Zack and Miri Make a Porno

Director: Kevin Smith

Cast: Seth Rogen, Elizabeth Banks, Craig Robinson, Brandon Routh, Justin Long, Jeff Anderson, Katie Morgan, Jason Mewes, Traci Lords

Synopsis: Zack and Miri are two life-long friends living together and unable to make ends meet.   Despite having no romantic attraction to each other, they decide to make their own porno film together, after seeing how well it went for other guests at their high school reunion.


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30 Day Film Challenge Day 15 – The Film That Depicts Your Life

Film Nerd’s Choice: Fanboys


Director: Kyle Newman

Cast: Sam Huntington, Chris Marquette, Dan Fogler, Jay Baruchel, Kristen Bell, Seth Rogen, Danny Trejo

Synopsis: In the year before the release of Episode I: The Phantom Menace in cinemas, a group of Star Wars fanatics go on a cross-country trip to invade the Lucas Skywalker ranch and steal a print such that they can see the film early.   Their journey takes them through Star Trek conventions, blind internet romances, and many near brushes with the law on a journey that will define them all.

This was thankfully another easy choice for me to make.   I will admit, the film does not parallel my life 100%, being a guy who perhaps leans more to the Star Trek realm of fandom rather than Star Wars, though in the end being able to enjoy both franchises.   Many of the antics displayed in this film though are not far from my own life, however.   I do wait for ages in line for major cinema releases.   I dress up in costume for these occasions, as well as for various conventions.   The love these characters have for their franchise of choice is somewhat life defining, which is certainly something to which I can relate.

Fanboys is a film that would have passed many by.   It almost did not get a cinematic release in the states, and it wa only through film festival buzz that it got an audience.   Even then, the production companies wanted to hack it to pieces and make it any other cookie cutter comedy, which this is not.   Simply put, this is more than just a frivolous mission of a group of geeks.   One of this group of friend has a terminal illness, and is not likely to survive to see the film when it is actually due to be released.   So this mission takes on very personal dimensions, exploring friendship and how it is always possible to reconnect with people.   The studios wanted to cut this storyline from the plot, and this would have been a mistake.   It gives the film a purpose and relevance, and unlike what the studio feared it at no times detracts from the comedy element of the film, it achieves a real balance.

The comedy is rollicking and frequent.   Clashes with Trekkies are absolutely brilliant.   The Trekkies do come off second best, but these scenes are infused with enough Trek referencing to see there is some Trek love in there too.   Fish out of water moments abound too, such as two of the guys thinking they are picking up in Vegas… that is until they are asked to pay after an hour!!    When they finally do reach the Skywalker Ranch, there is so much geek love on display that it is like a warm, fuzzy hug.   Also of note are the numerous quality cameos throughout the film, but to say more would be ruining the surprise.    Some are given away in the trailer below, clearly hacked together by someone who doesn’t understand how important these secrets are, so watch at your own risk.

This film is the little film that could.   Enter my world, if you dare!

5 stars out of 5


Fanboys on IMDB

Fanboys on Rotten Tomatoes

Trailer [youtube=]

Paul (2011) – A Review by Film Nerd

Director: Greg Mottola

Cast: Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Seth Rogen, Kristen Wiig, Jason Bateman, Jeffrey Tambor, Jane Lynch, Blythe Danner

Synopsis: Two English geeks are on a trip across America, starting with the infamous San Diego Comic Con and then following a trail of the most famous UFO hotspots.    When along they way they meet a genuine interstellar alien, their adventure takes a whole new turn.

A review by Film Nerd.

This is a film almost entirely designed for the themes of this blog.   Starting at Comic Con with an almost loving homage to the geek Mecca, with well-known geeks Pegg and Frost front and centre, it makes it very clear what the tone of this film is about.   It is not necessarily about new ways of making film, and it is not even parody of geek culture.   It embraces the source for comedy that celebrates these forms of entertainment rather than mocking.

The simple fact is that though this films stands in its own right as a clever comedy, the sheer number of pop-culture and classic sci-fi references present in this film are staggering.    So if you are the type of person, that, like me, would at least once in this life-time be able to attend the key San Diego even that opens this film, then chances are that these extra film references (and cameos…. no spoilers in this review), will take the comedy to an entirely new level.

I don’t think that the trailer gives the film enough credit for how clever it can be.   Yes, the titular alien Paul, voiced by Seth Rogen, is crude, obnoxious, and spends a good portion of the film naked, but this is not a film that often goes for cheap laughs, and it finds a balance with the more heart-warming elements of the film quite admirably.   It is not hard for Pegg and Frost to act as long-term friends, it is well on record that is indeed the case.   Showing how Paul can alter that dynamic however is entirely believable and the interesting addition of Wiig’s love interest adds yet further dimension.   A final mix of believer, religious sceptic, jealous mate, and a pursuit by one capable and two incapable agents makes for what is in the end an original and entertaining film.

Like most comedies, some gags do fall flat, and there are occasional gags that fall flat that may stem from the skewed Pegg/Frost humour.   These moments are few though, so sit back, have your mental movie diary ready to pick each film reference and enjoy the “Trek”.

4 stars out of 5

Paul on IMDB

Paul on Rotten Tomatoes

Trailer [youtube=]

Upcoming Genre Films for 2011 Part Deux – A Preview by Film Nerd

First of all thanks to Urban Fantasist for that awesome post.   Consider my appetite whetted.   As you referred to yourself though, there are certain tastes of mine that were not catered to, so here is a preview of 2011 from the perspective of someone who collected comics in high school.

I will be using the same list as Urban Fantasist from io9, but I will extend from there a little bit from a post by blastr featuring the top 55 trailers for films coming out in 2011.   I will of course avoid overlap between these lists.

The Green Hornet (io9, blastr)     January 14

A remake of the series that first captured hearts on radio serials then on television, featuring a rich guy turned vigilante.   The character was created by the guy who brought us The Lone Ranger, and at one point in the radio series it was indicated that the Hornet is descendant of the Ranger.   Directed by Michael Gondry of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind fame, it could prove interesting.

I Am Number Four (io9, blastr)     February 18

A group of nine aliens hiding out as teenagers on Earth are hunted down for extermination by the government.   With three down, this film follows the story of the fourth to be targeted.    Based on a novel of the same name.

The Adjustment Bureau (io9, blastr)     March 4

Matt Damon plays a congressman destined for big things, before he meets and falls for Emily Blunt’s ballerina.   He was supposed to never meet her again, but somehow does, and falls in love with her.   The mysterious agency of the title steps in to prevent the relationship, and put our heroes life back on the set path.   Escaping, running, and hiding ensues….

Battle: Los Angeles (io9, blastr)     March 11

Gritty war film with hand-held camera work with visceral closeups, etc.   Oh yeah, and humans are fighting aliens.   Sounds like a great big B-movie, but with a cast headlined by Aaron Eckhart, may prove a hidden gem.

Red Riding Hood (io9, blastr)     March 11

Amanda Seyfried and Gary Oldman star in this retelling of the classic tale, with the wolf recast as a werewolf connected the past of she with the hood.   Don’t know how Urban Fantasist missed that one, sounds like her cup of tea!!

Paul (io9, blastr)     March 18

Comedy starring Simon Pegg and Nick Frost, as two mates on an American road trip that meet foul mouth alien Paul, voiced by Seth Rogen.   Some of the gags on the trailer are foul, but delightfully so!!

Sucker Punch (io9, blastr)     March 25

A film by Zack Snyder, who previously brought us 300 and Watchmen.   He does have a talent for absolute visual splendour on-screen, and the trailers indicate this will be no different.   It is hard to get a grasp on what it is about, but seems to be the story of five girls attempting to escape the clutches of evil authority in a mental asylum…or is it a war zone???   Or a bordello??

Super (io9, blastr)     April 1

Okay, so the concept of this sounds very similar to Kick-Ass… average bloke dons a costume to fight crime.   So lacking in originality on that count perhaps.   Just watch the clip posted on blastr though and I dare you not to show some interest!!

Hanna (blastr only) April 8

Eric Bana’s ex-CIA agent trains daughter Saoirse Ronin to be the perfect assassin, with the goal to target Cate Blanchett.    A lot of talent there in that sentence, and a pretty cool concept to boot.    The trailer also kicks butt!!

Your Highness (io9, blastr) April 8

Danny McBride and James Franco reteam with the director of Pineapple Express to star as royal brothers on a rescue mission… a comedy that drags Natalie Portman and my favourite Zooey Deschanel along for the ride.   I am still giggling at the trailer… “What a coincidence, I was just about to finish thinking of you!!”   Hehe.

Thor (io9, blastr)     May 6

The Norse god is exiled to Earth, as reimagined by Marvel Comics.   Mjolnir was spotted after the credits to Iron Man 2, resulting in my second Nerdgasm for that film.   Those that don’t know that this is part of building towards Joss Whedon’s The Avengers should be stripped of their geek badge immediately!!

X-Men: First Class (io9 only)     June 3

The second Marvel movie for 2011.   With James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender and January Jones on board, and Kick-Ass’ Michael Vaughn directing, can we put the travesty of X-Men: The Last Stand behind us???

Green Lantern (io9, bkastr)     June 17

A film based on a DC universe second tier hero.   Ryan Reynolds is good casting, but the CGI costume is still a little off-putting for me.   However, has the potential to be the next Iron Man, whom was one of Marvel’s second tier heroes.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part Two (io9, blastr)     July 15

You really want a synopsis for this one?

Captain America: The First Avenger (io9 only)     July 22

The source of my first Nerdgasm in Iron Man 2 was spotting Captain America’s shield partially constructed in Tony Stark’s work room.   Like Thor, this is building to Whedon’s The Avengers, and has Chris Evans donning the tights in what can only be called great casting!

Cowboys and Aliens (io9, blastr)     July 29

James Bond and Indiana Jones!!   The old west!!   Aliens!!    Daniel Craig waits from unconsciousness with a strange device on his arm.   Harrison Ford plays the villain of the piece, that teams with Craig when the bigger threat arrives.   Why didn’t they think of this earlier???

The Thing (io9 only)     October 14

Prequel to John Carpenter’s iconic original.   Stars Joel Edgerton, and personal favourite Mary Elizabeth Winstead, last seen in Scott Pilgrim vs. The World.

Sherlock Holmes 2 (io9, blastr)     December 16

Downey Jr. and Law return to 221B Baker Street, this time to face the infamous Professor Moriarty.   Be warned, blastr screwed up, the trailer from the first film, not the first trailer for the second!!

The Adventures of Tintin: Secret of the Unicorn (io9 only) December 23

Steven Spielberg directs his first fully motion capture film.   Peter Jackson produces.   They will be swapping roles for the sequel!!   Stars Jamie Bell, Andy Serkis, Simon Pegg and Nick Frost.   Some writing was even done by Doctor Who‘s Steven Moffatt!! Add that element of retro charm and I am sold!

Man, that is a lot of movies…. I hope Bride of Film Nerd doesn’t kill me when we need a second mortgage!!