Shrek Ever After

Swanner: You may be thinking to yourself … how can they make another Shrek movie? Do they still have something to say? Unfortunately the answer is no, not really. The latest Shrek movie is all about a discontented ogre who wants just one more day of just being a carefree ogre. Enter Rumpelstiltskin, who offers Shrek that chance at being a single ogre again for one day and all Shrek has to do is give up one day of his life. Of course Rumpelstiltskin has other plans like taking over Far Far Away.

Judd: I lost interest in Shrek after the last installment, it seems the people making the movies did to. Everything that we loved about the Shrek movies — the Disney satire, the sharp pop culture references — is gone and we’re left with an unfunny movie with a plot that fails to hook you.

Swanner: I didn’t dislike the third installment. It had lost a bit of steam from the first two but it was still light and fun. Once Rumpelstiltskin changes everything the fairytale kingdom becomes dark and scary, something I didn’t expect from the lighthearted Shrek films. I think the director Mike Mitchell and screen writers Josh Klausner & Darren Lemke completely forgot what made the movies work. Puss in Boots and Donkey were the only two characters that made the film tolerable. Well, there was the little boy that wanted Shrek to roar that had me peeing my pants

Judd: The little boy was hysterical, and that’s sad because he had maybe 5 minutes of screen time. It’s unfortunate that Hollywood feels the need to bleed every franchise dry before they actually put it to bed. While Shrek isn’t one of my favorites, it doesn’t deserve this kind of finale.

Swanner: I feel bad as well but because i was a big fan of the franchise. Shrek was the big “non” Pixar animated title that set the standard for all others. I just hope this means they’re done and Shrek is put to bed.

Swanner:

Judd: 1/2

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Sex And The City 2

Swanner: Last night I saw the longest fashion show ever. Brian and I got the pleasure to see the new Sex and the City movie … I guess i shouldn’t say pleasure but we did see the movie. The storyline follows these four women who are going through four different stages of life. Carrie is experiencing the terrible twos, where she feels her marriage is getting complacent while Charlotte is dealing with a child going through the terrible twos. Miranda has just quite her job and Samantha is dealing with being menopausal. (shutter) She talks about her who-ha a lot.

Judd: I’ll be honest. I was a fan of the show in my early 20s. However, as I grew older, matured, experienced things, it seems our old gals are still just as naive now as they were then. We open the movie with a gay wedding featuring a number by Ms. Minnelli, where we learn that Stanford and Anthony have an open marriage — and the girls are shocked. Now what 50 something year old Manhattanites are going to be shocked by an open marriage?

Swanner: These “gals” whore themselves around for 12 years now and now they have morals? Why do they have to make a judgment call on the gays when Samantha has cheated on every relationship she’s ever had. Also at the wedding it was one gay joke after another which comes across to all the conservatives as just another reason why they have a problem with gay marriage when even the whores from Sex and the City don’t get it. Were 10 minutes into the movie and I’m already pissed off.

Judd: It doesn’t get much better when we get to Abu Dhabi and we have to listen to Charlotte and Miranda bitch about how hard it is to be a mother — both of them have full time nannies. I could hear the women in the audience sighing with agreement and I was incensed. Oh please! I fail to sympathize with women who can get away for a week on the spur of the moment. And who, by the way, wears a vintage designer skirt while she makes cookies and her 5-year-old finger paints. She doesn’t need a nanny, she needs to be slapped!

Swanner: Through the whole movie I wanted to slap these women. Carrie’s upset because Big doesn’t want to go out every night because he has a really job and is tired. Samantha thinks it’s okay to test the moral climate in a country where women are not equals. All four are parading around like they rule the world in a new outfit in every scene. I liked Sex and the City when it was about real people trying to get by and learning about life through trial and error. $10 million dollar gown budget alone. Does that really make the movie better? What happen to Carrie creating something amazing from the thrift shop? This overindulgent movie is why the middle east hates Americans!!!

Judd: I won’t go as far as saying S&TC is the reason for the Middle East-US relations problem, but I will say that, you’ve got four New Yorkers going somewhere foreign and behaving like the just left Mayberry. But lets take a look at the target audience, inexperienced, shallow women who relate/wannabe the cast because it gives them a sense of glamour. Any real culture or fashion instilled in the characters be considered snobby, or heaven forbid, too liberal for most middle American housewives. And why the gays like the show, when we’re passed off as nothing more than eunuch harem boys, is beyond me.

Swanner: 1/2 a star
Judd: 1/2 a star

MacGruber

Swanner: Really? MacGruber. Here is a 90 second skit from Saturday Night Live (loosely based on the 80’s TV show MacGyver) and they want to make a 1:40 movie based on it? Can it be done? It has been done and surprisingly it works. Will Forte plays MacGruber and ex-special ops officer who went in hiding after is fiancé was killed but his nemesis Dieter Von Cunth (Val Kilmer) and now is asked by the government to bring Cunth down after a nuke goes missing.

Judd: Of all the recent SNL characters that have had feature length movies, I would say this is the most successful one they’ve had in awhile. I think the reason for that is they’ve expanded upon the character, and didn’t rely on the one-note shtick they use on the TV show. I found Kristen Wiig to be the weakest of the characters, but I blame that on writing more than I blame that on her.

Swanner: The movie is all about Will Forte which might be the biggest stumbling block for the film. It’s not that he’s not capable but that there is no name actor opening the movie. If it attracts and audience I think the word of mouth should work for the film. The director is Jorma Taccone, who is also involved with SNL as a writer/director keeps the film at a good pace and even during the romantic scene he still makes them funny. I really enjoyed that the humor was just as dumb as the 90 second skits and that the movie was just about over when he finally uses the MacGyver (all I need is floss and a thimble to defuse this bomb) shtick.

Judd: While I was watching the film I was thinking to myself that the movie could have easily been a Will Farrell movie. The movie is going to do very well with his fans — and maybe even a little better because there are so many obscene sight gags. Another thing is that the studio was smart enough to keep all of the funniest scenes out of the trailers, so the audience isn’t going to be expecting more than what’s delivered.

Swanner: Low expectations is what you need when you see this film. I know we’ve been making fun of it since we heard they were making it. I had to guilt you into going so I don’t think our expectations could have been much lower. If movie goers are looking for something silly/stupid then MacGruber should satisfy their craving.

Judd: Agreed. I would call this worthy of matinee prices and definitely worth a rental for all those fans of stupid, low-brow humor. I thought I was going to hate it, but I got more genuine laughs out of MacGruber than I did Get Him To The Greek.

Swanner: 1/2

Judd: 1/2

Robin Hood

Swanner: This new version of Robin Hood takes place before the actual written story happened, a prequel as it were. We start off with our hero, Robin Longstride (Russell Crowe), an archer in the Kings army fighting against the Norman invaders. After the King is killed Longstride desserts the army, steals a dead mans identity to gain transport back to England and returns the dead Kings crown to the Queen Mother … talk about a busy schedule. That was the first 45 minutes.

Judd: You make sound like the first 45 minutes were jammed packed with action – they weren’t. The beginning was long and drawn out, and the rest of the movie didn’t get any better. When Robin Longstride finally becomes Robin of Loxley – actually replaces him upon the insistence of the dead man’s father – he goes forth and invents the Magna Carta, reunites a torn country, and defeats the invading French. It’s not until the end of the 2 hour and 20 minute debacle, that he finally becomes Robin Hood.

Swanner: When I heard prequel I thought that meant a little bit a back story but this was a lot of who cares and why isn’t he stealing from the rich. The film is beautifully made as one would expect from Director Ridley Scott but the dragged out storyline had me checking my watch and rolling my eyes. When Brian says the “Robin Hood” storyline doesn’t come until the end…he means the last two minutes of the film. Did you notice the Sheriff of Nottingham was a big queen?

Judd: I did not notice, because he only had 5 minutes of screen time. The biggest problem with the movie is that it suffered from epic bloat. There was a plot line about the orphans of Nottingham that live in the neighboring woods and wear Ewok masks – totally pointless. The only time they were used was during a worthless scene where they come in and save Maid Marion from a burning building then make her their queen. I’m not kidding. Maid Marion becomes queen of the Ewoks.

Swanner: Stop it! How about the fact that Walter Loxley (played brilliantly by Max von Sydow) just happens to know have known Robin’s real father and was there the day he was killed. Talk about your small world moments. Did you hate the music as much as I did? Renaissance fair music makes me suicidal. Every time the mead poured the music would start and we have another “kill me” dance sequence. The sad part is I really didn’t hate the movie. I was more irritated by it.

Judd: The movie mangles history to give back story to a fictional character. Why not throw in some completely unbelievable coincidences and chalk it all up to “fate”. This is a manufactured historical piece catering to the fans of Braveheart, and Dances with Wolves. The movie needed a lute, penny flute and the requisite minimum three dance/frivolity scenes; otherwise the target audience would have felt cheated. Had the movie been edited down, or made more along the lines of the Queen Elizabeth movies – unabashedly over the top – it would have been enjoyable.

Swanner:

Iron Man 2

Swanner: I hate the anticipation that comes with a sequel of a really good movie. Will it be as good or even better than the original…or worse, will it be a disappointment? Unfortunately I experience a little of both with Iron Man 2. Robert Downey Jr once again stars as Tony Stark/Iron Man bringing back all the laughs and charm with him, Don Cheadle nicely taking over the Terrence Howard role and Sam Rockwell stealing just about every scene he appeared. Then the cast goes downhill from there with Gwyneth Paltrow, Mickey Rourke and Scarlett Johansson.

Judd: You stop right there with Scarlett Johansson, she’s better than that awful Heigl woman. You’re just mad because Scarlett dated Ryan Reynolds. As far as Gwyneth and Mickey go, the movie revolves around Downey , Cheadle and Rockwell. Rourke and Paltrow just happen to show up every now and then. I feel that Iron Man 2 is a different movie than the first. The first was more character driven, whereas this is action based. Does that make it less of a movie? That depends on what you expect from an action film.

Swanner: You’re absolutely right, It’s all subjective and that’s the point I was making about anticipation, I was hoping for the original and I got a different movie. This movie is about taking the Iron Man technology and turning into a weapon. Sam Rockwell plays Justine Hammer, a douche bag weapons manufacturer, who only sees dollar signs and not the good Iron Man creates. He hires Mickey Rourke’s character (Ivan Vanko) to create a rival to Iron Man. By the way, I’ve hated Scarlett since that awful Lost in Translation…marrying Ryan Reynolds was just her way of sealing my hatred against her.

Judd: Sam Rockwell is brilliant in everything he does; I think he’s one of the most under utilized actors in Hollywood today. I enjoyed Iron Man 2. I thought the special effects and action sequences were top notch, but I will say there wasn’t as much tension in this one as the first. Iron Man kicks ass through out the whole film, which of course is expected, but I never once though he might be in over his head. Even during the big fight scene at the end he never really took his blows, he just kept whooping ass until all the drones were destroyed. It was awesome, but not really satisfying.

Swanner: I felt the same. Iron Man was too uneven this time. Tony Stark is a mess and it messes with our sense of excitement. It’s hard to care when our hero doesn’t. Stark was very bipolar and after a bit I was loosing interest because Stark was loosing interest. When he finally finds himself again I was almost gone myself. The saving grace here is that Robert Downey Jr is so good. I found myself stinking with Tony Stark because I trust him and Downey Jr makes that easy to do. My suggestion is to go in expecting about 20% less than what you got from the original.

Judd: I think the problem here is that Tony Stark and Iron Man aren’t very complex characters. Where do you go after the first one? I think that’s why most comic book movies go flat after the second. Not all of them can be psycho thrillers like Batman.

Swanner

Judd 1/2

A Nightmare On Elm Street

Judd: In 1984 Wes Craven created a character named Freddy Kruger, a monster who had become an icon along the likes of Leatherface, Michael Meyers and Jason Vorhees. And just like Mike, Jay and Leath before him, Freddo has finally been dug up and “re-imagined” because Hollywood is either too stupid or scared to take a risk on new serial killer – and no, Jigsaw doesn’t count because he’s a pussy who relies on contraptions and gadgets. He’d probably cry like Tom at a Nicholas Sparks movie if someone handed him an actual weapon. Anyway, this time it’s Jackie Earle Haley that dons the trademark fedora and stripped sweater to haunt the dreams of the teenagers from Springbrook Ohio.

Swanner: I can’t believe it’s been 26 years since the original hit theatres but the first thing I did notice was how well made the remake is compared to the 84 version. The original had a budget of 1.8 million where the new nightmare is slightly higher with 27 million dollars and you see it everywhere with the exception of the script. Forget Freddy, the script is the real murderer here. It offers nothing new and no real substance for the actors. On the subject of the actors, they literally introduce characters to kill them off.

Judd: The film is too clear and clean if you ask me. Part of the charm of those late 70s and early 80s slasher flicks is the grainy low quality film stock. It adds to the ambience. And boy, are you right about the script. If Freddy can only kill someone in their sleep, I know he could have killed me several times over while trying to watch this snoozer. This is the epitome of what I despise in horror films. Paper thin plot, no suspense, and all the scares are cheap “gotcha” moments where something pops into frame with violins screeching in the background.

Swanner: One other huge problem with the movie is how under played Freddy was in the film. Robert Englund made Freddy someone you’d pray you wouldn’t see in your dreams. He was really scary. Jackie Earle Haley probably wanted to deliver a new Freddy to audiences but Englund’s Freddy was so memorable that Haley’s choice to underplay a role that memorable was probably a mistake, but then again maybe it was a mistake even trying to remake this classic horror film.

Judd: I didn’t think of it that way…. All the other franchise killers don’t talk; they’re all a silent menace. Kruger is an actual character and Englund played him as a gleeful sadistic. He had a sense of humor – you could even go so far as to call it campy. Another problem I had was that the lead teens, new comers Kyle Gallner and Rooney Mara, are two of the mumbliest actors working. They make Kristen Stewart sound like she’s got a PhD in Elocution.

Swanner: Thanks for making my point. You’re right, the other killers are silent killing machines; Freddy terrorizes his victims. Instead of being scared, I was pissed at Haley’s Freddy. I wanted his victims to yell at him and fight back. As far as I’m concerned, if the plan was to bore the audience so they would fall asleep during the movie…then they did a great job but somehow I think the point was to make people lose sleep over this movie not sleep through it.

Judd: One more problem that I had before we wrap this up – the director decided that Kruger should have a voice like Bale’s Batman, which I found extremely irritating. The voice in addition to the thin plot, boring killer, leaden actors, and no real scares or suspense make Nightmare on Elm Street a huge disappointment not even worthy of matinee prices.

Swanner: (for the production value)
Judd: