Category Archives: comedy

Beauty and the Beast Goes Gay

disneys-lefou  Disney will be treating the world to yet another new version of “Beauty and the Beast” shortly but it’s already drawn some unwanted press. In this version, Gaston’s sidekick, LeFou (Josh Gad–see photo above), turns out to be gay. Maybe they figured they could push it past parents because it’s a Disney film, but it’s already gotten some backlash. One theatre in Alabama said they will not run this movie because having a gay character in it is an “act against God”.

I’m not sure where they beauty_and_the_beast_2017_poster got this from, but I’m pretty sure this theatre has previously shown movies that were equally or more “offensive” than merely having a gay character in it. The film has a powerful cast that includes Emma Watson, Ewan McGregor, Kevin Kline, and Stanley Tucci. The one scene in question is fleeting as best, as LeFou, who has often thought about being Gaston, wonders if it would be better to kiss him. Surely, this could have been palmed off as a form of “hero worship”, and I’m sure Disney will handle it with applomb and consideration for the kiddies’ sensitivities.

By this time, there is hardly a child who can follow this movie and does NOT have some idea about gays. Maybe  now that the movie industry is out of its seasonal kid movie cycle, and it’s about to bombard us with more adult themes and monsters,with “Kong Skull Island”, “CHiPs”, “Baywatch”, “Life”, and “Alien Covenant”, there will be precious little for thedisneys-lefou-2 kids to see apart from this Disney production, since “Power Rangers” and “Wonder Woman” may fall short of being exactly kid friendly. We could have done much worse than a gay character, and we know Hollywood CAN be funny with homosexuality since we’ve seen “Zorro, the Gay Blade” years ago. This is Disney, for heaven’s sake, but people are always finding hidden sexual innuendos about these films. Remember the clouds “forming the word SEX” in “Lion King”, or the “phallic symbol” on the “Little Mermaid” poster? Now they won’t have to look as hard. Come on, people! Get a life—this is 2017! I think it’s much more important to point out that the character’s name, LeFou, in French, means “the crazy one”. Is Disney trying to subtly pass the idea that to be gay, you must be crazy? I think THAT is the truly serious issue here.

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Finding Dory Great Family Fun

First off, I know some of you will be confused. How, you’ll say, can a guy who watches the Avengers and Batman vs Superman be  going to THIS movie? Fair question, and here’s the answer—I’m an animation fan from way back, going straight back to Georges Melies’ “A Trip To The Moon” in the early 1900s.  I’ve seen  pretty much everything from Krazy Kat to Fritz The Cat. Let’s get on with the matter at hand.

If you saw Finding Nemo, you won’t be lost here, and even if you are, there are occasional flashback scenes to bring you up to date. There are some similarities with the earlier Pixar film here, but the story centers around Dory (voiced by Ellen DeGeneres) who, due to some events, begins to remember her parents and decides to go look for them with the help of Marlin (Albert Brooks) and Nemo (Hayden Rolence). They get to their intended destination with the help of sea turtles—the “Jewel of Morro Bay, California” known as the Marine Life Institute.

When they get there (but still in the open sea), Dory starts calling out to her parents as the local sea life and Marlin try to shush her—with good reason, as a large squid comes out of the shadows and tries to snack on them They escape, and Dory wanders off, splitting them up as Dory winds up within the sea life sanctuary as she’s distracted by the (real) voice of Sigourney Weaver.

In the facility, Dory is tagged and meets an octopus named Hank (Ed O’Neill) who proceeds to help her if she’ll give him her tag, which would allow him to go to an aquarium in Cleveland because he no longer wants to be released in the wild since he lost a tentacle in the wild, leading Dory to call him a “septapus”. This is where the fun really begins,

Marlin and Nemo have to get in to rescue Dory, and they do so with the help of sea lions named Fluke (Idris Elba) and Rudder (Dominic West) and a loon named Becky (Uncredited since she never speaks). A convoluted and hilarious plan develops and the entire cast is reunited. In the sanctuary is a beluga named Bailey (Ty Burrell) who thinks he can’t use his echosonar power and Dory’s childhood friend Destiny (Kaitlin Olson), a nearsighted whale shark who keeps bumping into objects.

Much of Hank’s funny moments stem from his chameleon-like ability to blend into the background and change colour, but he has a major role in Dory’s rescue that leads to a wild police chase in a truck (Yes, you read that right). This, along with Destiny’s bumping into things, brought roars of laughter from everyone in attendance. In the end, everyone winds up back home and Dory is reunited with her parents Jenny (Diane Keaton) and Charlie (Eugene Levy).

In a movie world starved for true family entertainment, Finding Dory is the cure—a film you’ll enjoy and laugh with whether you’re five or ninety-five years old. The animation is sharp and precise and just keeps the action, dare I say, flowing like water.

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Spy—Heavy On Chuckles

Spy poster Spy 1 Spy 3My close friends know I don’t see too many “comedies” because I don’t think there are any comedic minds left in today’s cinema with the exception of Mel Brooks. However, I was attracted to the premise of “Spy” since I have rarely seen that genre skewered, with the notable exception of “Spy Hard”. This one goes like this:

Melissa McCarthy is Susan Cooper, the vocal link to fellow CIA agent Bradley Fine (Jude Law) on all his adventures and has secretly developed a crush on him. When a mission to recover a nuclear weapon goes wrong and Fine is eliminated, a conference is held to appoint a new person on the case. Susan decides that she owes Bradley and should do this, but fellow agent Rick (Jason Stratham) argues that Susan is “just a secretary” and he will quit if she gets the nod. She does and Rick storms out in a huff.

Here it gets really engaging and funny as Susan gets entrusted with highly unusual equipment and a new name she doesn’t like. She’s instructed to observe and report only but things spiral out of control and she becomes deeply involved, along the way often running across Rick, who keeps reminding her about how he’s a really tough spy, and arms dealer Rayna Boynov (Rose Byrne) and her right hand man. Susan’s hand is forced and she threatens the strongarm guy with tearing off his manhood and gluing it to his forehead.

Yes, this is comedy, but unlike Austin Powers, which was pure nonsense, director Paul Feig ,who also co-wrote the script, injects enough action into it that allows you to understand that this is primarily a spy film. It skewers the James Bond type but keeps both feet on the ground to even make the audience gasp in surprise. There are repeated instances of rough language and a few scenes that young children may not understand, but spy movies are for adults, anyway.

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