pixar_upOfficial Site: disney.go.com/disneypictures/up

Swanner: 78-year-old balloon salesman Carl Fredricksen finally fulfills his lifelong dream of a great adventure when he ties thousands of balloons to his house and flies away to the wilds of South American — but discovers too late that he has a stowaway, an overly optimistic 8-year-old Wilderness Explorer named Russell. That is the storyline to Pixar’s new film Up. What still amazes me is how they can take a 78 year old balloon salesman and an 8 year old wilderness explorer and make it as exciting as Indiana Jones.

Judd: That shouldn’t be a surprise. You see the name Pixar and you know you’re going to get an excellent story told through beautiful animation. They slip up every once in awhile, but their overall canon is exceptional. I went in expecting a masterpiece and that’s what I got. Up is not only an excellent adventure movie, but it’s extremely heartfelt and emotional as well.

Swanner: If you think about it, it is like Indiana Jones. An old adventurer and a young boy travel to South America searching for a place lost in time. Okay, it’s a stretch but surprisingly the action was intense (maybe too much for me) and they sure did have a lot of comedy. I love the people at Pixar because they can construct a film that satisfies all demographics. I’m still amazed at how quiet the theatre was last night…maybe it’s the 3d glasses. They might mesmerize the children to stay quiet and in their seats.

Judd: I don’t think it was the 3D, Up is a genuinely fantastic film. In fact I was a little upset that Pixar didn’t introduce the movie with a short, but the move introduces itself with a very emotional and moving start. It wasn’t necessary for Pixar to come up with something separate. I really can’t think of one bad thing to say about the movie. The villain is a total asshole. He’s on par with the best of Disney’s villains. The sidekicks are a hysterical and endearing without being cloying. If I had to come up with one thing that I can complain about it was the 3D. I didn’t think it was necessary. In fact, I would say that it was gilding the lily.

Swanner: The 3D certainly doesn’t add to the betterment of the movie. It enhances the beauty of the film but doesn’t move the story. They also don’t use cheap tricks to make the 3D interactive. This movie will be just as good in 2D as 3D. I think on a Blu-ray disc on a High def 1080p TV it might even look better. I can’t wait. I love seeing wonderful movies that make me excited for the home video release. I felt the same way for Wall-e and Ratatouille. I still can’t believe they made a movie about an old grumpy man as the main character and make it work for kids. The opening of the film was beautifully done without much dialog and the characters are as rich and deep with personality as any Pixar before.

Judd: Absolutely. The whole audience sat and watched the credits which featured stills out of a scrap book. They were mesmerized. The only reason we didn’t stay for the credits is because we both knew we would eventually be watching from home on our own copies. I think Up should finally be the animated feature that crosses over into the Best Film category for the Academy Awards. It was really that good. I would recommend this film to anyone.

Swanner: I hate to get all agreeable with you but you are right. I can’t wait to watch it at home and yes, it is that good. If it’s not nominated for best picture than they might as well change the best animated picture award to “whatever Pixar released this year” award. They just set the bar so high I don’t see anyone touching them or they’re artistry

Swanner: 5 Stars
Judd: 5 Stars

Terminator Salvation


Swanner: In this fourth installment of the Terminator series, Christian Bale plays John Connor a man who has been fated to lead the human resistance against the machines. On he learns that his father has been captured by Skynet (the machines) and is set to be terminated. So John and a mysterious stranger Marcus Wright venture to Skynet’s operations to save his father and stop the machines. I could go on but I’m sure I’ve already lost Brian.

Judd: Lost me? I’ve seen commercials for breakfast cereal with loftier plot lines. I know that this is supposed to be a summer movie with lots of action and explosions, but that’s all it served up. I bet you the script is five pages long, including the title page, list of characters and scene breakdown. What’s worse is that it felt like the scenes were written explicitly to set up the next action sequence. You seriously gave an in-depth summary in one sentence.

Swanner: Well there is the fact that John Connor’s father is younger than him and that he must save him because his father has to be sent in the past where he meets John mother Sara. If the machines kill his father…will he no longer exist??? How is that for storyline? What about the fact that this mysterious stranger turns out to be part human and part machine? How’s that for a twist? I will admit it was really loud. I’m not talking too loud for Grandpa I’m talking too loud for everyone. If one more thing blew up I don’t know what I’ll do…and it did.

Judd: Oh wow, you just gave me the plot of Back to the Future with a dash of Star Trek Next Gen. Anyone with half a brain will know the mysterious stranger is a cyborg right off the bat; it’s hardly a twist. I’m sorry but the whole thing – acting included – felt like a sub-par B-Movie with an A-Movie budget. Christian Bale once again trots out his growly Batman voice – if he does anymore action flicks he’s going to damage his reputation as a serious actor, not to mention his vocal chords.

Swanner: I’ve never been a big Christian Bale fan so beat him down all you want. It’s the two newcomers that I was watching. Anton Yelchin as Kyle Reese and Sam Worthington really are the ones to watch here. Yelchin is having a great year so far, he plays Chekov in Star Trek and was amazing in last years Charlie Bartlett and here he enters into another franchise as John Connor’s father. Worthington plays Marcus Wright, our human terminator, and he is delicious…can I say that? The Aussie born actor with very little experience has made a big impression on me.

Judd: The only reason Yelchin was cast is because he’s scrawny and makes the perfect underdog. It had nothing to do with his acting chops, which he definitely has. Sam Worthington is hot, I’ll give you that, but we’ll see what he’s capable of later, because this movie wasn’t exactly an actor’s showcase. Now before you call me elitist I know that action movies aren’t supposed to have Oscar worthy performances, but this hit a new low. Common’s acting skills makes Ben Affleck look like Lawrence Olivier.

Swanner: You really need to let that one go. I love how Oscar nominee Jane Alexander has two lines in the movie but was in many different scenes … I think she plays a bigger role later down the line. She plays Virginia but I bet her real name is Sara. I feel like a really nerd here but I liked the movie. It’s a popcorn movie. I had a good time…it was too loud but it’s a war movie so they tend to be loud. Did I mention how hot Sam Worthington is? He’s playing Perseus in the new Clash of the Titans which means he won’t be wearing much. hehehehehehe

Judd: The movie sucked. The plot was stupid, it was too loud and the acting was horrible. I know that this kind of summertime fluff isn’t my thing, but when it’s properly executed I love a good popcorn movie. Live Free or Die Hard is a perfect example of a dumb, loud, outlandish yet excellent action film. Terminator was a waste of time.

Swanner: 2 1/2 Stars
Judd: 1 Star

Night At The Museum 2


Swanner: This weekend I got to see the sequel to the very popular Night at the Museum which this time has Ben Stiller at the Smithsonian. What has happened is the Museum of Natural History from the first film is being transformed into an interactive museum so most of the exhibits have been moved to the Smithsonian and now they are being threatened by exhibits at this new museum. I’m serious…that’s what it’s about. Brian’s been bitching about thin storylines I wonder what he’ll think of this one?

Judd: Unlike you, I knew better than to waste my Saturday morning seeing a crappy Ben Stiller movie. I still can’t figure out why you went.

Swanner: It is a major summer release. I’m a movie reviewer. So I felt it’s my duty to see all shows…not just the ones I want to see. Don’t forget, we do have readers that have kids and would like to know our thoughts on kids movies too. I thought the movie was fine. I mean it was made well and the special effects are really top notch. The main problem I had with the movie was that it felt too much like a kids movie.

Judd: Fuck the kids and fuck people with kids! How about that! If they’re so concerned about what little Johnny or Suzy are going to see, let them pick up a parenting magazine, not a gay “alternative press” magazine! I sure as hell am not going to waste sleeping in on a Saturday morning to put myself through hell for some fags and dykes with gaybies. Which, by the way, I don’t believe in and will not condone by lending my opinion from a parent’s perspective!

Swanner: I’m sure you wanted to remind me that the movie is a kids film so of course it felt too kidsy. You’re right it is a film for the “family” but as an adult that likes kids movies… this felt too kidsy to me. This movie just wasn’t doing it for me. For example is how we felt when we watched Cars, it felt like they were appealing to a much younger audience…same here. I liked the first Museum much better than this one. I should mention that I still don’t really like Ben Stiller that much.

Judd: Fuck Ben Stiller! Goddamn, gays and their kids. Taking them to movies that I have to review. I’m not going to do it, I tell you! I’ve had it! Where’s my peanut brittle?

Swanner: It sounds like someone missed their meds this morning. All in all, the movie is good and I’m sure that their targeted audience will love it. I just found myself yawning and that’s not usually a good sign for a movie that’s moving fast enough to keep the life spoilers…I mean to keep the children occupied. I’m hoping that this is the end of this franchise, I just don’t see where it will go from here and frankly I don’t care.

Swanner: 1 1/2 (for adults) 3 (for kids)
Judd: Where am I?

Star Trek XI


Swanner: I knew I was going to love the new Star Trek movie when Captain Pike called for three to head to the planet. Kirk, Sulu and Chief Engineer Olson. To anyone who ever watched any of the series knows that if your name is called and you’re not a main character…you’re going to die. They didn’t let me down.

Judd: Did you notice that he was wearing a red shirt? That’s another tip of the hat to the original series. I wasn’t sure what to expect from this movie. I like Star Trek, but I’m not a fan. Director/Producer J.J Abrams has a ton of hits and misses under his belt. I truly went to this movie with an open mind, and I was pleasantly surprised. I thought the story was just complicated enough to keep me thinking and the action sequences were grand without being frantic.

Swanner: Don’t forget that the cast is really cute. They sure did get a nice mix of good-looking people. I was a big fan of the original series so I was hoping for the best when I walked in the theatre. I think when you play around with classic material you have to make it your own…sure, but you have to please the fans so it doesn’t feel like your changing their heroes. I think Abrams balanced that nicely here. The storyline starts on the day of James T Kirk’s birth and we follow his life (quickly) to the time he graduates from Star Fleet. Once aboard the Enterprise, Kirk and crew battles a group of rogue Romulans with a very big ship.

Judd: I thought the plot device Abraham’s used to make it his own was really smart – he set this new franchise in an alternate time. Nero, an evil Romulan from the future, comes back and changes the course of history. It’s so simple that it’s brilliant. Abram’s has completely reopened the franchise back to the original crew and whatever spins off from there.

Swanner: Exactly, He’s basically changed everything that has been made with the time traveling plot. So anything that happens from here is fresh and heaven forbid they might do something that every Trekkie would know…they blame it of the Nero and move on. You’re right, brilliant. I really liked how all the characters get introduced, and the relationships that the characters have early on. I didn’t expect to have as much fun as I did. I know I would have liked the movie even better if the bratty kid was talking behind us the whole movie.

Judd: I also liked that the characters weren’t all introduced at once. We got Uhura, Spock, Bones, and Kirk right off the bat, but the rest of the crew we met one by one as the movie progressed. I know it kept me anxious to see when we were going to meet a new yet familiar friend. And you had to mention that child… Ugh, what the fuck is up with parents that feel the need to bring a three year old to a two hour movie? If a parent is that intent on seeing a movie and can’t get a sitter, lock the bastard in the closet with some cheerios and a portable DVD player – maybe one of those water dispensers for hamsters. I should not be subject to someone’s god awful children because they really wanted to see a movie. You know what? You should have thought of that before you decided not to pull out!

Swanner: Please…it was a cool rainy day. That’s what the trunk is for. People should only be allowed to bring children under five to a movie that have animals that talk. It all goes back to people thinking they can do whatever they do at home in the theatre. My motto is “Shut up and watch the movie”. Back to the movie review. I thought the film moved great, the action and special effects were top notch. I think what you said earlier is the really star of this film, the franchise has been completely revived. After 40 years I would have thought it was over but this proves me wrong and I’m happy to be wrong…this time.

Judd: I think as long as Abrams doesn’t get too carried away and make the characters do something that is way out of line with their personalities, I think they can churn at least three more movies out of this reboot and keep the Original Trekkies happy.

Swanner: 4 Stars
Judd: 4 Stars

Angels & Demons


Swanner: You can always count on plenty of remakes and sequels come summertime. The first two big movies of the summer have been both been prequels but today I’m talking sequel. Angels and Demons is the sequel to The Da Vinci Code. When the DVC came out it made a lot of money but that was three years ago and still the popularity of the Dan Brown novels hasn’t waned. This time around Robert Langdon (Tom Hanks) is actually asked by the Vatican for his help after four cardinals are kidnapped by the Illuminati, a group of religious scientists, whose ultimate plot is to take down the Catholic church by blowing up the Vatican.

Judd: So these Illuminati’s are the good guys?

Swanner: No…well not in this movie. We’re suppose to side with the church, even though i’m going to hell. You kind of have to loose yourself in the story and there is a lot of story. I didn’t even mention that the Pope has died and they are in the process of choosing a new one. There is also some stolen antimatter that will level the Vatican in seconds and a few others but what’s important here is the direction and the script.

Judd: So the Pope is dead and someone wants to destroy the catholic church by blowing up the Vatican. You’re just getting my hopes up cause i know this is going to end happy. I hate happy. Is there anything “Brian happy” here?

Swanner: Brian happy? Well the kidnapper is going to kill one cardinal every hour on the hour for four hours and the fifth hour they are blowing everyone up. During all of this the Robert Langdon and crew must decipher clues before the cardinals are killed. That reminds me…the movie does get a bit gory with some sick killings. I hope i didn’t give anything away.

Judd: You better not be teasing me to get me to go see the movie. If you’re leading me on and i actually spend movie on this I’ll hunt down your fat old ass and make you watch that awful Diane Keaton direct to DVD movie.

Swanner: I’m not kidding…really. People are killed. It will make you happy. Ron Howard directs this film and it’s a real nail bitter. The first film sort of trotted along. Here’s a clue and there’s a symbol but this movie just flies. They have five hours to save the church.

Judd: Tick tick tick

Swanner: David Koepp and Akiva Goldsman have produce an incredibly exciting script that Howard just runs with and a very big cast which includes Ewan McGregor, Stellan Skarsgard and Hanks as well as every capable supporting actor working today who looks like he could be a priest. The comparison i’ve been using is Alien vs Aliens. Alien was paced slower and was really trying to set a mood where Aliens was non-stop action. Thats exactly what this movie was…none stop nail biting action that had me on the edge of my seat right from the start.

Judd: Edge of your seat??? Your big ass would take up all of the seat. edge of your seat…please.

Swanner: It’s a figure of speech you asshole.

Swanner ***1/2

Ghosts Of Girlfriends Past


Swanner: Before I let you know how much i hated this movie…let me tell you what it’s about. Matthew McConaughey plays Connor Mead, a womanizer photographer who is spending the weekend at his brothers wedding. While there, he tries to talk his brother out of getting married, hits on the mother of the bride, has slept with most of the bride maids and finally destroys the wedding cake. He’s a bad guy…we get it. While in the bathroom he runs into his uncle Wayne, who’s been dead for years, who is warning him that he’ll be visited by three ghosts. (imagine Charles Dickens spinning in his grave)

Judd: Wait, are you speaking badly about a romantic comedy? I must take pause here to really take this in.

Swanner: And so we meet the first ghost, A 16 year old girl that was his first lay. (why she’s a dead 16 year old they never explain) who takes him on a journey on why he’s such a douche bag. There is a storyline that follows Jennifer Garner as the girl that got away but he’s such an asshole in the movie you pray they never get together. Once we get to the ghost of girlfriends present i was just hoping the movie would end soon but i knew we still had the future to look forward to seeing. After my failed attempted suicide the movie continued to piss me off by having him douche bag his way through every scene.

Judd: So the whole movie is based on A Christmas Carol? Did he take off his shirt a lot? I’m pretty sure it’s in his contract that he does.

Swanner: The whole point to the Scrooge/Connor Mead character is that we see why he turned into an asshole. We understand how it can happen and when he finally sees the light we rejoice in his enlightenment. I never believed he was changing but then again he’s not much of an actor. He can flash that smile and ham it up for the camera but he never make you wish for the character to change…you just wish he’d go away and stop destroying every ones life around him.

Judd: I know you’re not a fan of McConaughey but it sounds like “you” have nothing good to say about the movie. It’s a romantic comedy. It’s about a wedding. There is nothing redeeming?

Swanner: Well the script pretty much sucked. We’re suppose to dislike the character not hope for his death in the first ten minutes. The supporting cast was good but the script had just about every female character either a whore or a bitch and all the men were throw away for the most part with the exception of Uncle Wayne (Michael Douglas) who was his womanizing role model. They even have terrible scene were Robert Forster rambling on about nothing that just felt embarressing for an actor of his caliber. I wish i could find some reason for people to watch this movie but i honestly can’t. What really bothered me was that the film treats the female characters as badly as the McConaughey’s character does. This is an ugly movie and it needs to be ignored.

Swanner: no stars

Battle For Terra


Swanner: A peaceful alien planet Terra faces annihilation, as the homeless remainder of the human race sets its eyes on their planet. Mala, a rebellious Terrian teenager, will do everything she can to stop it. I know most people aren’t even going to know what this film is but it’s one you might want to look for if you’re not in the mood to see the crappy Ghosts of Girlfriend’s Past or that other movie that has something to do with the X-Men.

Judd: Still can’t let go of the snub for the Wolverine screening.

Swanner: Wolverine…i haven’t seen it.

Judd: I’ll take that as a yes. Wasn’t this called Battle for Terra at one point? If i remember right, it’s in 3D as well. Kids like that 3D stuff and i don’t like kids.

Swanner: Depending on where you look it’s either Terra or it’d Battle for Terra…either way it’s worth the search to find it. There weren’t that many kids but they would like the movie and i think you would too. This is more than just a movie about aliens battling humans. Firstly, the humans are the bad guys. They find this planet and plan to kill off the inhabitance and move in…not even a hello can we stay here too? They have been traveling in an ark type spaceship carrying the remainder of life from Earth to find an inhabitable planet. Of course the main bad guy is the General who thinks that all life is secondary to humans. So the poor Terrians are expendable in his eyes. Think Dick Chaney in uniform.

Judd: I’d rather think of Dick Chaney in jail.

Swanner: Secondly, these aliens are all kind and gentle creatures till Mala’s father and others are taken by the humans for testing. One of the human fighters is downed and Mala rescues him with the promise he will help her save her father. So there is the conflict of routing for the humans to be stopped because Terra is this wonderful peaceful planet. Finally, I was going to have a stroke if the evil humans were to destroy these wonderful creatures. Let’s just say i’m stroke free and i loved the movie.

Judd: Is this just another episode of that terrible Star Wars: Clone Wars?

Swanner: No…this is original. It’s a new idea…imagine that. I really like that the movie is very political. I liked that the bad guy is a conservative religious zealot who has no respect for environment, culture or anyone with a differing point of view. I liked the 3D even though i would have liked the movie if it was a 2D movie. I know this movie was scheduled to come out last year but i think waiting for things to change in this country was the right thing to do. Had this come out during the Bush years the film would have been shunned and the message lost. The movie makes a point that most humans are happy to live in peace and harmony it’s just the rare douche bag that makes us all look bad. All said and done, i really liked the movie and i was really glad i saw it.

Swanner ***1/2