Zach Galifianakis

Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) Review

“How did we end up here? This place smells of balls.” says the disembodied voice of Birdman; the alter-ego of Michael Keaton’s Riggan Thomson in Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu’s ‘Birdman or (The Virtue of Ignorance)’. What’s Riggan doing whilst his inner demon and career-shading superhero delivers this opening line? Why, he’s meditating in the middle of his shabby, run down dressing room – hovering some four feet off the floor.
And so begins Riggan’s unhinged story; a man made super famous by his superhero role 25 years ago, now trying to resurrect his career by directing, producing and starring in a broadway play. The role was not written for Keaton, but the similarities are obvious.
Inarritu takes a single camera, cleverly making the whole thing look like its shot in one take – although obviously not, and practically shoves it in the faces of Riggan, and his nerve-wracking entourage including manager (Zach Galifianakis – a man on the edge of financial ruin), daughter (Emma Stone – just out of rehab) and cast (Ed Norton playing what I imagine is a cartoon version of Ed Norton and a twitchy Naomi Watts) as they all sink under the weight of their own self doubts and self importance at what feels like break-neck speed. No sooner have we dealt with one conflicting philosophical theory about art, acting, truth, or relationships then we are thrown into another – all set to a backdrop of clever set-ups like a play within a play which is actually a film although it feels like a play – see what I’m getting at?
The characters make fun of themselves, of each other, of roles they have actually played and eventually of things you as an audience member have watched and all of this should be too much and too clever for its own good were it not for just how wonderfully silly, bonkers and downright funny it is. You get the feeling that at any moment – and very much aided by the scatty drum score that accompanies every scene, that the whole thing will just end abruptly and derail, but it doesn’t, it very much goes the distance. This is because it’s brilliantly directed and every performance is outstanding; most notable of all being Keaton’s.
I’ve missed Michael Keaton. As a child of the 80s, I had two movie uncles; Bill. Murray and Michael Keaton. And whilst Bill Murray is your prickish, laid back movie uncle, gatecrashing your house party to serve tequila, Michael Keaton is the relative most likely to arrive at said party by driving a car through the wall with a goofy smile on his face – just me?
And although he hasn’t been completely missing from our screens for the past twenty years, he’s definitely been less prolific and apart from his TLC-loving captain spot in ‘The Other Guys’, has steered clear of the kind of insane-character stuff that gave him his fame in the 80s. But Keaton is best with the straight jacket off. Even as ‘Batman’ up against Nicholson’s scene-chewing Joker, with little to do in the way of impact except for wearing the costume, he nearly steals the show with his “Come on, let’s get nuts!” line. That’s because he means it!
Here, Keaton gets to pull out every trick he has and some we haven’t seen before as he lurches from one pre-show disaster to another. Comedy like this has missed his talents, and so have I.
Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) is in UK theaters from today.
Paul Mcghie is an Award-Winning Screenwriter, Director, London Lift-Off Film Festival Judge and git. You can check out his feature project here. His work is on Vimeo or you can follow him on twitter @DirPaulMcGhie

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Hangover 3 Review

The marketing collateral and trailers for the The Hangover III all promised that this final chapter would be “…the epic conclusion to an incomparable odyssey of mayhem and bad decisions…”  As adverts always say the truth my expectations were set high.

 

The Hangover Part III reunites Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms, Zach Galifianakis, Justin Bartha and Ken Jeong as Phil, Stu, Alan, Doug and Leslie Chow.  Now two years later all the members of the “Wolfpack” are settled in their uneventful lives… The only member of the pack who’s not content is Alan, who has been of his meds and seems to have lost all sense of purpose.   The events start when Alan’s father, played by Jeffry Tambor, died of a heart attack following his son being responsible for a highway pile up caused by his beheaded pet giraffe.

Following this hilarious event the three friends step in to make sure Allan seeks the help he needs.   This will take the boys on an unplanned road trip to Mexico and Vegas on the hunt for Chow and the lost gold of bad guy, Marshall, played by John Goodman.

 

This time around there are no crazy tattoos, unplanned weddings or drug fueled nights that lead to mass amnesia….

 

Unlike in the first two Hangover movies Helms and Cooper mainly have supporting roles. This allowed for Zach Galifianakis’s character to become the lead closely followed by Ken Joeng. Galifianakis hilarious unpredictability makes way to expose a sensitive and needy side that paves the way to an unexpected romance, while Chow evolves from a crazy cokehead into a full blown psychopath.

 

The character chances also mean that most of the slapstick humor, that made the first two movies a success, made place for a more robust, albeit predictable story. This makes The Hangover III, more of a comedy thriller that can be enjoyed on many different levels.

 

But let’s get back to what The Hangover’s spin-doctors want us to believe. Is this truly an “Epic Conclusion” to The Hangover Trilogy?  Well, it isn’t.   It isn’t Epic nor is it a “final conclusion” and I predict we will see a fourth installment in the years to come.

 

That being said, The Hangover III did not disappoint it was really enjoyable and at times even managed to make the entire theatre laugh in unison.  If you’re not into Leonardo di Caprio or Science Fiction then The Hangover III is probably your best bet if you’re looking for a movie that the whole family will enjoy on a rainy bank holiday weekend.

 

 

The Hangover 3 is in UK theaters now!

For the Epic conclusion of this film we had to bring in an epic fan of the movie to write this up,you can follow our guest blogger,  Stephane on twitter by clicking here.

 

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The Hangover 3 Teaser Trailer

The beard versus the Chinaman

The latest instalment of booze-fulled mayhem and its after-effects is here!  Directed by Todd Phillips and starring Bradley Cooper, Zach Galifianakis, Ed Helms, Justin Bartha, Ken Jeong & John Goodman, The Hangover III is released May 24th.

This time, there’s no wedding and no bachelor party. What could go wrong, right? When the Wolfpack hits the road, all bets are off.

Check out the trailer below!

 

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Review: Due Date

Director Todd Philips follow-up to the unbelievably successful Hangover is a re-imagining of the Steve MartinJohn Candy classic: Planes, Trains and Automobiles. But this time it’s Robert Downey Jr and Zach Galafanakis taking the main leads. Due Date is a Road trip comedy  as most of Todd Philips’ filmography where Robert Downey, who plays a grumpy architect, needs to get to his wife’s delivery room in time for the birth of his first son. But that is until his paths cross with Ethan, a hapless wanna-be actor travelling to LA, a man who has quirks galore.

No matter what the publicity machine says, Due Date is certainly not the funniest movie of the year. I would go as far as to say it only has a handful of jokes. I think I counted 5.

There is a general consensus that Robert Downey Junior is awesome in everything he does but in Due Date he is relegated to playing the straight man to the quirky Galafanakis who plays his usual self with some added campiness that is never directly addressed. Ethan (ZG) wants to go to “Hollywood” to work in Two and a Half Men which is his favorite show and he carries a masturbating dog in his handbag.

There are quite a few gags set up that go nowhere and the comedic beats are very uneven. Some jokes start off as moderately entertaining but end up with a melodramatic punch line which just leaves the audience confused. Even the cameos from the likes of Danny McBride (Kenny Powers from Eastbound and Out) have no real pay off.

After the initial ruckus on the flight, the duo land up near the Mexican border playing on some themes from recent news stories i.e. paranoia of airline security or hardened stance on Mexican immigration but the writers have chosen to go for gross out moments instead of trying to say anything of relevance or funny.

The movie relies on the chemistry between the leads and the main leads are clearly enjoying themselves unfortunately this is not the case for the audience leaving. The remaining cast members are  un-etched characters. Michele Monaghan plays the exact same role as the bride in the Hangover which is screaming on the phone and asking where Downey Jr’s character is and why he isn’t arrived where he was supposed to.

The one positive I did take from the movie is that Galafankis is a competent dramatic actor especially in a few scenes where he has to show heart and doesn’t hide behind they quirkiness and weirdness. Too bad the audience wasn’t expecting this and laughed when they maybe weren’t intended to. (but then again who am I to judge when you should or should not laugh)

You will forget everything about Due Date the moment you leave the theaters and maybe that’s for the best.

Go watch Planes, Trains and Automobiles or even Between Two Ferns Zach Galafanakis webseries in you want more laughs!

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Michael Cera between Two Ferns with Zach Galifianakis

In honor of the US release of Scott Pilgrim vs The World this week, I thought I’d dig up this hilarious video of Michael Cera with Zach Galifianakis at funnyordie!

Check out the video after the jump if you haven’t seen it yet!

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