Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World

Swanner: Michael Cera stars as Scott Pilgrim, a young man who meets the love of his life only to find out that he must battle her “Evil Exes” in order to date her. The movie is based on the Oni Press graphic novel Scott Pilgrim Volume 1: Scott Pilgrim’s Precious Little Life, written by Bryan Lee O’Malley. Scott lives in a world like ours but in reality he lives in a world where gaming rules apply.

Judd: You should have mentioned that it’s her Seven Evil Exes. Why is that important? Because by the fourth Ex, I was bored with the battle shtick and was ready to see the closing credits. With that said, Scott Pilgrim is well written, well made and the fight scenes were choreographed wonderfully. However the movie is a one trick pony that relies on said trick seven times over.

Swanner: It does get a bit long for us novices but it’s not just a one trick pony. The Evil Exes is a big part of the story, but it’s the characters in the movie that really drove it for me. His high school girlfriend, his gay roommate and his sister were hilarious. The band, which he is the lead bassist, is a lot of fun as they try to win in the battle of the bands contest. There was a lot going on so I’m thinking you were bored because you couldn’t see past the one trick.

Judd: Maybe … I know I felt like an 80 year old watching the movie. The movie is very hip – and hip in a good way, not a Juno forced wannabe hip. God, I hate Diablo Cody. Anyway, sure there were the characters and other story lines, but you’re right, I couldn’t see past the one trick. I will say it was nice to see Michael Cera do something a little more than his usual Michael Cera Stuttering Pussy routine. He was still a stuttering pussy, but at least he kicked some ass.

Swanner: Totally agree with you on the Michael Cera “pussy” factor. I usually call him the Nudge. Yes he’s a bit safe here but at least he’s not dragging his feet. I also thought it was a really well cast film and having some sweet cameos like Chris Evans and Brandon Routh rounded it out nicely. I have to give most of the credit for the film to the Director Edgar Wright who made films like Hot Fuzz and Shaun of the Dead instant hits and Michael Bacall who co-wrote this fun script with Wright.

Judd: This is one of those movies where given all its bonuses, I should have liked it. A good looking cast, Edgar Wright directing and well choreographed fight scenes, however, I think the repetitive nature of the story and its 2 hour runtime got to be too much for me.

Swanner:
Judd:

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The Other Guys

Judd: In The Other Guys Will Farrell and Mark Wahlberg star as two misfit paper pushing cops who decide to leave their desks to crack a case of a Bernie Madoff type character who’s trying to swindle $32 billion dollars to pay off his own debt. They only problem is, they don’t know who he’s trying to swindle.

Swanner: This is the premise of this comedy from Director Adam McKay. McKay has successfully worked with Farrell before in Anchorman and Step Brothers and seems to be the director that can either control him or know how to bring out the funny in him. If you look at it, the movie is very well cast and the performances show it. I was very surprised how good Mark Wahlberg was in it. I would think trying to act against Farrell would be tough but he made it work and sometimes actually steal the focus completely.

Judd: I think you hit the nail on the head with McKay being able to successfully reign in Farrell. I thought The Other Guys was going to be an awful piece given it’s a Farrell movie being released in August, but I was pleasantly surprised. However, I think the plot was needlessly convoluted and there were several moments that seemed tacked on just for the visual mayhem the scenes created. They did nothing to advance the plot.

Swanner: In this kind of a screwball comedy I think you’re going to have goofy scenes just for laughs…Eve Mendez wouldn’t need to be in the movie if she wasn’t a running gag. You are right on the plot. They have too many red herrings in the film but then they do work in to more silliness. They do bring the film around to where at the end it all makes sense…sort of but I wasn’t really concentrating on the plot.

Judd: I know, who goes to a Will Farrell movie for a gripping well thought out plot? But I do feel that the loose plotting made the movie feel a bit long. It’s nearly two hours long and it definitely feels that way. I think if the script would have been tightened up the movie would moved along better and would have made the movie a real classic. The way it is, the humor carries the movie along, but just barely.

Swanner: A real classic? Are you getting a kick back from someone? It was a funny movie but classic never entered my head when thinking how I might describe the movie. What next Jonah Hex Oscar contender? It was a funny movie with good performances but if Sony’s not paying for your new air-conditioner and you still think it’s just short of being a classic…we must have seen two different movies.

Judd: Did you even read what I wrote or did you just zone in on “classic”? Yes, classic in the sense of Step Brothers or Animal House – a movie with a decent plot and great humor. But the writing was sloppy, the plot was ill formed and the movie fell short of what could have been excellence. The potential was there, but the movie failed to deliver. I think I made that perfectly clear in the last sentence – but much like the target audience you probably got distracted by a bright shiny object before you were able to finish reading.

Swanner: Step Brothers or Animal House? First, Step Brothers is no classic and secondly, even breathing either of these films in the same sentence with Animal House is a crime. So I think it’s safe to say I did understand what you said, Mister Pushy, I just didn’t like this movie as much as you obviously did.

Judd: Oops, you’re age is showing Grandpa. Step Brothers and The Hangover are the new Animal House and Caddyshack. You don’t have to agree with me, it’s just the way it is, so you keep clinging to your Angels Flights and blue Nikes with the yellow swoosh. Meanwhile, people reading this review who are under the Half Century Mark will get over the fact that I was able to use Animal House and Step Brothers in the same sentence, and see that I enjoyed The Other Guys but feel that it could have been much, much better.

Swanner:
Judd: ½

Cats and Dogs 2: The Revenge of Kitty Galore

First thing that crossed my mind during the opening credits was will the core audience of this film be able to appreciate the title sequence in the movie. It’s all done up like a James Bond movie with spinning bones in place of guns and the silhouettes of naked women. The best part is they have Dame Shirley Bassey singing Let’s Get This Party Started (Bassey sang three of the theme songs form James Bond movies). This really sets the film up to be a bit of a lampoon of the before mentioned Bond movies complete with a goofy inventor and crazy villains looking to rule the world.

The film has a really great cast with some of them actually appearing on screen while the majority are voice only. The voiceovers are done by James Marsden, Nick Nolte, Christina Applegate, Katt Williams, Bette Midler and even Roger Moore (back to that Bond connection again). The two best known of the on screen actors are Chris ODonnell and Jack McBrayer (30 Rock).

The main story here is that dogs and cats secret organizations are still feuding but when word gets around that Kitty Galore has plans to rule the human the two groups must work together to stop the feline. Bette Midler voices Kitty Galore very well by giving her that Diva tone of her Divine Miss M. This movie was really made with the younger kids in mind. I did make it through just fine so if you are accompanying a young one to the theatre, You should be able to sit back and enjoy the silliness. The special effects are top notch and anytime i can watch dogs talk for 90 minutes I’m okay. Seeing the first one isn’t necessary since this movie stands on it’s own very nicely. There is one continuing storyline involving Mr. Tinkles (Sean Hayes) who was the super villian in the first film but it won’t ruin the fun if you didn’t see number one.

Swanner

Dinner with Schmucks

Swanner: What do you get when you mix Steve Carell and Paul Rudd with the director The Focker movies and the Austin Powers movies? You get two very funny actors and a good director and a really awful movie. I can’t believe how bad this movie was and poor Brian was so distraught he had to leave halfway through. This is based on a French movie called The Dinner Game, a 98 French comedy by Francis Veber. For me the French are either right on the mark with comedy or completely wrong…after all they think Jerry Lewis is a genius but they did make the original Birdcage.

Judd: Lucky for me this wasn’t a press screening and I didn’t have to worry about being polite – though I rarely do. The movie is about an up-and-coming Paul Rudd who is invited to dinner by his boss, the only catch is that he has to bring an idiot for the executives to make fun of. Dinner for Schmucks is made for schmucks. I didn’t laugh once through the 45 minutes that I saw. It’s Steve Carell doing his Steve Carell shtick. “Oh, isn’t he awkward yet hilarious.” He’s become the new Jim Carrey. The same unfunny routine over and over again.

Swanner: I didn’t laugh either and I sat through the entire movie. You sort of woke me up when you told me you were leaving because I felt myself slipping in to dreamland. What bothered me the most was the movie was so mean spirited and I was siding with the mean people. I thought Carell was too irritating to be funny, so as the movie progressed I was rooting for the bad guys. When the dinner took place you realized just how cruel the film really was … but all I could think about was your escape

Judd: I didn’t care that the movie was mean spirited, I cared that it wasn’t funny. It was watching one strained unfunny moment lead into another strained and even unfunnier moment right after the other. Fans of movies like Dumb and Dumber or any other lowbrow slapstick schlock are going to be the ones that enjoy Dinner for Schmucks. And I agree that Carell was too irritating to be the good guy. There’s a difference between being a loveable goof and an obnoxious asshole and in this case malice is not a factor.

Swanner: You’re right; it is more about the comedy not being funny. It was so unfunny I started questioning why people were laughing. I never did find those types of movies you mentioned funny either. I know there are people who do like slapstick comedies, but since The Three Stooges I haven’t been one of them. I actually thought this movie looked different. I thought this one might have more heart since Paul Rudd was in it and he’s been making better movies. I can tell you right now that Dinner with Schmucks will be on my worst picture list, I’m just that confident.

Judd: Juan wanted to see this movie, and anyone who has read this column long enough knows that if Juan wants to see a particular movie, that movie is going to SUCK. I would recommend Dinner for Schmucks to all the Juans out there. Everyone else can save their money.

Swanner: no stars
Judd: no stars

Charlie St Cloud

When Zac Efron said he wasn’t going to do Footloose i remember thinking that acting careers don’t last forever and how I’d run with whatever worked, now I’m thinking maybe he’s got a plan and Charlie St Cloud is definitely a good step to this plan. I know that critics are going to say this movie is too schmaltzy but if they do they’re forgetting who this film was made for…i know who it is and i happen to be one of those 12 year old girls.

The story is about Charlie (Efron) and Sam (Charlie Tahan), two brothers who are in a car accident where Sam is killed. The day of the accident Charlie had promised Sam that every night a dusk they would meet in one certain place and play catch. Five years after Sam’s death Charlie is still playing catch with Sam rain or shine. The movie is about grief and how people deal with it differently. There is also a love story that has Charlie having to make the decision between his time with his brother and the rest of his life.

It’s a very affecting movie. For anyone who was ever close with their siblings or ever had to make that choice between family and career or love this movie will touch them. Charlie goes through all these things so that gives Efron plenty of opportunity to show he’s not just the kid from High School Musical that he’s a viable actor and wants to be taken seriously. Even though i wouldn’t say he nails the role, he does do a really good job and i can honestly say he made the right choice. People will compare the movie with The Sixth Sense or The Notebook, which are actually decent comp titles but it’s never as scary or as much of a tearjerker as those films. So when all those old men are out there reviewing this movie they need to remember who this film was made for… older women and young girls…and me.

The film is Directed by Burr Steers, who also directed Efron in 17 Again, who does a nice job of keeping the pace moving and the twists coming. The screenplay is written by Craig Pearce (Strictly Ballroom) and Lewis Colick (Ladder 49) from the Novel by Ben Sherwood called The Death and Life of Charlie St Cloud. The film was shot beautifully in British Columbia Canada and should definitely increase tourism through the area.

Swanner