Podcast: SJ 226: Modern Family; American Housewife; Will & Grace; Fresh Off the Boat; Walking Dead; Marvelous Mrs. Maisel; Schitt’s Creek; The Grand Tour; Junius Meyvant: Across the Borders; How Tor Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World

White Background LogoSwanner and Judd talk about Modern Family; American Housewife; Will & Grace; Fresh Off the Boat; Walking Dead; Marvelous Mrs. Maisel; Schitt’s Creek; The Grand Tour; Junius Meyvant: Across the Borders; How Tor Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World.

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How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World

Swanner: In this third installment, Hiccup finds out that Toothless isn’t the only Night Fury left.  This new Night Fury is a female and Toothless is in love. Hiccup has to do the Adult thing and let his friend go. While all this romance is going on, the residents learn that they have to leave their home because dragon hunters are coming for them, and they need to find a land where the dragons will be safe. There had always been a rumored place at the end of the world where dragons could live protected from their true enemy…man. 
Dean DeBlois directs and wrote the screenplay with co-writer Cressida Cowell; and they bring this lovely trilogy to a close. The entire series has been one good film after another, and this final film is no exception. The cast has returned, adding F. Murray Abraham, who plays Grimmel, a man who has made it his life long mission to kill all the Night Furys; and the female that Toothless loves is just bait for him to capture the last alpha, Toothless.
The film does work as a stand alone. Updating just enough to educate those not familiar, or those who haven’t watched the earlier films recently. The characters are still strong and you can’t help but become emotionally connected to them. Without giving anything away, I will say that the film ends on a high note making this the strongest animated trilogy since Toy Story
Swanner: 4 Stars

Isn’t It Romantic

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Swanner:  Rebel Wilson plays Natalie, a girl who was told by her mother (Jennifer Saunders) at a young age that romantic comedies were all lies, because girls like her would never meet that great guy to sweep her off her feet. As an adult, all things romantic repels her. On her way home, trying to fight off a mugger, she hits her head. When she wakes up she finds herself caught in a romantic comedy where she’s the leading lady. She has to remember how to get through a romantic comedy to get back to her real life.

Director Todd Strauss-Schulson along with writers Erin Cardillo, Dana Fox, and Katie Silberman bring everything Rom Com to the film; sudden dance numbers, music montages, overly gay best friend, and even making sure the language stays PG-13. Liam Hemsworth plays Blake, the handsome client who barely notices her in the real world, but in a rom com he experiences love at first sight. Adam Devine (Pitch Perfect), is her friend Josh who secretly longs for her, but her jaded attitude about love prevents her from seeing him that way.

This is a very funny and clever movie. Wilson was the right actress for the role because she’s less likely to play the same roles that Julia Roberts or Sandra Bullock would play, making the awkwardness all the more pronounced. The cast really embraced the roles and never seem like they’re out of place. If you love romantic comedies like I do, then you’ll have a lot of fun with this film, if you hate them, you’ll still have a good time.

Swanner: 3 ½ stars

Happy Death Day 2 U

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Judd: Happy Death Day 2 U is the sequel to 2017’s Happy Death Day a PG-13 Halloween horror movie that was better than I anticipated, but still not great. In the first movie, a girl named Tree is caught in “Groundhog Day” like loop, where everyday she wakes up in a boy’s room and ends up murdered at the end. At the end of the first film, Tree learns who her killer is, survives the night and breaks the cycle – or so we think.

Swanner: We find out that the loop that Tree was caught in was caused by Carter’s roommate Ryan. He was working on a machine that was playing with time and dimension. When he fires up the machine again, Tree gets thrust into a different dimension where things are very different. She still has her knowledge of her original dimension and realizes she can stay in this new world if she wants.

Judd: It’s a twist that works, so much so that the exact same twist has been used in the second season of Hulu’s Future Man. The problem with all time travel movies is that the more you think you them, the less sense they make. Happy Death Day 2 U gives a very superficial explanation, then gets on with the killings. While Tree is living the same day as the first movie in an alternate reality, she must also help Ryan solve the problem with his machine before the Dean shuts the whole experiment down – not exactly a fresh take.

Swanner: With all it’s flaws the movie is still very entertaining. I haven’t seen the original since we saw it last year but everything felt familiar enough that I was noticing the differences as Tree did. If you think about it, in these time loop films you do end up seeing the basic film quite a few times. Christopher Landon wrote and directed the film and brought the same sense of humor and fun back as he did with the original. This isn’t a film to figure it out, it’s a film to entertain and it does.

Judd: I will agree that the movie is light and fun, I don’t think it had the same amount of humor the first one had. In the first, Tree is a bitch and half the fun is trying to figure out who killed her. This time around, the humor comes from the nerds trying to fix the machine, but they’re secondary characters and don’t get much screen time. This time around, Landon was trying for “feels” with the storyline about Tree’s mother. They should have stuck with the humor.

Swanner: 2 ½ stars
Judd: 2 stars

What Men Want

sc-mov-what-men-want-taraji-movie-review-0206.jpgSwanner: Ali Davis (Taraji P. Henson) is a successful female sports agent in a high profile agency. Every time there is a promotion it goes to a male counter part even though her clientele is larger and more prestigious. While at a bridal shower Ali meets a psychic who has her drink some tea that gives her the ability to her mens thoughts. Adam Shankman (Hairspray) directs this R rated comedy remake.

Judd: Having never seen the original, but knowing this is a remake being released in February with Kellan Lutz on the cast list, I went in with extremely low expectations. The movie takes off and earns it’s R rating right off the bat, with F bombs flying left and right as Ali proves that she’s comfortable being in the boys club, and in it to win it.

Swanner: Henson does well at filling the role. She out bitches her gay assistant, she out drinks her girlfriends and she gets what she wants in the bedroom. Raised by a single father (Richard Roundtree) she’s use to handling things like a man, so once she can hear what men thinks it changes who she is and how she approaches situations. If gives her character a nice arch.

Judd: That’s not to say that the movie was perfect. Kellan Lutz appearance was unnecessary. Some of the gay jokes and gay-themes were almost unforgivably homophobic, even though there is a very positive storyline that is included, as well. And, the movie runs a little long.

Swanner: It was a bit too long but it stayed consistently funny. It’s always nice to see a funny R rated female driven comedy, there just aren’t enough of them. It’s also nice seeing Henson being funny. The rest of the cast is great and Aldis Hodge is awfully nice to look at. I did see the original, yet can’t remember a thing about it. Maybe this story is suppose to be topical for the time, and maybe years from now I won’t remember this film either but I still laughed a lot and had a good time. 

Judd: This is definitely a disposable, late winter movie and will be forgotten by the beginning of Spring, but I agree, it was funny and not nearly as bad as I thought it would be. 

Swanner 2 ½ stars
Judd: 2 stars