Funny People The people in Funny People should be funny, right? Apparently not. Directed by the same guy who brought us The 40-Year Old Virgin, Funny People goes to show that director Judd Apatow simply lacks the touch necessary to combine comedy and drama. Featuring an all-star cast including the likes of Adam Sandler, Seth Rogen and Jonah Hill, Funny People isn’t funny enough to be a comedy, yet can’t be taken seriously enough to be classified as a drama. I couldn’t help but laugh at the “emotional” parts, and the funny parts were often pathetic enough to make me want to cry. What’s worst about Funny People is that the characters seemingly lacked motive. While watching, I couldn’t help but get the feeling that Judd Apatow simply wanted to make a semi-serious movie to prove that he could, rather than just because he had a good idea in mind for one. If there is any bright side to the movie, it is that Adam Sandler demonstrates some talent as an actor. However, the down side is that, in reality, no one really cares. People go to Adam Sandler movies to see him fight Bob Barker or return to elementary school, not to watch as he deals with possible death and the tough life that comes with being a standup comedian. When it comes down to it, the purpose and goal of the movie are clear, but everything feels out of place. Grade: 3 Inglourious Basterds Quentin Tarantino is back with a bang. At two and a half hours long, Inglourious Basterds brought fans of writer/director Quentin Tarantino exactly what they have been anticipating for over a decade. In his first highly anticipated motion picture since 2004’s Kill Bill Vol. 2, Tarantino mimics the style of his previous films by setting up multiple storylines and allowing the viewer to watch as they overlap and lead to an inevitably spectacular conclusion. As in his previous films, the best parts of this movie are the strong characters, excessively intense scenes and riveting dialogue. Christoph Waltz brilliantly portrays the determined Nazi leader Hans Landa known as the “Jew Hunter,” and his speech in the opening scene to a French farm family suspected of hiding Jews is eerie enough to send chills down anyone’s spine. Brad Pitt is hilarious as the leader of a group called the Basterds, whose main goal is to kill Nazis and, ultimately, get their hands on Hitler. Tarantino also uses particularly long scenes (one in an underground barroom lasts over twenty minutes) to slowly build tension at various points over the course of the film, Fortunately he never lets the audience down with the climaxes. The movie’s final half hour, which pays no attention to historical fact, is sure to have everyone in awe, wondering what the world might be like if Tarantino had been around in 1941. Grade: 6- Bruno Moving away from Kazakhstan and into Europe, comedian Sacha Baron Cohen returned to the big screen this summer as gay Austrian news reporter Bruno. Inevitably, controversy struck again, but beneath false accusations of Bruno being 90 consecutive minutes of jokes attacking homosexuals lay the funniest movie of the summer. Sure, Bruno is flamboyant, and yes, his flamboyance is supposed to be funny. But the real comedy comes from the real people. You can’t help but laugh as Republican Ron Paul freaks out after Bruno hits on him. It’s even funnier when a martial arts instructor gladly teaches Bruno how to “defend himself from the homosexual” without asking any questions, as if he had been asked the same thing previously and had thought out the best way to actually do it. Just as Borat highlighted racism in America, Bruno points out America’s inherent homophobia. While a good portion of the humor comes from people unknowingly embarrassing themselves, another significant portion comes from simple gross-out tactics. Nudity and sexual references are everywhere, and it is Cohen’s ability to go so far past the norm that makes audiences burst out laughing. While plenty of movies have failed with the inclusion of gross-out humor, Baron Cohen brings it to such an extreme that the shock value alone is enough to make one laugh. Bruno is one of the few movies in which nudity and sex jokes are actually clever. While some parts will have you rolling on the floor laughing, others will have you covering your eyes. Between the two, Bruno makes for a unique movie watching experience that cannot be found in the average comedy nowadays. Grade: 5
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