is a strange and wonderful bold film with a great comic tone that is every color of the rainbow entertaining. 

"This" is every color of the rainbow.

Matthew 9:15