Amiable, very Jim Jarmuschian dead-pan zombie comedy The Dead Don’t Die is held together almost entirely by the warm interplay between Bill Murray and Adam Driver as a couple of small-town cops dealing with the undead rising. Tilda Swinton is also a delight in an almost entirely physical performance. Loads of other terrific indie-centric actors – Steve Buscemi, Tom Waits, Danny Glover, Caleb Landry Jones, Chloë Sevigny – play small parts (none smaller nor more perfect than Carol Kane’s), seem to be having a lark, and probably did it for one. There are clear but never on-the-nose reverberations with the Trump presidency and all the madness it entails, the zombie apocalypse being a manifestation of a world that is so upset, it’s “not going to end well” (as Driver’s character insists throughout the film). Fun. * * *
Also kind of fun is Good Boys, which follows three twelve year old boys as they try and prepare to go to a “kissing party.” Terrified, they aim to self-educate by watching porn, using a drone to spy on older kids, and other methods, all of which comedically misfire (of course), sending them on further misadventures. The kids’ charm, the script’s inherent nostalgic value (it’s basically a remake of producer Seth Rogan and Evan Goldberg’s 2007 breakthrough Superbad, with younger kids) and a hefty dose of good will provide the film’s value, rather than any particularly brilliant gags. It’ll give you a smile and then you’ll forget you ever saw it. * * 1/2
Truly fun, and laugh-out loud funny on many occasions, is Netflix’s compact original movie Between so Ferns: The Movie. Zach Galifianakis’s strange, unsettling talk show Between Two Ferns produced 22 episodes on Funny Or Die Between 2008 and 2018; this hilarious mockumentary, directed by the show’s creator Scott Aukerman, offers us a glimpse “behind the scenes” of the show’s production and then sends Zach, his small crew, and us on a road trip to tape more episodes in order to appease his corporate overlord Will Ferrell (who really does own Funny Or Die). Hilarious, and you don’t need to be a fan of the original show, although Galifianakis is definitely an acquired taste. * * * 1/2
There is no reason to watch The Masked Singer (Network 10), a Korean competition format that has been replicated around the world and now arrives in Australia losing many, many things in translation, including any sense of integrity. Among the many disastrous elements of the show, perhaps the worst is the enforced and completely unbelievable pretence of gaiety, enthusiasm, passion and commitment emanating like childish playacting from the host and four “judges”. Watching them pretend that any of this is actually worthwhile is like watching starving puppies being forced to jump for a fake sausage dangling on a string.