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The Killers Loss of a MacGruber Diamond

By Genevieve Burgess | DVD Releases | September 7, 2010 | Comments ()

By Genevieve Burgess | DVD Releases | September 7, 2010 |


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MacGruber: "It's been ten years since the release of the last film based on a "Saturday Night Live" sketch, and a lot has changed since the era of The Ladies' Man. It's not that the show's humor has become less fratty since the 1990s, the decade of Adam Sandler and Chris Farley; it's that the type of fratty-ness has changed, evolving from a beer-bong chugfest into something much sillier and more absurd. But the biggest change between then and now, and the one that makes MacGruber both better than expected and more fleeting, is the rise of the SNL Digital Short. The brief films spearheaded by cast member Andy Samberg have grown from cheaply shot goofs to videos like "I'm On a Boat" that make the most of their budget and create something that looks high-quality but still has the lurking feel of a production thrown together in an afternoon. In other words, they've made it possible to fake the look of style. As a result, MacGruber doesn't so much look and feel like a feature as an overlong short, right down to the low-rent glitz and half-done effects. It's a stylistic hybrid designed to feel both like a cheesy action movie from the 1980s and a self-aware modern spoof of such movies. It exists in a weird world crafted by director and co-writer Jorma Taccone, another member of the Lonely Island comedy troupe that includes Samberg, that mashes up the past and present with no aim other than their own brand of laughter. The film is frequently funny but ultimately insubstantial, offering laughs that last no longer than the sketches that spawned it." -- Daniel Carlson

Killers: "Anyone who has seen True Lies or Mr. and Mrs. Smith has a certain expectation, and that expectation is more than the occasional gunfight. Killers isn't a spy comedy with a dash of romance, it's a flat, generic, painful, chemistry-free romantic comedy with a dash of action-spy. There are two mediocre explosions. The first real action scene doesn't even arrive until nearly the hour mark, and the occasional burst of gunfire that creeps up during the rest of the film is cancelled out by the desultory white noise. Even the most inept director knows how to kill the awkward silence with a jangly, obnoxious score or some background Snow Patrol. Instead, Robert Luketic allows the lack of chemistry between Heigl and Kutcher to swallow the film's tone. The apathy that these two actors feel for one another is palpable and the entire film falls into the sinkhole of their indifference." -- Dustin Rowles

Loss of a Teardrop Diamond: "After a career spanning multiple decades and bringing us some of the finest classics ever to be filmed, Tennessee Williams choked to death on an eyedropper cap, supposedly while under the influence of drugs and alcohol. If they had found him facedown and pantsless in a hotel room with a pink-frosted wedding cake splattered in and around his anus and a preteen Thai boy sleeping off the effects of mild sedatives in the crook of William's arm, it wouldn't be a less auspicious act of humiliating the great playwright's memory than what Jodie Markell has done by unearthing this travesty of a "lost" screenplay and forcing us to watch her inept attempts at directing. I am embarrassed that no drama-geeks have donned wifebeaters and floor-length evening gowns and dragged Markell screaming into the streets to rend her to shreds. I have seen a number of ham-fisted productions of Williams' works, but never have they been tarted up with such mediocrity. From start to a finish that I had to have described to me because I was unable to endure the entirety of this odious abomination, the film is devoid of purpose except to exact revenge against a drama coach who failed Markell for doing a monologue from Suddenly, Last Summer. In fact, rather than one of Williams' carefully crafted works, Teardrop feels like a D- student's explanation of stuff that might have happened. I have seen far worse movies in my brief tenure as a film critic, but nothing that was so pointless or dreadful." -- Brian Prisco

Also released this week: Phantom, Solitary Man, That Evening Sun



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