Friday, April 25, 2014

Paul Middleditch/Chris Matheson's RAPTURE-PALOOZA: at last, a rapture movie for atheists!

TrustMovies is not absolutely sure why this funny, charming, raunchy-as-hell and irreverent (in the best way) movie about what happens after the rapture didn't get more notice when it arrived in a few theaters (June 2013, the same month as that other, bigger rapture movie, This Is the End, appeared). Perhaps because this is actually the better film. Unlike This Is the End -- which wants to have it both ways, making fun of The Rapture but of course believing in it, too, by having its characters try to get raptured themselves -- RAPTURE-PALOOZA, casts a dry eye on the whole Christian religion thing and comes up with its own smart, funny method of handling fundamentalism. I can understand why this film was undoubtedly not released in the USA's southern regions. Angry audiences might have burned down the theaters that dared to screen it.

But now -- because the film is available via Netflix streaming -- you can laugh your socks off, even as you are just a tad amazed at what the movie-makers get away with. Yikes! Writer Chris Matheson and director Paul Middleditch (shown at right) have done such clever stuff here -- some of it silly, foolish but awfully funny, other of it surprisingly flat-out raunchy -- that those of us who dearly wish that the great majority of the world's population did not insist on worshiping some wish-fulfillment deity can only bow our heads in gratitude to the smart and smart-assed pair.

The fun begins at once, as The Rapture, as seen here, uses the smallest of special effects, and manages to make all other movies on the subject seem like pikers (even with the vast special effects of This Is the End, what these two do beats all). The movie is narrated and stars one of Hollywood's quietest and least "showy" young actresses, Anna Kendrick, above, who doubles as a kind of stealth missle here. She has the aspect and affect of a valley girl, Seattle style, underneath which resides a depth of pure smarts.

Her antagonist in the film is played by Craig Robinson (yes, the same actor also starred in This Is the End: Careful, Craig, you're going to become the go-to guy for Rapture movies), who is hilarious holding up the raunchy end of the film. His piano/sex serenade to Ms Kendrick is one for the books. Robinson plays the AntiChrist come to big, Black life, and he is wonderful --funny, smarmy and double-dense in the role. People have cried racism here, but as Robinson also Executive-Produced the movie, I don't think so. "The Beast," the name that this character insists on calling himself, is a terrific role, and Robinson runs with it and scores big.

Ms Kendrick's boyfriend, Ben, is played by a fellow named John Francis Daley, above, right, who is fine, but the movie belongs to Kendrick and Robinson. In the supporting cast are the likes of Rob Corddry (at left, below) and Ana Gasteyer, playing parents of our hero and heroine, and both are their usually excellent selves. Ms Gasteyer, as a mother who was raptured and then sent back (finding out why provides yet another funny scene) is particularly hilarious.

You may think you'll know where the movie is going, so let me warn you: You don't.  It simply keeps growing more irreverent and funny, and when Kendrick finally announces, "No one is in charge, so let's act like adults," the irreligious among us will be whooping out a cheer.

Don't let this one get by you. You can view Rapture-Palooza -- from Lionsgate and running 85 minutes --  now via Netflix Streaming, Amazon Instant Video and on DVD.

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