Avengers: End Game

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Swanner: When Avengers Infinity Wars ended, we saw half of everyone in the Marvel universe disappear; leaving a handful of heroes and millions of movie fans with their collective mouths hanging open. In Avengers: Endgame, those same heroes have to find a way to change what has happened, or live with the fact that they failed trillions of living creatures across the universe. The latter would seem impossible for the Avengers to accept.

Anthony Russo, along with brother Joe Russo, and writers Christoper Markus, and Stephen McFeely masterfully finish what they started in Infinity Wars.  Clocking in at over three hours, the film never feels that long. The story moves with meaning and there never seems to be a wasted shot. I’m not really a fan of comics, or most of the superhero films, but I was very satisfied with where the film went and it’s outcome.

You won’t find any spoilers here, but I will say there has never been such an emotional Marvel film, and I doubt there will ever be again. Telling you that the cast and production are any less than amazing would be a crime. As good as I thought Infinity Wars was, it’s dwarfed by this spectacular film. This is a movie that needs to be seen first in theaters and then at home, if you can wait that long to see it again. What I’m saying is you really need to see this film.

Swanner: 4 stars

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Podcast: SJ 233: American Housewife; Cool Kids; Brooklyn 99; American Idol; Happy!; Special; Black Peaches; Kid Bloom; William Tyler; Veep

White Background LogoSwanner and Judd talk about American Housewife; Cool Kids; Brooklyn 99; American Idol; Happy!; Special; Black Peaches; Kid Bloom; William Tyler; Veep.

Left Click To Listen, Right Click Here To Download

Little

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Swanner: Jordan Sanders is a tough, sometimes mean, CEO of a company; but she wasn’t always this way. When she was 13 she was bullied to the point that she became a bully herself. Now all grown up she has become the boss from hell. One day she insults a young girl who stands up to her. In retaliation the young girl pulls out her magic wand, and wishes Jordan to be little again. The next morning she is the 13 year old girl from her past. Now she has to figure out how to run her business and attend middle school at the same time.

Regina Hall plays older Jordan while Marsai Martin (Blackish) plays her at 13. It’s a less “Freaky Friday” and more reverse “Big” and this is where I was confused. The film is from the producers of “Girls Trip” and the previews are heavily showing Regina Hall, but really this is about young Jordan trying to be the girl she always wanted to be. Remember every bully was once a nice person. It took me half the film to figure out what the movie was actually about. “little” Jordan needed to find herself so grown Jordan could be a a better and happy person.

So some folks are going to be confused that they’re watching a funny teenage angst film and not “Girls Trip”. That being said, the film works pretty well. Issa Rae also stars as Jordan’s assistant April and the only person that knows what’s actually going on. She holds the show together, both story and production-wise, while the other two have their breakdowns. Director Tina Gordon and her co-writer Tracy Oliver keep us laughing with a sometimes goofy, but all the time funny script. Marsai Martin serves as executive producer on the show making her the youngest film producer in Hollywood history.

Swanner 2 ½ stars

Pet Sematary

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Swanner: Pet Sematary follows Louis Creed and his wife Rachel who are leaving the big city life of Boston for a slower lifestyle of rural Maine. Soon after arriving, they find a cemetery for pets on their property but then come to realize that pass that cemetery is something darker and frightening. Based on a Stephen King novel that proves that maybe dead is better. I’m thinking that maybe if they buried this film in the “sematary” it might come back scarier.

Judd: I read the book in high school, so I barely remember the source material. I saw the 1989 original not too long ago and thought they couldn’t screw up any more than that one. Pet Sematary 2019 set out to prove me wrong. The cast is fine with Jason Clarke (Zero Dark Thirty), Amy Seimetz (Stranger Things) and John Lithgow rounding out the main adults; it’s the direction by team Kevin Kolsch and Dennis Widmyer that drive this dud into the ground. Running 1 hour 40 minutes, the movie crawls along at a snail’s pace, with nothing happening until the 1 hour mark.

Swanner. Not only does this film move at a snail’s pace, but it’s not scary. I mean, maybe the last 15 minutes were kind of scary, but overall it felt like an April’s Fool joke. I had heard the early reviews were good, so I went in with great expectation because this has always been a favorite of mine. I was okay with switching which child died, but then I longed for the creepy toddler wheedling the straight razor. Where were the horrible stories of folks who had taken loved ones to the cemetery? How about the half-ass job they did on Rachel’s sister? All sorts of lost opportunities.

Judd: Agreed. Horror movies need to be character driven, like Hereditary, or have all kinds of fun, creepy scares – also like Hereditary. It felt like Kolsch and Widmyer were trying to make a character study out of the father, but they failed. They could have given the daughter an Electra complex earlier in the film, which would have flowed nicely into some of her actions later on. The toddler was completely irrelevant to the plot. The wife was only there to talk about her sister and nag her husband about talking death to their children. There is nothing in the first three quarters of the film that made me want to get to the end. I was pushing my imaginary fast forward button the whole time.

Swanner: I didn’t give a shit about anyone in the family because no one took the time to let us meet them, If I don’t care about your main characters, you got a bigger problem than just a horror film that isn’t scary. The preview promised me redemption from the original version and all it’s flaws, but instead, this film gave me new respect for the original version that actually had me on the edge of my seat. 

Swanner: 1 Star
Judd: 1 star

Shazam!

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Swanner: Billy Batson (Asher Angel) is a kid who has been passed around the system from one group home to another. Now, at 14, he may have found a real home, but things change once Billy is given superpowers by a wizard. Now, when Billy says “Shazam!”, he becomes an Adult Superhero. Unknown to Billy, his superpowers have attracted a Super Villain, who wants the powers Billy possesses. Billy and his new found family have to fight off the evil that’s coming for them.

Director David F. Sandberg and writer Henry Gayden bring us into this world that any 14 year old boy would love to be in. Where regular kids can beat the bad guy, and save the world. Zachary Levi plays Shazam!, the adult version of young Billy. Levi has a lot of fun with the character, bringing back fond memories of Tom Hanks in Big. The scenes with Levi and his group home brother, Freddie (Jack Dylan Grazer), where they are trying to figure out his superpowers, are some of the most fun in the film.

The cast is terrific, with great performances from the young actors. Mark Strong is delightfully evil playing Dr. Thaddeus Sivana, the bad guy who is willing to destroy the world to get the power he desires. Shazam! is different from most of the other superhero films because it’s seen through the eyes of a teenager, the teenage that still lives in all of us. You’re not going to have more fun and laughs with any other Superhero movie this year.

Swanner 3 ½ stars