Simply put, Seth Galifianakis is rather shy fellow. While his twin brother Zach Galifianakis is a comedy superstar in Hollywood, Seth is a proud North Carolinian who doubles as a youth minister and high school football coach who enjoys the simple things in life: turtle necks, George Lopez programming, his dog Funyuns, and The Fugees.
Still, Seth has had his own brushes with fame, too. The fanny pack enthusiast made a nervous, emotional appearance on brother Zach's cult classic stand-up DVD Live at the Purple Onion, interviewed Oscar-winning actor Sean Penn for web series Between Two Ferns, and stepped in for Zach again during an appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live! But Seth may reach new levels of recognition since his brother has more or less modeled his character Marty Huggins after him in the new comedy The Campaign. The mustache, the hair, the accent, the wardrobe, it's all there.
While Seth, sadly, isn't technically a "real" person (he is in our hearts) the 42-year-old star has had him (or at least variations of him) with him throughout his life and his act. During an interview with Hollywood.com on the set of The Campaign back in February, Galifianakis admitted he was excited to introduce the character to the masses.
"I couldn’t wait to do it," Galifianakis told Hollywood.com's Michael Arbeiter, "I started doing this character when I was high school. Back then, his name was Kenny Ballard, and he was an effeminate racist — which I always thought was funny: an effeminate guy, who probably gets made fun of, to also be racist. I used to do it for my dad. I used to do it for the black kids at school. They would bump me in the hallway because they knew this character would come out. They were laughing because they knew I was doing a joke about the rednecks that were racist. To answer your question, I had been wanting to try and figure out how to do that persona in a movie. I hope people can sit through it.” Ninety minutes of a Kenny Ballard/Seth Galifianakis hybrid running for Congress against Will Ferrell's George W. Bush/Ricky Bobby hybrid? Yeah, we think they'll manage.
Since the tremendous success of The Hangover and his breakout role as Alan, it's sometimes all too easy to forget that in the comedy world, Galifianakis was something of a hidden gem. A pre-Reggie Watts Reggie Watts, if you will. Galifianakis' brilliantly weird array of characters from The Pretentious Illiterate to The Timid Pimp to, of course, Seth, were just part of his deliriously off-kilter act that made him one of the most original and daring acts in the business.
While comedy snobs will lay claim to knowing about Galifianakis before his breakout, there's still time for you to get acquainted with Seth Galifianakis before The Campaign hits theaters and see what all the pre-Hangover fuss was about.
Before there was Marty, there was Seth. Know him. Love him. The Campaign opens in theaters nationwide on Friday.
Seth's appearance in Live at the Purple Onion. Don't worry Brian Unger, we wouldn't have been able to keep it together either.
Whooping it up with Jimmy Kimmel: Seth Galifianakis on Jimmy Kimmel from Zach Galifianakis "Is there a Six Flags down there?": Between Two Ferns with Zach Galifianakis: Sean Penn from Between Two Ferns As Marty Huggins in The Campaign trailer: Additional reporting by Michael Arbeiter [Photo credit: Warner Bros/Funny or Die] More: The Campaign: Will Ferrell and Zach Galifianakis' Head-to-Head Interview The Campaign: Will Ferrell's Eagles vs. Zach Galifianakis' Pugs — POSTERS On The Campaign Trail: Politics is a Dirty, Hilarious Game
WHAT IT’S ABOUT?
Set in 1957 and designed to be mistaken for the corny B-monster movies of the era Alien Trespass focuses on a group of characters who encounter an alien named Urp whose spaceship has crash-landed in the Mojave Desert inadvertently setting loose another creature on board: the terrifying Ghota a monster bent on destroying everything in its path including Earth. In order to defeat him Urp takes over the body of a local astronomer and bands together with small-town citizens to save civilization as we have come to know it.
WHO’S IN IT?
A game cast tries to make us believe in this hokum from a more innocent time — and mostly succeed. All with a straight face Will & Grace’s Eric McCormack plays the pipe-smoking Dr. Ted Lewis the astronomer whose body has morphed into that of the visiting alien Urp. Making her motion-picture debut as a waitress who shows great courage in the face of this monstrous crisis Jenni Baird is sweet and convincing. As the skeptical police chief and his officer Dan Lauria and Robert Patrick (The Unit) are right out of the kind of bad B-movie Alien Trespass is trying to clone. Lewis’ wife Lana is played by Jody Thompson channeling any number of '40s or '50s buxomy film starlets who populated these pre-feminist roles.
Director/producer R. W. Goodwin is a veteran of TV’s The X-Files and exhibits a real fondness for the far less sophisticated brand that started the sci-fi genre in the first place. It's no Airplane!-style spoof but gets laughs in such a good natured way that this nifty homage could have been released in 1957 and no one would have ever known the difference.
Unless you’re really into '50s movies like It Came From Outer Space and Invaders From Mars this sly but very tame takeoff will probably have you headed for the lobby well before the end credits.
NETFLIX OR MULTIPLEX?
You won’t have long to wait for this thing to land on DVD shelves so a better bet is to hold off and rent it with a couple of the real B-movies that inspired it. What better triple-feature matinee could there be?
Sydney Wells (Jessica Alba) is a Los Angeles-based concert violinist who has been blind since she was 5 years old. She gets by the best she can and sees “using my other senses ” as she explains to a passer-by whom she saves from getting run over by a bus. But Sydney still desperately misses her vision and is one day away from a once-in-a-lifetime medical miracle that will bring her the gift of restored sight: a double corneal transplant. Almost immediately following the operation Sydney through extremely blurred vision begins seeing strange silhouettes but thinks nothing of them. As her sight improves with each passing day however the figures become clearer and much more troubling. Before long Sydney identifies them as “escorts” that take people away when they’re dead and she can’t escape the horrifying visions even while sleeping. But she’s forced to investigate and solve the situation mostly on her own as both her sister (Parker Posey) and ophthalmologist (Alessandro Nivola) swear it’s all in her mind’s eye. What Sydney discovers is both hair-raising and of course eye-opening. The opening shot features Alba looking glamorously hot in the way we’re used to seeing her as though just finishing a photo shoot for the cover of another glossy magazine. Then the camera pans down to her walking stick and you admit to yourself not three minutes in that Alba as a blind woman (and later a violinist!) will necessitate complete suspension of disbelief. Same can be said for The Eye’s few dramatic scenes namely one in which an extreme close-up draws attention to the actress' complete inability to fake-cry. Alba can pull off much of the rest of the movie since it’s relatively low on dialogue and emotion but The Eye is just another example of her trying in vain--much like Good Luck Chuck--to un-pigeonhole herself. In supporting roles veterans Nivola (Junebug) and Posey (Dazed and Confused) show that they’re much too esteemed for a B-grade horror movie and much better than the actress to whom they are playing second- and third-fiddle respectively. Although that’s usually the case in movies like this. Ah the much-too-frequent adaptation of the exotic-import horror movie--always reliable for a few cheap thrills and nothing more. The Eye based on the Pang brothers’ 2002 Chinese film is no exception to that rule and is undoubtedly a dumbed-down less-scary version of the original. The director duo of David Moreau and Xavier Palud who collaborated on 2006’s creepy French film Them manage to somewhat dilute all that is bad about The Eye by using music and style but there’s ultimately no way around the anemic adapted script by Sebastian Gutierrez (Snakes on a Plane) and acting by Alba. While the concept of someone having her vision restored after 20-plus years without it is fascinating and tantalizing for all the directions in which a filmmaker could take it there’s nothing post-setup--or post-op in this case--that eclipses the mildest of scares and this meant to be a horror film. To the directors’ credit The Eye looks gorgeously foreboding and the movie’s elevation to mere watchability shows that they have some promise in this genre.
Based on E.B. White’s enduring children’s story we meet Wilbur the Pig (Dominic Scott Kay) a runt who is saved from the axe by a little farm girl named Fern (Dakota Fanning). She raises Wilbur from infancy but eventually she has to send Wilbur over to her uncle’s neighboring farm since there’s no room for a pig in her house. There in the barn Wilbur meets the assortment of colorful animal characters: Betsy (Reba McEntire) and Bitsy (Kathy Bates) two pessimistic cows; motherly goose Gussy (Oprah Winfrey) and her henpecked hubby Golly (Cedric the Entertainer); Samuel (John Cleese) an uptight sheep; the skittish horse Ike (Robert Redford); the self-serving rat Templeton (Steve Buscemi); and of course sweet Charlotte (Julia Roberts) a spider with a heart of gold. When the naïve Wilbur finds out he might be Christmas dinner Charlotte makes a promise to her new friend that she’ll do everything in her power to make sure Wilbur sees the Christmas snow—and everyone ends up helping her out. What could be more fun than to voice a barnyard animal? Winfrey and Cedric’s geese banter is like an old married couple. Cleese gives Samuel the sheep a certain upper-crustiness. Redford is actually pretty funny as a horse who’s deathly afraid of spiders (“I’ll listen to you but I just can’t look at you”). Buscemi is a particularly nice choice as the sneaky rat Templeton who only thinks about filling his belly with food (no typecasting there we swear). For pure comic relief there are also two crows voiced by Andre Benjamin and Thomas Haden Church who just can’t quite get around the whole scarecrow thing. And as Charlotte Roberts has a truly soothing and loving tone sort of how you’d imagine it from the book. As for the human aspect Fanning continues to do what she does best playing Fern with the right amount of youthful innocence spunkiness and determination. Just wondering how we are going to handle it when this amazing little actress grows up and starts doing like adult things. Actually it is sort of a shame they couldn’t get a live-action version of Charlotte's Web made before Babe. Sure there was the 1973 animated cutesy film but a live-action adaptation of this timeless tale really should have been the standard by which all computer-generated talking farm animal movies would follow don’t you think? Instead Charlotte's Web pales ever so slightly in comparison. Oh well water under the bridge. Director Gary Winick (13 Going on 30) still manages to invoke the wonderful and uplifting spirit of the novel keeping faithful to the text in all ways. Visually the film is crisp and flawless in its execution particularly in the beauty and splendor of how Charlotte spins her webs and emotionally hearts will indeed swell and tears will flow. Charlotte's Web is the perfect family movie to inspire the next generation of young readers and viewers as well as for the rest of us who fondly remember the childhood classic.
Fresh out of the slammer Calvin “Babyface” Sims (Marlon Wayans)--or to us “Little Man”--robs a jewelry store along with his partner in crime Percy P (Tracy Morgan). After the heist is somewhat botched Calvin drops the jewel in the purse of an unsuspecting young woman Vanessa (Kerry Washington) in an attempt to elude cops. Calvin then follows Vanessa and her husband Darryl (Shawn Wayans) out to their suburban home where it’s calm and where the thief learns Darryl is desperate to father a child. So three-foot-tall Calvin shows up on Darryl’s doorstep in a dog basket goo-goo-ga-ga-ing much to the couple’s delight. They take him in and turn a blind eye on the fact that he has facial stubble and a mouthful of pearly whites as Cal tries repeatedly to retrieve the diamond. Amid countless muck-ups and pratfalls the trio grows closer with even Cal showing his heartfelt side. But he is still a criminal with a motive a motive which Vanessa’s elderly father (John Witherspoon) thinks he’s got figured out. Shawn and Marlon Wayans are easily two of the top five actors in the Wayans clan which is a feat if you know their genealogy but at this point it’d be nice to split the brothers up. Their roles here weren’t easily executable--especially Marlon’s--but it’s as if they implore us to not see them as artists. Marlon whose head is superimposed atop a little person’s body--a not-so-special effect--boasts some funny lines as a hardened thief but makes for a grating “toddler ” even though most will inexplicably find his proportions to be hilarious. Meanwhile Shawn actually steals more of the physical gags like getting hit in the groin oh maybe a dozen times by various objects. And it’s a sad day in Hollywood when people like Ray’s Kerry Washington bolt the good stuff for a Wayans vehicle but hey at least she looks great! The true comedy here sparse as it may be comes from numerous cameos by In Living Color alumni and three SNL-ers (Rob Schneider Molly Shannon and Tracy Morgan). Marlon Shawn and Keenen Ivory Wayans are an absolute testament to the Hollywood Machine in action. They “get” Hollywood more than perhaps even George Lucas does making them studio execs’ best friends. They are also more in touch with their fanbase than anyone and churn out precisely what their loyalists crave. In short they are utterly fascinating. Their movies? Not so much. Director Keenen often seems to mistake irreverent for crude and co-writers Marlon and Shawn--well clearly they didn’t envision a brainbuster but they produced (at least) one: We’re merely supposed to laugh at the fact that Vanessa and Darryl don’t notice Calvin’s perpetually changing ages spewing unintelligible babytalk in one scene and playing football in the next. Otherwise it’s more or less a series of Keenen alternating locales to exploit pratfalls that would arise if the man-child problem existed.
Richard Riddick (Vin Diesel) has a really bad rep and with good reason: Five years ago convicted killer Riddick escaped the galaxy's law enforcement during a botched interplanetary prison transfer and has been on the lam ever since. As The Chronicles of Riddick picks up our antagonist finds his relative freedom has been compromised when mercenaries out for the $1 million bounty on his head discover his location and hunt him down. Riddick escapes their clutches steals their ship and sets off for Planet Helion to find Imam (Keith David) the Muslim cleric he rescued in Pitch Black and the only person who could have squealed his location to authorities. But while Riddick's hunch about Imam are correct the cleric has a reason for luring the mammoth murderer out of hiding: Helion is falling to unholy armies of Necromongers--warriors who conquer by force in the vein of Star Trek's Borg. Of course Riddick doesn't give a damn about the Helions or their plight--until he gets wind that the Necromogers want to kill him because of an old prophecy that foresees their end at Riddick's hands. Like it or not Riddick is left with no other choice but to battle the Necromongers.
The character of Riddick is unquestionably what made Pitch Black one of the most sequel-worthy sci-fi films in years. And Riddick would not have been one of sci-fi's most intoxicating characters if it weren't for Diesel. Like his Dominic Toretto in the 2001 actioner The Fast and the Furious Riddick is a villain of few words but when he speaks his carefully chosen words have impact--even if the dialogue is at times overly theatrical. Riddick is the perfect antihero; a cold-blooded and indifferent being who somehow evokes more compassion than the film's so-called good guys. Joining Riddick are some recurring characters including David as Imam but Riddick benefits the most from the addition of some new characters particularly Colm Feore as Lord Marshal the Necromonger leader whose goal is to rid the universe of all human life. Feore channeling nuggets of Julius Caesar into his role makes for one of Riddick's most thrilling foes. Another prominent addition to the cast is Judi Dench who has a surprisingly small role as Aereon an Elemental captured by the Necromongers and used for her special powers including ESP.
Writer/director David Twohy took his horror pic Pitch Black which gained a cult following since it was released four years ago and managed to successfully turn it into an sci-fi actioner of epic proportions. Everything is grander here which is almost a given considering Twohy shot Pitch Black on a dime in Australia using colored filters. In Riddick the director distinguishes the film's different environments--the Necros' mothership Crematoria's cavernous prison and Helion--using warm to cool tones that are dazzling yet more subtle than its predecessor. The CGI effects get a little gamey at times but production designer Holger Gross' gargantuan sets are impressive and help craft Twohy's otherworldly vision into a plausible one. And although Twohy jumps genres from Pitch Black to its sequel his storyline evolves logically from the original premise. But while moviegoers unfamiliar with Pitch Black will be able to follow the story easily enough they may have a difficult time grasping what makes Riddick such a big deal; the film explains the legend but never fully captures its quintessence. This could hurt Riddick's chances to broaden its Pitch Black fan base.