Podcast: SJ 190: Walking Dead; Fear the Walking Dead; Alex Inc; Crazyhead; Easy; Roseanne; I Feel Pretty

White Background LogoSwanner and Judd talk about Walking Dead; Fear the Walking Dead; Alex Inc; Crazyhead; Easy; Roseanne; I Feel Pretty.

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I Feel Pretty

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Swanner: In I Feel Pretty, Amy Schumer plays Renee, a big girl whose one wish is to be beautiful in the eyes of all that see her. During a spinning class, Renee has an accident where she hits her head. After she wakes she only sees herself as beautiful. Renee is so confident with herself that she asks men for their numbers and even applies for a receptionist position at a cosmetics company.  Abby Kohn and Marc Silverstein wrote and directed this uneven comedy.

Judd: I went in with an open mind, not knowing what to expect. Schumer is known for her very R-Rated comedy, so how that was going to be made PG-13 was a curiosity. It worked, and the core of Schumer’s humor is there, but as Tom mentioned the movie is extremely uneven. There were times where it felt like I should have been laughing at Renee instead of with Renee. Compounding the unevenness was the obviously shoestring budget, as well and Kohn and Silverstein’s lack of experience behind the camera.

Swanner: I did find myself laughing at the awful way people were treating the character but then I figured they wanted me to laugh so I’d learn my lesson in the end. It didn’t work. You can still enjoy the film even if you’re not a shamer. We watch it a different way. We are the big girls, so Amy becomes our hero and not butt of the joke. I think they could have been more original with the film but they decided to say “She’s watching Big and we’re stealing from it. 

Judd: Wait a minute, who is is “we”? I am a dainty little flower! The movie is extremely preachy, especially toward the end, but I knew that going into it. I applaud Schumer for what she did, and she provided some impressive turns. The weakest link in the movie are Kohn and Silverstein. Some of the choices they made brought everyone down with them. The cinematography was terrible, and it was done by Florian Ballhaus who has a rather impressive resume. 

Swanner: It’s not the best “Girl Power” movie but the fact that it exists is what’s important. Women (and I) don’t get enough movies made for us about us. So, when one does I’m really happy to see it. Just like when movies like Girls Trip or Bad Moms come out, we get a glut of copycats. Hollywood, don’t fuck up the chance to get good, funny and exciting films about women just to cash in on a trend. Women aren’t a trend, they’re a majority of the population. 

Swanner: 2 stars
Judd: 1 Star

Rampage

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Swanner: Rampage follows Davis Okaya (Dwayne Johnson) who is a Primatologist who has a bond with a rare white gorilla named George. After an explosion of a spacecraft during reentry in the earth’s atmosphere, a scientific experiment ends up in George’s area and he becomes infected with a gas that causes quick development and unmeasured rage. Two other parts of the experiment end up infecting a wolf and an alligator. The experiment was from a company who is illegally developing this as a weapon that could be used later for the military.

Right away, based on the dialog, you realize this film was made to appeal to a younger crowd. There are prat falls and silly one liners that you expect more in a Schwartzenegger film than one from Johnson. Knowing Brad Peyton was directing made me hope for more of what we got from San Andreas, but they went in a different direction. Once I got used to the silliness, I enjoyed the film more. Since we’re being silly, it came as no wonder that the villains were extra evil. Malin Akerman continues to know how to bring the bitch to a role and Jake Lacey plays her dumb brother/hench man.

The rest of the cast is good with Jeffrey Dean Morgan (Walking Dead) playing a good ole boy federal agent that knows Okoye knows what he’s doing, along with Naomie Harris (Moonlight) who plays the doctor who can stop the creatures. The film feels a lot like the old creature movies from the 60’s: lots of disruction and cool monsters. The special effects are good, and watching Chicago get torn apart again is done very well. The scares are here, but they’re never too scary. I’d call this a good family film, but when you have a giant gorilla giving the lead actor the finger through most of the movie…you just never know.

Swanner 2 1/2 stars

A Quiet Place

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Swanner: John Krasinski directs and stars in this horror film about a family is forced to live in silence as they as hunted by creatures that hunt by sound. The film opens with a family looking for antibiotics for a sick child in an abandoned store. We know something terrible has happened and get hints of this from newspapers still in their stands. All the members of the family are barefoot to keep from making noises. After leaving the store something horrific happens letting the audience know what the family and the world are dealing with. 

Judd: The cast is rounded out by Emily Blunt, Noah Jupe, and Millicent Simmonds. Simmonds plays the family’s deaf daughter and is deaf in real life. How that fact comes into play in the movie isn’t addressed until the third or fourth hour mark. I can’t remember because I was so bored.

Swanner: The movie runs 90 minutes and it moves very well considering there is very little dialog, so to your snarky comments I say shhhh! The creatures have a bat shape to them with a head that resemble the carpels of a flower. I like the way we get some idea of what happened by the tear out from newspapers. Krasinski also wrote the script with Bryan Woods and Scott Beck. As much as I liked the script, there are some big holes in it.

Judd: You mean like how the family is inexplicably barefoot throughout the movie, until it becomes a plot point? They’re called “sneakers” for a reason! Or how the family builds a soundproof basement, but they don’t use it until it’s too late? Or how they had all this electrical equipment that must have run on a super-silent generator? Or how Emily Blunt is 10 months pregnant, because, apparently, while they were getting antibiotics at the pharmacy, they forgot to pick up some rubbers? (Pulling out isn’t an option?) Half way through I thought to myself, “I haven’t seen a movie this awful since ‘It Comes at Night’.”

Swanner: This movie only similarity to the truly awful “It Comes at Night” is that there is a family hiding in woods. I agree with you on all of the points dealing with the plot holes. I can forgive all of them but the getting pregnant. I get that the film is trying to scare us but making us realize how sound plays such a big part our lives, and what it would be to live silently, or worse, giving birth silently. Still… A baby! I wanted to yell at the screen, but I was afraid to make a noise. All that being said, I really did like the movie. It was short and I was scared. I thought the acting was good and I actually cared if the family survived. Not the greatest movie, but a pretty scary one.

Judd: I’m tired of these exercises in existentialism masquerading as a horror movies. At the very least A Quiet Place is a short creature feature that actually gives us a creature, but I have no interest in watching the victims deal with the tedium of day to day living. I prefer my horror movies bloody and action packed, not survivalist documentaries.

Swanner: 2 ½ stars
Judd: ½ star

Pacific Rim: Up Rising

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Swanner: Pacific Rim: Uprising takes place years after the Kaiju had been stopped and the opening deep in the Pacific had been closed. In preparation that one day they could return, Jaeger pilots are being trained and drone versions of Jaegers are being built. At the drone unveiling in Sydney, a rogue Jaeger appears and makes the world realize this war is far from over. The film focuses on the new jaeger pilot recruits who will risk their lives to save our world. Steven S. DeKnight makes his theatrical directorial debut.

Judd: The first movie was directed by Guillermo Del Toro, as as such was full of the gorgeous detail that he brings to all his movies. Direction this time around was provided by Steven DeKnight, but Del Toro is still working behind the scenes to make sure the movie looks as good as the first. The strengths of the first are still there, fantastic action sequences, wonderful set pieces, and cinematography that Michael Bay could take a lesson from. However, the movie hits the sophomore slump with the characters. It took me almost half the movie to warm up to our hero, Jake, played by John Boyega.

Swanner: I thought all the characters were your basic, by-the-book, angsty kids that ultimately save the world. Besides the terrific cinematography, Michael Bay can learn a lot of lessons from this these films like how to keep an audience interested in the story, and keeping a running time under two hours. I was a bit disappointed that it took as long as it did to get some monsters. Once the third act starts, we get full time monsters. That being said, the first two acts still held my interest enough that I was trying to figure the twists that were up coming. It was nice having Burn Gorman and Charlie Day back from the original film to add funny into the already campy film.

Judd: I agree the script was decent for this kind of movie, as were the performances and direction. This is DeKnight’s first time writing directing a major motion picture, though he did have experience with the Starz original Spartacus: Gods of the Arena and War of the Damned. The movie runs one hour and 50 minutes, but I don’t think it felt overly long, and it helps that there are probably edit-credits scenes that you and I skipped out on.

Swanner: I like that everyone associated with the film understands that these films are a reinvention of the Asian monster movies. It’s all about the fun of the story and that the good guy must win in the end. Collateral damage is never taken into consideration either. If you don’t know by now how to run away from a monster after all this time, it’s your own fault.  The film isn’t as good as the first film, but it’s still better than most, if not all, of the Transformer movies.

Swanner: 3 stars
Judd: 3 stars