Steve Dallas may have a high-flying career as a TV weather man, but it hasn't affected his feelings for his distinctly less successful best buddy Ben Baker. The pair have been joined at the hip since their childhood, despite their vast personal differences, so when Ben attempts to barge into the studio to speak to Steve, the latter is by his side immediately. Ben's father has passed away and thus needs someone around who understands him and who can pull him through one of the toughest times of his life. Things get complicated though when Mr Baker Sr.'s last will and testament requests Ben be the receiver of his house, business and estate. Unfortunately, though, Ben is less than up to the task of taking on the family business and so Steve helps him find a way to get him back on his feet emotionally.
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While this sibling comedy makes some sharp observations about the push and pull of family relationships, it's also one of those deliberately wacky movies that wears us out with nonstop gags that are utterly unconvincing. Filmmaker Todd Sklar is clearly more amused by letting each scene spiral out of control than by developing the characters into properly comical figures.
The story centres on brothers Dave and Jim (Rennie and Pumphrey). After their dad dies, the married and sensible Jim finds Dave naked and unconscious in a South Dakota teepee. An unapologetic slacker, Dave's relentless irresponsibility drives Jim crazy. But they need to travel to Branson, Missouri, to sort out the details of their father's lake house, which they've inherited. After a brief and chaotic road trip, they arrive to find the cabin in need of basic repairs. Working with their dad's agent Jon (Meloni), they decide to stick around and do the work themselves, hoping it might help them bond as brothers. If they don't kill each other first.
The film's improvisational style allows actors Rennie and Pumphrey to run wild with their characters, which means they have little consistency. We never quite believe them as brothers, mainly because Dave is simply too random and ridiculous for words. His antics mean that each scene feels like a contained sketch, disconnected from anything else, including reality. So even though the performances are strong, the film veers wildly from slapstick to emotion to absurd gross-out wackiness. And each moment these brothers are together feels like it will quickly descend into a fist fight.
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Clearly designed to be as grisly as humanly possible, this movie combines a brutal central character with a very flimsy premise. And the result is actually rather good fun simply because it's so over-the-top. While happily indulging in every gross-out cliche they can think of, the filmmakers may play it far too straight but they also give horror fans exactly what they want.
There's even the hint of a back-story, as an unnamed man (Evans) drives through the American Northwest with his reluctant girlfriend (Ramsey), who is furious over an affair he had. When they stop in a small town for the night, the televisions are full of stories about the hunt for kidnapped heiress Emma (Clemens). And they inadvertently become the target for a gang of violent burglars (Tergesen, Magyar, Olivo, Knapp and Clay) who have just killed an entire family. But the driver isn't a man to mess with, and when the thugs discover Emma hidden in his car, she warns them that he's a psychopathic maniac who won't leave any of them alive.
From here the movie essentially becomes an extreme slasher horror from the killer's perspective, as director Kitamura merrily indulges in the most grotesque torture and carnage he can think of. And it's so bloodthirsty that we can hardly stifle our laughter. There's also a level of soapy psychological tension to go along with the physical nastiness, which gives the actors something to work with. Evans prowls through each scene with unblinking ferocity, deploying whatever he finds on the gang's farm (oh look, a wood-chipper!). Meanwhile, the goons reply by having a vicious power struggle between Tergeson's cool-headed leader and Magyar's trigger-happy meathead.
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Pulling Strings touches on a sensitive issue in America: immigration, but puts a light-hearted spin on it, resulting in a hear-warming comedy with a romantic twist.
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Jaime Camil stars as the Mariachi band member desperately attempting to get a visa for his young daughter, while Laura Ramsey is the embassy representative in dire need of his help. And in steps Omar Chaparro as Camil's funny sidekick – Canicas - which translates to Marble.
Continue reading: Jaime Camil Is A Desperate Mariachi In 'Pulling Strings' [Trailer]
Alejandro Fernandez is a passionate Mexican Mariachi who loves entertaining the people of Mexico City almost as much as he loves his delightful young daughter. Life is tough as a single father barely scraping by on his earnings from singing, so when he attempts to obtain a visa for his daughter to visit family in the States, it's not surprising how swiftly he is turned away. However, he could be in for another chance when coincidentally he and his best friend Canicas land a gig at the promotion party of Rachel; the woman who rejected his visa application. When she winds up getting inebriated to the point of falling asleep in a bus shelter, Alejandro helps her home where she discovers that she has lost her boss' very important laptop that was entrusted to her. Alejandro decides to prove he deserves the visa by helping her track down the machine, while finding more than just a friend in her along the way.
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Johnny Marco is content living the rock'n'roll dream, he lives at Chateau Marmont, is entertained by lots of ladies, his bathroom cabinets are filled with a selection of pills and he drives his Ferrari without much concern. He's one of the bad boys of Hollywood and the press love it.
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Steve Dallas may have a high-flying career as a TV weather man, but it hasn't...
While this sibling comedy makes some sharp observations about the push and pull of family...
Clearly designed to be as grisly as humanly possible, this movie combines a brutal central...
Alejandro Fernandez is a passionate Mexican Mariachi who loves entertaining the people of Mexico City...
Johnny Marco is content living the rock'n'roll dream, he lives at Chateau Marmont, is entertained...
Privilege and beauty abound at Spenser Academy, a New England boarding school for the region's...