Kristen Wiig is the funniest person out there right now. Have you seen this movie yet? Go see it!
Annie Walker (Kristen Wiig)’s life is in shambles. Recently dumped and bankrupt, she lives with a hilariously icky brother and sister duo and sleeps with a hot, rich guy who makes her feel bad about herself. When her best friend Lillian (Maya Rudolph) gets engaged, the bizarre and expensive rituals that go along with being the maid of honour begin to wreak havoc on her sanity and their friendship. And then this other rich, perfect girl claims that Lillian is her new best friend, and whisks her away to a life of country clubs and first class, leaving broke, unlucky Annie struggling to catch up.
How awesome that this is much more of a female comedy than a romantic comedy. Oh sure, there’s the cute, bumbling British policeman that pulls over our protagonist. And Jon Hamm plays a goofy, rich, a-hole. But as cute and handsome as they are (respectively), they are definitely not the point.
As the bedraggled Annie, Wiig absolutely shines. And Maya Rudolph is great. The rest of the rag-tag bridesmaids are pretty good. Erin from The Office (Ellie Kemper, playing Becca) is adorable as always. I wondered, where can we see more of the incredibly funny Meghan (Melissa McCarthy), the groom’s heavy-set sister who makes up for a lack of manners with earth-flattening self-confidence? (The answer, as it turns out is that sitcom, Mike and Molly, commercials for which did not at all tempt me to see it. But maybe this actress adds a lot of funny to what looks like an otherwise flat character. She was also in Gilmore Girls, which I never got into.)
Finally, one thing I loved about Bridesmaids was Annie’s style. I am going to copy her blazers and dresses. I’m just saying.
Have you seen this movie yet? Come on, go! And then we’ll rehash our favourite belly-laugh moments over chocolate cake. But remember, it’s not just a fun chick flick. This is seriously good comedy.
NEXT WEEK'S MOVIE: The Hangover, Part II. The reviews, as far as I can tell by researching just little enough to not hear any of the punch lines, are not great. But it's a special event: on our second movie meetup ever, back in 2009, we saw Hangover I. This week's movie will be our 100th official event! So, to mark the occasion, we're going to see the boys get in trouble all over again, this time in Bangkok.
It was a dark, stormy night, and I was out of the rain and inside the belly of the cozy, sticky Underground Cinema, near Spadina and Queen. Once a place for primarily Asian action flicks, tonight the Underground was celebrating the one-year anniversary of its new incarnation as an independent cinema run by a handful of young movie lovers.
As we waited for the film to begin, I chatted with the guy next to me, Dave. “Tim Curry”, I began, “isn’t he the bad guy from Annie?” Dave did not know whether it was Tim Curry that I was fondly remembering as Rooster, the scheming little brother of professional orphan tormenter, Ms. Hannigan (played by the dazzling Carol Burnett). He did, however, helpfully suggest that Curry was the lead in the 1975 Rocky Horror Picture Show. Unfortunately, that’s one major cult classic that I have not yet seen. He assured me that I should.
And now to the movie at hand: based on the Parker Brothers board game of the same name, Clue opens up onto a dark and stormy night of its own. A half dozen well-dressed guests arrive one by one at a mysterious mansion, sizing one another up, and wondering why they’ve been invited and by whom. The characters are buffoonishly yet likeably archetypal: there’s the butler (Tim Curry as Wadsworth), Professor Plum (Christopher Lloyd), and the beplumed politician’s wife, Mrs. Peacock (played by Eileen Brennan) as well as the colonel, the saucy madam, and of course, the sexy French maid. Things get ugly when the mysterious host (by now revealed) threatens to reveal each person’s dirty little secrets. But with a crash of thunder, a flicker of the lights, and the crack of a gun, the first victim falls to the floor. Now in this mess together, the guests pair off to search the house for the killer. Suspicions and theories multiply as the bodies pile up and curious policemen and other passersby are frantically shooed away. All is revealed in a final climactic, slapsticky re-enactment of the night’s events by the gregarious butler, Wadsworth.
Clue is an entertaining romp, and was especially fun to watch as part of the most enthusiastic movie crowd I’ve ever seen. These young cinephiles were pumped - on top of being treated to a double header of free movies (1993’s Jurassic Park came on next),they had been treated to the crowd-pleasing previews for such upcoming films as The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Movie (“opening July 1990”, a year in which most of them were likely toddling around in TMNT pajamas.)
If the movie was fun, however, the true highlight was experiencing the revitalized Underground Cinema in action. Four movie lovers passionate enough to look beyond a business model practically proven to fail have been plying audiences with a mix of unique programming and nostalgic appeal and making it work for a full year now. Here’s hoping they have many more years in them.
Incendies, which translates to Scorched in English, is a truly exciting piece of storytelling by Quebecois filmmaker Dénis Villeneuve.
The story opens with the reading of the last will and testament of Nawal Marwan (Lubna Azabal) to her grown twin children, Jeanne (Melissa Désormeaux-Poulin) and Simon (Maxim Gaudette). The will contains instructions that stun them both, annoy Simon, and point them inevitably back to their mother’s native country, the allegorical Fuad.
We then live two parallel stories: first, the young Nawal is abruptly cast out by her family when a love affair with an ethnic refugee brings them shame. As political tensions heat up, she is on the wrong side of a civil war, burning with grief and desire for revenge.
Interspersed with Nawal’s story is Jeanne’s current-day journey to Fuad. Armed only with a decades-old black and white photograph of her mother, Jeanne attempts to retrace Nawal’s spiral from family cast-off to university idealist to political prisoner. Language and cultural barriers impede her search, but she presses steadily on, in the same way that her determined mother picked her way through the rocky terrain of the war-torn countryside decades before.
As the film reaches its midpoint, and dark revelations about violence, rape, and torture begin to emerge, the reluctant Simon accepts his role in solving the mystery that has been thrust upon them. He joins his sister in Fuad to pursue the identity of their father and the brother they never knew they had.
Throughout the film, Villeneuve builds suspense and momentum masterfully. As dark secrets come to light, Jeanne and Simon rely on the strength of family to come to terms with their mother’s history and their own. Brace yourself for a few disturbing moments, but be prepared for a gripping mystery and an excellent film.
About this blog
I'll use this space to write about movies, bikes, communications trends, pop culture, and my adventures as a new New Yorker.