Posts Tagged ‘Keegan-Michael Key’

Change is constant, if often unwelcome, for the characters in Mike Birbiglia’s moving comedy ‘Don’t Think Twice’

October 4, 2016

By Matthew E. Milliken
Oct. 4, 2016

Mike Birbiglia’s 2016 comedy Don’t Think Twice is a touching look at a troupe of improvisational comedians whose performances belie their resistance to change.

When the movie begins, most of the members of the Commune are content with their lot in life. Their New York City improv group is popular, they eke out enough money to afford the basics of life — with a major assist from their side jobs, or, in one case, from her wealthy parents — and they’re satisfied with the artistic purity of their spontaneous comedic stylings.

The dean of the group is in some ways the happiest of the lot. Miles (comedian and This American Life contributor Birbiglia, who also wrote and directed the picture) beds an endless progression of his 20-something improvisational-comedy students by rolling out an effortless, almost automatic patter. But he’s convinced himself that he was this close to getting a slot of the popular TV show Weekend Live, an obvious analog for Saturday Night Live. His repressed frustration boils over when Jack (Keegan-Michael Key of the brilliant sketch-comedy show Key & Peele) is invited for an audition and hired as a junior writer-performer for the program.

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Paradise and the apocalypse: Utopian visions in ‘Fury Road,’ ‘Tomorrowland’ and ‘Elysium’

June 8, 2015

By Matthew E. Milliken
June 8, 2015

After seeing Mad Max: Fury Road this week, I couldn’t help but be reminded of two other films that toy with the idea of utopia: Brad Bird’s recent movie, Tomorrowland, and Neill Blomkamp’s 2013 feature film, Elysium.

(Dear reader, please beware: There be spoilers ahead!)

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Brad Bird’s ‘Tomorrowland’ asks viewers to rally behind an optimistic, simplistic utopian concept

May 25, 2015

By Matthew E. Milliken
May 25, 2015

Brad Bird’s entertaining new movie, Tomorrowland, pits optimism vs. cynicism. Guess which wins?

Tomorrowland is a Hollywood movie, so the answer shouldn’t surprise you much. More specifically, it’s a Disney Studios movie based on a Disney theme park area, so the answer really shouldn’t surprise you.

When Frank Marshall (Thomas Robinson) was a child, a mysterious girl named Athena (Raffey Cassidy) spotted him at the 1964 World’s Fair in Flushing Meadows, New York. Athena handed Marshall a pin and told him to covertly follow her and her sourpuss adult associate, Nix (Hugh Laurie), into the It’s a Small World ride. He did so and was transported into a fantastic futuristic city…

…which the audience won’t get to revisit at length until the end of the movie. In the meantime, we’re introduced to Casey Newton, an optimistic present-day Florida teenager (Britt Robinson, playing about a decade younger than her 25 years). Her dad, Eddie Newton (Tim McGraw) is a NASA engineer who’s helping to dismantle launch pads. (Mom is out of the picture, although it’s never specified whether this is due to divorce, death or something else; her younger brother, Nate, is played by Pierce Gagnon, who has a chubby-cheeked visage that, confusingly, resembles Robinson’s.) Casey is a brilliant budding engineer in her own right who has hoped to travel to space since she was a very young child. She’s single-handedly determined to try to delay the demolition project until society gets its priorities straight.

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Two men enter. Hilarity ensues: A tribute to Key and Peele

September 28, 2013

By Matthew E. Milliken
Sept. 28, 2013

As I wrote last month, for years I have lived without a television in my various homes. And as I alluded to in that piece (without saying it explicitly), for years I went without watching much in the way of web video.

Why not? Well, there were various reasons. (There always are with me.) One was that during two lengthy periods from 2008 through 2011, as web video was really taking off, I didn’t have Internet available at home. Another was that my tentative experiments watching web videos weren’t very successful: For whatever reason, they just didn’t load or play very quickly on my Macintosh laptop.

My aversion to web videos started to change in mid-2012, after I got a tablet. Web videos still sometimes can take a second or so to load on the device, and occasionally the playback annoyingly stutters or pauses when it outpaces the download. But this seems to happen relatively infrequently with the tablet.

So I ended up spending time with the tablet’s YouTube application, finding videos that I liked and subscribing to the “channels” that purveyed those videos. While I branched out a bit, discovering the Crackle service, my preferences when watching videos on the tablet boil down to these characteristics: short and funny.

By short, I mean no more than five or six minutes (but not ultra-short, which I consider anything shorter than two minutes). By funny, I mean — well, take a look at the channels to which I’ve subscribed: College Humor. Funny or Die. How It Should Have Ended, whose humorous animated shorts improve on the endings of popular movies and video games. The Onion. Screen Junkies, who first drew my attention with their hilarious Honest Trailers. (Sample lines from their skewering of World War Z: “[A]nother zombie movie… But this time, it’s got Brad Pitt! Get ready for the big-screen adaptation of the best-selling novel that’s got everything you loved about…the title! And nothing else.”)

But that’s not all! Here are some of my other channel subscriptions: Sarah Silverman. Comediva, whose work puts female comedians front and center. Potter Puppet Pals, which spoofs the Harry Potter series. Rachel Does Stuff, which boasts singing, stand-up comedy and sketches from Rachel Bloom. 1A4Studio, which condenses popular films into hilarious one-minute animated “speedruns.” TransolarGalactica, which puts a darkly comedic spin on space opera.

Oh, and then there’s Comedy Central.

Which brings me to the point of this post — the confession that I must offer to ease my troubled soul. You see, my friends… My name is Matthew E. Milliken, and I have Key & Peele fever.

Who or what, you may ask, are Key and Peele? I’m glad you asked! Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele are comics who have an eponymous variety show airing Wednesdays at 10:30 p.m. ET on Comedy Central.

And did I mention that Key and Peele are downright hysterical? Because they are.

You may already know Key and Peele from their first East/West College Bowl skit, which lampooned the names of NCAA football players. Or perhaps you caught the duo in 2012 portraying President Obama and Luther, his “anger translator.” If comedic parodies of horror films that not-so-subtly comment on societal racism is your bag — that’s a well-established subgenre, right? — then perhaps you’ve seen Key and Peele’s “Suburban Zombies” sketch. Or maybe your passion for social justice and hiphop led you to see the pair’s Gandhi vs. Martin Luther King Jr. entry in the second season of the “Epic Rap Battles of History” web series.

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