Jonah Hill Will Make You Jump, Jump: 21 Jump Street Review

 

Though I wouldn’t have predicted this in a thousand years, and I’ve been skeptical of others who have claimed this before me, I’m here now to tell you 21 Jump Street…is actually good.

Obviously an “homage” (read: send up, parody, reimagining, whatever) of the late-80s teen police procedural of the same name that ran on the infant Fox Network, which dealt with young cops masquerading as high school students to investigate crimes. The 2012 film version focuses less on the teen drama and more on the comedy potential inherent in such a preposterous concept. And though there’s a surprisingly effective heart and maturity to some of the story (Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill share a real brotherly chemistry I wasn’t expecting), it’s the comedy that ultimately sells this. Special comedic thanks to Dave Franco, who along with Eliza Coupe was the only reason to watch the ninth and final season of Scrubs. He’s dopey and dim, with just a hint of dangerous, and is easily 50% of why you should see this movie.

Directed by the team of Phil Lord and Chris Miller, who previously brought us the criminally under appreciated animated film Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs (which, btw, watch it right now!), there are some sequences that play like a live action cartoon, in the best possible way. The screenplay is credited to Michael Bacall, co-writer of the 2010 masterpiece Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, which itself played heavily with live action cartoonishness. A couple of Pilgrim actors turn up in this film, most obviously Brie Larson who played Scott Pilgrim’s ex Envy, and here plays romantic lead Molly. Less immediately obvious (but much funnier) is Johnny Simmons (Young Neil), with a brief but pivotal cameo.

There are countless shout outs and Easter eggs for the 80s TV fans, and though this adaptation goes more for laughs than the original series perhaps intended, I think old school (pun intended) fans will find a lot to like here.

 

Review: Chronicle

Superhero origin stories are de rigueur, as are attempts to translate those stories to the “real world.” Chronicle, from newcomers Josh Trank (director) and Max “son of John” Landis (screenplay) pulls it off surprisingly well, featuring three teenage protagonists that behave in completely believable ways when gifted with burgeoning telekinetic powers. The first half of the film is a fun, wild ride as the kids play around with levitating Legos and blowing up cheerleaders skirts. The second half gets more serious as one of them succumbs to the urge to strike back at a world that has admittedly been smacking him in the face for some time. By the time the kids master flight, forcefields, and bus-tossing, we’ve arrived at the predictable but very well played showdown of “good vs. evil.” It’s been said that heroes are defined by their villains, and trite but true it’s never more apparent than the schism between abused and angry Andrew and idle and indolent Matt. Without the need to protect innocent bystanders threatened by Andrew going all Tetsuo on downtown Seattle, it’s entirely possible Matt would have never moved past the pranking phase of superherodom. In fact I could imagine a world where he grew bored by it and actually never even used it again. But “Tetsuo” did happen, and Matt stepped up to the “Kaneda” plate…

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So You Think You Can Gobble: 8.17, “Week Six: Results”

 

Neil Patrick Harris: “I had an absolute blast last night, you sexy little minx.”

Cat Deeley: “I never thought Doogie Howser would ever say that to me.”

 

Welcome…to SO YOU THINK YOU CAN DANCE!

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So You Think You Can Gobble: 8.16, “Top 10 Perform”

 

 

 

Caitlynn Lawson. Jess LeProtto. Clarice Ordaz. Marko Germar. Jordan Casanova. Mitchell Kelly. Melanie Moore. Ricky Jaime. Sasha Mallory. Tadd Gadduang.

It’s been a long, hard road. There have been plenty of ups and downs (not to mention some side-to-sides, and a couple of sashays) along the way. But finally, here we are. The Top 10. Tonight, the Top 5 girls and the Top 5 guys compete for YOUR votes, America.

Welcome…to SO YOU THINK YOU CAN DANCE!

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So You Think You Can Gobble: 8.15, “Week Five: Results”

 

I will not sing “Ding Dong The Witch Is Dead!” I will not sing “Ding Dong The Witch Is Dead!” I will not sing “Ding Dong The Witch Is Dead!”

Welcome…to SO YOU THINK YOU CAN DANCE!

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So You Think You Can Gobble: 8.14, “Top 12 Performance”

 

Well alrighty then, here we are at the last week with our established couples. After this all the surviving dancers will be split up and be repaired with a different partner AND a different All-Star dancer from previous seasons each week. So this time everything counts. This time the performances will serve as a farewell to what in some cases have proven to be remarkable partnerships.

Welcome…to SO YOU THINK YOU CAN DANCE!

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So You Think You Can Gobble: 8.13, “Week Four: Results”

 

The group routine that kicks of tonight’s festivities is a Bollywood number by veteran choreographer Nakul Dev Mahajan, set to the song “Kata Kata” from the RAAVAN soundtrack. Bollywood is almost always fun to watch, even when it’s not done particularly well. Fortunately the Top 14 dancers all do particularly well. It’s fast, hyperkinetic, and there are interesting things for every one of them to do. For once I don’t feel like the group number is playing favorites.

As all the dancers sweat and wheeze their exhausted way off the stage, host extraordinaire Cat Deeley reintroduces us to our judges. Two bits of good news tonight: first, Cat has sex-hair again; second, Carmen Electra is MIA (as in not there, not as in she’s secretly the singer MIA… oh nevermind.)

Welcome… to SO YOU THINK YOU CAN DANCE!

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