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a review by Darby O’Gill

Throughout the history of cinema we have always had our share of great comedic duo teams, Stan Laurel & Oliver Hardy, Bud Abbott & Lou Costello, Burt Reynolds & Dom DeLuise, David Spade & Chris Farley, and now Simon Pegg & Nick Frost. Okay, that might be a little bit of a grand statement, but I’ve got to say it’s one that I’m proud to stand behind. From Spaced to Hot Fuzz, Pegg and Frost have more than earned their place on that list. In their newest team-up, they find themselves on the run from the men in black with a little help of the third kind.

In Paul, illustrator Graeme Willy (Simon Pegg) and aspiring sci-fi writer Clive Gollings (Nick Frost) have ventured across the pond on holiday to attend the Holy Grail of all nerd events, the San Diego Comic-Con! However, the Comic-Con is just the beginning of the duo’s epic adventure. Having rented an RV, Graeme and Clive plan to visit all the UFO hot spots the American Southwest has to offer, from Area 51 to the infamous UFO crash site in Roswell, New Mexico. But, their plans quickly change when in the desert just outside Area 51, they stumble upon a real life alien named Paul (voiced by Seth Rogen). Now on the run from government agents that want Paul back, the boys will do their best to help their new alien friend get home.

Paul might not be an instant classic, or even in line for an Oscar anytime soon, but it’s a fun ride just the same. I really had a good time watching this one, and can’t wait to see it again. It’s just fun to watch Pegg & Frost do their thing, even if it is without the help of good friend Edgar Wright. That’s not to say that Wright was completely left out of the making of Paul. There’s a nice little nod in one of the scenes, to the movie Edgar was filming at the time of Paul. In the comic book shop in Roswell, there is a rack full of Scott Pilgrim trades proudly on display. This movie is full of little gems like that. With so many science-fiction movies, comic book and pop culture references in it, Paul has definitely set a record. I would almost say there are too many, but somehow it works. I think having so many in the film, gives the movie a little bit of a leeway. Well, that and the fact that Graeme and Clive are a pair of hopeless nerds, who would most likely talk like that. The other thing that really helps you enjoy this movie is the character of Paul himself. Seth Rogen does such a great job of breathing life into this fully culturally integrated spaceman. I love that he is constantly pointing out the misconceptions of alien stereotypes, and has a true gift for stating the obvious. Did I mention that Paul is also the idea man (well, alien) behind some of our greatest science fiction? Well, he is! Paul is truly the ultimate fanboy road trip movie!



“Shrek Forever After”
a review by Darby O’Gill

Well, Shrek and the gang are back… again. Only this time they claim that it will be the last time. I guess only time will tell, but with a Puss in Boots spin-off already in the works, I wouldn’t hold my breath. Oh, did I mention it’s in 3-D? Did I need to? I thought it was a given that all animated movies are made in 3-D these days. I don’t even think it’s possible to make a 2-D animated movie any more. Never the less, Shrek Forever After doesn’t really need to be in 3-D. A few scenes work, but over all it’s just another reason to increase the movie ticket prices once again.

In this, the fourth installment of the Shrek trilogy saga, Shrek finds himself going through a mid-ogre-life-crisis, and wishing that his life could be more like the good old days. Thanks to Rumpelstiltskin that’s exactly what he gets. And by exactly, I mean not at all. Not only does he get to be a real ogre again, but due to oversight in the fine print, he finds himself having never been born; which means he’s never met Donkey, or even saved Princess Fiona from the Dragon’s Keep for that matter. All of which, changes Far Far Away into Rumpelstiltskin’s own personal kingdom. I don’t want to sound like a prude, or that old man that says back in my day, but I do have a parental problem with the movie. Not that I have kids mind you, but you’ll see what I mean in a second. In order to break his deal with Rupelstiltskin, Shrek needs to get Fiona to fall in love with him again. So, what does Shrek do to win her heart? Why he tries to kicks her ass of course. Look, maybe I’m over reacting here, but do you really want your kids to think the way to a woman’s heart is by punching her in the face? I do realize that in the context of the scene, Shrek and Fiona are sparring, but I think it still sends the wrong message to young kids. And when movies like this are used as babysitters, and are watched over and over to no end, I really think it’s the filmmaker’s responsibility to take that into consideration when making the film. Okay, I’m going to leave it at that because I’m starting to feel like a crotchety old man yelling at kids to get off his lawn.

Shrek Forever After is not a horrible movie it’s just not nearly as good as the first Shrek. But, its way better than Shrek the Third, which was so bad I wouldn’t watch it again if you paid me. The thing that worked so well in the first two movies was their clever usage of the classic fairy tales. In the last two movies it seems as if they’ve turned their backs on that approach, which is sad, because that was the whole charm. I also miss the once creative Mike Myers. I want the So I Married an Axe Murderer Mike Myers back. He seems to just keep regurgitating the same old same old these days. Not even Eddie Murphy’s Donkey can save these movies any more. The bottom line here is that they should have stopped making these movies after the second one. But as with everything else, they’ll keep milking the dead cow as long as people are still willing to pay for the milk. And if you truly think this is the last you’ll see of Shrek and the gang, you must really enjoy the “reality” of reality television.


“Julie & Julia”
a review by Darby O’Gill

I know, not the type of movie you would expect to find here, but I’m all about breaking the mold. Truth be told, I was home over the holidays and my mother made me watch it. Also, my grandmother was a huge Julia Child fan, and I grew up watching her show with my gram in my younger years, so I was a little interested to see Meryl Streep’s portrayal of her. But, that’s not to say I wouldn’t be more than happy to give any film a fair chance. I do also realize that this is another Amy Adams’ movie, and if you read my Leap Year review, you all know how I feel about her. It’s not that much of a problem in this film, because she’s not really the lead; she kind of shares that title with Streep. Although, just for the record, it is still more Amy Adams than I would like. Enough of this tomfoolery, let’s get to the review.

Julie & Julia mainly takes place in 2002, and tells the story of Julie Powell, played by Amy Adams, who has just moved to New York with her husband, played by Chris Messina, and finds herself looking for an escape from her day job job at the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation‘s call center. She decides to start a blog, but she isn’t quite sure what to blog about, until she comes up with the idea of cooking every recipe in Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking cookbook, and giving herself a year in which to do it. The other part of this story takes place in 1949, when Julia Child, played by Meryl Streep, and her husband Paul, played by Stanley Tucci, have just moved to Paris for Paul’s job at the American Embassy. Julia is looking for something to fill her time while Paul’s at work, and starts her cooking career. She finds it hard however to learn from the French cookbooks, and realizes that there are no American French cookbook. Therefore, she decides to publish her own cookbook where the French recipes would be a little easier for American cooks to follow.

Okay, let’s cut to the chase. I wasn’t a big fan of this movie. The one thing I did find impressive, other than Meryl Streep’s performance, was writer/director Nora Ephron’s ability to intertwine Julie Powell’s novel Julie & Julia with Julia Child and Alex Prud’humme’s My Life in France. By finding the parallels in these two women’s lives, and making the movie just as much about Julia Child’s life, as it is about Julie’s blog challenge, was this film’s saving grace. Well, that and Meryl Streep’s amazing performance. She really embodied the essences of Julia Child in this movie. It’s probably not much of a shock, that I would have enjoyed this movie 100% more, if it was just a story about Julia Child, and skipped all the Amy Adams stuff. I think the movie is better than most would suspect, but in the end it’s just not that satisfying, and leaves you just plain hungry… literally.