Swanner and Judd talk about RuPaul; Top Chef; Schooled; Schitt’s Creek; The Grand Tour; Brooklyn 99; Fresh Off the Boat; Modern Family; The Conners; Orville; Future Man; Jockstrap: Love is the Key to the City; Glass.
Swanner: In 2000, M. Night Shyamalan wrote and directed a film called Unbreakable. It told the story of David Dunn (Bruce Willis), a man who was the sole survivor of a train crash. The film also followed the life of Elijah Price, a man with brittle bones. Both men are superhuman and polar opposites. In 2018, Shyamalan wrote and directed Split. In Split, James McAvoy plays Kevin Crumb, a kidnapper/murderer who suffers from multiple personality disorder . By the end of Split we realize that Crumb lives in the same city…the same world as Dunn, and Price, and is also superhuman.
Glass opens with Kevin and his 23 personalities holding four cheerleaders against their will, with Dunn trying capture him and free the girls. Unfortunately they are both caught and are held in an asylum. There they meet Dr. Ellie Staple (Sarah Paulson), who works with patients who think they are superheroes. They also discover that Price is being held there as well. Anyone who knows how comic book stories work knows one hero and two villains together is never a good thing. Expect chaos.
I found such joy at the end of Split, when Bruce Willis shows up letting the audience know we’re now watching film two of a trilogy. I also love seeing that Shyamalan still has his drive and talent to make movies that get him excited, but also get me excited. I hear people complain about the way he tells a story, because they are so used to getting cookie cutter plots that always lead to a safe predictable ending. Not with M. Night; if you’re not in full discussion mode on the way home, he hasn’t done his job. Making everything even more familiar, he has included the same actors playing the roles they created in the earlier films. Anye Taylor-Joy playing Casey, the girl that got away from Kevin; Spencer Treat Clark plays a grown up Joseph Dunn; and Charlayne Woodard is back to play Price’s mother. I was thoroughly entertained with Glass and look forward to where he’l take me next.
Swanner: 3 ½ stars
Swanner: VICE explores the epic story about how a bureaucratic Washington insider quietly became the most powerful man in the world as Vice-President to George W. Bush, reshaping the country and the globe in ways that we still feel today. Directed and written by the Adam McKay, who made us feel this way a few years a go when he made The Big Short.
As with The Big Short, you’re laughing as it feels like you’re being punched in the stomach. McKay is a genesis at telling you things that happened; things that very well may have ruined your life, and makes you laugh at a comedian telling an awful story, and you come to realize it’s mirroring your life.
Amy Adams, Steve Carell, Sam Rockwell, Allison Pill, and Lily Rabe make up the main circle of this fantastic cast, but Christian Bale is the star. Playing Dick Cheney, Christian Bale once again shows how an actor of his caliber likes to immerse himself into a role. There are moments where you completely forget Bale is Cheney, with his brilliant performance. You might not like what the movie says, but you can’t deny Bale’s sure to be Oscar nominated performance.
Swanner: 3 Stars
Swanner: Welcome to Marwen follows Mark Hogancamp (Steve Carell), a victim of a brutal beating by a group of young men. Left for dead, Mark regained his speech and his ability to walk but he has no memory of his life before the attack. Once a talented illustrator now he expresses his art with a camera as he uses dolls and miniature sets to heal.
Based on a true story, Oscar winning director Robert Zemeckis (Forrest Gump) and his co-writer Caroline Thompson (Nightmare Before Christmas) brings Mark’s story to life, both his real world but also the world that Mark has created to cope with the terror that still haunts him. In this special world we meet Hogie, a world war 2 hero, and his band of women that protect him. All the women are based on real life women that have helped Mark through his recovery.
Carell gives a lovely, vulnerable performance of this broken man. The rest of the cast is made up of Leslie Mann, Merritt Wever, Diane Kruger, and others playing both their real life characters and their animated selves. Welcome to Marwen is a wonderful little film that may be flawed, but it shows us a piece of this man’s life and his unique way of healing. I hope this sweet film finds it’s audience.
Swanner: 3 stars