Category Archives: patton oswalt

Quickies 8-31-2010

Batman: Under the Red Hood ~ This direct-to-DVD animated film from DC Comics follows the story of the second Robin who was murdered by the Joker and then mysteriously returns from the dead years later as Batman’s adversary the Red Hood. I didn’t actually read the comics this was based on so it was all new for me, and as I am not much of a Bat-fan these days, surprisingly good. I especially loved the fight early on with Batman and Nightwing vs. Amazo. Even though it’s not Mark Hamill doing the voice, the Joker is exceptionally scary here. Great stuff. Not for kids, but recommended.

Hot Tub Time Machine ~ This really wasn’t as bad as it sounded when I first heard of it, in fact this was a pleasant surprise. Yes, the title, and the previews pretty much give it away, but this flick has a heart, and a funnybone. Anyone who loved all those 1980s movies like Better Off Dead or Just One of the Guys or anything by John Hughes will get a kick out of this. Might be a bit rough for kids, lots of sex and drugs, but still a good romp. Fun, nostalgia and John Cusack. You can’t beat that.

Big Fan ~ You might think of Patton Oswalt as just a comedian, but he’s not. He’s also a very good actor. His semi-dramatic peripheral role in “United States of Tara” is only the tip of the iceberg. I just saw him in Big Fan and he is a tour de force portraying a lonely middle-aged guy obsessed with New York Giants football and sports radio. We know these guys, and this is an intimate and chilling look into their world. This is a hell of a movie. Recommended.

The Road ~ Based on the book by Cormac McCarthy, this post-apocalyptic drama stars Viggo Mortenson and briefly Robert Duvall, Guy Pearce and Charlize Theron. It’s about a father’s quest to show his son the ocean by traveling across the country dodging psychos and cannibals in a world without sunlight. It’s visually intriguing, but very little else, and at some points, downright boring. Read the book, and only see the movie if it’s on free TV and there’s not much else on.

Igor ~ Anything with John Cusack’s name on it is worth checking out in my opinion. He has rarely let me down. This overlooked computer-animated flick about the hunchbacked assistants to mad scientists, called Igors, is quite a gem. A bit predictable in some places and unexpectedly outrageous in others is definitely worth a look. Good for the kids, and the adults as well.

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Cartoon from Hell

I just finished watching the pilot for TBS’ new animated series “Neighbors from Hell.” It really kinda sucked, and based on the folks involved, it was really a disappointment.

It’s got the voice talent of Patton Oswalt, Will Sasso and former “South Park” producer Pam Brady, so this should be a lot better. Although, there were warning signs. TBS promoted the show as being from the same studio as “Family Guy.” Hmmm. About the only things this has in common with “Family Guy” is it’s animated and it has a talking dog. And ‘same studio’? They may as well have said that it’s from the same key grip as “The Simpsons.”

The childlike plot involves a demon family from Hell who come to Earth, Texas, to be exact, to stop a drill from digging its way to Hell. And the simple plot is overexplained at least six times in the pilot, and in the weak excuse for a theme song. The family itself seems like lame imitations of the Addams Family and have almost no charisma at all. Only the dog, cleverly named Pazuzu, voiced by Oswalt, and ripping off Brian from “Family Guy” as the voice of reason, has any staying power.

If there is any saving grace to this show, it is the human, non-demon, cast. The human neighbors and the workers at the oil company with the drill are far more interesting and cartoon-bizarre than any of the demon characters. My question is – why even bring Hell into it? Just do an animated sitcom in the style of “The Simpsons” or “Family Guy” with these characters? The demons are boring, and bring down the rest of the show.

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