Table 19 – Review

Early in Table 19, a comedy of embarrassment that is just cringe-worthy, Eloise (Anna Kendrick) takes a lighter to a wedding invitation. I don’t think she went far enough: she should have set the whole script on fire. Written and directed by Jeffrey Blitz, responsible for the documentaries Spellbound (2002) and Lucky (2010) Table 19 makes you renew your vows never to watch another alleged ‘wedding comedy’, especially one that focuses on unwanted guests, the people you think you ought to invite to placate someone else but who you really want to forget are there.

Headed by Eloise, the bride’s oldest friend who was dumped by text message by the bride’s brother (Wyatt Russell, a spit for his pa, Kurt Russell), the ‘forgettables’ consist of an unhappily married couple, Jerry and Bina (Craig Robinson, Lisa Kudrow) who run a diner in Ohio, Jo (June Squibb) a hash-smoking nanny who is disappointed by the children she raised, cousin Walter (Stephen Merchant) who lives in a halfway house and is determined not to reveal anything about himself and Rezno (Tony Revolori, from The Grand Budapest Hotel), a teenage boy with a furry bow tie whose mother engineers his social life and comes across like a sex pest.

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I have no doubt that Mark and Jay Duplass, who are credited with Blitz for the film’s story, had the kernel of a good idea, to focus on a group of characters whose own ‘happy ever after’ is far from guaranteed. The genre itself is distinguished by PJ Hogan’s 1994 Muriel’s Wedding, featuring Toni Collette as an ‘ugly duckling’ (read: socially awkward) woman destined not to be a bride but unexpectedly gets her chance in an emotional roller-coaster ride. There are only so many films that we can watch in which the protagonists discover that happiness is achieved through being oneself rather than aspiring to be a poster-girl bride.

In Table 19, we see the bride and groom sing badly, whilst their extended family looks smug or drunk. Eloise’s ambivalent feelings towards her ex propel the story along to such obvious set pieces as the wedding cake being decimated (but no one notices) and Eloise flirting with an Australian (Thomas Cocquerel) who watches her watching the ex.

Rezno is particularly odd. He’s like an unaccompanied minor being taught to swim by being chucked without water wings into the deep end. You feel that his mother (Margo Martindale, voice only) should be arrested for bad parenting. He doesn’t need to go to a wedding, rather get a summer job. In another movie, he would be the kid who grows up to be a writer who learns to understand grown-ups by avoiding children his age.

When we discover the secrets held by Eloise, cousin Walter and the rest, pathos is pumped up to the max. The inspirational music (by John Swihart) curdles the less than profound life lessons that are dispensed and laughter disappears entirely.

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One scene typifies the film’s awkwardness when Bina relates how she found ‘topless Helen Mirren’ in Jerry’s search history. Rezno then shows the group a picture of the actress that he discovered doing the same search, in when Dame Helen is wearing a swimsuit. But this isn’t to prove that Jerry is lurid, rather the filmmakers are sparing us a photograph of the actress from her early work with Michael Powell, Tinto Brass and others.

Kendrick doesn’t lose her residual charm but there’s not much for her to work with. The revelation that one of the characters is having an affair is just sad. Such revelations are never resolved by lovemaking in the shower, as happens here. When Rezno walks up to a teenage girl and tells her that he has a big penis, you feel like hitting the exit.

In short, Table 19 is a regrettable entry into the wedding comedy genre, in which even the sight of the ever-grinning gangly Stephen Merchant as Walter stealing a wedding cake doesn’t raise a smile. It feels entirely misguided and is certainly an invitation you should decline. I entertained myself for this misspent 87 minutes imagining Wyatt Russell taking up his father’s role as Snake Plissken in Robert Rodriguez’s planned reboot of Escape from New York. It could happen.


Table 19 is out on DVD & Blu-Ray now! 

 

Win an Exclusive Romantic Comedy Bundle to Celebrate the Release of The Big Sick!

To celebrate the release of THE BIG SICK, in UK cinemas this Friday, 28 July 2017, we have the opportunity for you to win a fantastic romantic comedy DVD bundle from STUDIOCANAL. The bundle will include a copy of Man Up, I Give it a Year, and Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa.

The Big Sick is the US hit comedy of the summer, produced by Judd Apatow, starring Silicon Valley star Kumail Nanjiani.

When Pakistan-born aspiring comedian Kumail (Nanjiani) connects with grad student Emily (Zoe Kazan) after one of his standup sets, what they thought would be just a one-night stand blossoms into the real thing. But this further complicates the life that is expected of Kumail by his traditional Muslim parents.

Then Emily is beset with a mystery illness forcing Kumail to navigate the medical crisis with her parents, (Holly Hunter and Ray Romano) who he’s never met while dealing with the emotional tug-of-war between his family and his heart.

To win, all you have to do is answer this question:

Which city is The Big Sick set in?

A) New York
B) Chicago
C) Los Angeles

Answer below or tweet @WMMOWWebsite for your chance to win!

GOOD LUCK! 


Terms and Conditions

Competition promoter is: We Make Movies On Weekends

Competition closes at 3rd August 2017

Open to UK residents only.

Entrants must be aged 18 or over.

Prize for one winner is one prize bundle including

1 x DVD of ALAN PARTRIDGE: ALPHA PAPA

1 x DVD of MAN UP

1 x DVD of I GIVE IT A YEAR

6 Different Romantic Comedies You Must Watch

If you are anything like me, the romantic comedy is boring genre. True, there have been some remarkable films out there that fill you with glee and humour, but over the years, Hollywood has churned out formulaic pieces, making the whole genre quite tedious and bland.

As with most cinematic outings, it is up to the work of independent filmmakers to tackle these films with creative gusto. Like Michael Showalter’s The Big Sick, which is out today. The film revolves around a couple who are torn apart by their family expectations as well as a coma. To celebrate the release, we’re taking a look at the best unusual romantic comedies you may not have seen.

Lars and the Real Girl (2007)

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Ryan Gosling has been the face of plenty romcoms and romdrams. His pretty good looks means he has accumulated a hefty fanbase thanks to his work in the likes of Crazy. Stupid. Love and The Notebook. However, Gosling is so much more than this and, at times, varies away from his box to produce compelling and weird films such as Lars and the Real Girl. Man, you have to watch Lars and the Real Girl which sees a man embark on a relationship with a doll. Awkward, cringey, and bloody funny, Lars and the Real Girl works because director Craig Gillespie, screenwriter Nancy Olivier and Gosling work  well together, producing a soulful and heart-filled comedy.

Drinking Buddies (2013)

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Joe Swanberg’s 2013 escapade into the world of micro-breweries and unspoken romantic love is perhaps one of the most relaistic of recent years. Starring Olivia Wilde, Anna Kendrick, Jack Johnson, and Ron Livingston, Drinking Buddies revolves around Kate, a manager of a beer company who has a flirtatious relationship with colleague Luke, despite their work environment and their respective partners. All players within this film…brew (ha ha)… up an intricate piece that is extremely human as it is mirthful. As Kate rages through episodes with Luke, and the pairs chemistry heats up (as does Wilde and Johnson’s) this becomes an unmissable indie feature.

Submarine (2010)

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The IT Crowd’s Richard Ayoade has proven he is one of the greats when it comes to indie films. He’s done like…two… but they are bloody brilliant. His most recent was Jesse Eisenberg lead film The Double whilst his most acclaimed certainly has to be this coming of age romantic comedy. The film revolves around quirk adolescent Oliver who develops an infatuation on Jordana as they explore weird parts of the 1986 era. Droll in every sense of the word, this is an captivating and brilliantly shot film, framed by the relationship of the two impressive young leads (Craig Roberts and Yasmin Paige.)

Harold and Maude (1971)

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Speaking of Craig Roberts, don’t you think he’d make an impressive Harold if they redid Harold and Maude? That being said, I wouldn’t want them touching this cult classic because it is brilliant. Staring Ruth Gordon and Bud Cort, the film revolves a young man who is obsessed with death and feigning suicide much to the chagrin of his increasingly detached mother. He finds solace in an old woman and the pair become pranksters across their town. Whilst it flopped initially on release, Harold and Maude has a collection of obsessives, myself included, that love it’s take on existentialism with pitch black humour delivered superbly by Cort and Goron.

Eagle vs Shark (2007)

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Taika Waititi is the man of the moment. I mean. Look at how cool he is:

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Anyway, even though Thor: Ragnarok is a massive blockbuster, Waititi made his name with spectacularly different comedies including Boy and the hit What We Do in the Shadows. One of his best movies is Eagle vs Shark. The film revolves around Lily who develops a crush on Jarrod, despite his indifference to her. Following him to his hometown where he wishes to exact revenge on his childhood bully, Lily tries desperately to make him notice her. Toe-curling awkwardness with an extravagant hilarious fair, Eagle vs Shark is strangely sweet, greatly realised, and has one of the funniest moments on screen you’ll ever see.

Wristcutters: A Love Story (2007)

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Often the best black comedies come from a dark and very real place. Whilst suicide may not utter laughs, using humour to excavate emotions and issues surrounding the act is often excellent. In the case of Wristcutters, there is an exploration this topic in a rather witty way. It evolves around an afterlife meant solely for people who committed suicide where they can no longer smile. With Patrick Fugit, and Shea Whigham, this is a deep comedy with fantastic poignant merit as well as hilarity.


The Big Sick is out on DVD & Blu-Ray now! 

The Vault – Brand New Trailer

James Franco is one of those actors who just has this essence of not…well…not being able to act. Ignoring 127 hours where he was Academy Award nominated (!)(!)(!), he always seems a bit bland or hammy, and dialogue seems awkward in his mouth. The same can be said for this latest horror/thriller.

The Vault revolves around bank robbery that goes majorly wrong when the criminals discover something sinister lurking in an old abandoned bank underneath the new shiny one.

I have no words to how ridiculous this looks. Nevertheless, could it be good cheesy fun? We’ll have to find out!


The Vault is out 8th September 

Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie – Review

There is a certain joy when it comes to silliness. There is a purity about it. There are a lot of people who like to scoff that this kind of humour, denouncing it in favour of some kind of superior intellectual comedy  Boring. Stupidity and silliness, however, is brilliant and genius since the dawn of time. If you do it with a lot of heart, it is compelling, sweet and so entertaining.

In children’s films, there is enjoyment from an engrossing smart films such as Pixar’s back catalogue. But sometimes, well done silly romps such as Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs and this week’s release Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie are needed for pure entertainment.

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Based on a book series of the same name by Dav Pikey, Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie  revolves around two kids named George Beard and Harry Hutchkins. The boys decide to hypnotise their mean-spirited headmaster into believing he is the titular character of their own comic book creation.  Stalking the town at night, wearing nothing but giant briefs and a cape, it all changes when there is suddenly trouble afoot. Captain Underpants, George, and Hharry must come together to save the day.

With voice talents from Ed Helms, Kevin Heart, and Thomas Middlemitch, Captain Underpants is a genuine film with a lot of hilarity. You’ll find yourself giggling with a cheerfulness that will radiate long after viewing. For fans of the book, myself having read them with my little brother growing up, the amusement is unstoppable. You’ll have the biggest grin on your face once you leave and it is clear that everyone is having the best time with the film

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Directed by David Soren, who brought Madagascar to life, the animation is colourful and different whilst fitting greatly with the concise and delightful movie. True, there are a few sour moments such as incessant pop tracks and some tedium in particular places but it is swept up in this great adventures a lot of summer hi-jinks that you’d do as a child. Massive amounts of imagination as you embark on a magic or heroic adventures.  Captain Underpants really captures that and fills you with a lot of nostalgia. Adults will feel like children again, and children will be so happy leaving cinemas.

There is such an innocence with the film. I’d like to imagine the response purely to the title – Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie. Whether they were fans of the book series or are discovering this venture for the first time, the thought of a child point excitedly to the poster and giggling at the title, immediately wanting to go and see it. There is so much joy in knowing that and, incidentally, there is so much joy in Captain Underpants. It carries the silliness and makes you smile with glee. Fun for all ages, and a film for the family, Captain Underpants is a complete draw for everyone.

It is certainly not pants.


Captain Underpants: The First Movie is out 28th July