Skip to main content

Review: Paul

Nostalgia tripping is risking becoming it's own subgenre of film. It's a golden age for nerds: comedic geniuses like Simon Pegg riff on 80s pop-culture for hours and make watching it enjoyable. This is old hat for Pegg, who starred with Paul co-writer and co-star Nick Frost in Spaced so many years ago. Spaced pulled from the same bag of "Wars and Trek" references, and like in Paul, it didn't let the in-jokes ruin the comedic chemistry, plot and character development. Contrast this with Fanboys, another exercise in sci-fi reverence that was steeped too deep in arcana and lacked comedic wit. Fanboys featured a cameo by Seth Rogen, who gives the charming the voice to the titular alien.

Paul is the story of two aging nerds taking a road trip through some of the more alien lore rich states after a visit to comic-con. While stopped to see The Black Mailbox, a car crashes nearby that contains a lovable extra terrestrial who needs help to escape. He is being chased by pursuers from Area 51, led by an agent played by Jason Bateman (who plays a convincing tough guy). On the lam, the three amigos meet up with a charming, if not somewhat misled, RV park supervisor, played by Kristen Wiig in her best role to date.

As with all of their projects, Paul thrives on the interactions between Pegg and Frost. It's really nice to see these guys working together again, and it gives me hope to someday see a conclusion to the Blood and Cornettos trilogy.

Popular posts from this blog

Review: Anomalisa

Weird is rarely used as a good quality in film criticism, but few words so completely describe Charlie Kaufman’s work as weird does. All of his films are a window into his very particular worldview, and that p.o.v. is certainly unlike anything seen in pop culture. For that reason, Anomalisa became an entry on many most anticipated lists for 2015. That Kaufman chose stop-motion to tell this story made the picture an event. So it came as a disappointment when the film was one of the year’s more mundane efforts.

Being John Malkovich and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind have an energy and heart at the center that is not present here. Previous collaborators like Spike Jonze and Michel Gondry were able to temper the overwhelming negativity Charlie Kaufman occasionally falls prey to, but, this time, the writer doesn’t have a director to rein things in. In all of his efforts to create an experience that is both familiar and alienating, Kaufman may have accidentally created something host…

Review: Selma

It may surprise many that Martin Luther King Jr. never received the celluloid treatment prior to Selma. Sure he had been mentioned in other historical pieces, but short of documentary footage, King was never given center stage. Quite shocking given the man's legacy and the lingering effect of his efforts still felt today. Several years of production and a director change later, Selma arrives as the film worthy of the man.

Review: The Salvation

Westerns have never recovered from the oversaturation that killed off viewer interest decades ago, but every now and then a gem pops up. Recent successes like The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, 2007’s 3:10 to Yuma and the Coen brothers adaptation of True Grit all did well because they tweaked the genre slightly, but director Kristian Levring goes with an old school approach. A faithful recreation of those revenge Westerns made so popular in the 1970s, The Salvation envelopes many elements of previous Clint Eastwood classics and wraps it into a tidy package.

The Salvation starts in on the central dilemma, joining Jon (Hannibal‘s Mad Mikkelsen) at the train station where he awaits the arrival of his wife and son. Jon and his brother, Peter (Mikael Persbrandt), have lived in the United States long enough to build a hospitable life for their family back in Denmark. This homecoming should be a sweet moment to establish the family important to Jon, but fate plays out…