Parody

[8.0] There’s something incredibly poetic about Charlie Chaplin, who built a career over the 1920s and 1930s as a silent screen star, finally opening his mouth in his first sound film, 1940’s The Great Dictator. The decision wasn’t an arbitrary one. Chaplin was speaking out because he finally had something important to say. The Great Dictator splits its time between two characters, both played by …

[5.0] With a script by Neil Simon and an incredible all-star cast, I expected more from this spoof of murder mysteries. Most of the ensemble are confined to playing the same note throughout the film, including Peter Sellers as a simile-spewing Charlie Chan and Alec Guinness as the blind butler. The squeaky-clean humor is in dire need of some double-entrendres or naughty subtext. Still, it’s kinda …

[4.0] When I ask myself why I like so few Mel Brooks movies, I think the answer has to do with character investment. Even in a parody movie, I still need it. There just isn’t much to latch onto here. Cary Elwes (The Princess Bride) makes a good-looking Robin Hood, but the character doesn’t really come to life at all. I sorta chuckled once or …

[9.0] Birdman swoops into cineplexes offering the antidote to superhero hysteria, CGI migraines, and Hollywood’s usual hackneyed, formulaic bullshit. It’s goddamned original, a showcase for skill and craft, and a breath of fresh fucking air. Michael Keaton turns in a career-best performance as a one-time popular film actor who is risking it all to put on a Broadway play. In the span of hours leading …

[6.0] Seth MacFarlane (creator of The Family Guy) both directs and stars in this send-up of the American Western. MacFarlane is plenty charismatic to carry a movie and he has great chemistry with leading lady Charlize Theron. Even though her character is married to a rough-and-tumble outlaw (Liam Neeson), she naturally falls for MacFarlane’s charms and agrees to help him learn to shoot a gun so …

[6.0] Mel Brooks sends up Alfred Hitchcock in High Anxiety, a spoof centered around a psychiatrist who uncovers shenanigans at ‘The Psychoneurotic Institute for the Very, VERY Nervous’.  Brooks plays the shrink, a man who must cope with his own ‘high anxiety’ while getting to the bottom of a murder mystery before the Institute’s nefarious head nurse and former administrator order him killed! Cloris Leachman …

[5.5] Three charlatan filmmakers try to save a studio from corporate takeover by uniting all of Hollywood’s biggest stars into one big movie — a silent one! And the title of this Mel Brooks yuk fest isn’t an empty boast — Silent Movie is indeed devoid of dialogue, though not without plenty of whacky sound effects and an energetic score by John Morris. At first, …

[10] This superb dark comedy blows apart any precious John Hughes-like notions of high school life. Winona Ryder stars as Veronica, a high school girl caught in an elitist bitch-clique with three other young women (including Beverly Hills 90210 star Shannen Doherty) — all named Heather. But when the dangerous and alluring JD (Christian Slater) rides into town, Veronica falls under his spell as the …