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Humor site review: Weird, cranky ghost world for comic fans

Because comic books are now inspiring many globally popular movies and TV shows, it’s easy to forget that the original average comic book issues, most commonly found at specialty stores – are still a relatively relevant concern. That’s especially true for off-axis Marvel/DC superhero titles, and more so for animators whose work is inspired by R. Crumb or Carl Barks than Stan Lee or Jack Kirby.

Owen Kline’s Memorable, Sometimes Hilarious Movie Funny page understand this to a degree where it is not obvious that the film is set immediately. Robert (Daniel Zolghadri) is a New Jersey teenager obsessed with being a professional comics creator, and the comic book store he hangs out in and works part-time isn’t a shadowy monument. Leverage the latest premium superhero collections and gripping graphic novels. It’s tedious, filled with haphazardly storied back issues, and is teeming with fans (and often disgruntled), aspiring artists, and weirdos. (One of them is played by former MTV comedian Andy Milonakis.)

Robert’s high school art teacher and mentor is such an underground matching aficionado that he looks as if he’s crawled straight out of a sketchbook and into the flesh. When Robert loses this leading character early in the film, he becomes even more disillusioned with his squalid suburban lifestyle and decides to strike out on his own. He leaves home, gets the best living situation he can afford (sharing an illegal basement apartment with two adult men), and takes a record-breaking part-time job. copy for a local disregarded public defender. That’s how he met Wallace (Our flag means death star Matthew Maher), a seemingly unbalanced crank, who was charged in a case he flipped out at a pharmacy near his home.

Wallace has a dual passion for Robert. Like so many other characters in the movie, he looks like a living caricature, like someone from a Daniel Clowes comic book. More surprisingly, Wallace worked in comic books; he was the colorist for the company’s ’90s-era image of high-flying superheroes. Seeking both authenticity and, paradoxically, some sort of industry connection, Robert looked at Wallace. Making friends with him should be easy – Wallace needs money, a ride, and what seems like emotional support. But he assures that the process does not go smoothly.

Writer-director Owen Kline has good reason to know about developing a unique, out-of-the-ordinary artistic sensibility while attempting to strip the respect of the elite. He is the son of actors Kevin Kline and Phoebe Cates, and he played the younger brother in Noah Baumbach’s 2005 film. Squid and whale. Now, his first film as a writer-director will premiere through reputable distributor A24, as the refurbished mode cycle is beginning. But to whatever extent Kline has leveraged his industry connections, he has used them to create something both shabby and rough, shooting on a grainy 16mm screen and delivering attractive roles for actors who don’t look like overly polished movie stars.

Robert and a friend stand at the door where a third man cautiously looks out in Funny Pages

Photo: A24

Kline cited the influence of mumblecore/indie movies as Frownland from Ronald Bronstein, who went on to co-write the film with the Safdie brothers (Uncut Gems) – who in turn produced Funny page. There are definitely aspects of Funny page recall the tension of Safdie-led comic book nightmares like Uncut Gems or Good times, especially when the film reaches its climax. The chaos is filmed on a handheld, the chaos that sometimes comes with knocks and interruptions, with violent outbursts that make you feel compulsive and more in line with crime-oriented Safdie films. that offense.

However, fans of the comic book-to-movie adaptation can see Funny page like more The world of ghosts, Daniel Clowes’ film adaptation also features a character who is fascinated by the quirks (and potential artistic inspiration) around her. (Clowes is not registered.) Funny page; The characters are so richly imagined that it’s easy to extrapolate that Robert, a huge fan of Peter Bagge, might find Clowes’ work too respectable or intellectual compared to his heroes. )

Robert doesn’t have the same teenage pain of loss as Enid in The world of ghosts. He’s more like a child in his head than a young person plagued with trespassing on consumer adulthood. It was the wretchedness of Robert’s incorrect friendship with Wallace that gave rise to some of the tireless dark comedic energy created between Thora Birch and Steve Buscemi in The world of ghostsRight down the older person discovers a half-loving, half-cruel drawing of themselves made by the younger (though, okay, no sexual tension).

Robert (Daniel Zolghardi) looks over his shoulder Wallace (Matthew Maher) at his drafting table in Funny Pages

Photo: A24

And like Buscemi in The world of ghosts, Matthew Maher is a longtime character actor who has the space to more fully express his smaller parts. He’s clearly a favorite with many filmmakers, having made films for Ben Affleck, Kevin Smith, Noah Baumbach, and the Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck duo (including a part in the film). Captain Marvel, as the Skrull Norex Science Officer). There was a strange thrill of realizing that this time he was going to be the leader. Maher’s piercing eyes recall a gentler version of Marty Feldman, and he gives Wallace a nervous, nervous energy that’s made hilarious by his outbursts of frustration. . The best of these expose Robert’s esoteric love for age-old strips of talking animals, and the excessive obscenity doesn’t particularly suit Wallace’s tastes. Maher has a great way of making Wallace sound both impossible and plausible in a single scene.

Kline’s movies work best when it blurs the line between the people of a nerd subculture and their obsessive style. Kline seemed to enjoy inventing objects that were too perfect for Robert’s senses, like the strange, sweaty roommates in the overheated house he used to call home. As the film tries to give Robert more of a coming-of-age calculus, it seems like it’s skipped a step or two, ending on a contemplative note that doesn’t feel fully earned. That’s a pitfall of the admirable 86-minute runtime. But in a cultural context where even superhero satires can feel obvious and over-produced, Funny page provides a much-needed reminder that for many people, comic books are a beautiful, haunting dead end.

Funny Pages hits theaters and on demand on Friday, August 26.

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