Austin Powers

Danny Trejo Sherrybaby

Our official review of Machete Kills is pretty negative. Rightfully so, it’s a major disappointment following the purposefully cheesy yet still politically relevant first film. This time it’s all just silly, kind of like an Austin Powers movie for the Latino audience instead of 13-year-old boys — though the 13-year-old boys may still be the best audience for this. I want to recommend it solely for Demian Bichir, though, because he is a pleasure to watch every second he’s on screen. Maybe it’s just how great he is relative to the rest of the cast and movie, but I’d give him another Oscar nomination for this. If you think that’s ridiculous, you haven’t seen the movie (because that is ridiculous). If you don’t see Machete Kills, no big deal, even if you won’t know what’s going on when Machete Kills Again… In Space arrives. This week’s gateway recommendations have nothing related to any spoilers in the movie. Most are just better films starring parts of the sequel’s ensemble. I also almost thought about including Star Wars, not because I think any of you haven’t seen it but because I think you’d want to clean yourself in the form of a re-watch after seeing all the bad references here. Seriously, even if we’d never had 35 years of parodies, copycats, fan films and other works derived from and informed by Star Wars, the allusions here would still feel stale. The following ten selections are worth checking out whether you bother with Machete […]

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Austin Powers

When Mike Myers‘ SNL skit, Wayne’s World, got spun off into a successful feature film in 1992, he kind of lucked himself into a transition from TV to movies. When he tried to anchor a film all by himself after that though, we got So I Married an Axe Murderer, and that wasn’t nearly as successful. Thankfully for him, that wasn’t the end of Myers’ story, because in 1997 he got another chance to star in a movie, and this time it was in a project that he wrote himself, a project that was tailored to play to all of his strengths as a performer. Said movie was Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery, a film so successful that it spawned two sequels, including Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me, which got Myers’ Scottish schtick out into the public and likely led to his starring in the Shrek movies. Wayne’s World may have got the guy into the public eye, but it was Austin Powers that made him a gajillionaire. A year after Myers hit it big with Austin Powers, another SNL alumni got his big chance to star in a feature film. This time around the comedian was Norm MacDonald, and the movie was Dirty Work. Much like Austin Powers before it, Dirty Work was written by its star, and much like that movie, it crafted him a character that played to his unique strengths. Unfortunately, MacDonald’s strengths lie in super-dry deliveries and biting sarcasm, and that didn’t speak […]

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It’s got to be difficult enough to simply stand there in front of all those people and equipment and play costume make-believe. So that must go double the moment you’re asked to interact with anything that isn’t there, such as a big CGI dinosaur or any given Andy Serkis role. Worse than that, there are also times when actors have to play both sides of a conversation. Not only do they have to pretend to interact with an imaginary role – but also play that imaginary role interacting right back at them. It sounds complicated, so here are some of the best instances.

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Jay Roach directing Will Ferrell in The Campaign

The Campaign is much edgier than director Jay Roach‘s previous comedies. While many of them features titans going head-to-head — Mike Myers vs. Mike Myers, Stiller vs. De Niro, and Rudd vs. Carrell — he’s never taken it to this extent. From how Roach describes it, that darker side derives from the film’s R-rating, which Roach, Will Ferrell, Zach Galifianakis, & Co. fully embrace. There’s an inherent meanness to the lengths Ferrell and Galifianakis’ characters go. When The Campaign takes a slightly sentimental turn towards the end, it works in part because of their, as Roach describes it, undeniable likability. To make their face-off work, Jay Roach went through his fair share of neurosis, a character trait part of all the comedies he’s made.

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Culture Warrior

Way back in the summer of 2004, on the heels of the great success of I Love the 80s and (later) I Love the 70s, VH1 tested the bounds and justifications of the nostalgia market by releasing the initial ten-part I Love the 90s. Instead of simply reflecting upon the most memorable and oft-canonized popular culture products and national news events of the 1970s and 1980s (two decades whose iconography had become ever more apparent, stylized, and parodied during its reappropriation in late 90s/early 00s pop culture), VH1 instead attempted (perhaps unsuccessfully) to create a trend rather than merely follow the typical, perhaps “natural” cycle of nostalgia. Because I Love the 90s aired only a few years after the actual 90s ended, VH1 situated the early 21st century – a time that ostensibly marked a major temporal shift but (save for 9/11) had yet to be self-defined – as a time that uniquely necessitated an immediate reflection on how to understand the 20th century, even the years of that century that were not so long ago. The experiment was both engaging and bizarre. By 2004, the early 90s had come into stark, VH1-friendly self-definition. Yes, we could all collectively make fun of Joey Lawrence, Pogs, oversize flannel, and Kevin Costner’s accent in Robin Hood, and share in the memories and irony-light criticisms therein with Michael Ian Black and Wendy the Snapple Lady. However, by the time the show reached 1997-99, I Love the 90s seemed less like a program banking […]

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Thanks to the talents of Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer, the label “spoof” has lost all respect in the cinematic world. Often credited as “two of the writers of Scary Movie” (both as a joke and warning sign), Friedberg and Seltzer devolved the spoof film using an arsenal of pop culture references, bathroom humor and non sequiturs. Keeping it classy was never the goal. While their rampage through genre and cultural phenomena may never end, spoofing doesn’t have to live with shame either. Plenty of filmmakers have figured out ways to satirize the movie world and tell their own stories at the same time — it’s the movie-going public that’s afraid to use the dreaded s-word. Let’s suck it up and admit the truth: these ten films are hilarious, well-made and spoofs through and through:

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Another week gone by and another round of $35 DVD purchases await with the Blu-ray Report. Last week was a soft one, but the Blu-ray format comes roaring back this week with a few cool releases and some others with potential.

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Ten Spies Who Stole Moves from James Bond

Ever since Ian Fleming began penning his James Bond series in 1953, spy adventures and espionage have been hot topics for cinema and television. From Xander Cage to Maxwell Smart, we’ve got the top 10 spies influenced by James Bond.

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Secret Agent Week

Yesterday Kevin Carr unleashed our list of the Ten Greatest Fictional Secret Agents of All-Time, but we know that it is our duty to give you the final say in who really is the world’s greatest fictional secret agent.

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Secret Agent Week

As we look forward to Get Smart and cower from the Guru Pitka, FSR takes a look at some of our favorite secret agents in movies and television.

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Mike Myers to play Keith Moon

Guru Pitka foresees Mike Myers will be a rock god. That is all. Mariska Hargitay!

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The Daily Grind: The News We Missed

Los Angeles gets attacked by Aliens, Indiana Jones goes MAD, Gisele Bundchen digs Brits with bad teeth, we give you a fix for your Emile Hirsch fetish and we find out that we are all just figments of James Cameron’s imagination… All on this round of the Daily Grind.

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