Category Archives: david cross

I Just Don’t Get It

I have had more than a few friends tell me not only what a great, but also hilarious television series “Arrested Development” is/was. That coupled with the fact that Netflix is going to bring it back for fifteen new episodes, which would serve as a prelude to a feature film. Well now, that sounds to me like there must be something unique and exciting about the series to have all that going on for it.

What did I know about “Arrested Development” however? Virtually nothing. I knew it lasted three seasons on Fox and was canceled because of low ratings. I knew that the musical group Arrested Development sued and settled over the use of the name. I knew that it starred Jason Bateman, and that Ron Howard was somehow involved. That’s it. Until very recently, I had never even seen one episode of “Arrested Development.”

Seeing how the whole series, in anticipation of the new fourth season, was available on Netflix, I decided to give it a shot. Wow. As Queen Victoria was often said to say, I was not amused. This thing was just not funny, or at least just not funny to me. When described to me by friends, or read about online, it sounded hilarious, but actually watching it – nothing. Crickets, baby.

What confounded me the most is that there are cast members who are on other shows or other endeavors who I think are hysterical. There’s Jessica Walter in “Archer,” Portia de Rossi in “Better Off Ted,” Michael Cera in some things, and David Cross in everything – yet in “Arrested Development,” it’s as if they are performing at a funeral.

I tried. I got through seventeen episodes before giving up, and not submitting to masochism. I just don’t get it. The new season will be available on Netflix starting this Sunday, May the 26th.

Megamind

Megamind ~ When I saw the first preview of this film months and months ago it seemed like a sly parody of the Superman mythos and a more original super-intelligent foe, sort of a Luthor/Brainiac hybrid. As clever as it seemed, the previews that followed as the release date got closer seemed to reveal more and more of the plot. So much was given away that I feared that I had not only gotten the gist of the flick, but perhaps no longer needed to even see the film.

The truth of the matter was that I felt I no longer needed to see it. I got the point. I could wait for the DVD or even for regular television. Bottom line, the only reason we did see it was because we had several gift cards for the theater and decided to make a night of it. Free goes a long way toward making things more enticing. Unfortunately the gift cards were for Loew’s, and you folks know how much I like them. The quality or relevance of Megamind completely aside, I could not believe how much it cost to see this flick on a busy weekend night, in 3-D, and in IMAX. It was enough to put me off first run movies for a while. Thank the gods for gift cards.

Now I’m not going to give away any details of Megamind for the sake of the folks who have yet to see it, but suffice it to say that what I said and believed above was not true. The whole movie, nor the entire plot, is not revealed in the previews. There’s a lot more to this than meets the eye. And it is clever, and rarely goes where you think it is. This is a smart superhero parody for the whole family, working on several different levels, and it’s also the best use of the new 3-D I’ve seen in quite a while. David Cross steals the flick, and even Will Ferrell is good here, and I usually don’t like him. Recommended.

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Beast with a Billion Backs

Futurama: The Beast with a Billion Backs ~ David Cross is a sick sick monkey, and I think he’s hilarious. His presence can virtually turn around a usually bad movie – witness Alvin and the Chipmonks, he made that flick fall-down-and-wet-yourself funny. So when I heard he had a major guest-starring role in the second “Futurama” feature I was already sold.

Things pick up from the last feature as if we hadn’t had to wait a few months. Amy and Kif get hitched, Fry gets a polyamorous girlfriend and there’s a rip in time and space above the earth. As with any extra-dimensional rift, it must be explored, and there a polyamorous tentacle monster named Yivo, played by Cross, is found. It goes downhill from there.

Little things like the Death Ball Arena, the Upscale Human Domicile, the Exorcist 2 and Wishmaster references and of course everything with David Cross are kind of amusing, but for the most part, this feature doesn’t come close to Bender’s Big Score or even the TV series. The subplots are boring and I’m being kind. If only there was more David Cross, love his gonorrhea joke though. Nothing on the DVD special features either this time out, although the preview for the next one looks fairly interesting – a spoof on Dungeons & Dragons. There are two more of these straight-to-DVD Futuramas coming so maybe they can make up for this one.

Sweeney and the Chipmunks

Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street ~ Now I loved the stage play, and the music and Angela Lansbury from that version so I had high expectations for this. And while I didn’t like it, it wasn’t for the reasons that all the other critics seemed to have. Even though I loved Ms. Lansbury, I really had no problem with Helena Bonham Carter as Mrs. Lovett or her singing, or Johnny Depp’s for that matter. I thought they were just fine. The atmosphere, and the coloring (solidly Tim Burton) were just about on target and the opening is one of the best mood setters for a film I have seen in a long time. My problem is that Sondheim’s score, which is dark and vibrant, different and brilliant – all appears to be one long droning song in this thing, and one that almost never ends. I don’t know what Burton did to Sondheim’s work but it’s butchered in my opinion. The other main obstacle I see here is that Burton seemed content to make a Tim Burton version of the play, rather than what he was supposed to do – make a film version of the play. Props for atmosphere, but that’s about it.

Dark Harbor ~ This is another loser from the insomnia club on Fearnet. A couple picks up a stranger as they vacation at a deserted island cabin. Predictable and sad, and probably the only time I’ve seen a bad performance from Alan Rickman. One of the most boring films I’ve seen recently.

Alvin and the Chipmunks ~ This could have been such a disaster but it turned out to be quite entertaining. The flick puts an updated spin on the old story of songwriter meets rodents. Featuring elements to entice both adults and children, whether you know the characters or not, I loved this. Yeah, it’s a bit predictable, but in a fun way, as opposed to the movie above. Any movie with the same bad guy (comedian David Cross) as Pootie Tang gets a thumbs up from me, and Jason Lee is fun as David Seville – although he has officially lost his street cred as a skater with this flick. Sometimes you can never go home again. My highest recommendation – I may buy this when it comes out on DVD.

Next ~ Another Philip K. Dick adaptation, this one has Nicholas Cage doing his best Nicholas Cage imitation as a stage magician who can see two minutes into the future. Well done scifi with lots of twists. Worth seeing.

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