Maxwell Smart, a highly intellectual but bumbling spy working for the CONTROL agency, is tasked with preventing a terrorist attack from rival spy agency KAOS. (IMDb)
A few standout funny bits (I nearly cried laughing at that perfect in-tree cameo), a few standout not-funny bits (the fat jokes and xenophobia didn’t sit well), but mostly just a breezy and easily-consumable action comedy with a unique lead (Carrell’s dry delivery really works well with a character that’s sometimes the butt of the jokes, and sometimes making the jokes), good central odd-couple chemistry, and solid action sequences. Bonus points for the pacifist conflict resolve on the rooftop.
In an alternate present-day version of Oakland, telemarketer Cassius Green discovers a magical key to professional success, propelling him into a universe of greed. (IMDb)
Its quirky exterior (love that soundtrack and those earrings) fits the story on first blush (the telemarketing bosses provide lots of laughs; Cassius is a loveable existence-pondering lead) but then through the indie candy coating burst some terrifying plot points (see the final riot through the crack) and provoking and poignant thoughts on capitalism and the normalizing of evil–all of it creating this quasi-surrealist sort of tone that’s highly discomforting in how ultimately real it feels.