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Joneses Kick Death’s Ass At Funeral Gift Shop

I wonder if Death got his ass kicked because he was responsible for guiding the living into death or because his cloak looked too much like a burqa.  Oh well, I don’t mean to mix my politics and my movie humor, however most great movies try to raise questions that aren’t easy to answer and this week is full of movies trying to do that.  American consumerism, death and family relationships, modern art, and the media appeal of superheroes are up for public debate.  We start with the a movie that I hope lives up to the title: Kick-Ass (Rotten TomatoesMetacritic).

“The best superhero movie since “The Dark Knight” (and far less serious in tone or approach), Kick-Ass earns its name in every way.” ReelViews James Berardinelli

All right, kick ass. Although I’m left to wonder if the sequel would be called The Dark Ass?  Perhaps, Kick Asses.

“Kick-Ass moves with such bloody assurance that you’d be forgiven for not seeing how smart it is. But smart it is. Smart, important and deadly.” Time Richard Corliss

Smart, important, and deadly sounds like a description of a bomb, which I hope the movie isn’t.  However, let’s hear from the naysayers.

“Never as shocking as it thinks it is, as funny as it should be, or as engaged in cultural critique as it could be, Kick-Ass is half-assed.” Village Voice Karina Longworth

Ass-kicked?

“Kick-Ass is a rabid puppy of a movie, energetically bounding off the screen and into your lap, where it proceeds to chew off your face.” St. Petersburg Times Steve Persall

Is there a metaphorical chew toy we could give him instead?

“Kick-Ass should delight fans of the original comics and garden-variety action junkies as well. Suggested subtitle: “Iron Man, You Just Got Served.”” Washington Post Ann Hornaday

Iron Man will get to retaliate in a few weeks, but without a dancing movie to segue into, we’ll have to settle for a dark comedy criticism of American materialism: The Joneses (Rotten TomatoesMetacritic).

“There’s the makings of a nasty satire of modern American materialism [here] but in the end…the movie goes soft, squishy and even–heaven help us–preachy.” Frank Swietek One Guy’s Opinion

How preachy are we talking about?

“The Joneses is a list of grievances nailed to the door of the Church of Materialism, but the hammer never hits the audience’s fingers.” Michael Ordoña Los Angeles Times

If a picture is worth a thousand words, this is practically a manifesto.

“A sharp, witty, and revealing take that shows us, among other things, that we never really leave middle school when it comes to wanting to be just like the cool kids.” Nell Minow Beliefnet

The last time I remember pining for middle school coolness was when I purchased a pair of impressively uncool parachute pants.  Apparently I was keeping up with the MC Hammer’s, which has only gotten easier.

“Borte supports his jewel of a story idea with dead-on casting, stunning images and product placement that’s intentionally heavy-handed.” Boxoffice Magazine Steve Ramos

Even when made of sand, the heavy hand looks bad

“Somewhere on the way to the future, America decided that it’s better to have a houseful of designer wear and home entertainment gadgets galore, than good schools, affordable health care, and a job and home for everyone. Or did they?” Prairie Miller NewsBlaze

Oh, they did.  And speaking of designer gear and misplaced priorities, this week’s releases include a documentary about our relationship with exploited street art: Exit Through the Gift Shop (Rotten TomatoesMetacritic)

“Manages to be informative and very funny whilst making a genuine and intriguing point about the commercialisation of street art.” Matthew Turner ViewLondon

Is the point that we shouldn’t worry about keeping up with the Jackson Pollucks?

“A funny and fascinating look at an underground art movement, and how easy it is for someone with questionable amounts of talent to suddenly become a star.” Edward Douglas ComingSoon.net

It seems that most pipe dreamers would daydream about becoming famous out of luck instead of ability.  After all, the lifestyle of someone famous is more appealing that just being famous.

Famous, not necessarily envied for his fame.

“What’s true? What’s not? Is it a Banksy fabrication, a knowing stunt satirising the art world? Tellingly, there’s no director credit. Whatever the truth, it’s an amusing, curious documentary.” David Gritten Daily Telegraph

A film without a director?  That is curious.  Was it directed by a robot?

“An exhilarating hall-of-mirrors look at what happens when global art fame turns anonymous, artists become objects, fans turn into artists, and the whole what’s-sincere-and-what’s-a-sham spectacle is more fun than art was ever supposed to be.” Owen Gleiberman Entertainment Weekly

Art should be fun.  Sadly, our education system stops encouraging art when kids stop caring about crayons.

“This is splendid stuff, directed with verve and humour by Banksy who – aghast at Guetta’s artistic triumph — announces he will never make another art film. Shame.” Tim Evans Sky Movies

The final film of a first-time (possibly fictional) director sounds about as sad as a Death At A Funeral (Rotten TomatoesMetacritic).

“Think of Death at a Funeral as a comic quickie. As it presses buttons, a few laughs come out, but that’s all there is to it.” The New York Times Stephen Holden

Since when does pressing a few giggle buttons equal a quickie?  Unless we’re talking about robots again.

“A mixed bag, Death at a Funeral has moments of real wit — and moments when you envy the corpse.” Moira MacDonald Seattle Times

In this case, the body has more entertainment than the funeral attendees.

“Verdict? Mixed. Loved the slapstick, winced at the toilet humor, and mourned that the female performers were given so little to do. Funeral is funnier the second time around.” Philadelphia Inquirer Carrie Rickey

Most funeral’s are one-time things.  A sequel would seem to be in poor taste, however remakes sidestep that concern.

“I didn’t like the British original at all. So to say that the American remake is okay is actually a huge improvement. I guess Americans are just better at mediocrity.” Fred Topel Can Magazine

Kick ass?

“I was laughing so much, I forgot it was a Martin Lawrence movie!” Willie Waffle WaffleMovies.com

King Sheep forgot why that was funny.

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3 Responses

  1. Hehe. Nice burqa reference and final quote. Good work, as always.

  2. Hmm… this seems like quite the mixed bag. Let’s go see all of them!

  3. You had me laughing so hard I forgot how serious you are all the time.

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