Body Of Lies

Official Site: bodyoflies.warnerbros.com

Swanner: Leonardo DiCaprio plays a CIA operative working in the Middle East and Russell Crowe plays his US government contact. The storyline follows DiCaprio’s character, Roger Farris, who is trying to find a terrorist that’s creating havoc across the European continent on his way to America. The movie is based on Washington Post columnist David Ignatius’s 2007 novel with Ridley Scott directing.

Judd: Yes folks, another terrorist movie. What Tom didn’t mention in his brief summary is that the spin on this one is that DiCaprio is a field agent trying to use local contacts and diplomacy to capture the terrorist while a fat and bloated Russell Crowe is your stereotypical American agent fighting terrorist by using a computer and a satellite. Was it good? I would say it was as good as a terrorist movie can be.

Swanner: He was fat, wasn’t he. I saw him on an interview and he deliberately put on the weight for the movie. I was hoping it would help reduce the size of the mole on his forehead but I swear it just made it bigger. As you know, I hate all these terrorist movies. It always feels like a how to manual for the bad guys. I also think it’s too early to be making these kind of films. You make terrorism films when the terrorist have been caught and I can go to the mall again and not worry. It’s a well made movie…after all it’s a Ridley Scott film but I don’t like these kinds of movies and I really don’t want to see people being blown up at the market.

Judd: Oh please, a “how to manual”? I hate terrorist movies because I’m tired of seeing the same enemy over and over again. I know I would feel the same about the Russians if it was 1988 and not 2008. But at least in 1988 the enemy was sophisticated, and nuclear war was a threat. Now you get a brown person (nationality doesn’t matter) to strap some flares to his chest and scream “Allahu Akbar!” and you’ve got a terrorist movie. It’s boring and they all blend together. The only thing good I have to say about modern day warfare movies is that the enemy is a lot better looking. I’ll take Alaa Oumouzoune over Dolph Lundgren any day.

Swanner: Yes, it was another adorable cast…with no shower scene. I just hate these movies. The acting is good and the direction is top notch but it’s still about terrorist. It’s too soon for me. It took 20 years to start making Vietnam movies that were successful…that’s why all these terrorist movies are falling flat.

Judd: We only saw this movie a couple days ago, and I can barely remember it. The only thing that is really stuck in my mind are Russell Crowe’s moobs. If in a week from now someone were to ask me what this movie was about I won’t be able remember. Although there was that part where the terrorists are strapping DiCaprio down on a table, and his pants are coming down and you can see his Adonis lines—that was hot. I’ll have that image ingrained in my head for awhile.

Swanner: I didn’t even notice that. The one thing that sticks in my mind…beside Crowe’s moobs was DiCaprio’s ridiculous love interest. I know they use her later in the film as a pawn but chop that 25 minutes from the movie and you had a much better film even if it was about terrorists. Over all for me it was a really well made film about things I don’t want to see. Granted I’m not the target audience but my dollars spends like everyone else’s.

Judd: See, I already forgot about her. Talk about a pointless character. I agree with you, the movie was very well made, but poorly scripted, and too long. But I said at the beginning of the review that Body of Lies is about as good as a terrorist movie can be, and that sets the bar pretty low.

Swanner: 2 1/2 Stars
Judd: 2 Stars

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Religulous

Official Site: lionsgate.com/religulous

Swanner: Bill Maher takes a humorous look at the current world religions. I don’t know about you but I felt very nervous in the theatre. There were some scary folks at the screening but once the film was over and you could see they loved the film…I could breath again. I did leave the theatre swiftly hoping nothing would happen before I was out of the parking lot. Now I wasn’t expecting a bolt of lightning from god but a nice pipe bomb from some radical group…maybe.

Judd: I wasn’t worried about it because I’m one with Zarathustra, and I know he is on my side and will guide me into the afterlife. I enjoyed Religulous, but at the same time I felt it was a bit arrogant and overbearing – especially when Maher was engaging in debates with less educated. He would ask a leading question, get the answer he wanted and then say, “No, you’re wrong and an idiot.” At least some of the educated philosophers could counterpoint, but the simpletons didn’t stand a chance.

Swanner: Zarathustra? Wasn’t that a planet from Men in Black? I think you have to be a bit arrogant to even make a movie that takes on religion and as far as him engaging the less educated, I think that gives this a full spectrum of voices. Sure, the folks that attend service in a trailer, the ex-gays, scientologists, Mormons and the guy who seemed more concerned with his DVD sales than god’s word get stomped a bit but those who are passionate shine through even if they don’t have a factual argument

Judd: Zarathustra is a philosopher that pronounced the divinity of Ahura Mazda (much like Muhammad and Allah)—Freddie Mercury was a Zoroastrian. I agree with you about the evangelists and the people that use religion to line their pockets, but attacking someone based on their faith when faith is more than likely the only thing they have isn’t fair—and he says that himself in the movie. I do credit the movie for having a lot of interesting information, and giving voice to religious leaders that don’t buy into literal translation of the bible.

Swanner: I was surprised that I was laughing so much. I know it’s Bill Maher but it’s also a documentary. My favorite parts were when he was talking to his mother and she seemed embarrassed by his religious upbringing, and the segment with the ex-gay minister. I know on the surface this film seems to be preaching to the choir but than again so did An Inconvenient Truth. It wasn’t till it hit a larger audience that the word got out. This film will show audiences that there are people in this country that don’t need religion in there lives and let them know they are not alone. Can we go to Orlando and visit the Holy land amusement park? Do they have rides? Take a bungee jump for Jesus?

Judd: For me the telling moment in the film is when Maher interviewed the Rabbi that was a non-Zionist. He was just as pushy as Bill and he didn’t let Maher interject with snarky little remarks. What did Maher do? He ended the interview. Being an asshole is OK as long as Maher is the asshole? It strikes me as a bit hypocritical and transparent. I would hope that an intellectual would be above sticking in fingers in his ears and going la-la-la-la-la. You can’t claim superiority when you’re being just as immature as your foe.

Swanner: In all fairness, I’ve interviewed a lot of people and if the guy doing the interview can’t even ask a question then you need to end the interview. Maher drives the interview and this guy was not making any point but to ramble on and on. I think you’re trying to find something to criticize but I reality Maher did what I’d do. He only picked on the dumb and they deserve it. Remember, it’s a comical documentary. So can we go to Orlando now? I here the resurrection burger comes with bacon.

Judd: Yes, we can go to Orlando and visit the Holy Land Experience. I want to ride The Trials of Job rollercoaster, then we can go to the food court. You can get the Resurrection Bacon Burger, and I’ll get Jonah’s Fish Sandwich and the Apostle fries with Stigmata sauce.

Swanner: 3½ Stars
Judd: 2½ Stars

The Duchess

www.theduchessmovie.com
Rated PG 13

Judd: Since this week has been really busy for Tom and I, we’ve been seeing movies separately as they fit into our schedules. We saw The Duchess starring Keira Knightley and Ralph Fiennes on different nights, and I’m curious as to what Tom thought. This movie is supposedly one of this year’s early Oscar contenders.
 
Swanner: Of course it’s an early Oscar contender…they have fabulous sets and costumes. Geez, you can tell that from the poster. If you’re looking for other nominations you can almost guarantee Knightly for her yearly nomination but it’s really Fiennes performance that makes this movie. The Duchess follows an extraordinary woman who uses all she has to become loved by all of her country but never by the man she loves. 
 
Judd: I completely agree with the costuming. The costumes in The Duchess made the costumes in The Other Boleyn Girl look like they were put together for a high school rendition of Romeo and Juliette.  The wigs were gorgeous and the sets were equally stunning. I can’t say that Fiennes performance was Oscar nomination worthy. He was good, but he wasn’t award caliber.  I really liked the story, and I think it’s interesting that 200 years ago the elite were just and sordid and promiscuous as they are today.
 
Swanner: I totally disagree with you Fiennes comments. This man delivers all the time and I think that’s why this might not seem as special as it is but when I’m watching Fiennes over Knightly (who seems to be made for these films) I think that says volumes. These period pieces really start to wear on me. Yes, this one has a bit of a different slant but it just feels like the same thing with different players. The best thing I can say about the film is that it’s just under two hours…that and Fiennes performance is noteworthy.
 
Judd: I will say that I thought the movie moved extremely slow. That one scene in where she confronts her husband seemed like it was drawn out for days.  How can something so tense be so completely boring? It was like Sophia Coppola directed it! It wasn’t as bad as Marie Antoinette (not much is), but it was pretty darn close and at a nearly two hour run time, I’d call it a test of endurance.
 
Swanner: You know if they spent $2.50 on the making of this movie you’d be dry humping Knightley but since they had a budget…you have to call it boring and slow. The pacing was slow from time to time but it was anything but boring.
 
Judd: I have a confession to make. I didn’t really see it. I made it all up. Do you hate me?
 
Swanner: I’m ashamed at you. Did you even see the trailer for it? I was wondering why you sounded like you saw the wrong movie.
 
Judd: I looked at the poster. Does that count?
 
Swanner: At least I watch the trailer before I faked the review! You are so unprofessional!
 
Swanner: Didn’t see it
Judd: Didn’t see it

Beverly Hills Chihuahua/How to Lose Friends and Alienate People

Disney.go.com/BeverlyHillsChihuahua
how2losefriends.com

Swanner: Once again the studios have too many movies on the same night so Brian and I had to see two different movies. I saw the new Disney film Beverly Hills Chihuahua, a wonderful new film about Chloe, a spoiled female Chihuahua who gets dog napped in Mexico and has to rely on the kindness of strangers to find her way home.
 
Judd: Do we have to do this? I was tricked into seeing something I didn’t enjoy and I don’t want people to think Beverly Hills Chihuahua is a better pick, when in fact the choice is more like an ice pick in the temple versus a screwdriver in the temple. I saw How to Lose Friends and Alienate People—excellent title right? Unfortunately instead of being an educational film, it turned out to be a Romantic Comedy with Kirsten Dunst as the love interest. Oh god, I’m getting sick just thinking about it.
 
Swanner: I thought they had made a documentary about your life and hadn’t interviewed me. Now that I know it’s a romantic comedy I’m really looking forward to seeing it. Mine was a romantic comedy too. Papi (the male Chihuahua) goes looking for Chloe with his human and they both find love along the way. The animal actors were wonderful and the voices they have used are hilarious. I know you wouldn’t have liked it but I had a great time. I balled through most of the last half hour.
 
Judd: Kirsten Dunst was the love interest—I know I said that already, but it’s worth repeating. She’s horrible. Lose Friends/Alienate People is about a Brit scandal rag writer played by Simon Pegg who is invited to write for the #1 celebrity magazine in the world. He has trouble adjusting to his new role as a serious journalist and irritates his coworkers except one, Dunst, whom he falls in love with. After this movie and Run Fat Boy Run, I’m sadly convinced that Simon Pegg isn’t funny unless he’s teamed up with writer Edgar Wright and costar Nick Frost.
 
Swanner: Kristen Dunst being in the movie is enough to make me not want to see the movie. I loved my movie and I can’t wait to see it again. I was a little bummed out that they cut the musical number with all the Chihuahuas dancing and singing but I’m sure we’ll see it in the extras on the DVD release. I will warn our readers that you’ll need some napkins or Kleenex cause there are many moments in the film that brought out the tears.
 
Judd: Your movie sounds horrible and I don’t regret my decision. While I did not like my movie it didn’t make me want to go on a murderous rampage, which is what I’m sure B.H. Chihuahua would have inspired me to do. I know I was better off sighing, rolling my eyes and looking at my watch for two hours.

Beverly Hills Chihuahua 3 Stars
How to Lose Friends and Alienate People 1½ Stars