Rob Huebel

HB_045079

Editor’s Note: Our review of Hell Baby originally ran during this year’s Sundance Film Fest, but we’re re-running it now as the film opens today in limited release. No genre mash-up is more difficult to get right than the horror-comedy. It’s the balance between the two that’s tricky as very few find the sweet spot of being both funny and scary. Most attempts end up lopsided, and more often than not it’s the horror that gets shafted. That broken record gets played again in the new film from writer-directors Robert Ben Garant and Thomas Lennon (Reno 911!), but to be fair the focus on laughs is entirely intentional and evident in everything from the cast list to the effects work to the gag-filled script to the intense and time-consuming focus on delicious, lip-smackin’ po’ boys. It’s meant to be a comedy through and through, but unfortunately they treat it like a 15-minute sketch instead of a 90-minute movie. I’m no math wiz, but that 75-minute deficit isn’t going to laugh at itself.

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Its not you its me

Why Watch? Aggressively well-crafted, this short from Matt Spicer uses invasive sound and camera design to make a dull life maddening before kicking it over the edge. Gillian Jacobs plays a young woman trapped in a crushingly mundane existence with an out-of-work boyfriend (Fran Kranz), but when she lets things get out of hand, it’s time to pack some very special suitcases. Everything here is first-rate, including the gut-punching comic story. Spicer and the team do something magical by using structured bits of disorientation to make the first shock pop like a starting pistol. From there it’s an intentionally jerky ride that alters the boring daily grind by erasing the rules. It also treats the Falling Down-style outburst and its consequences with a guilty sense of humor, so you may need to train your face to drop its jaw and smile at the same time before you see it. While many short films strive to be visual punch lines, It’s Not You, It’s Me manages to pull off a handful while delivering great characters and chaotic atmosphere as a bonus.

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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.

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Cool Cool Cool

What is Movie News After Dark? It’s a nightly movie news column that won’t hesitate to deliver all the best content of the day. Seriously, don’t tempt it. It will do it. We begin tonight with a delightful piece of art from Megan Lara called Troy and Abed’s Dope Adventures. This Calvin and Hobbes esque homage to Community is most definitely cool. Cool, cool, cool.

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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?

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