Showing posts with label Rainn Wilson. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Rainn Wilson. Show all posts

Monday, 3 June 2013

Galaxy Quest

Galaxy Quest is a loving homage to Star Trek and its associated fandom. Tim Allen stars as an actor famous for his portrayal of a ship’s captain in a formerly popular TV sci-fi series. He and his crew of actors travel from city to city appearing at various conventions, signings and store openings, events which some of the cast find demeaning. When Jason Naismith (Allen) is approached for a role playing gig with some super-fans, he discovers to his surprise that the ‘fans’ are in fact aliens who are at war with alien warlord and require Naismith’s help, believing the TV show to be a historical document and the actors to be real life heroes.

I saw a few minutes of Galaxy Quest a couple of months ago and thought that it looked like an interesting idea. A friend lent me the DVD last week and I was excited about watching it. Unfortunately I didn’t feel like the film lived up to its promising premise. There are some nice Star Trek references and the idea isn’t without intelligence but I failed to laugh once and felt that once the initial reveal had occurred that there was very little left of interest to me.

Sunday, 18 March 2012


"All it takes to become a superhero is the choice to fight evil."

2010’s Super is a black comedy/superhero film about a loser called Frank (Rainn Wilson) whose wife Sarah (Liv Tyler) is a recovering drug addict. Despite Frank’s attempts to keep her sober, she leaves him for a charismatic and dangerous club owner called Jacques (Kevin Bacon). After seeing visions and a religious TV show featuring a superhero called the Holy Avenger, Frank decides the best way to clean up the city and win his wife back is to become a superhero himself. He creates a persona and costume and becomes The Crimson Bolt. His methods of crime fighting turn out to be quite un-PC and his only weapon is a wrench which he hits people across the head with, to the catchphrase, “Shut up, crime.” Later he is joined by Libby (Ellen Page), a slightly unbalanced comic book store employee who becomes the Crimson Bolt’s sidekick, Boltie. Together they try to get Sarah back.

Super unfortunately came out in the same year as Kick-Ass which is a far superior film and a film with a larger budget ($28m to $2.5m) and more hype. While the films share a similar idea, they are in fact quite different. Super is a much darker and more unhinged film with themes of religion and mental illness. It is quite strongly hinted that both Rainn Wilson and Ellen Page’s characters have mental problems and is not more apparent than when Page jumps around and screams with delight at cracking someone’s skull open. The film is very violent and deserves its 18 Certificate. As well as the graphic violence there is also racially inappropriate language and laughs at rape, which occurs twice, on one occasion firmly cementing Page’s mental problems.

There are plenty of laughs with most coming from Rainn Wilson. For anyone familiar with his The Office character, here he plays something quite similar. He is geeky and insecure but also has a dangerous religious side to him. He has vivid visions and believes that God talks directly to him as well as asking for signs as to whether he should continue with his path of violence. Ellen Page is also good. She seems totally on edge and you are never quite sure what she will do next. She also looks fantastic in her provocative superhero outfit.

I think this is a fairly good film but could have been so much more. It is true that there have been other Superhero without powers movies (Defendor, Kick-Ass) but I think there is still scope for the genre. The message was quite confusing and it felt rushed and unfinished. It is easy to forget that this is an adult film which makes the violence and language feel surprising and sometimes nasty. We are so used to the 12-A Superhero that it feels odd to see one crack open a skull with a wrench. I’ve had mixed feelings since I finished watching it. On one hand it is darkly funny and interesting but on the other it feels ill-judged and rushed. The performances are good and it is worth seeing for Rainn Wilson and Ellen Page alone.  


Sunday, 5 February 2012

My Super-Ex Girlfriend

Starring Uma Thurman as an emotionally unstable Superheroine, 2006’s My Super-Ex Girlfriend was a pleasant surprise for me. Being let down so often by dull, unfunny romantic comedies, I found it to be a refreshing take on a tired formula.

The likable and affable Luke Wilson stars as the likable and affable Matt Saunders who meets a shy and seemingly uninterested Jenny Johnson, played by Uma Thurman on the Subway. When a man steals Johnson’s handbag, Matt pursues the thief and retrieves the bag. This act of heroism earns Matt a date. Several dates later, by which time Johnson has become increasingly neurotic and unbalanced, she lets Matt into her huge secret, that she is in fact G-Girl, a crime fighting Super Hero. When Johnson/G-Girl’s increasingly aggressive and jealous behaviour gets too much for Matt he decides to break off the relationship, a decision he could come to regret.

The film, while not incredibly funny is very enjoyable. I was watching with a smile on my face. Uma Thurman looks like she is really enjoying playing both characters and Luke Wilson is fine, though he is just playing Luke Wilson. A lot of the humour comes from Thurman’s wonderful portrayal of an emotionally unstable woman who becomes increasingly mentally unbalanced throughout the film. She is a joy to watch. Thurman and Wilson are joined by a strong cast which includes Anna Faris as Wilson’s co-worker and the fantastic Rainn Wilson (of The Office fame) as Matt’s best friend. Also joining the cast is English comedian Eddie Izzard who does a fairly convincing American accent but is not as convincing as a super villain.

Being both a Rom-Com and Superhero movie, there was only one place that the film could best set and that is in New York. The city looks fabulous but the CGI is sometimes shiny and unconvincing. A GCI shark looked about as real as a reality TV star’s face. I found it quite funny that G-Girl’s disguise is just a wig and glasses, but Superman gets by unnoticed with less.

While My Super Ex-Girlfriend is in no way a classic or even close to being great, it is a nice take on the romantic comedy genre with some funny moments and an excellent performance from Uma Thurman.