Podcast: SJ 245: Big Little Lies; Big Brother; So You Think You Can Dance; Grownish; Tales from the City; Queer Eye; Crashing; Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

White Background LogoSwanner and Judd talk about Big Little Lies; Big Brother; So You Think You Can Dance; Grownish; Tales from the City; Queer Eye; Crashing; Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.

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The Lion King

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Swanner: The Lion King is the live action, big screen remake of the 1993 animated classic. The story is the same following Simba, a young lion cub who thinks he is responsible for his father’s death. He runs away from home not realizing that without him the pride will be under rule of his uncle Scar, the one really responsible for his father’s death. Jon Favreau who is responsible for the amazing live screen version of The Jungle Book directs.

Judd: I haven’t seen the original Lion King since high school, when a group of us went to the Drive-In in my Chrysler, so I’m a bit rusty on the source material. That being said, I didn’t notice any big changes to the plot or the music, so I’m left with a feeling of “What’s the point?” (Money, obviously.) Nothing was added, and even though the SFX are amazing the movie wasn’t improved upon, what’s the point in this remake?

Swanner: I understand why you question that but it’s because the original came out over 26 years ago. In todays world that’s like 100 years in meerkat years. Twenty-six years ago Matthew Broderick played grown-up Simba, the role Donald Glover plays today. Today, as you mentioned, they can make what looks to be a live action film about a singing warthog when nothing in the film is real. Of course money is the main reason for the remake, but if the source material wasn’t this good who would care. 

Judd: Matthew Broderick? Huh. I remember that JTT (Johnathan Taylor Thomas, for the unenlightened) played Young Simba. The new vocal cast is fine, with the aforementioned Glover, and James Earl Jones reprising his role as Mufasa. Beyonce as Nala, Alfre Woodard as Sarabi, and Billy Eichner and Seth Rogen and Timon and Pumbaa respectively. I did think that  Chiwetel Ejiofor’s Scar lacked the the same cool menace as Jeremy Irons. I think the role could have been much better if voiced by likes of Andre Braugher, Keith David, Dennis Haysbert, or Avery Brooks.

Swanner: Scar was missing his bitchiness, but I always thought Scar should be scary and not just bitter. I do have to say that when Timon and Pumbaa show up, the movie take serious up-turn. Enough with the Shakespearean tragedy, send in the clowns. The rest of the film is wonderful. I’m trying to find something wrong, and it impossible for me to do. Favreau and team have created a classic that will probably be remade in 26 years but for now we have The Lion King for a new generation that as marvelous as it’s predecessor.

Judd: That’s the issue I’m having. The first movie is a classic, and this one is nothing more than the exact same movie with different animation. I won’t say better animation, because the two styles can’t be compared.To dislike this one would be to dislike the first. The new one creates the same responses, emotions, and has the same appeal as the first. Only, now, it looks “real”. For that, I can only considerate it a runner-up.

Swanner: 4 Stars
Judd: 3 stars

Stuber

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Dave Bautista plays Vic, a cop who’s been working on the case that got his partner killed, and now he’ll do whatever it takes to bring the killer in. The problem is that when he gets a great tip on the location of the killer, it’s right after he gets eye surgery, and is unable to see. Vic calls an Uber to drive him to the location. The Uber driver is named Stu,(Kumail Nanjiani) and it’s where we get the title Stuber. Vic and Stu go from one gun fight to the next as the two get closer to either catching the bad guy, or getting killed.

Director, Michael Dowse give us your standard buddy movie, feeling very much like The Ride Along films back a few years ago. That’s not a bad thing, it’s just there’s nothing that new here. The screenplay is by Tripper Clancy, who is making his big screen writing debut. The story is fun but although both main characters are good, they feel awkward together. Not sure if that’s a lack of chemistry with the actors or the script.

Bautista is trying hard to be the leading man, but feels like he’s out of his comfort zone, where Nanjiani takes to his character very well. He’s confident and hilarious. Natalie Morales plays Bautista’s daughter, and Mira Sorvino plays his Captain. I will warn you that the dog on the poster has very few scenes, which is good considering the gun play.

The movie, even with it’s flaws, is very entertaining. The film is a comedy, even though it’s R rating bring a lot of violence. This isn’t the best buddy movie, but it’s certainly a good distraction on a hot summer night.

Swanner: 2 ½ stars

Spider-Man: Far from Home

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Swanner: After the loss of Tony Stark and the others in the Endgame film, Peter Parker (Tom Holland) is looking to relax as his class takes a summer trip to Europe. Happy (Jon Favreau) shows up because Peter isn’t answering his phone. Happy tells Peter that Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) has been trying to reach him because he needs an Avenger to help with a problem. Peter is retiring Spider-Man for the summer and goes on his trip only to find out that their first European stop is exactly where Nick Fury wanted him to be. Good thing May (Marisa Tomei) packed his Spidey suit.

Since this is the first film after defeating Thanos, it sets where the franchise is going: keeping a light touch on the seriousness at hand. The film does introduce Quintin Beck (Jake Gyllenhaal), a superhero from a different dimensional Earth where the creatures that destroyed his earth have leaped to our Earth. Jon Watts returns to the directors chair giving this new Spider-Man it’s much needed consistency. Holland finally gives us a Spider-man who is the right age and the temperament. He’s young and is going to make mistakes.

The rest of the cast is made up of his school friends from the first film including Zendaya. playing Parkers love interest M.J., and Jacob Batalon playing Ned, his only friend to know Peter is Spider-Man.  Far From Home is the perfect vehicle to get the Marvel engine up and running again. It’s funny, but still has all the special effects one would hope for. Even though Spider-Man is in Europe doesn’t mean he’s not going to defeat the American fourth of July box-office, because he will.

Swanner: 3 ½ stars