John Francis Daley

review rapture palooza

2013 seems to be the year of end-of-the-world comedies, and while that may be a sure sign of the end times at least we’ll go out laughing. Edgar Wright’s The World’s End opens later this summer, the very funny This Is the End hits theaters next week, and the even better It’s a Disaster was just released on Blu-ray/DVD. It really is a fine time for fans of the apocalypse. The fourth entry (or second if you’re going chronologically) is Paul Middleditch‘s Rapture-Palooza. Lindsey (Anna Kendrick) and Ben (John Francis Daley) are young and in love, but unlike the billion or more young couples that came before them these two are seeing their romance blossom amidst the events foretold in the Book of Revelation. The undead roam the streets, foul-mouthed locusts and crows berate the survivors, and occasionally large, flaming rocks fall from the sky to crush food carts. As bad as things are though, they get even worse when the anti-christ (Craig Robinson) points his erection Lindsey’s direction determined to have her even if that means eliminating Ben and anyone else standing in the way.



Will Rapturepalooza actually be funny? Even after watching its entire red band trailer, which is chock-full of gags, the answer to that question still doesn’t really become clear. There are so many jokes that fly by here, some good and some bad, that it’s near impossible to tell what the hit-to-miss ratio is going to be like when you actually sit down to watch the thing in the theater. Has this trailer basically given away every joke the film makes, or are there still plenty more waiting to be discovered? Are the jokes we do see the broadest, silliest ones, meant to attract a general audience, or is broad silliness all the movie has to offer? It’s tough to say. But what’s clear is that director Paul Middleditch and writer Chris Matheson haven’t pulled any punches with what they’re willing to satirize. They shoot Jesus out of the sky with a laser cannon. They make light of Orlando being decimated in a nuclear explosion. You don’t have to go into Rapturepalooza worried about it half-stepping as far as the comedy is concerned.



Get your eyes (plates?) ready to feast on a delicious new Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs sequel that’s apparently so tasty that almost all of its lead voice cast has returned for seconds. End food puns. Sony Pictures Animation has today announced, quite unsurprisingly, that the voice cast for Cloudy 2: Revenge of the Leftovers will include “Bill Hader as inventor Flint Lockwood; Anna Faris as brainy weather girl Sam Sparks; James Caan as Flint’s technophobic dad, Tim Lockwood; Andy Samberg as Swallow Falls’ local celebrity “Baby” Brent; Neil Patrick Harris as Steve the gummy bear-loving monkey; and Benjamin Bratt as Sam’s mild mannered cameraman Manny.” Joining the cast is Will Forte as “world-famous super-inventor” and head of the Live Corp Company Chester V (Forte played a background character named Joe Towne in the first film), Kristen Schaal as Chester’s talking orangutan Barb (essentially, she’s his Steve), and Terry Crews as local cop Earl (a role that was first played by Mr. T, who reportedly declined an offer to return). The film will return us to the trials and travails of young Flint as he continues on his quest to be recognized as the genius that he is, with his seemingly shutdown food machine back to haunt him.


Ed Helms

It’s been fifteen years since Chevy Chase’s Clark Griswold packed up the family for the last National Lampoon’s Vacation movie, probably because that most recent attempt at cashing in on this comedy franchise didn’t go so well. New Line seems to think that there’s still some juice left in the formula however, because they’ve hired Horrible Bosses scribes John Francis Daley and Jonathan Goldstein to co-write and co-direct a new entry in the franchise. This isn’t set to just be the same old Vacation movie where Clark and Ellen (Beverly D’Angelo) take their teenage kids on some sort of oppressively family oriented adventure though. The characters are finally being allowed to age, and the lead of the film is set to be an adult version of Rusty Griswold, who will be taking on the duty of being head of family leisure planning.


National Lampoon Family

According to Variety, the John Francis Daley and Jonathan M. Goldstein writing team whose been crafting the words behind a remake of National Lampoon’s Vacation are now in talks to direct the film. It would be the first feature directing job for both, even though no amount of movies can make Daley not the guy from Freak and Geeks. It’s being produced by David Dobkin over at New Line, and at the very least involves the high concept of good old Rusty Griswold takes his loving family out on the road. Who knows what adventures they’ll get into from there. So why pick two newcomers to the directing game? Because they have a strong short film resume. Their latest is Audio Tour which features Will Forte as a man who leaves a museum with his tour guiding headphones still on and learns way too much about the world around him. Check it out for yourself:



While Universal may be scraping to get together a sequel to their comedy hit, Bridesmaids, New Line and Warner Bros. are having significantly better luck with their latest incarnation of a comedy hit. The studios have closed a deal with Horrible Bosses screenwriters John Francis Daley and Jonathan Goldstein for a second film, one that is expected to see its three leads, Jason Bateman, Charlie Day, and Jason Sudeikis, all back in front of the camera. And behind the camera? Original director Seth Gordon is also “in early talks” for the sequel. Now that’s how you get a band of merry murderers back together. The summer release was a surprise hit – made on the relative cheap for $35m, it racked up $209m worldwide. A cross between workplace comedy and hitman flick, the film saw Bateman, Day, and Sudeikis as three best friends who all hate their bosses (played by Kevin Spacey, Jennifer Aniston, and Colin Farrell, respectively) for very different reasons. In the film, the three knuckleheads conceive of a plan to knock off each other’s headache-inducing supervisors, the sort of plan that sounds okay-ish on paper, only to crumble spectacularly (and hilariously!) in execution. The film was Daley and Goldstein’s first project together, and they have also written another New Line comedy, the upcoming Burt Wonderstone (filming early this year), along with the sequel to the charming Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs.



Rapturepalooza – a movie where Anna Kendrick and John Francis Daley (Freak and Geeks) team up to go fight the antichrist (who is, of course, played by Craig Robinson) – already sounds brilliant. High concept comedy, especially where the end of the world is in the mix, never fails to excite. Fortunately, Variety is reporting that the movie now has Rob Corddry, Rob Huebel and Thomas Lennon on board for the possible destruction of all reality as well. It’s great news, but it’s hardly surprising. Comedies like this tend to draw in names from the same extended group of comedy veterans that continue banding together to take smaller roles or cameos in each other’s projects. Still, here’s hoping that Thomas Lennon plays an old fashioned guy. Could other State members be far behind from signing on?



Earlier this week we showed you the horrific short film made by the marketing folks at HomeAway featuring the Griswolds, Clark (Chevy Chase) and Ellen (Beverly D’Angelo). It was a train-wreck. This was clear, even to someone like me, who is a bigger fan than most of the Vacation franchise. Apparently it wasn’t clear to New Line…



In which I proceed in dissing a movie that I actually liked in favor of this other movie that looks like it might capture the spirit of Star Wars geekdom in a better way…

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published: 01.26.2015
published: 01.26.2015
B-, C-
published: 01.26.2015

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