Jennifer's Body

jennifers-body-poster1-560x828Swanner: Megan Fox stars as a high school girl who gets in the wrong van after a concert and shows up later covered in blood with a change of attitude. Has she been altered or is she possessed? These are the questions running through your mind as you watch the new movie Jennifer’s Body

Judd: Those were not the questions running through my mind. The only question running through my mind was how the fuck did Diablo Cody win an Oscar if this is her follow up effort? Or as Ms Cody would say, “Like, Doubleyou Tee Eff. How did this dried up pole jockey acquire the golden man? So Vanity Unfair.”

Swanner: I’ll admit that the movie looks good. The production design definitely says scary movie but the story is goofy at best. I know Megan Fox is 23 but some of these high schoolers look like they’ve been going to the Grease school of adults playing teenagers. The real adults in the movie look ancient so to not make these “kids” look too old…it didn’t work. The script was the problem for me but more from a “this is really stupid” plot line and not because of the trendy dialog

Judd: I was wondering if you noticed the geriatric teenagers. The only one that looks like he could pass for an actual teen is Johnny Simmons – and he looks absolutely baby-faced compared to Megan Fox and Amanda Seyfreid who look like they ought to be wing slingers at the local Hooters.

Swanner: Did you think it was scary at all? I thought it had a few scares but I wasn’t really sure if I was watching a horror film or a black comedy. Maybe that was suppose to be it’s charm. I know you hated the dialog but I like the trendy crap.

Judd: Scary? No, the movie was not scary. It’s being advertised as a horror comedy, and it’s neither. Twice they made subtle reference to Evil Dead, and I was insulted. And as far as her witastic dialogue, I’m so totally whatevs about it. Cody is the Bush Admin Wall Street, she gets too much credit. I mean, her dialogue is like a one legged dog – totally lame. Her only tal’ is recycling Janine Garafalo and Heathers quotes.

Swanner: At least Megan Fox was sexy and the “kiss” was pretty good if you like that kind of thing.

Judd: I don’t.

Swanner: Me either

Swanner: * ½

Judd: no stars

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The Informant

The+Informant+with+Matt+Damon+-+Movie+PosterJudd: September is a curious month. It’s the month when the studios release the last of their throwaways, it’s also the month that some brave studio releases their first Oscar movie. The Informant, starring Matt Damon and directed by Steve Soderbergh, is based on a true story about a man who decides to turn to the FBI when his employer engages in a world-wide price fixing racket.

Swanner: I love how Cohen Brother-ish this movie is. It’s got an antihero who is charismatic but definitely no angel. He wants to do good but his own mistakes are catching up with him. I think it’s interesting how these characters seem to speak to movie audiences…well at least to the art house audiences. I certainly can see why Matt Damon would want to play this character because not only is it a blast to play but it does have “give me an Oscar nomination” written all over it

Judd: I don’t know if I’d call in Cohen Brother-esque. I felt that it seemed more like The Office — that stuttering and stammering type of dry humor that I don’t understand or like. The Informant! is one of those movie where the sum of it’s parts are greater than it’s whole. Technically, it’s a good movie. The soundtrack is excellent. The acting from every person in the cast is top notch. The story is good. But when it was put all together it became sort of a sputtering mess.

Swanner: I totally disagree. This movie was fun. I couldn’t to see how far Whitacre (Damon) was going to dig himself into a hole. The script , written by Scott Z. Burns, dragged me along keeping me just confused enough that I almost always had things figured out without ever really getting there. The film is based on Kurt Eichenwald’s book of the name and if it’s as much fun as the movie, the book should be a great read.

Judd: “Should be a great read,” — like you’ll ever find out. I thought the film tried too hard to be fun. Soderbergh took a dry topic and a bumbling protagonist and tried to turn it into a white-collar comedy. It seems to me that the result was as clumsy as Whitacre. Even the soundtrack, which I loved, seemed forced.

Swanner: I didn’t say I was going to read it, I said it should be a great read. I never thought it felt forced, my only complaint was that I think the first act of the movie took too long. Once the second act kicks in it moved really well. I’m not sure what you were expecting but I was surprised and amused the whole time. I especially liked that the majority of the supporting cast was made up of stand-up comedians. I guess Soderbergh got use to working with large casts with Traffic and the “Ocean” movies and moves them beautifully through the film. The score by Marvin Hamlisch was unexpected and wonderful but not forced at all.

Judd: I will say the 2nd half the movie moved better than the first because it was picking up momentum and stopped tripping over itself. As I mentioned at the beginning of the review, I liked the soundtrack and I, too, liked all the actors. I thought they all gave fantastic performances, especially for standup comics that were cast in semi-serious roles. The movie, as an entity itself, was no good. I think back to our reviews of this summer and how we said that several movies were horrible but ultimately watchable. The Informant! is the exact opposite; it’s an excellent movie that I found grating and unfunny.

Swanner: Did you notice Joel McHale from The Soup and the new NBC comedy Community was Scott Bakula’s partner in the movie?

Judd: I noticed.

Swanner: 2½ Stars
Judd: 1½ Stars

Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs

cloudy_with_a_chance_of_meatballsSwanner: Opening this week is a new animated feature based on the children’s story written by Judi & Ron Barrett called Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs . The story is about Flint Lockwood a young inventor who is trying to prefect a machine that can make food from water. Of course once the invention works…it works too well.

Judd: I remember when I was a kid, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs was a book you had to get on the waiting list for. I haven’t read it since I was 5 or 6, but it must have been a good book because it made an excellent movie – and I say this after seeing it on a Saturday morning in a theatre full of children!

Swanner: Not to mention it was in 3D and it was 10 am on a Saturday morning. I was pretty sure you were going to hate it. On the subject of 3D, I really liked the 3D in this one. Much like Up, the 3D is there to enhance the colors and beauty of the film and never used to move the plot or play tricks with the audience. Will it be the same in 2D…absolutely.

Judd: I hate 3D. Granted, the digital polarized version we have now is better than that godawful red-blue anaglyph stuff from the 50s, but I still see it as a pointless gimmick that I’ll be glad to see go away (again). 3D aside, I can’t say too much about the movie that was bad. It was well written, the humor played to children and adults, and it was well paced. The character I didn’t like was Baby Brent as voiced by Adam Samberg. Bill Hader, Anna Farris, James Caan, and even Mr T. are all spot-on.

Swanner: I hate to use the term visually pleasing but it works so well here. It has such a wonderful look to it and it’s not just my hungry either. Watching all that food fall from the sky did make me hungry. Afterwards we went to Costco and I grazed the sample items like never before. I’d suggest eating before the movie

Judd: Fat. Sooooo fat. As I mentioned the script played to kids and adults, even the “comic relief” character, a monkey named Steve, was in perfect balance with the movie – as opposed to some films where that character type becomes overkill for cheap laughs.

Swanner: I think it’s important to tell people to eat. Don’t you remember Julie and Julia??? I really had fun and the kids really like it too. I think this is the best film to come from Sony Animation. I’m really surprised you didn’t make any jokes about the Mayor in the movie. I figured you have some nasty thing to say

Judd: You mean the mayor that kept ordering more and more food, even though the portions were getting bigger and less stable? The mayor that got so fat he needed a scooter to get around and the buttons of his shirt cried for mercy? You mean the mayor that reminded me of you? No, I wasn’t going to bring him up.

Swanner: 3 1/2 Stars
Judd: 4 Stars

Whiteout

whiteoutJudd: The other night, Tom and I saw Whiteout. A suspense thriller about a killer on the loose in Antarctica, and the lone US Marshall who has to catch him. Kate Beckinsale and Tom Skeritt are the only big names in this early September throwaway.
 
Swanner: I thought it was a horror film. I watched the trailer and it looked like a remake of The Thing…it wasn’t. I hate when the trailer makes it out to be one genre and it’s no where near that (remember The Village?). Now that I know it’s a thriller I can judge it on being a thriller and frankly it wasn’t a very good thriller either. We’re you surprised by any of it? The only thing that surprised me was how lame the ending was.
 
Judd: I know how much you hate misleading trailers; it usually doesn’t bother me, but in this case I was irritated. As a suspense film, the movie was completely flaccid. There was no sense of danger or tension. The back story was pointless. I was bored throughout the whole movie, thankfully it was fairly short.
 
Swanner: That’s a good point. The back story was stupid and the point they made with it, I had figured out almost immediately. The only way they produced any tension was every time a storm would blow by… Funny how every time they showed a weather map it only show the one large storm, yet two or three blew by before the big storm hit. I also think it’s crap to have a mystery person they haven’t introduced yet in a whodunit storyline.  Maybe that’s why there was no tension
 
Judd: Even the storms never seemed to generate much tension.  A thriller/suspense/whodunit should have a constant feel of impending doom or danger. Even when our hero was being chased, it felt tepid. The red herring was completely apparent — and I’m usually the one that get totally immersed in these kinds of films, while you’re the one that figures everything out before the end. I knew who it wasn’t the whole time, and by the time I figured out who it was, I didn’t care.
 
Swanner: That’s it! Let’s talk around that lame ending. From the opening scene, we’re wondering what’s in this box. People are killed for what’s in the box and once we find out what’s in the box I wanted to get up and walk to my car. I was so pissed. Was that supposed to validate 141 minutes? I guess this came from some graphic novel and if this is an example of what’s available in graphic novels…stop making movies out of them.
 
Judd: I almost thought they were going to do a whole Kiss Me Deadly/Pulp Fiction thing with the mystery box, I wish they would have. The movie is a dud, plain and simple. I don’t know if the source material is any better, but it can’t be much worse. The only thing worthwhile in this movie is hottie Gabriel Macht. He’s like a sexier, manlier Giovanni Ribisi.
 
Swanner: 1½ Stars
Judd: ½ Star
 

Extract

extract_poster_2Judd: Mike Judge, the man that brought us Beavis and Butthead, King of the Hill, and cult classics Office Space and Idiocracy brings us his latest view American dystopia in Extract, starring Jason Bateman, Ben Affleck, Mila Kunis, Kristen Wiig, and JK Simmons. The movie is about a factory owner (Bateman) who’s dealing with a disinterested wife (Wiig), discontented workers, a lawsuit, and a beautiful scam artist.

Swanner: This is definitely a movie that you watch and not judge. I really enjoyed watching the movie but the more I thought about it the more questions I had on continuity and storyline. It reminded me a lot of The Goods that we saw last month that was full of holes yet very entertaining. I will admit this film was made much better than The Goods but they are quite similar.

Judd: I like Mike Judge and I went in expecting a certain style of humor, and it certainly delivered. Judge’s works aren’t necessarily about deep and meaningful story as much as they are about portraying your everyday man muddling through his everyday life. If anything negative can be said about Extract is that it is a bit dry, but again, that is Mike Judge’s style.

Swanner: I had no problem with the humor, it was very funny. My problem was with the Mila Kunis storyline and that I really wanted more time with the workers at the plant. As much as I like Ben Affect, I think if they had made his character smaller and given me more crazy workers I would have liked it more. In Office Space we got a real feel for the mediocre life in a cubical and here I was expecting some real assembly line monotony…I got some, just not enough.

Judd: I agree and I disagree. I think the movie was set up to make the audience think they were seeing Office Space II: Assembly Line Boogaloo. I’m trying to think if it’s because of the movie’s direction, the writing, or if it was my fault that I went in thinking “this is going to be like Office Space” when it was really more like King of the Hill.

Swanner: It wasn’t King of the Hill…well maybe the assembly line was but there were too many things happening and some are just settled and some just magically come together. That’s not really the point here. Once again, this is a comedy and you should just sit back and laugh, don’t look at the holes. This movie is funny and you should enjoy it for what it is.

Judd: I would call it a renter. I don’t think I would recommend someone to see it as even a matinee. It’s funny, but it’s also an end of summer throw away.

Swanner: 2 Stars
Judd: 2 Stars