Entries in Taika Waititi (3)

Friday
Dec222017

Thor: Ragnarok- review

 

“Thor: Ragnarok” (2017)

Directed by Taika Waititi

Starring Chris Hemsworth, Tom Hiddleston, Tessa Thompson

Running Time 130 Minutes, Rated PG-13

3.5 Mitch’s out of 5

Mitch Hansch/movieswithmitch.com

 

After a gazillion Marvel movies, why not finally release a comedy.  They have, with none other than the god of Thunder and apparently the god of action humor  in “Thor: Ragnarok”.  The fact that Marvel had the cojones to enlist New Zealand independent director Taika Waititi who is responsible for “What We Do in the Shadows” and “Hunt for the Wilderpeople” and who I adore is an example of using their immense amount of power for the good of mankind.  Waititi mixes his dry quirky New Zealand humor with huge over the top zany belly laughs that only a Marvel budgeted film can allow.  Mix that with a giant 80’s color wheel vomiting everywhere (a good thing) and balls to the wall action, this is one of the most pleasurable films of the year.

 

Plot, schmott.  Just know that Chris Hemsworth is built like a god and is incredibly hilarious (not fair) - I need him to be successful in something else besides the Marvelverse.  Hiddleston and Ruffalo are great as Loki and The Hulk, but it’s the new additions of Tessa Thompson and Jeff freaking Goldblum that will make you swoon. Marvel once again suffers from a ‘meh’ villain, although not to the fault of Cate Blanchett who looks to be having fun in black spandex.  Even Waititi shows up voicing a gentle would be revolutionary Rock Warrior named Korg who gets some of the best lines of the movie.

I had fun at “Thor: Ragnarok” and if you’re not dead inside then so shall you.

Isaiah 45:5

 

Monday
Jan022017

Hunt for the Wilderpeople- review

 

“Hunt for the Wilderpeople” (2016)

Directed by Taika Waititi

Starring Sam Neill,  Julian Dennison,  Rima Te Wiata

Running Time 101 Minutes, Rated PG-13

4 Mitch’s out of 5

Mitch Hansch/movieswithmitch.com


Taika Waititi’s “Hunt for the Wilderpeople” is much like Sam Neil’s very rough around the edge’s character Hec’s description of the vast New Zealand bush, “Magestical”.

You may not know this but this offbeat comedy is New Zealand’s highest grossing locally produced film of all time at $5.2 million.  After some quick research on Boxoffice Mojo that ranks as the #146th film released in just 2016 and 5,313th of all time; do with this what you will.  Taika Waititi, who cool film nerds will know for directing himself and Jemaine Clement in both “Eagle vs. Shark” and the fantastic “What We Do in the Shadows” (2nd highest grossing film in New Zealand) has crafted a wonderfully weird, wonderfully feel-goody film that shows the wonderful pleasure of incomplete people coming together for completion.  

 

We’re introduced to foster child Ricky (young Julian Dennison crushing a sneaky challenging role) who is labeled as “a real bad egg” who in a very funny montage, has been charged with counts of spitting, kicking, throwing stuff, and my personal favorite loitering.  Ricky is a big boned kid and speaks in gangsta slang and is thrown a curveball when he is sent to a remote cabin with an ‘all the love in the world’ Bella (Rima Te Wiata) and her ‘stay out of my way’ grizzled husband Hec.  After some adjusting Ricky takes to his new setting, but when tragedy strikes he takes off getting lost deep in thick country bush.  Hec finds him, and after a fractured leg and a misunderstanding that makes Hec seem like a pedophile, Ricky and Hec are on the run in a nation wide manhunt for the two.

Look for Taika Waititi showing up with a great cameo as a Minister, and a message about Jesus and doors.  The climax and a foster agent played by Rachel House got a bit too cartoony for me, overstepping the groovy reality edge that Waititi straddles perfectly for the rest of the film, but besides that, “Hunt for the Wilderpeople” is a real gem.  If you’re in a downer of a mood just pop this in and that will wash away real fast.

Ephesians 1:5

 

Saturday
Mar292014

What We Do in the Shadows- review

 

“What We Do in the Shadows” (2014)

Directed by Jemaine Clement, Taika Waititi 

Starring Jemaine Clement, Taika Waititi

Running Time 86 Minutes, Rated R.

4 Mitch’s out of 5

Mitch Hansch/movieswithmitch.com

 


The vampire mythology has been around long enough to be spoofed on long enough.   You would think the genre to be fully drained of if it’s comedic lifeblood by now, but then someone comes along and shows you a few things you hadn’t thought of and refines the jokes that have been around for ages.  Jemaine Clement and Taika Waititi, fellow New Zealanders who worked together on 2007’s “Eagle vs. Shark”, join forces again to co-write and co-direct the very hilarious vampire mockumentary “What We Do in the Shadows.”

“This is the pretend true story... of four vampires… who live together in their New Zealand house… working together and having their lives taped… to find out what happens… when the eternal living dead stop being polite… and start being real.”

Take away that the vampire flatmates all know each other, Clement and Waititi use the basic Real World treatment for vampires and just let the jokes write themselves.  That’s not true, because the two Kiwi's wrote those jokes and they wrote them funny, one packed on top of the other making it so if one doesn’t hit your funny bone there will be one that will not too shortly after.  Just like us, vampires squabble about getting the dishes done which in turn prompt house meetings and reminders of the chore wheel.  While there may be disagreements and annoyances between roomies, like remembering to put down newspapers on the floor when puncturing the artery of your dinner that night, they are still comrades, and its shown when getting ready for a night out on the town means having to tell your fellow vamp how they look since they’re all unable to use the convenience of a mirror.

 

A smart and funny choice was to use four very different vampires from either a different era or a different cinematic styling.  Clement, of the “Flight of the Conchords” cult status plays the doofus heightened lothario from Coppola's Bram Stroker as Vladislav “the poker” (because “the impaler was already taken), Waititi is Viago the 18th century super dandy ripped from “Interview From a Vampire”, the reclusive and socially awkward Nosferatu would-be played by Ben Frasham, and the youngest vamp on the Wellington block is former Nazi (Jonathan Brugh) who can’t wear the silver locket of his former love for obvious reasons.  

Special effects gags are well placed on this low budget affair.  Also to be applauded is that the subject matter may be able to live forever, but the film knows when to call it quits with its just right 86 minute running time. Another big laugh is when our vamps run into the local wolfpack that’s led by fellow “Flight of the Conchords” funnyman Rhys Darby as the alpha male who won’t let the other werewolves swear during turf battles(“we’re werewolves, not swearwolves”).  

When “What We Do in the Shadows” eventually comes to light to bigger viewing audiences, you’ll have a fan favorite for sure.

When “This” eventually comes to light to bigger viewing audiences, you’ll have a fan favorite for sure.