Browse Tag

John C. Reilly

Review: Stan & Ollie

Playing a comedy genius is surely 10 times harder than playing another category of intellectual brilliance. If you’re cast as Albert Einstein, you put on a fright wig and spout a few equations — everybody thinks you’re brilliant. Play a famous singer, and they can always dub the voice. In the current At Eternity’s Gate, Willem Dafoe is Vincent Van Gogh: a terrific performance (that just received a Best Actor Oscar nomination), one for which the dedicated actor learned how to paint. But he doesn’t have to convince us he painted the completed canvases — Van Gogh provided the genius we see hanging on the walls around the actor.

But comedy? Comedy is hard. To be convincingly touched by comic genius is an extremely difficult thing to fake—it’s the difference between acting funny and being funny.

Continue reading at Seattle Weekly

Review: The Lobster

Colin Farrell and Rachel Weisz in ‘The Lobster’

During his preliminary interview upon arrival at the program, David is asked the big question. If he does not fall in love with someone during his 45-day stay, what animal would he like to be transformed into? David chooses the lobster. His reasons are fully thought-out: Lobsters live for 100 years, they remain fertile, and they have blue blood, like aristocrats. Plus, he likes the sea. He’s been swimming for years.

The Lobster is like this: full of specific detail, but coy about saying what the hell is actually going on. It’s the first English-language film by Greek director Yorgos Lanthimos, whose 2009 Dogtooth was a fine exercise in making skin crawl. Like that film, The Lobster comes on like a vaguely sinister George Saunders story, where it takes a while for the actual parameters of this self-contained world to disclose themselves. So we’ll tread lightly on blowing the plot.

Continue reading at Seattle Weekly

Review: Entertainment

Tye Sheridan

Isn’t it time for Andy Kaufman to stop pretending he died in 1984, and return to his place in the comedy world? One of Kaufman’s prime pieces of conceptual theater—embodying a belligerent anti-comedian named Tony Clifton—has been honed by somebody else in his absence. Gregg Turkington has carved out his own queasy niche in comedy with his horrible alter ego, Neil Hamburger. Armed with stale material, an octopus-like combover, and a habit of clearing the phlegm from his throat in the middle of his punch lines, Hamburger is an offensive creep whose style of joke-telling was outdated in 1968. Turkington has rolled out this character on records and online—sometimes in front of live audiences who are clearly not getting the anti-joke.

Continue reading at Seattle Weekly

Film Review: ‘Life After Beth’

Dane DeHaan and Aubrey Plaza

It is reassuring to know that even after the zombie plague begins in earnest, a strong vein of Jewish humor will thrive. This is the best news to come out of the superbly titled Life After Beth, a comedy that kneads together the relationship movie with the zombie genre. After opening with a brief glimpse of the title character (Aubrey Plaza) jogging into the woods toward a fateful encounter with a poisonous snake, the movie turns to the grief of Beth’s loved ones. Beth has died, and boyfriend Zach (Dane DeHaan, from the most recent Spider-Man movie) can’t seem to let go. When she comes back undead—confused, but otherwise energetic enough—they resume their romance. Because Beth’s parents (John C. Reilly and Molly Shannon) insist on not telling her about her death, Zach has a difficult time explaining why Beth shouldn’t leave the house much or be seen by people.

Continue reading at Seattle Weekly