Inkheart

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Swanner: This week I saw Inkheart. It’s the new Brandon Fraiser film about a father and daughter on the run from fictional characters. OK, that sounds odd, but that’s basically the plot. Fraiser plays a man with a silver tongue and when he reads a story out loud something or someone from the story comes into the real world while something from the real world goes into the story. I must admit that after the mediocre Mummy 3 and Journey to the Center of the Earth, I wasn’t expecting anything even close to good. However, I was very pleased with the movie.

Judd: Ugh, I am so glad my life is a hectic circus right now. I hate this time of year — the time when the studios release all the shit they’ve been storing up since the end of summer. I apologize for not being able to see these films so that while Tom is fawning over them I can warn moviegoers not to waste their time or money.

Swanner: Hey, this was a good movie. It had a lot of action sequences and some very exciting moments. It’s based on a novel by Cornelia Funke, so it does have some literary chops. The film has Helen Mirren and Jim Broadbent to give the movie some class. It felt a lot like Stardust. It didn’t have the same humor of Stardust but it was fun. Don’t you remember movies when you were a kid that felt like they were made for you? Well, maybe you didn’t — but for the rest of us that like movies with happy endings.

Judd: Stardust without the wit would have been an awful children’s movie. The Princess Bride without the wit would have been an awful children’s movie. The fact that they were made with children and adults in mind is what makes them so great. Children’s movies do not have to be flimsy, one dimensional pieces of crap that leave that guardian in tow yawning and rolling their eyes. Until children can pay for their own tickets and cart their own asses to the theatre, children’s movies need to have a bit of adult draw to them.

Swanner: Inkheart obviously does have something to it since I liked it and it has a difference sense of humor to it than the other two films. It is funny and the cast was good. I also liked that the movie talks about books and the love of them. It encourages reading and the imagination. All things you obviously don’t understand. You’re just judging this on the fact that Brandon Fraiser has been making crappy movies and that I liked it — which you think is the kiss of death. You’re such a fat, opinionated butthole with bad hair.

Judd: At least I have hair — I don’t have to swirl it around my head and hope nobody notices I’m losing it. If your hair part goes any farther left, it’s going to start at your sideburns! No, I didn’t see the movie and yes, I’m playing the odds that it sucked. A February children’s movie starring Brendan Fraiser — I can smell it from here.

Swanner: I HAVE PLENTY OF HAIR!

Judd: ON YOUR BACK!

Swanner: The only thing I didn’t like about the movie was the score. It seemed like someone was scoring with one of those electric pianos that can make sounds like an organ or a trumpet. During the more zany moments I swear I heard a xylophone … I actually used the word “zany”.

Judd: Great, it was a crap movie with a crap synthesized score. How can it get any better?

Swanner: Well I still liked it.

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Hotel For Dogs.

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Swanner: I’m a big dog lover. I don’t even have a favorite breed I just love them all. So a movie like Hotel for Dogs was definitely right up my alley. The story follows two foster kids who have been passed around from family to family ending up in the apartment of Lisa Kudrow and Kevin Dillon who are more concerned with their musical career than the two foster kids they keep. Unbeknownst to the foster parents is the dog that the two kids have been hiding in their room. After a too-close-for-comfort moment with the dog the kids happen upon an old closed hotel and figure this would be a good place to keep their furry friend.

Judd: That sounds right up my alley! Children with negligent, selfish foster parents find an abandoned flea-ridden mutt. One tension filled night the foster parents almost discover that their rebellious ragamuffins are harboring the mangy animal. The children flee to a condemned, disintegrating old hotel that was built in the 1920s. Its art deco grandeur is left crumbling and water stained. The poor waifs then decide to take in other forsaken and outcast canines and call it L’Hôtel pour les Chiens (Hotel for Dogs). Damn, I’m sorry I missed it!

Swanner: You don’t have to be mean. It’s a “family” film. I felt it was there with the classic Disney films. There wasn’t any bad language or overly violent behavior — and of course nothing sexual. There were a lot of jokes about dog pooh — stepping in it, smelling it and even falling in a dumpster of dumps … heh heh heh! It was a satisfying little comedy that I had no problem sitting through. It also has a really nice selection of talented dogs and yes, I cried three times.

Judd: Oh, my god. It sounds horrible. Now I am glad I missed it. A satisfying little comedy? Are you trying to completely destroy what little credibility you have left?

Swanner: Why am I losing credibility? Is it because I like movies without subtitles? It’s a dog movie and you know how I love dog movies and I cried because there is a pitbull with only three legs. Every time he was on screen I’d weep … I’m sensitive that way. It’s also a known fact that you don’t like movies for kids. Did I mention Don Cheadle is in it? You like Don Cheadle cause he stars in movies that are played in art houses. Hotel Rwanda!

Judd: You’re losing credibility because you’re advising people to see these movies! At least when I see a piece of crap film that I really liked, I frame my endorsement with, “This movie is a piece of crap, but I like it because …”. You just throw your hands in the air like a big girl and squeal, “I loved it!”

Swanner: OK, I know that you’d hate this movie. It has children — orphans — which should just drive you crazy. It feels like a Disney live action movie which is like your kryptonite. So for our readers that always agree with your Negative Nelly attitude — don’t see this movie. Somehow I feel I just alienated all our readers.

Judd: Oh, come on now. There are people out there that agree with you more often than they agree with me … mostly little old ladies. Our brethren who’ve adopted kids and drive minivans and have totally lost all sense of art and kitsch — I bet they agree with you!

Swanner: Yea me.

Swanner: 2 Stars

Gran Torino

2968374208_5e769947a6Official Site: thegrantorino.com

Swanner: Last night I saw another movie by myself since Brian is busy. The movie I saw Gran Torino about a grumpy angry old man who hates everyone…it was like having Brian there. Clint Eastwood plays Walt Kowalski, a man who’s wife has just died and now he faces life alone. Since he never liked his children and his neighborhood has complete changed to all Hmong, Walt and his dog sit on the porch waiting for death. After the neighbors have trouble with a Hmong gang, Walt befriends the two kids next door and like Harry Callahan he’s going to clean up the streets.

Judd: I’m upset that I missed Gran Torino. First, because he drives a Gran Torino. Classic early 70s muscle. Ford’s answer to the Chevelle. Gorgeous. And two, I would have loved to immerse in Walt’s world. A grumpy old mad, sittin’ on the porch with his classic car and trusty old dog, squinting and gritting his teeth at his neighbors. What kind of dog was it? Was it a hound of some sort?

Swanner: I’m pretty sure it was a white lab named Daisy. I thought of you and Honey drinking Pabst Blue Ribbon (which Walt drinks too) in the porch. You washing the Gran Torino shirtless, just to gross out the old lady next door, and Honey chewing up the hose…I want to cry. This really was a movie you would have liked. You would have even liked that he warmed up to the Hmong neighbors cause they still gave each other crap even though they were friends. The dialog is very racially charged. I don’t think I’ve ever heard that many racial and religious slurs in one movie.

Judd: Racist and religious slurs? Dammit! I LOVE racist and religious slurs!

Swanner: It was funny cause the audience would laugh and then suddenly stop when they realized it was a horrible thing to say. The Hmong actors in the movie are not the best actors but they were affective and Eastwood is so good that it doesn’t take from the movie. It does feel like Dirty Harry in his 70’s but fighting a street gang instead of a serial killer. It was nice to see Eastwood in role that we’ve come to love him in…the good guy who makes our lives safer. Eastwood also directed the film and he just may be the best director out there right now. He knows how to make a simple story larger than life and the movie moves so well that two hours just flew by.

Judd: His age never made the character unbelievable, because Eastwood is like what? 110? 115 years old?

Swanner: Absolutely. He did say this was the last movie he’d be acting in. I hope it’s not true but if so at least we know he’ll still be directing. If you look back at the movies he’s made in the last 20 years it’s a very good thing. The buzz on this film is really good, so i think it will find it’s audience and once they find it i think they are going to be very pleased they did.

Judd: Now you’re just rubbing in the fact that I missed it. That’s very fat of you.

Swanner: That wasn’t my intention but sure…I’ll take credit for it.

Swanner: 3 1/2 Stars
Judd: Missed A Good One

Revolutionary Road

reserv-road-posterOfficial Site: revolutionaryroadmovie.com

Swanner: Last night i saw the screening of Revolutionary Road. It stars Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet as a 50’s married couple struggling with the realities of the suburban life and the hopeless emptiness that spawns in the burbs. I’m not making a statement here…that’s what it’s about. Brian would call it an uplifting date movie but it actually it’s a very sad movie. The movie deals with the post WWII America where the women were told to stop working and go home and have babies and the men were suppose to support the family and be the man of the house. Brian didn’t see the movie because he’s starring in a play so I’ll be filling in for Brian as i would expect his to reply.

Judd: It’s about time that they make a movie that shows what coupling is all about…pain and anguish. The acting in the movie is amazing considering this is the same actors that stared in the overly long and boring Titanic. It’s nice to see both actors have moved away from the safe superstar schlock that so many of their peers have lowered themselves into and made an effort in finding real scripts. Sure it’s a sad movie but at least for once its a real movie.

Swanner: Does it have to be this real? Sure the acting is amazing and the script is brilliant but i want 27 Dresses. I want a happy ending. I know it must have been horrible for all those women who were told they weren’t needed in the work force…that’s why valium was produced. I think it would be kind of fun…staying home all day drugged out of my mind.

Judd: Of course you would but I think you refer to that as the weekend. The women in the 50’s and 60’s didn’t realize how good they had it. Today, all i ever hear is how women would love to stay home and raise the kids. It’s just a case of people always want what they can’t have. Those women had the opportunity to do whatever they wanted to do as long as they had a pitcher of martini’s waiting for the breadwinner when he got home. Sign me up for that. Michael Shannon who plays Katie Bates son was truly memorable and a Psych patient who only speaks the truth.

Swanner: He was really good. He really ran with the role and the performance was a scene stealing and in this film that says a lot. I love the way the director Sam Mendes has captured the time period and the mood of the era. I know a lot of that comes from the Richard Yates novel but when you hold this up to Mendes’ Oscar winning American Beauty you realize this guy has a real feel for “family” life. Did you know Kate Winslet is married to Sam Mendez.

Judd: Yes. Everyone knows that. I’m guessing the auditioning process was a breeze. I do think this is a good date movie, maybe even a first date movie. Let them know what to expect. It’s not all hearts and flowers you big girl, it’s disillusion and sacrifice. In the drag out fights, I wanted to cheer that someone in Hollywood has the balls to show something real. This movie will be loved by critics and hated by the masses because Kate Winslet doesn’t have 27 bridesmaid dresses…Yes, I mean you Swanner.

Swanner: I liked the movie. I just wished it was happier and had an upbeat ending.

Judd: My point exactly.

Swanner 3 Stars
Judd 4 Stars

Worst of 2008

1-Sht Temp (Paramount).1Swanner: I actually found it hard to come up with a worse list…I loved so much this year but I’m doing my best to build the worst. Love Guru does stand out as one of the worst movies without question. Mike Myers must have thought this Guru character was going to be funny but in reality it wasn’t funny or even charming. Most of the jokes fall flat and with the exception of another good performance from Justin Timberlake the movie sucked. I’ll find myself going back and re-watching movies that I hated, just to make sure they were really THAT bad, but I have no interest in seeing this ever again.

Judd: I remember being incredibly frustrated this year, but when I went back to look at what came out in 2008 there weren’t that many bad movies, but the movies that were bad were really, really, bad. I agree The Love Guru was that bad. Another addition to the “actors whom ought to be stopped” is Adam Sandler in You Don’t Mess with the Zohan. Zohan was Sandler’s attempt to address Israeli-Palestinian relations in a comedic manner by playing a well endowed Israeli soldier turned hairdresser who screws his old lady clients. Maybe if they showed the movie to the Jews and the Palestinians, instead of hating each other they could hate the movie together.

Swanner: Look at you trying to keep the peace in the Middle East. One movie that Brian missed (luckily for him) was Jumper. This is a movie about a young man who can jump from one place to another…just by thinking about it hard enough. I know I was wishing for the same abilities while I was sitting in the theatre. The premise was good but the movie was not. The movie was so full of plot holes and another awful performance by Hayden Christensen (stop letting him star in movies). In the last five minutes of this movie they throw in a plot twist that NO ONE cared about which hints that there will be a sequel. That’s the part I cared about…just say NO to sequels.

Judd: My most hated action film this year was Cloverfield. Godzilla meets Blair Witch Project. This movie follows a small group of yuppie Manhattanites though the city as it’s being attacked by a creature from outer space. The movie was shot entirely by frantic handi-cam which didn’t induce fear as much as it did nausea. The story is more about a separated young couple than it was about the monster, though the idea of the monster is continually built up throughout the movie. When we finally see the movie, it’s a fast and blurry shot reminiscent of Sasquatch footage.

Swanner: Boy are you strict…I liked the movie. I thought it was kind of cool. What wasn’t cool was the latest BAD movie from director Michel Gondry. Be Kind Rewind was so hard to sit through…I’d try and explain it but its so ridiculous I don’t know how more than to say it’s about two idiots who re-shoot classic films to replace the video store collection that was accidentally erase. Jack Black and Mos Def star as the idiot. I had to sit through last years crappy movie (The Science Of Sleep) and if 2009 offers another movie, Brian will be seeing it alone.

Judd: Michel Gondry, BOO! I want to like his movies, but he’s a crap writer. He’s obsessed with psychotic morons. I think if he were to direct something he didn’t write, he could make a really good movie. Another person who shouldn’t write and direct is Ben Stiller. Tropic Thunder was one of the most infuriating, obnoxious, stupid, unfunny “offensive” comedies I’ve seen. Full of dumb slapstick and stupid bits, this movie had to be the most over hyped piece of garbage to come out this year. Mr. Stiller, just because you’re being offensive (by who’s standards, I don’t know) doesn’t excuse you from being clever, which you definitely are not.

Swanner: I hate to disagree with you…again but Tropic Thunder (although Ben Stiller is horrible as always) a pretty good movie. It does to war movies what Shaun of the Dead did to zombie movies…it makes fun but still offers a really storyline that isn’t just a bunch of pop culture rip-offs like my next movie/movies Meet The Spartans/Disaster Movie/Superhero Movie. Why are these movies still being made? They aren’t funny. The audience I saw these movies with weren’t having a good time. They may pull off a laugh now and then but for the most part the audience looked like they were just shot up with OxyContin. Stop making these movies! It’s nice that the folks from Mad TV are getting work but they are far too talented to be doing this schlock.

Judd: OxyContin is also known as Hillbilly Heroine and speaking of hillbillies, another awful movie released in 2008 was Kevin Costner’s Swing Vote. A horrifying movie about how the presidency comes down to the lone vote of an unemployed, alcoholic, uneducated, trailer trash, single father. Did I mention this was a comedy? Every scene opened with Costner being waken out of a stupor by his daughter, and yet the media turns him into a hero. The movie upset me within the first 15 minutes when the County Clerk didn’t “accidentally” lose his vote, and it’s all downhill from there.

Swanner: Man are you wrong this year. Swing Vote was better than what you’re saying…sort of. Anyway, my least favorite movie was Hancock, The story of a homeless superhero. At least that’s what was promised in the preview and delivered in the first 20 minutes of the movie. Suddenly the movie turns into a strange movie about how superheroes are like titans and Will Smith and Charlize Theron are the last of their race. After that I have no idea what was happening mostly because I was pissed that I was misled to think I was seeing a different movie. I didn’t even know Theron was in the movie till she showed up on screen.

Judd: I’m not wrong; you’re picking the obvious choices. I’m helping our readers avoid the ones that they might stop and think about renting. My final choice for Worst of 2008 was First Sunday – which really isn’t a fair choice on my part, because the movie was released in January – bad sign #1, and starred Ice Cube and Tracy Morgan – bad signs #2 and #3. So there, my one obvious choice. Of course, I’m sure now you’re going to tell me how good it was.

Swanner: No I’m not…it was on my list too. Once I got started I was able to actually find a few more awful movies. Fool’s Gold was crap. Star Wars: Clone Wars was just a long Saturday morning cartoon that is nothing more than another chance for George Lucas to make more money regurgitating his one good idea. Finally, The Ruins sucked and X-Files is dead and I no longer want to believe.