January 18, 2017

Tag Archives: Jorma Taccone

Andy Samberg has his own comedy vehicle with “Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping”

Depending on what you’ve seen him in, you might have a number of different takes on Andy Samberg. You could know him from his run on Saturday Night Live, his television show Brooklyn Nine-Nine, a handful of supporting roles in films, or his highest profile turn in Celeste and Jesse Forever. There’s also his musical work with The Lonely Island, which combines with his comedic movie work this week to mark the release of Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping, his attempt at a real comedy hit. It appears to be something a little on the unique side, so there’s a chance that Samberg is about to break through in a big way.
The film is a look at fictional superstar Conner4Real (Samberg), who was once a member of the pop/rap group The Style Boyz. When his solo career goes up in flames, Conner4Real is game to try anything in order to maintain the high life he’s grown accustomed to, as long as it doesn’t involve also reuniting with the group. Hilarity ensues. Akiva Schaffer and Jorma Taccone co-write (along with Samberg) as well as co-direct here (while also taking on supporting roles too), while the cast on hand includes Imogen Poots, as well as the likes of Will Arnett, Joan Cusack, Will Forte, Bill Hader, Maya Rudolph, Martin Sheen, Sarah Silverman, and many more, including a whole host of celebrity cameos.
I see it later today, but this is another comedy produced by Judd Apatow, who normally knows how to get the best out of people, so that’s a reason I’m looking forward to this one. He’s expanded out from the films he’s written or directed in order to produce some very strong works like Begin Again, Bridesmaids, Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Step Brothers, and more. Apatow is one of the more underrated producers in Hollywood, especially when it comes to comedy. but he’s got more to him than that. Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping certainly is in his humorous wheelhouse, but it’s also not his first musically tinged outing.

For my money, Samberg really has shined brightest in the romantic dramedy Celeste and Jesse Forever. He co-starred there with Rashida Jones (who also co-wrote the movie) and made a fantastically believable pair. That film tackled the issue of a long term couple transitioning to friends, specifically when a married couple is going through a separation and then a divorce. Samberg is brilliant as […]

Hollywood Movie Roundup: “Shrek” Always, but not 4ever

BY Kevin Crust
HollywoodNews.com: The summer fare keeps coming with nary an original idea in sight. This week’s offerings boast a distinct “Saturday Night Live” vibe, featuring a showdown between prominent alums and current cast members.
“Shrek the Third” disappointed animation fans so expectations are on hold for what is promised as the “final” installment, released in the now de rigueur three dimensions. The stars, including Mike Myers, Cameron Diaz, Eddie Murphy and Antonio Banderas, are back as the big green guy gets into trouble after entering into an ill-advised contract with the nefarious Rumplestiltskin.  Director Mike Mitchell (“Deuce Bigelow: Male Gigolo,” “Sky High”) takes the helm. Josh Klausner and Darren Lemke wrote the script.
The reviews are split fairly evenly between critics who believe there is still a bit of magic in Far, Far Away Land and those who are ready to stick a fork in it. Those that do find some remaining charm — including Betsy Sharkey of the Los Angeles Times, Stephen Holden of the New York Times and Claudia Puig of USA Today — attribute it to the continuing antics of the series’ enduring characters and performers. John Anderson of Variety, on the other hand, notes the unfortunate borrowing of plot from “It’s a Wonderful Life” and labels the “dead-eyed” “Shrek” a franchise that time has passed by — visually, musically, comedically, and, especially, technologically. The Wall Street Journal’s Joe Morgenstern is dazzled by one enchanting set piece, but otherwise grouses that “Shrek” tries both audience’s patience and love.
Even with inflation and the higher ducat price for 3D, the fourth installment of the ogre opera will likely fall short of the second and third “Shrek” films that earned $108M and $123M, respectively, in 2004 and 2007. Nevertheless, “Forever’s” expected $90-105M haul will easily earn the week’s top spot over such holdovers as “Iron Man 2” and “Robin Hood.” With the release slate cleared of family films for four weeks until “Toy Story 3” arrives, DreamWorks is aiming to eclipse “Shrek the Third’s” tally of $323M.

Will Forte‘s “MacGyver” parody makes the leap from SNL skit to big screen movie as the resourceful former Special Forces operative is called upon to save Washington, D.C. from nuclear annihilation. Kristen Wiig, Val Kilmer and Ryan Phillippe co-star. Forte teamed with SNL writers John Solomon and Jorma Taccone on the script. Taccone also direted.
Peter Travers of Rolling Stone writes […]

“MacGruber” is a bomb, while “The Square” rivets with unpredictable thrills

By Sean O’Connell
MacGruber (*1/2 out of 4)
If Pixar and its animated output is Hollywood’s safest bet, then full-length features derived from brief “Saturday Night Live” skits have to be the industry’s riskiest gamble. It’s possible you’ll end up with a “Blues Brothers” or a “Wayne’s World,” comedies that extend their single-joke premise and expand the universe for their potentially amusing characters. But more often than not, you’re destined for an unimaginative dud like “The Ladies Man,” “It’s Pat,” “A Night at the Roxbury,” “Superstar” and, now, “MacGruber.” Why do studios continue to green light such projects? Russian roulette players have better survival rates.
The running gag in a “MacGruber” sketch is that the incompetent hero, played by Will Forte as a poor-man’s version of Richard Dean Anderson’s television adventurer MacGuyver, usually explodes right before he does something lewd or ridiculous. In a recent episode, a bomb MacGruber meant to disarm goes off right before he French kisses his grandmother (Betty White).
Without network censors breathing down their necks, Forte and his team (which includes writer-director Jorma Taccone and co-writer John Solomon) are able to show you how far they’re willing to go in a “MacGruber” sketch. It ain’t pretty. What starts as a smart send-up of 1980s action thrillers — with the deepest homage paid to Sylvester Stallone’s Rambo series — rapidly devolves into the usual, disgusting piss and shit jokes writers use as lame crutches. If MacGruber has his back against the wall and he feels he has exhausted all options, he’ll graciously offer to give another man a blowjob. In fact, he won’t take no for an answer. And when MacGruber needs to distract heavily armed terrorists, he strips naked and sticks a stalk of celery up his ass. Do these jokes make you laugh? You’re in luck. They’ll be repeated multiple times throughout this blessedly short “comedy.”
There’s not much to say about the acting in “MacGruber.” Forte’s his earnest, uninformed self, though he does affect an aggressive side when he stands off against Ryan Phillippe, cast as an all-American soldier and the straight man to Forte’s renegade. Phillippe’s presence kind of strips the usually funny Kristen Wiig of any motivation. She’s supposed to be MacGruber’s right-hand woman, but then she morphs into his love interest. She looks like she wishes she had funnier lines. So does Val Kilmer, who has a few inconsequential scenes as MacGruber’s arch nemesis, Dieter […]

Review: ‘MacGruber’ helps redefine skit-based cinema

Last week in Austin, Texas, Hollywood News was able to attend the first-ever screening of MacGruber, director Jorma Taccone’s big-screen adaptation of the Saturday Night Live skit of the same name. Although it’s hardly the sort of film that requires deeper reflection – it’s about a mulleted, would-be bomb-defuser who’s not above sticking vegetables in inappropriate places in order to get the job done – it’s been turning over and over in my head for the past week. Because more than just being the first SNL-related film in almost a decade, MacGruber may prove to be the one that resuscitates the show as a screen property, since its small-screen callbacks, theatrical references and shockingly raunchy original ideas effortlessly come together in one of not only the best spinoffs, but the best all-around comedies in recent memory.
Forte reprises his role as MacGruber, a high-level government operative who retires from service after his wife Casey (Maya Rudolph) is blown up on their wedding day. Called back into action when his archenemy Dieter Von Cunth (Kilmer) absconds with a nuclear warhead, MacGruber reunites with his former partner Vicki St. Elmo (Wiig) to recover the bomb and bring down Von Cunth. But MacGruber quickly realizes that his flashy, improvisational style doesn’t work quite as well as it used to, and he reluctantly must turn to help from a new recruit named Dixon Piper (Philippe) in order to carry out his mission and repair his sullied reputation.
While I never expected a film version of MacGruber to be a neverending series of near-miss explosions, viewers familiar with its original incarnation will be relieved to know that writer-director Taccone and his co-creators Forte and John Solomon has fleshed out the character’s mythology to something suitable for feature length. Somewhat obviously, the character was conceived as a parody of Richard Dean Anderson’s iconic tinkerer MacGyver, but the screenwriters expanded their cinematic palette to include the language of 1980s action movies, complete with noisy exposition, broad characterizations and absurdly overstated visuals.
There’s a charm to the film’s hidden-in-plain-sight monologues about motivation and background precisely because the filmmakers are so aware how obvious they sound, but they nevertheless provide important information even when they’re sending up those old-school lists of accolades and credentials that once signified we should take someone seriously on screen. Meanwhile, Taccone’s direction, augmented by the cinematography of Brandon Trost, perfectly recreates the style of […]

Will Forte and Jorma Taccone talk about blowing up ‘Macgruber’ to feature length

On Monday night, Austin, TX played host to the first-ever public screening of MacGruber, director Jorma Taccone’s feature-length adaptation of the Saturday Night Live skit of the same name. On Tuesday, Taccone and the film’s star, Will Forte, spoke to the press and fielded questions about bringing MacGruber to life on the big screen. Hollywood News participated in a roundtable interview where Forte and Taccone not only talked about their approach to the material, but explored the many challenges of expanding the original concept, and reflected on the collaborative process that was involved in putting the movie together.
Hollywood News: How did get 175 pages out of this script?

Will Forte: I don’t even think that we finished the third act, either. I think we were still trying to figure out some things, we were like, “Okay, let’s just…”
Jorma Taccone: We did have several scenes that were probably like 15 pages long I think. All just friendship probably. Is that a good answer? Out of friendship. 175 pages out of friendship.
Hollywood News: Was there anything that had to be cut?

Taccone: I think, I will say this. We originally wanted to actually cut Cunth’s d*ck off and shove it in his mouth. That became sort of a note.
Hollywood News: The MPAA wouldn’t go for that?

Taccone: It wasn’t that.
Forte: We all had pretty equal say so individually there are little things that one of us would love and the other two would not. We all had to – –
Taccone: It was a democracy.
Forte: The last pass, we all had to suck it up and lose our individual babies, so most of the stuff in the movie is stuff that we all three agree on.
Hollywood News: Was this always going to be an R rated movie?

Taccone: Yeah, the original draft I think I looked up the phrase “f*ck you” in the original draft and I think it appeared 16 times. So it’s less than that now but it was always aggressively hard [R].
Forte: 16 sounds light to me for some reason.
Taccone: In an 84 minute movie, to say the phrase “f*ck you,” it’s insane. There’s a lot of f*cks I would say.
Hollywood News: How much of this came from MacGyver, or what was your frame of reference for developing this into a full movie?

Taccone: I’m really not saying this because of whatever impending lawsuit. I really don’t know […]

Sandra Bullock nominated for dreaded “Golden Raspberry Award”

Sandra Bullock has been voted a Worst Actress nominee for the Golden Raspberry Awards for her role in “All About Steve.” Other nominees in the nominations are Michael Bay’s “Tranformers: Revenge of the Fallen” and Will Ferrell’s comedy “Land of the Lost,” which both picked up 7 nominations each. Other films in the “Worst Picture Nominee” field are “All About Steve,” “Old Dogs,” and “G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra.”
The Razzie awards will take place the night before the Oscars at the Barnsdall Gallery Theater in Los Angeles.
Below are the full list of nominations:
Worst Picture:
“All About Steve”
“G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra”
“Land of The Lost”
“Old Dogs”
“Transformers: Revenge of The Fallen”
(AKA “Trannies, Too”)
Worst Actor:
All Three Jonas Brothers, “The Jonas Brothers Concert Experience”
Will Ferrell, “Land of the Lost”
Steve Martin, “Pink Panther 2”
Eddie Murphy, “Imagine That”
John Travolta, “Old Dogs”
Worst Actress:
Beyonce, “Obsessed”
Sandra Bullock, “All About Steve”
Mylie Cyrus, “Hannah Montana: the Movie”
Megan Fox
“Jennifer’s Body” and “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen”
Sarah Jessica Parker, “Did You Hear About the Morgans?”
Worst Supporting Actor:
Billy Ray Cyrus, “Hannah Montana: The Movie”
Hugh Hefner (as Himself): “Miss March”
Robert Pattinson, “Twilight Saga: New Moon”
Jorma Taccone (as Cha-Ka), “Land of the Lost”
Marlon Wayans, “G.I. Joe”
Worst Supporting Actress:
Candice Bergen, “Bride Wars”
Ali Larter, “Obsessed”
Sienna Miller, “G.I. Joe”
Kelly Preston, “Old Dogs”
Julie White (as Mom), “Trannies, Too”
Worst Screen Couple:
Any Two (or More) Jonas Brothers, “The Jonas Brothers 3-D Concert Experience”
Sandra Bullock & Bradley Cooper, “All About Steve”
Will Ferrell & Any Co-Star,_Creature or “Comic Riff,” “Land of the Lost”
Shia LaBeouf & EITHER _Megan Fox OR Any Transformer, “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen”
Kristen Stewart & EITHER Robert Pattinson OR Taylor Whatz-His-Fang, “Twilight Saga: New Moon”
Worst Remake, Sequel or Rip-Off:
“G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra”
“Land of The Lost”
“Transformers: Revenge of The Fallen”
“Twilight Saga: New Moon”
Worst Director:
Michael Bay, “Trannies, Too”
Walt Becker, “Old Dogs”
Brad Silberling, “Land of the Lost”
Stephen Sommers, “G.I. Joe”
Phil Traill, “All Abo
Worst Screenplay:
“All About Steve,” Kim Barker
“G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra,” Stuart Beattie and David Elliot & Paul Lovett
“Land of The Lost,” Chris Henchy & Dennis McNicholas
“Transformers: Revenge of The Fallen,” Ehren Kruger & Roberto Orci & Alex Kurtzman
“Twilight Saga: New Moon,” Melissa Rosenberg
Worst Picture of the Decade:
“Battlefield Earth” (2000)
“Freddy Got Fingered” (2001)
“Gigli” (2003)