Funny People

funny-people-posterOfficial Site: www.funnypeoplemovie.com

Swanner: This week we saw the new Adam Sandler/Seth Rogen movie called Funny People. The story surrounds George Simmons, a movie star comic, who finds out that he is ill and decides to go back to his roots of stand up to find a time when he was really happy. This is a movie about funny people who aren’t happy people.

Judd: No, this movie is a tribute to Adam Sandler, because “George Simmons” is Sandler and apparently, according to this two and half hour idolization, there has never been nor will there ever be a better comic than Adam Sandler. This movie was exactly what I feared it would be – overindulgent tripe.

Swanner: George did do a lot of stupid movies where he used those stupid voices. I still don’t think it was a tribute to Sandler. I think the movie is trying to give stand-up comedians the respect they think they deserve. If you look at all the working comedy actors you’ll see that most of them came from stand-up. I understand that the stand-up comic’s life is probably very difficult, but then what part of the entertainment business isn’t? Look at us. Bad hours, rude people and some really awful movies. Where is our movie?

Judd: You don’t think Funny People was a tribute to Sandler? The movie opened with old home movie footage of him making a prank call. It featured old television footage of him. The movie practically sucked Sandler’s dick. What about the moment in the middle of the film where Simmons is feeling better and every fucking standup working in LA is trotted across the screen to kiss his ass? The movie was so Sandler-centric, that the plot was inconsequential. Sandler wants his old girlfriend back and Seth Rogen is his personal assistant. Whoopty-doo.

Swanner: Just because they have footage of someone that started their career during the time that camcorders were readily available does not make this a tribute to Sandler. You could have put any actor/comic into this role. Steve Martin, Eddie Murphy or Robin Williams could have played George. George is a movie star who is at the top of his game but money and success can’t buy you happiness. Did they overexpose Sandler in the movie? Absolutely, but that was Judd Apatow’s fault as writer/director. I thought Sandler did a good job with the role but I thought Seth Rogan dominated the scenes they had together. I also think Apatow needs to start cutting his movies down to less than two hours. 2:20 is about 30 minutes too long for a comedy. Movies this long need hobbits, a boy wizard or a Chevy truck that can transform into a super hero.

Judd: If Apatow edited out all the Sandler fellating, the movie would have barely cleared 80 minutes. We would have Rogen and the petty arguments he has with roommates, Jonah Hill and Jason Schwartzman. Then we’d have Sandler trying to win back his girlfriend — which was crammed the last 40 minutes of the movie, after Sandler blew his load all over Apatow’s face.

Swanner: So I guess we can take for granted you didn’t like the movie. We agreed it was too long and that the love fest for George Simmons was too much. What I did like about the movie was it was likeable and a funny feel good movie. I thought the acting was good and the story was good although the script had way too many dick jokes. I know 18 year olds that aren’t that obsessed with their dicks. It still has a good message for people with souls that no matter what life throws at you, you need to remember to be happy. Don’t miss out on all the good things in life because you’re too focused on that elusive brass ring.

Judd: A good message for people with souls? What are you trying to say? No, I didn’t like the movie. George Simmons was supposed to be a career focused loner, but he had an awful lot of friends that suddenly popped up during the ass-kissing montage. The writing wasn’t very funny and I thought the movie relied too heavily on Sandler’s funny voice/goofy face shtick – which I do not find funny at all. I would call this Apatow’s first real flop. 40 Year Old Virgin, Knocked Up, Forgetting Sarah Marshall – all excellent, unique romantic comedies. Funny People is a failure.

Swanner: I’ll agree it’s not his best. He needs to be funnier and less poignant. I am surprised you didn’t like the ending since it’s quite a bit different than his usual happy ending.

Judd: By the end I didn’t care.

Swanner: 2 1/2 Stars
Judd: 1 Star

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Transformers

new-transformers-revenge-of-the-fallen-posterwww.transformersmovie.com

Swanner: Last night Brian and I saw an amazing love story. It’s the story of a young man who goes off to college leaving behind his beautiful girlfriend. As they try to save their young love a war is going on around them. There is a storyline about some rogue robots that want to destroy the world. Shia LaBeouf plays the young man and Megan Fox plays his love interest.

Judd: If you can’t tell from his description, Tom and I saw Transformers 2: The Revenge of the Fallen. The movie is supposed to be about the rogue robots from Cybertron not teenagers all hopped up on hormones, but that’s pretty much how the first 40 minutes of the movie plays out. It was like a pubescent Michael Bay frantically trying to rub one out before getting to point of the story – I’ll be out in a second, Ma!!!

Swanner: Fine. Yes there is the robot stuff happening but this movie is all about Shia LaBeouf and his incredible presence on screen. I know that the film has amazing special effects and the editing and cinematography are much better than in the first film but while you may focus of Opium Rex I’m watching awkward Sam Witwicky and his struggles with manhood.

Judd: Sam Witwicky struggles with his manhood? Pervert. Opium Rex?!?! It’s Optimus Prime, Leader of the Autobots. It’s been two years since the original movie, and the Autobots have been helping protect the world, but the US Government thinks that it’s the Autobots that brought the scourge of the Decepticons and wants the Autobots to leave. Megatron is freed from his watery grave and the Decepticons along with The Fallen are looking for ancient technology that creates Energon buried somewhere on earth. Meanwhile, Megan Fox straddles a motorcycle…

Swanner: They seem to have the girlfriend dressing like a whore a lot but I know that’s what some guys like. That’s right, his name is Optimus Prime. He’s the semi trunk that part of the story focuses on…like how he’s the only one that can stop the ever evil Megadeath and the new guy, The Fallen, who has been hanging out on the Moon or Mars watching and waiting for his chance for world dominance…kinda like Dick Chaney. Do you think Optimus is sad that Sam likes Bumblebee better?

Judd: That is a ridiculous question. Optimus Prime is the leader of the Autobots and the last of the Primes. (In Michael Bay’s version at least, which does not stick to G1 canon.) He is benevolent, level headed and above such petty jealousies. And it’s Megatron not Megadeath! Ugh! The action sequences in this movie are fast and loud. There is a ton of stuff happening on the screen all the time – that is, after they get past Megan Fox being a skank.

Swanner: I know a lot of older people aren’t going to like this movie because it’s too loud and moves too fast. Those people need to understand that it’s a summer movie meant for guys. You don’t see Transformers for the arts sake…you go to watch robots fight and Shia look adorable. I know they dress Megan Fox like a whore for the horny boys in the audience, but her character is really good and I think she adds something to the movie because she’s not a girly girl.

Judd: Her character is good? She doesn’t do anything except badger Shia the whole damn time about saying “I love you”. Her character was there for gratuitous T&A and that was it. I would also like to mention that the movie also has a larger than normal amount humping jokes and robot testicles. While the theme of hormone overload may play heaviest at the film’s opening, it carries through the whole movie.

Swanner: 3 Stars
Judd: 2 1/2 Stars

Brüno

bruno_poster_hrwww.thebrunomovie.com

Swanner: Sacha Baron Cohen brings his Brüno character to America. Much like he did with Borat, Cohen takes Brüno on an international tour to find fame at any cost. Unlike Borat’s view of how ugly American’s can be when we really try, Brüno just makes us laugh showing how ugly this self-centered gay Austrian fashionista can be.

Judd: I thought Brüno was just as funny as Borat, but I don’t think Brüno was a good as Borat. Borat, as a film, wanted to make the point and expose Conservative America’s ignorance and ingrained racism, at the same time invoking laughter at things we should have found offensive (anti-Semitism for one). It was a political satire. Brüno is a satire, but it has no idea what it’s satirizing.

Swanner: It is true. I don’t know what Brüno was satirizing. The film is funny. I actually found myself laughing out loud a lot. The film starts with Brüno working as an Entertainment Tonight type interviewer who is pretty much forced out of Europe after a few fashion disasters. He gets the idea to come to America since everything is better in America and ends up with pretty much the same outcome. I forget to mention that the film is very nasty. I’m not sure how they got just an R rating.

Judd: Well now see, I had a totally different point of view. Brüno didn’t come to America because it was better, Brüno initially comes to LA because “The fashion world is superficial and vacuous, so (he) go(es) to Los Angles to become the hugest Austrian superstar since Hitler” At that point I thought he was going to make fun of Hollywood and America’s general vapidity, but then it trailed off and he was in the Middle East trying to get the Palestinians and Jews to get along. Then he was on the Richard Bey show with his black “gayby”. Then he was in the South, pulling the Borat shtick. Yes, I was laughing and it was funny. But the movie was all over the place.

Swanner: I love how you are just passing by how dirty it was. I had heard the studio was worried the gay community was going to be offended by Brüno’s lifestyle, that it was so extreme. I was offended but not because I thought anyone would think that Brüno’s lifestyle resembled mine. I was offended by gratuitous lifestyle. I laugh at all his hi-jinx but I never felt it mirrored my life at all. First of all…I’d never get on a stationary bike even if there was a dildo connected to it.

Judd: I’m sorry that I wasn’t shocked or titillated by the gratuitous sex. I’m like Peggy Lee – and I don’t mean I’m buxom and more than likely going to die of complications from diabetes – I’m mean that when it was all over I said to myself, “Is that all there is to a dancing penis?” I’m sure there are straight people out there that are going to think that is how we all behave – and our Pride Fairs do nothing to counter that notion — and there are going to be gay people out there that are going to be offended because they don’t want to be portrayed so extreme. Screw both groups!

Swanner: Let me ask you this, do you think you’ll watch Brüno again on DVD? the reason I ask is that I really like Borat but I never had a interest in watching it again. I remember when we saw it…I was shocked and laughed my ass off but when it came on DVD and ultimately cable, I’ve never wanted to see it again. My long winded point here is that I do want to see Brüno again. I’m not sure it’s cause I loved the movie or I just liked the dirty stuff.

Judd: No, I don’t think I would want to see Brüno again but I think I would sit and watch Borat again. This kind of movie is hard to rate. I was never bored, I laughed throughout the whole movie, and there are moments that are downright hysterical, but I don’t think it was a good movie; or rather, I don’t think it was as good as it could have been.

Swanner: 2 ½ Stars
Judd: 2 ½ Stars

Julie & Julia

julie-julia-posterwww.julieandjulia.com

Swanner: Julie & Julia follows the lives of two women. Julie Powell, a woman in 2002 who decides she is going to cook all 524 recipes in the Julia Child’s cook book Mastering the Art of French Cooking. While we watch Julie’s life unfold we also see the life of Julia Child which leads us to her writing and publishing the before mentioned cook book. As the movie progresses we see how the two women’s life start to parallel each others.

Judd: I was really looking forward to this movie. Amy Adams and Glenn Close in a movie about Julia Child, how can you go wrong? I know that sounds like a set up, but I did actually like the movie even though it was a little more vag-centric than I was hoping for. The plotline centering around Julie was pretty heavy on the clichés – she’s a stressed out woman that acts like a selfish bitch while her husband manages to be understanding, doting and goofy all at the same time. Blah.

Swanner: I didn’t think that part of the movie was that bad. The problem is that Meryl Streep (not Glenn Close) was so enchanting as Julia Child that the scenes with Amy Adams lacked that charm and stellar performance we were getting from Streep. Adams was losing by comparison…you try performing next to an Icon, an incredibly talented Icon at that, and see how far you get. I did like the way the script bounced back and forth from the early 50’s to 2002 and we could see how different life was for the two characters

Judd: Meryl Streep Glenn Close, eggplant aubergine, alls I know is I did not like the Julie plot and the movie would have been better if it were a straight forward bio-pic. I did like the fact that both women were drinkers. When Julie wasn’t cooking or bitching at her husband, she was having a cocktail – a real cocktail like a martini. Julia drank and smoked. It made me long for the days.

Swanner: I would have liked to see a bio-pic as well but if it weren’t for the book Julie & Julia by Julie Powell there wouldn’t be this opportunity to see an incredible actress playing an incredible woman. Sorry, but it’s true. Liking the fact they drink is a sad statement on your life. It was fun seeing Julia Child’s smoking in a restaurant but pointing it out as a reason for seeing the movie…sad. On the subject of the good old days, they certainly did make Paris in the 50’s look amazing. The sets and costumes were fabulous.

Judd: The sets and costumers were fabulous – as were the supporting performances by Stanley Tucci as Paul Child, Jane Lynch as Julia’s sister and Chris Messina as Julie’s goofy doting husband. And it is not sad to point out that the characters drink and smoke, especially in today’s anti-everything society. Back then they smoked, drank and ate butter and red meat. Sure they looked 60 at 35, but at least they were enjoying it! Who wants to look 20 forever? Did you notice that both Stanley Tucci and Anjelica Huston really inhaled when then smoked?

Swanner: Angelica Huston??? Yes I noticed that they were really smoking. It was the first time in a long time I felt like having a cigarette. All the performances were good but as you mentioned earlier, the scene dealing with Julia Child were so much more interesting and fun. I think the script kept everything light and it never got too dramatic or heavy. Nora Ephron who wrote and directed the film did a nice job at making Julie’s life at least watchable. I do think if this was a traditional bio-pic we wouldn’t have had such a good time

Judd: Ugh, I get all middle-aged statuesque actresses confused. At least I didn’t call her Kathleen Turner. I agree – the movie was very light, even when Julie was being a handful. I guess I’m a little upset that the movie wasn’t the picture that I thought it would be, but at the same time I did enjoy it.

Swanner: 3 Stars
Judd: 3 Stars

G-Force

gforceOfficial Site: disney.go.com/disneypictures/gforce

Swanner: A specially trained squad of guinea pigs is dispatched to stop a diabolical billionaire from taking over the world. That’s the plot of the new Disney feature G-Force. If you haven’t seen the previews for this film, it’s not a cartoon. It’s a live action comedy with some amazing special effects and we saw it in 3D which just seems to get better with every new film. The question here is can a squad of special agent FBI guinea pigs entertain both kids and adults?

Judd: And the answer is a resounding NO! I was given a choice between seeing G-Force or The Ugly Truth, which is kind of like being given the choice between having my left nut popped or my right nut popped. I chose G-Force because I knew Tom was really looking forward to it and I needed to be able to crush his child-like joy. Fortunately, the movie did that without my help.

Swanner: I must admit that this was one of the movies I was really looking forward to this summer but it was geared for a younger audience. So us older kids will probably be a bit disappointed. I did like the characters and the comedy was pretty cute. There were some sentimental moments that I know irritated Brian, so that was a bit of pay-off for me. As I said earlier the movie is very well made but the plot and dialog is very Saturday morning.

Judd: I was so bored I didn’t even notice the sentimental moments. Honestly, I felt like a baby watching the movie. All I saw were shapes and color. The plot – if there was one – escaped me, let alone any sort of emotional manipulation. I do remember thinking that certain things didn’t make sense and that Blaster, voice by Tracy Jordan, spoke only in catchphrases.

Swanner: It’s Tracy Morgan!!! What’s with you lately? Specking of cast members, voicing the guinea pigs and other rodents are Nick Cage, Penelope Cruz, Sam Rockwell and Steve Buscemi. There are a few other actors like Will Arnett and Zach (The Hangover) Galifianakis but they are actually live on screen and don’t play smelly furry things. I know this is hard for you but what did you think of the effects and 3D?

Judd: I saw nothing special about the special effects and the 3D made my eyes water. I hate those 3D glasses; I can’t see how much peanut brittle I have left in the box when I’m wearing those glasses.

Swanner: Brian did bitch about the 3D glasses last night so were going to get some of those frames that block any light from coming in the sides so Brian can look more like the old lady that he already is. Maybe a nice chain for his birthday so he can hang them around his neck when he’s not using them. G-Force is no Beverly Hills Chihuahua but I think it will entertain it’s target audience and the parents that accompany them should still be happy with the film.

Judd: But for our readers without children, there is absolutely no reason to see G-Force. The script and humor is aimed squarely at the 4 to 10 year old market with nothing that plays for the adults. The dialogue is a string of catchphrases you’ll hear children repeating like Macaws until the next Disney mind-rot is released. Though, if I had to make the choice between Ugly Truth and G-Force again I’d go with G-Force.

Swanner: 2 Stars
Judd: 1 Stars

Public Enemies

public-enemies-posterOfficial Site: www.publicenemies.net

Judd: Every summer Hollywood releases their big action packed blockbusters and you know that at least one of them is going to be an early Oscar’s pitch. Directed by Michael Mann with a cast including Johnny Depp, Christian Bale, Leelee Sobieksi, Billy Crudup, Giovanni Ribisi, Channing Tatum and a cameo by Diana Krall, you know Public Enemies is that early effort.

Swanner: The problem here is just like the story of the emperor’s new clothes. All the critics will hail the greatness of this cast and crew for their body of work but that’s not what we do when we review a movie. The review should be focused on the film in question…and let me be the first to say this movie is naked. It’s void of a storyline. I didn’t know who anyone really was past the few main characters. How I’m I suppose to care for anyone when I don’t know who anyone is?

Judd: The film is utter crap artistically and technically. I’m sure the salaries for Bale and Depp were through the roof, but they must not have been left over with anything to make the actual movie. The movie was shot on digital video, so most of the flim looks like it was made for TV. The sound mix was horrible. The score was distracting and the soundtrack was nothing but Billie Holiday. What other critics are calling “raw”, “artistic” and “complex”. I call lazy, sloppy filmmaking.

Swanner: You didn’t mention that nothing really ever happens. It was like watching a bunch of vignettes that they have pieced together to form one movie. So the continuity was terrible. I didn’t know where they were, who they were, what they were doing there and what was going on. I leaned over to ask Brian what time it was because I wanted to know how long it took till something had happened of interest. 40 minutes…and in reality, nothing came of it so we were well into the first hour before anything some what interesting happened.

Judd: Nothing they did had a result. They robbed a bank, there was a shoot out, a cop was killed then… Nothing. Do it all again. Even the times Dillinger was caught there was no sense of development. He escaped, robbed a bank, there was a shoot out, a cop was killed then… Nothing again. Forget about character development, I thought of all the characters as the actors themselves. And remember folks, this is a 2 hour and 20 minute movie.

Swanner: When I look back at some of the great gangster movies I notice that what makes them work is that the characters are so charismatic that you are routing for the bad guys. People were crying as they left the theatre after Bonnie and Clyde. The Godfather was so affecting because you knew they were the bad guys but you became part of the family…and family was most important. Here, I was waiting for Dillinger to get killed so I could go home and watch So You Think You Can Dance. I didn’t feel for any of the characters so I was never invested in the film.

Judd: Even movies where you’re not rooting for the bad guys, like Good Fellas or Scarface, there is a driving force that keeps the viewer interested. The only reason I knew times were tough and they robbed banks is because I was told so in a caption before the movie started. I felt the motivating force for every character in Public Enemies was that they had nothing better to do. “Wanna rob a bank? “Sure, I’ve got nothing better to do.” “You’re my gal now.” “Ok, sure, why not.”

Swanner: On the subject of his girl, you have French actress Marion Cotillard playing Billie, a sad little hat check girl that meets the big bad bank robber and falls into that ridiculous…”but I love him” cliché that I hate. Besides doing it, I couldn’t find any reason for her to follow him around other than she is a pathetic co-dependant nothing. I pretty much didn’t see much point in even having her character in the movie. I thought this film was a huge failure and it’s sad when you have this kind of talent and you produce so little.

Judd: You know it must have been bad if you, of all people, thought the love story was ridiculous and clichéd. I thought the movie was made in total contempt. This movie is a summer blockbuster that plays to a mainstream crowd. I think Michael Mann knowingly took all the technical downfalls of an indie film with none of the artistic payoffs with the explicit goal of fooling the audience into feeling they had seen something deep and artsy. A turd on a pedestal is still a turd.

Swanner: (no stars)
Judd: (no stars)