film

Review: Jay and Silent Bob Reboot

Written and directed by Kevin Smith, “Jay and Silent Bob Reboot” is a comedy sequel to 2001’s “Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back!”, but it’s also an update of sorts on the whole View Askew Universe of films that the “Clerks” movies originated back in the early 1990’s. This time around, infamous ne’er-do-wells Jay and Silent Bob are roped into traveling cross-country from New Jersey to Hollywood so they can stop the reboot of “Bluntman V Chronic” from using their likenesses (again). If that plot sounds overly familiar to “Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back” then you’ve got an idea where the comedy in this film is forged from.

Having been a fan of Kevin Smith’s work for some time now, I knew walking into the theater that “Reboot” would most likely be a funny self-aware jab at Hollywood’s never-ending remixing of popular IPs, maybe a few fun celebrity cameos, at least of those who could tolerate the cavalcade of genitalia jokes that comes with the territory. What I did not expect was that there was legitimate heart at the core of the movie, I won’t spoil it, but it was a nice surprise. Comedies like these typically work for me, but I happen to appreciate silly, dumb, immature humor, and crass wordplay and I’m well aware of all of the View Askew universe’s little easter eggs (Like Ralph Garman’s quick cameo, Smith’s podcast partner for “Hollywood Babble-On”), I think I even spotted Andy McElfresh from “Edumacation” in the background of one scene. Anyways, my point being that I fundamentally understand if these movies don’t work for you, but Kevin Smith is a personal hero to me in the filmmaking world, I may not always love everything he makes, but god damn does he go for the gold and he just never gives up.

What I found most fascinating about the film was the third act in particular. Smith may not have always been a consumer of marijuana when writing these characters in the past- but this is the first View Askew film since he’s began partaking in the herb- and the difference in depiction is notable. It was as if he took the whole of his crafted universe and meshed it all together, giving updates on everything from the aftermath of “Dogma” (My favorite Kevin Smith film) to tying up loose ends from “Chasing Amy” and nods to the “Clerks” films, even “Mallrats”. This addition to the View Askew universe felt right at home with previous films and yet expanded on these characters’ emotional depth, the sway of nostalgia, and a subtle sense of maturity emerging from those you expect least.

Oh, and holy guacamole the cameos! If you thought “Strikes Back” had a surprising amount of celebrity cameos, then this one will really blow your hair back. I won’t reveal any because spotting them and enjoying the ride are some of the best aspects of the movie. I’m happy to see Kevin Smith getting another film out there, and this is one of his best in years, in my opinion. I sincerely hope this film does well enough for him to gain leverage to finally make his “Clerks 3”, I need that film- No, America needs that film!

Final Score: 37 Snoogans… in a row

film

Review: Kevin Smith’s Yoga Hosers

This week filmmaker Kevin Smith’s latest movie hit Netflix, so out of curiosity’s sake and general admiration for the man’s previous works, I figured I’d give it a shot. “Yoga Hosers” is the second film in Smith’s latest creative endeavor, the True North Trilogy, with “Tusk” being the first iteration and concluding with “Moose Jaws” sometime over the next couple of years. This Canadian flavored monster themed series is definitely an odd one, but one where Kevin Smith’s creative flow goes any-which he wants. As someone interested in filmmaing, I can relate. However, I suspect the fans of this film will end up being very niche indeed.

Granted, I am not the target audience for this flick, Smith said as much himself over the course of many interviews, podcasts, and on Twitter as he promoted the film. He is very self aware that this film is not for everybody and he’s okay with that. Be that as it may there is an innate sweetness to this flick, the man did make a movie with his teenage daughter and her best friend after all. What other teenager gets to be one of the leads in a film directed by their father and co-starring their best friend? Between the bad CGI, silly monster make-up/costumes, and litany of Canada based puns (buckle your seat belts, there’s a lot of them) lies a silly shlock fest, albeit with some cringeworthy portions.

The story centers on the two young female leads, Harley Quinn Smith and Lily-Rose Depp as the “Colleen Coalition”, two tenth year highschoolers that sing in their makeshift band while angstily working at the “Eh-2-Zed” convience store seen in “Tusk”. In a convenient History class the two smartphone obsessed girls learn of the few Canadian Nazis that had risen up during World War Two and gleefully awaited Hitler’s takeover of the great white north. When this didn’t happen one particular indoctrinated mad scientist went into hiding. Fast Forward seventy years and you get tiny sausage based Nazis (called “Bratzis” in the film) portrayed by Kevin Smith himself no less, who kill indiscriminately. That’s not even the weirdest part. Anyways-The girls get invited to a party hosted by older students and end up being conscripted into work on that very night to their dismay. From there it gets sillier and sillier, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. In my opinion, if you’re going to be weird, go full weird. Everyone can tell if you only went half weird. So, at least they stuck to that commitment. I won’t spoil the rest of the film, but the third act features Ralph Garman in a super, super, cheesy villainous role. I actually loved his bits, as a fan of the Hollywood Babble-on podcast (Seek out at your own risk), it was a joy seeing some of those shenanigans play out here. Johnny Depp also returns as “Guy Lapointe” in one of his more offbeat roles as a manhunter/detective/Canadian Batman of sorts. It’s a role that’s fittingly just as odd as the rest of the film but his quirks help mold the film further. For fun, keep an eye on his mole/s as they move around his face from scene to scene, it got me, I laughed.

In all honesty, this is not my favorite Smith flick by a longshot (That title goes to “Dogma”), but with the runtime hovering around the hour and a half mark, it does its thing and doesn’t overstay its welcome. This is not a film for everyone, but for the ones that do enjoy it, I’m sure they got a kick out of it. Personally, I’m just waiting out the last entry of the True North Trilogy, “Moose Jaws”.

Final Score: 12 Canadian Puns