Nights in Rodanthe/Choke


Official Sites: nightsinrodanthe.warnerbros.com foxsearchlight.com/choke

Swanner: There are so many movies coming out this week that Brian and I had to see different films so we could cover most of them. I went to see the romantic movie Nights in Rodanthe while Brian went to see the indie Choke. Rodanthe tells the story of two miserable people who meet in a beach hotel during a hurricane…no I’m not making this up. Richard Gere plays a doctor who is miserable after one of his patients dies during a simple surgery and Diane Lane (who still looks amazing) is miserable because her cheating ex-husband wants to come back. Chris Meloni plays the cheating husband who wears way to many cloths if you asked me.

Judd A romance film starring Lane and Gere—I’m about to get sick. Choke is a dark comedy starring Sam Rockwell and Anjelica Huston—I LOVE her. It’s about a man with a sex addiction who’s mentally ill mother tells him that his absent father wasn’t really a Tourette’s inflicted traveling salesman. Why is the movie titled Choke? Because Rockwell supplements his income to pay for his mother’s healthcare by going to fancy restaurants and choking on his food.

Swanner: That’s really the story? I’m so sorry I missed that one (not really). I have to admit that my movie was just okay. I mean it’s well made and acted but I don’t think this movie was made for me. This has to be the biggest chick flick I’ve ever seen. I’m serious here. This movie makes Mamma Mia feel like an action film. I don’t want to give anything away but just when you think these people lives couldn’t be any more miserable…they find a way. As I was leaving the theatre all these women were crying and all the men were racing to the car. At one point my nipples started to hurt from the estrogen overload I was experiencing.

Judd: I thought Rodanthe would be right up your alley and you’re telling me it was too girly? I’m amazed. Choke, on the other hand, was better than I hoped. It is based on the book written by Chuck Palahniuk, author of Fight Club. The performances were excellent, especially Huston. The movie switches back and forth between now and 1980-something to show brief flashbacks of the main character’s childhood. So Huston gets to play a senile old lady and a crazy mother who continually kidnaps her child from his foster parents.

Swanner: Mine was written by Nicholas Sparks, who has been jerking tears for years with books like The Notebook and Message in a Bottle. You know the more I talk about this movie the more I don’t like it. The ending was way to miserable for me…at one point I wanted to scream “enough already”. For what it’s worth, I never want to see this movie again.

Judd Wow, I thought for sure that you’d be gushing and swooning over Rodanthe. Maybe there’s hope for you yet. Maybe those trace amounts of testosterone left in your system is enough to keep you from completely switching over. I’m proud of you. Choke has an excellent script and is very well acted. I would definitely recommend it to anyone who likes weird, comical, indie flicks where story and high caliber acting are the draw. I can’t want to own this on blu ray.

Rodanthe: 2 Stars
Choke: 4 Stars

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Eagle Eye

Official Site: EagleEyeMovie.com

Swanner: Brian and I saw Eagle Eye last night but I had a hell of a time trying to, in a few sentences, explain the story. So I borrowed this right from IMDB.com…it explains it much better than I could. Jerry Shaw (Shia LaBeouf) and Rachel Holloman (Michelle Monaghan) are two strangers thrown together by a mysterious phone call from a woman they have never met. Threatening their lives and family, she pushes Jerry and Rachel into a series of increasingly dangerous situation, using the technology of everyday life to track and control their every move. As the situation escalates, these two ordinary people become the country’s most wanted fugitives, who must work together to discover what is really happening -– and more importantly, why.

Judd: It sounds much more complex than it was. In fact when all is said and done, the movie was dumb. Real dumb. Was it bad? No. It was fast paced and action packed right from the beginning. Let’s not forget to mention Billy Bob Thornton as and FBI agent investigating Shaw and Holloman’s terrorist actions and Rosario Dawson as an Air Force agent doing the same. Then, for a dash of credibility, there was Michael Chiklis as…it didn’t matter. Trust me, it really didn’t.

Swanner: It’s all about the chase. Of course the storyline is ridiculous but it’s all about the popcorn movie here. The movie was a mix of Wargames meets Live Free or Die Hard. This was high adrenaline nonstop craziness. I really had to use the boys’ room but there really wasn’t a moment I could get up. The budget on this film was $105 million dollars and you see every dime on the screen. Did I mention that LaBeouf plays twins in the film…I’ll stop there so I don’t come off too creepy.

Judd: You forgot to mention one of the twins is dead, you necrophiliac! It’s not like Shia pulled a Haley Mills and sang “Let’s get together, yeah, yeah, yeah” in tandem with himself. You just went above and beyond creepy. Anyway, I agree that this was complete brain dead popcorn movie. The big reveal comes about half way through the film and it’s completely unbelievable, but it’s not so bad you want to throw something at the screen. Billy Bob’s character is a lot of fun as well. He’s got a lot of great lines, and it’s nice to see him playing character this isn’t drunk, misogynistic, or womanizing.

Swanner: You are really disturbed. What you won’t say to discredit me…sad, sad man. I thought the acting was all good, which you can never count on in an action film. I did like that the film questions the way the government has been doing business and it should be a propaganda film on why the Patriot Act is a very bad thing. Overall, I really enjoyed the movie for the big action ball of fluff it is and I think it’s going to make a lot of money.

Judd: I was a little disappointed in the ending, but then the majority of America doesn’t cheer for Armageddon the way I do – outside of bunker-dwelling religious whackos. If two hours of superbly choreographed car chases sound like your thing, you’re going to love Eagle Eye.

Swanner: 3 1/2 Stars
Judd: 3 Stars

Ghost Town

Official Site: ghosttownmovie.com
Rated: PG-13 for some strong language, sexual humor and drug references

Swanner: Ricky Gervais plays Bertram Pincus D.D.S., a very sad and unhappy dentist. Actually he thinks he’s very happy hating all people…very much like Brian. One day he’s getting a colonoscopy and dies for seven minutes. Now that he’s had this near death experience he can hear and see the dead. He’s haunted by spirits who walk the streets waiting to resolve something that was left undone in their lives. The problem is that Dr Pincus hates the dead more than he hates the living. This is a romantic comedy about learning what’s important in life…did Brian learn anything?

Judd: I didn’t like the way everyone called Dr. Pincus sad and unhappy. He never said he was sad and unhappy. Why can’t a person who detests humanity be happy? Huh? Why not? People just assume he’s unhappy just because he doesn’t take pleasure out of trivial human interaction. Maybe he’s an introvert and socializing exhausts him. Maybe he has more important things to think about that cluttering up his mind with facts about other people isn’t a priority. Maybe he likes peace and solitude. Or maybe he doesn’t want to waste his time on idiots.

Swanner: Okay…I know we all believe that. More on the plot, Greg Kinnear is a ghost that doesn’t want his wife (Tea Leoni) to marry her new boyfriend so he gets Pincus to some how end the relationship. Of course, being a romantic comedy, our unhappy dentist friend falls for Kinnear’s wife and hilarity ensues. I thought it was really well paced and the comedy was there and working. This was a great piece for Ricky Gervais to show off his talent. I like that he’s not your standard leading man and it’s always good to see Kinnear and Leoni back on the big screen.

Judd: It was a good movie, and if I’m calling a romantic comedy good, you know it’s got to be good. I thought the writing was brilliant, the acting was great and the story was good up to the point where the mushy romcom claptrap started kicking in. The directing, on the other hand, wasn’t so great. Throughout the whole movie Gervais is talking to Kinnear and various other ghosts, and not once did we get the standard reaction shot from people on the street. It was almost like it was deliberately avoided.

Swanner: What are you talking about? The doorman, the bartender, the receptionist, not to mention that in New York if you see a man walking down the street talking to himself is just another day in the big apple. I thought it was a nice romantic comedy because it was about adults; the cast was all in their forties. Isn’t that refreshing? The script was really good and I laughed a lot.

Judd: The director (also writer) never gave us the shot of Gervais arguing with thin air for the big Ha-Ha. I feel a little cheated. As far as the middle-aged cast goes, I thought it was great. Ghost Town doesn’t play the way movies with similar casts play. Tea isn’t a frumpy divorcee whose grown daughter wants her to find a man. And Gervais isn’t a really great man in perfect physical shape with a great job, who’s finally gotten over his dead wife. It really shakes up things up, which is why I liked it. However, I did think their chemistry came on a bit too quick, and that ending was a little too happy.

Swanner: It’s a romantic comedy…it has to end happy. If it ended sad it’s called your life. I hope this film does well because I’d like to see more romantic movies made for our generation.

Judd: OUR GENERATION!?!?! Screw you, pops! I am but a mere babe compared to your advanced years.

Swanner: 3 1/2 Stars
Judd: 3 Stars

Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist

sonypictures.com/movies/nickandnorah

Swanner: Nick is the bassist for a band called the Jerk Off’s and Norah is best friend of the “drunk girl”. One night they meet when all the really cool kids are trying to figure out where the band The Fluffys will be playing in New York. This is not your average let’s stay out all night and get drunk movie. There is a really sweet center to this film that has the audience rooting that Nick and Norah will realize just how perfect they are for each other.

Judd: I hated it. The only decent moment was the 20 second Dusty Springfield snippet they played. N&N was full of unlikable 17 year olds whom obviously had no parents, acting like 27 year olds, listening to really shitty music – minus Miss Springfield, of course. Michael Cera plays his same nervous nerd character from Juno, Superbad, and Arrested Development. Newcomer Kat Dennings plays Norah, the hip misfit – think Janeane Garofalo 15 years ago.

Swanner: I really liked the movie a lot. The only characters I disliked were the unlikable characters but I still thought all the characters were rich and fresh. I did notice that Michael Cera did play his regular character but he does play it well and Kat Dennings is such a pleasure to watch. I loved her in everything I’ve seen her in and comparing her to Janeane Garofalo is such the compliment. The music was appropriate and some of it was really good…when did you become 70 years old?

Judd: Bah! Maybe if the characters were older I would have liked it better. I have a hard time believing 17 year olds traipsing around Manhattan until 5 o’clock in the morning, getting into bars and drinking. It was like High School Musical meets Sex and The City. It was like seeing Dakota Fanning wearing a $500 cocktail dress and 4” F*ck Me Pumps. If they were 22, 23 it would have been a little easier to digest. But then of course we could have never had that “what are you doing after graduation?” moment.

Swanner: Just because you were never the cool kid doesn’t mean you should hate at those of us who were funny and cool in high school. Some of us did talk cool and stay out till dawn. I might not have been hunting down a band but I was out getting in trouble and having a hell of a good time doing it. I did want to mention that they had three gay characters and they weren’t suicidal or angsty.

Judd: OH PLEASE! You are the Queen of Tween Screen because it allows you to pretend to hang with the cool kids without being made fun of. Zac Efron isn’t going to say anything rude about you through the TV! Anyway… I’ll agree that it was nice to have gay characters that were treated like people, not GAY people. I will also say that I thought the cast was really, really diverse without feeling like anyone was a token.

Swanner: Stop with the hating. I know you’re envious of me but that doesn’t mean you have to make fun of me to make you feel better about your life (sad and depressing as it is). Today I’m here to talk about a wonderful movie that actually has positive role models for today’s youth. I think if there was an angsty wall flower who never had any friends you might have had someone to relate to in the movie…I understand and forgive.

Judd: Since when are drunks and whores role models for teenagers? Of course they had to make a point that Nick and Norah are “straight edge” though Evan, I mean Nick, doesn’t like to be labeled. Nick and Norah is a slightly better than average teenage romantic comedy, given that most of them are absolute dreck, with unbelievable characters and plot. Definitely not worth the price of a ticket.

Swanner: 3 ½ Stars
Judd: 1 ½ Stars

Burn After reading

Official Site: www.burnafterreading.com
Rated: R for pervasive language, some sexual content and violence

Judd: George Clooney, Frances McDormand, Brad Pitt, John Malkovich, Tilda Swinton – Holy shit! Talk about a cast! Thrown in the Cohen Brothers and you’ve got gold! Or do you? Burn After Reading is the latest Cohen Brothers offering and signals the welcome return of heavier, well-developed movies after suffering through the end of summer cluster fuck.

Swanner: Look who’s the dirty mouth today. That’s not to say you aren’t correct but still…what about the children? It’s also nice to see the Cohen Brothers back to doing a screwball comedy. The storyline has so many twists and turns that trying to explain it would be almost impossible but worse I’d have to give too much away. Let me just say that it full of selfish, self-centered, superficial idiots…and it was a joy watching them screw up each others lives.

Judd: My language isn’t any dirtier than the language they used in the movie. I wouldn’t call this a screwball comedy, it’s more of a spy dramady, I guess you could say. I was expecting something along the lines of O Brother Where Art Thou and I was delivered a mix between Fargo and No Country For Old Men. The characters are very goofy and fun, but they are put into some very serious situations. It’s a nice contrast, but I felt that some scenes were too serious. Also, I did not like John Malkovich. I don’t know if it was him or his character that irritated me.

Swanner: I’m always irritated by John Malkovich but I did like him better in this than I normally do. I felt the movie was moving more towards Raising Arizona. There were some serious situations but I never felt it was handled to seriously. I thought the rest of the performances were really good. I especially liked David Rasche and J.K. Simmons who play a couple CIA suits who make quips thought out the film on the stupidity of the other characters.

Judd: I’m glad that you agree with me on the Malkovich thing. He really, really irritated me and the first third of the movie is devoted to him. He gets fired for having a drinking problem and this is what sets the film in motion. I was having fun with McDormand as an aging woman obsessed with plastic surgery, Pitt as an idiot pretty boy and Clooney as a sex obsessed adulterer, but every time the movie went back to Malkovich I was instantly annoyed.

Swanner: I have learned over the years to ignore him in films. It usually works as long as he’s not in a period piece where everyone looks great and there is Malkovich looking like I actor in a costume. I don’t know why Hollywood likes him so much. Overall, I had a good time and laughed a lot. It is a film for adults but then again I don’t think kids would be too interested anyway.

Judd: This is a movie I’ll have to watch again to get an accurate feel for. The beginning is a little slow – blame it on Malkovich – but the last 45 minutes are balls to the wall fast. The story is good, the characters are great, but I didn’t like the movie as much as I wanted to. It is definitely an R rated film. The language is fuck this and fuck that, and there is a fair amount of violence. We’ll have to revisit this when it comes out on blu ray and see if I like it more or less than I do now.

Swanner: 3 1/2 Stars
Judd: 3 Stars

Disaster Movie

Official Site: disastermovie.net
Rated: PG-13 for crude and sexual content throughout, language, drug references and comic violence.

Swanner: I didn’t know how to describe Disaster Movie so I stole this straight from IMDB. “Over the course of one evening, an unsuspecting group of twenty-something’s find themselves bombarded by a series of natural disasters and catastrophic events”. Were they referring to the audience? I mean neither of us are 20-somethings but I did feel I was bombarded by a series of natural disasters and catastrophic events.

Judd: Friedberg and Seltzer. That’s all I have to say. They prey on the weak and stupid. They are responsible for the decline of civilization. They are responsible for Disaster Movie, Meet the Spartans and every other horrifically executed spoof movie since Scary Movie 3. They’re worse than Uwe Boll. They’re worse than Ed Wood. They are even worse than M Knight Shyamalan.

Swanner: Is it really them or is it the audience that will shell out $10 to see such crap. Meet the Spartans made 38 million dollars, Epic Movie made 39 million dollars and Scary Movie 4 made 90 million dollars. Friedberg and Seltzer may be the dealers but the idiots like ourselves that even give them 75 minutes of our time are the users and equally to blame. By the way, Matt Lanter (the cute lead actor) was the voice of Anakin Skywalker in that crap Star Wars cartoon. Specking about the actors in the film, I feel so bad for all my friends at Mad TV but then again they took the job.

Judd: You know what those figures say to me? They say there are $38 million worth of stupid people out there. Does it surprise me? Not in the least. Look at what’s on TV and the internet. We’ve become accustomed to disposable entertainment. The majority of us will laugh at anything that has a punch line, and the punch line doesn’t even have to be good. Just ask Friedberg and Seltzer! They practically spoon fed us laugh cues. Every time they introduced a new celebrity look alike, the look alike would say, “Hey! It’s me! ________!” And every time our audience laughed like Pavlov’s hyenas.

Swanner: Well I hated the movie. I was surprised that we were the only critics that attended the screening. Granted, once you’ve seen one of these movies…you’ve seen them all. Still, you never know, I thought this one made Meet the Spartans look good. I’d rather sit through Dan in Real Life again. Hate! Hate! Hate!

Judd: Trust me, I hated it too. The only redeeming quality of these movies is that they’re short. Sure, its 75 minutes I’ll never get back, but at least it’s only 75 minutes. And that’s a good thing when you consider we’ve wasted 3+ hours at a time on epic pieces of shit.

Swanner: No stars
Judd: No stars