Avengers: Infinity War


Swanner: It’s been 10 years since Iron Man first flew across our screens, bringing Marvel Studios’ into the box office race. Marvel’s latest “Avengers: Infinity War” brings to the screen the ultimate showdown with almost everyone showing up for the party. The Avengers and their allies must be willing to sacrifice all in an attempt to defeat the powerful Thanos before he gets his wish, and puts an end to the universe.

This film is huge. Just bringing together all the actors it does had to break the bank. Directors Anthony Russo and Joe Russo, along with screenwriters Christopher Markus and Stephen Mcfeely, lay it all on the line with a film that is going to have fans walking out of theaters with their mouths hanging in disbelief. Since I love a good twist I’ll say no more, but please, if you’re a huge fan of the franchise, run to see this film. It’s what all people will be talking about for weeks to come.

On the subject of cast, with the exception of Deadpool and the X-men, everyone is in the movie. I thought the film was big, at times maybe too big, but it’s hard to have so many stars here and not give them something to do. The film runs 2:30, and with just a few quiet moments, it’s non stop action. Infinity War is well made and the performances are all good but I warn you, be ready for whatever may happen. I’m still trying to comprehend the ending. The summer movies have arrived, long live popcorn, soda, candy bars, and the air conditioned babysitter.

Swanner: *** 1/2

I Feel Pretty


Swanner: In I Feel Pretty, Amy Schumer plays Renee, a big girl whose one wish is to be beautiful in the eyes of all that see her. During a spinning class, Renee has an accident where she hits her head. After she wakes she only sees herself as beautiful. Renee is so confident with herself that she asks men for their numbers and even applies for a receptionist position at a cosmetics company.  Abby Kohn and Marc Silverstein wrote and directed this uneven comedy.

Judd: I went in with an open mind, not knowing what to expect. Schumer is known for her very R-Rated comedy, so how that was going to be made PG-13 was a curiosity. It worked, and the core of Schumer’s humor is there, but as Tom mentioned the movie is extremely uneven. There were times where it felt like I should have been laughing at Renee instead of with Renee. Compounding the unevenness was the obviously shoestring budget, as well and Kohn and Silverstein’s lack of experience behind the camera.

Swanner: I did find myself laughing at the awful way people were treating the character but then I figured they wanted me to laugh so I’d learn my lesson in the end. It didn’t work. You can still enjoy the film even if you’re not a shamer. We watch it a different way. We are the big girls, so Amy becomes our hero and not butt of the joke. I think they could have been more original with the film but they decided to say “She’s watching Big and we’re stealing from it. 

Judd: Wait a minute, who is is “we”? I am a dainty little flower! The movie is extremely preachy, especially toward the end, but I knew that going into it. I applaud Schumer for what she did, and she provided some impressive turns. The weakest link in the movie are Kohn and Silverstein. Some of the choices they made brought everyone down with them. The cinematography was terrible, and it was done by Florian Ballhaus who has a rather impressive resume. 

Swanner: It’s not the best “Girl Power” movie but the fact that it exists is what’s important. Women (and I) don’t get enough movies made for us about us. So, when one does I’m really happy to see it. Just like when movies like Girls Trip or Bad Moms come out, we get a glut of copycats. Hollywood, don’t fuck up the chance to get good, funny and exciting films about women just to cash in on a trend. Women aren’t a trend, they’re a majority of the population. 

Swanner: 2 stars
Judd: 1 Star



Swanner: Rampage follows Davis Okaya (Dwayne Johnson) who is a Primatologist who has a bond with a rare white gorilla named George. After an explosion of a spacecraft during reentry in the earth’s atmosphere, a scientific experiment ends up in George’s area and he becomes infected with a gas that causes quick development and unmeasured rage. Two other parts of the experiment end up infecting a wolf and an alligator. The experiment was from a company who is illegally developing this as a weapon that could be used later for the military.

Right away, based on the dialog, you realize this film was made to appeal to a younger crowd. There are prat falls and silly one liners that you expect more in a Schwartzenegger film than one from Johnson. Knowing Brad Peyton was directing made me hope for more of what we got from San Andreas, but they went in a different direction. Once I got used to the silliness, I enjoyed the film more. Since we’re being silly, it came as no wonder that the villains were extra evil. Malin Akerman continues to know how to bring the bitch to a role and Jake Lacey plays her dumb brother/hench man.

The rest of the cast is good with Jeffrey Dean Morgan (Walking Dead) playing a good ole boy federal agent that knows Okoye knows what he’s doing, along with Naomie Harris (Moonlight) who plays the doctor who can stop the creatures. The film feels a lot like the old creature movies from the 60’s: lots of disruction and cool monsters. The special effects are good, and watching Chicago get torn apart again is done very well. The scares are here, but they’re never too scary. I’d call this a good family film, but when you have a giant gorilla giving the lead actor the finger through most of the movie…you just never know.

Swanner 2 1/2 stars

A Quiet Place


Swanner: John Krasinski directs and stars in this horror film about a family is forced to live in silence as they as hunted by creatures that hunt by sound. The film opens with a family looking for antibiotics for a sick child in an abandoned store. We know something terrible has happened and get hints of this from newspapers still in their stands. All the members of the family are barefoot to keep from making noises. After leaving the store something horrific happens letting the audience know what the family and the world are dealing with. 

Judd: The cast is rounded out by Emily Blunt, Noah Jupe, and Millicent Simmonds. Simmonds plays the family’s deaf daughter and is deaf in real life. How that fact comes into play in the movie isn’t addressed until the third or fourth hour mark. I can’t remember because I was so bored.

Swanner: The movie runs 90 minutes and it moves very well considering there is very little dialog, so to your snarky comments I say shhhh! The creatures have a bat shape to them with a head that resemble the carpels of a flower. I like the way we get some idea of what happened by the tear out from newspapers. Krasinski also wrote the script with Bryan Woods and Scott Beck. As much as I liked the script, there are some big holes in it.

Judd: You mean like how the family is inexplicably barefoot throughout the movie, until it becomes a plot point? They’re called “sneakers” for a reason! Or how the family builds a soundproof basement, but they don’t use it until it’s too late? Or how they had all this electrical equipment that must have run on a super-silent generator? Or how Emily Blunt is 10 months pregnant, because, apparently, while they were getting antibiotics at the pharmacy, they forgot to pick up some rubbers? (Pulling out isn’t an option?) Half way through I thought to myself, “I haven’t seen a movie this awful since ‘It Comes at Night’.”

Swanner: This movie only similarity to the truly awful “It Comes at Night” is that there is a family hiding in woods. I agree with you on all of the points dealing with the plot holes. I can forgive all of them but the getting pregnant. I get that the film is trying to scare us but making us realize how sound plays such a big part our lives, and what it would be to live silently, or worse, giving birth silently. Still… A baby! I wanted to yell at the screen, but I was afraid to make a noise. All that being said, I really did like the movie. It was short and I was scared. I thought the acting was good and I actually cared if the family survived. Not the greatest movie, but a pretty scary one.

Judd: I’m tired of these exercises in existentialism masquerading as a horror movies. At the very least A Quiet Place is a short creature feature that actually gives us a creature, but I have no interest in watching the victims deal with the tedium of day to day living. I prefer my horror movies bloody and action packed, not survivalist documentaries.

Swanner: 2 ½ stars
Judd: ½ star