Matt Hoyle/Comedy Central
Move over, Seth Rogen and James Franco; Judd Apatow has found himself a new dream team. Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele have partnered with the writer/director/producer to develop a script for a feature film. The duo will star in the film and write the script alongside Apatow, who will also produce the project. No details about the film have been made available yet, but Apatow did reveal that he holds his new collaborators in high esteem, telling Deadline, "I love these guys because they are riotously, make-you-sick-because-you-can’t-stop-laughing, funny. I think Key and Peele are capable of making the movie that America desperately needs right now."
This is the second development deal that Apatow has made with a current Comedy Central star; he recently signed on to produce a script that was written by and will star Amy Shumer. Key and Peele's self-titled sketch show, meanwhile, has enjoyed a great deal of success and their first episode broke a network record for the biggest series launch. It was recently renewed for a fourth season, due in part to the audience members the show gained after several of their sketches went viral. The film will mark a change of pace for the pair, who, since breaking out on MadTV, have specialized in sketches. They will face the challenge of ensuring that their comedy is still as hilarious and thought-provoking in a longer format as it is in five-minute increments.
Since Apatow is keeping the log line of the film quiet for now, fans have begun speculating about whether any of the pair's famous characters will make an appearance on the big screen. While it might be hard to incorporate characters like President Obama's anger translator, Luther or Wendell, who only interacts with other people through phone calls to customer service hotlines, it will probably be easier for the film to feature a cameo from the pop-culture commentating valets or football players Hingle McCringleberry or Eqqsquizitine Buble-Schwinslow.
Regardless, fans can probaly expect Vandaveon and Mike to commentate on the film, just like they do after every episode of Key and Peele. You can catch the show Wednesday nights at 10:30, or check out their East/West College Bowl sketch below.
42 proves an important theory on biopics: a historical figure can be too significant for the Hollywood treatment.
Jackie Robinson's impact on baseball and race relations in the United States was monumental and writer/director Brian Helgeland's adaptation of the athlete's life goes to great lengths to drive that home. Chronicling most of Robinson's early career, where he quickly jumped from playing in the Negro leagues to the minor leagues to the majors, 42 ham-fists the big picture into Robinson's astonishing climb to success. It lauds Robinson as a Christ-like figure instead of painting him as a human overcoming great odds. The movie demonstrates that Robinson was driven by his love of the game, not a mission of integration. Early in his career, he says to a colleage, "I'm just a ball player." The man replies, "No, you're a hero." There's no denying the man was right, but the movie plays out from his point of view rather than putting us in Robinson's cleats. 42 is a glossy treatment that never gets beyond the text book reading.
Chadwick Boseman stars as Robinson, plucked from obscurity by Brooklyn Dodgers General Manager Branch Rickey (Harrison Ford) to become the first African-American baseball player in the Major Leagues. The road to acceptance is expectedly bumpy: Robinson starts at the Dodgers training camp where he's hazed by teammates and townspeople alike. Rickey keeps him in check with routine inspirational speeches, all boiling down to keeping his temper in check and ears turned off to racist remarks. Ignoring the ignorance comes easy to Robinson, miraculous in historical context but making the action 42 a tedious affair. It's one scene after another of Robinson holding strong against white opposition and breaking boundaries with pure talent. Staged in a strangely claustrophobic and theatrical fashion, the movie lacks a necessary fire, even when Boseman, Ford, and Nicole Beharie as Jackie's wife Rachel, are firing on all cylinders.
42 has a lot of filler, with every actor in the ensemble getting their moment of bigotry and subsequent reversal, along with scenes that seemingly go nowhere (an extended scene between Rachel and a babysitter signals danger for Jackie's son, but fails to impact the story). But every didactic stretch of race drama is made up for by one intense scene, perfectly orchestrated by Helgeland on every level. In a game against Philadelphia, Robinson is verbally harassed by Phillies player manager Ben Chapman. Actor Alan Tudyk bravely inhabits the vile role, spewing every racial slur and wisecrack under the sun as Robinson attempts to cope. It's a tremendous sequence that pushes Robinson to his breaking point, a moment with enough drama to sustain an entire movie, as opposed to being the pinnacle of an overwrought life story.
There's a fakeness to 42 that overshadows the performances, with '40s baseball scenes enhanced by CG backdrops and a swelling score by Mark Isham that uses traditional violins and trumpets to force emotion down our throats. Robinson, and Boseman as a capable performing bringing him to life, can live on his own, but Helgeland insists on echoing the inherent drama of the ball player's story with Hollywood pizazz. From the film's first minutes, found documentary footage from the early '40s accompanied by voice over from Robinson's personal mythologist, reporter Wendell Smith (Andre Holland), 42 is factory-made biopic. A lively ensemble keep it afloat with Ford's gruff muttering working for Rickey, and T.R. Knight, Hamish Linklater, and Christopher Meloni add a dash of comedic flavor to the droll history lesson. But this is Jackie Robinson! A man whose story deserves a home run, not a bunt. Showing him as a ball player, not a hero, would have knocked 42 out of the park.
What do you think? Tell Matt Patches directly on Twitter @misterpatches and read more of his reviews on Rotten Tomatoes!
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If there's a cinematic alchemy award to be given this year director Bill Condon deserves to take it home after magically turning the tedious Twilight franchise into entertainment gold. 2011's Part 1 was a horror camp romp that turned the supernatural love triangle — the naval gazing trio of Bella Edward and Jacob — on its head. Breaking Dawn - Part 2 continues the madcap exploration of a world populated by vampires and werewolves mining even more comedy thrills and genuine character moments out of conceit than ever before. The film occasionally sidesteps back into Edward and Bella's meandering romance (an evident hurdle of author Stephenie Meyer's source material) but the duller moments are overshadowed by the movie's nimble pace and playful attitude. Breaking Dawn - Part 2 will elicit laughs aplenty — but thankfully they're all on purpose.
Part 2 picks up immediately following the events of the first film Bella (Kristen Stewart) having been turned into a vampire by Edward (Robert Pattinson) to save her life after the torturous delivery of her half-human half-vampire child Renesmee. She awakes to discover super senses heightened agility increased strength… and a thirst for blood. One dead cougar later Bella and the gang are able to focus on the real troubles ahead: Renesmee is rapidly growing (think Jack) and vampiric overlords The Volturi perceive her a threat to vampiric secrecy. Knowing the Volturi will travel to Forks WA to kill the young girl (a 10-year-old just a month after being born) The Cullens amass an army of bloodsucking friends to end the oppression once and for all.
Packed with an absurd amount of backstory and mythology-twisting plot points (some vampires can shoot lightning now?) Condon and series screenwriter Melissa Rosenberg mine revel in the beefed up ensemble of Breaking Dawn - Part 2 and thanks to a wildly funny cast it never feels like pointless deviation. Along with the usual suspects Lee Pace adds swagger to the series as a grungy alt-rock vampire Noel Fisher appears as a hilarious over-the-top battle-ready Russian coven member and Michael Sheen returns has Volturi head honcho Aro and steels the show. Flamboyant diabolical and a steady stream of maniacal laughter Sheen owns Condon's high camp vision for Twilight and he lights up the screen. There are a few throw away nations of vampires — the oddly stereotypical Egyptian and Amazonians sects are there mostly there to off-set the extreme whiteness — but the actors involved bring liveliness to a franchise known for being soulless. Even Stewart Pattinson and Taylor Lautner give personal bests in this installment — a scene between Bella and her dad Charlie (Billy Burke) is genuinely heartfelt while Jacob's overprotective hero schtick finally lands.
Whereas Breaking Dawn - Part 1 stuck mostly to the personal story relying on the intimate moments as Bella and Edward took the big plunge into marriage and sex Part 2 paints with broader strokes and Condon has a ball. Delving into the history of the vampires and the vampire world outside Forks is Pandora's Box for the director. One scene where we learn why kids scare the heck of the Volturi captures a scope of medieval epics — along with the bloodshed. Twilight might be known for its sexual moments but Breaking Dawn - Part 2 will go down for its abundance of decapitations. The big set piece in the finale is something to behold both in the craftsmanship of the spectacle and in its bizarre nature.
The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 2 had the audience hooting hollering and even gasping as it twisted and turned to the final moments. There's little doubt that even the biggest naysayer of the franchise would do the same. No irony here: the conclusion of Twilight is a blast.