The Brag

The arts this week:

In Arts, Blog, Brag 318 (June 29), Film Reviews, Live Comedy Reviews on June 29, 2009 at 5:24 am



Released June 25th

Eric, Linus, Hutch and Windows are Star Wars fans, the kind that dress up as Stormtroopers and argue over whether Luke would still kiss Leia knowing she’s his sister. It’s 1998 and they are in rapture over the imminent release of Episode I. Desperate for another shot of Star Wars opium, they set out to break into the Skywalker Ranch to be the first to see the completed film.

Thus begins a series of loosely connected comedic adventures as they cross the continent in a van that doubles as their Millennium Falcon, complete with a temperamental hyperdrive. There’s an ongoing gag about the rivalry between Star Wars and Star Trek fans and cameos from a half dozen famous actors such as Seth Rogen, Carrie Fisher, Billy Dee Williams, Kevin Smith and an hilarious turn by William Shatner as a mysterious source who provides the boys with blueprints of the Lucasfilm
HQ. Fanboy favourite Kristen Bell (Veronica Mars) plays Zoe, their friend, fellow fan and voice of sanity.

The film was originally slated for release in 2007, but was delayed by re-shoots and an ongoing battle between the filmmakers and the Weinsteins (who produced) over the terminal illness of one of the characters. A fan campaign and Vanity Fair advertisement later and director Kyle Newman won his fight to keep the story close to his original vision. It’s this cut of the film that has been released in cinemas.

Ironically it is this serious story thread that clashes with the
in-jokes and slapstick that dominate much of the runtime; it’s hard to have a knob gag and then suddenly be sincere. Nonetheless, Fanboys is lovingly made by fans for fans and is an enjoyable, if indulgent, road-movie.

Joshua Blackman

Ravage from Transformers Revenge of the Fallen (2009)

Ravage from Transformers Revenge of the Fallen (2009)

Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen
Released June 24, 2009

At a bloated 150 minutes, this could have been called Transformers². Michael Bay’s latest blockbuster is a veritable binge of CGI, explosions and bad taste.

Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen is all about action, explosions and humping dogs (and, woefully, robots). In the loosest possible interpretation of a storyline, the film careens from one action sequence to the next, while miraculously also managing to get bogged down in a schmaltzy, “no you say it first” love story, by way of a twee ‘leaving for college’ dilemma. Oh, and there’s even a dubbed-in Swine Flu joke.

Shia LeBeouf, Megan Fox (but mostly her breasts), John Tuturro and Josh Duhamel all signed up for another Bay bonanza, while Home & Away alumnus Isabel Lucas joins the team, glowering through her scenes with a feline intensity. And did anyone realise Hugo Weaving is the voice of Megatron?

More apparent to those versed in Michael Bay will be the shots taken straight out of The Rock and Bad Boys, the schlock romance that comes directly from Armageddon and an overly dramatic, swelling score that drags you back to Pearl Harbour. This film is derivative (or at the very least lazily reflexive), cheesy, and with the crassly ghetto banter of twin Autobots Mudflap and Skids – perhaps even racist.

Which is exactly why you need to check it out on the big screen, or preferably, IMAX. Michael Bay has created a cinematic spectacle, in all its ridiculous, big budget, hubristic glory.

Alice Tynan

Shane Mauss

Shane Mauss

The Comedy Store, Entertainment Quarter [Moore Park]
Shane Mauss
Reviewed June 24, 2009

Sitting in an uncomfortable chair for over an hour listening to mostly poor comedians doesn’t put you in the best mood for reviewing stand-up. However, my mood lifted when gangly US comedian Shane Mauss strolled on stage, beer in hand and began his routine in his unique deadpan voice.

Originally from Wisconsin but now residing in Boston, the 29 year old has experienced a meteoric rise, appearing on Late Night with Conan O’Brien no less than three times.

Mauss has been heralded as the next big thing on the comedy circuit after winning Best Comedian at 2007’s HBO US Comedy Arts Festival in Aspen. He has been on the tip of everybody’s tongues in the US comedy industry; with agencies and management groups trying to tempt him with screen time with stars such as Will Ferrell.

Mauss is happy honing his stand up materiel believing he isn’t yet ready to start acting and is concentrating more on becoming a major headliner in stand-up before venturing into other mediums. The young comic has been described as “an innocent everyman with a hedonistic streak” and as opposed to observational humour, Mauss’ main target is himself.

Mauss points out his utter lack of machismo, his embarrassing drunken exploits and his girlfriends perpetual disappointment in the bedroom saying, “the vagina’s always half-empty.”

Mauss also touches on the American censor agency, the FCC as well as the unrepentant homophobia that exists in the US pickup-truck advertising campaigns. “Every truck commercial is the same,” he says. “It’s like, ‘Hardcore just got harder-core. You can’t pull a 747 up a mountain with that gay turd hybrid of yours.”

He also tells an elaborate tale of his strangest texting experience, a joke that lasts at least 15 minutes and is of the highest quality of writing.

It’s not just his materiel that makes this man hilarious, his relaxed presence on stage makes him appear half inebriated and it’s hard to take your eyes off him as you wait to see will he actually stumble. Couple this with his deadpan, mid-western drawl delivery of his punch lines and Mauss has the makings of a big-time headliner.

Mauss will be at the Comedy Store for a two week stint, and it’s definitely worth going to see him perfecting his materiel before he becomes a household name.

Michael Storey


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