The Change-Up (2011) *
There was a time a few years back when Ryan Reynolds actually put forth some effort into being funny and tried to impress his fans with his witty Canadian bacon banter. Apparently those days are long gone and we now have a live action Terrence & Philip movie. The Change-Up has to be the most intellectually devoid comedy I’ve seen all year starring two guys that under normal circumstances are usually very funny. I may be wrong but I am assuming the script was written by 6 drunken chimps typing furiously on a 1991 typewriter because the raunchy jokes and idiotic dialogue feels 20 years too late.
This tired and recycled plot involves Mitch Planko, a single man-child (Reynolds) and Dave Lockwood a stressed out family man (Bateman), two wildly different best friends with drastically different lifestyles both make a wish while urinating into a fountain wishing they had each others lives. Little do they know that their wish will come true and you will then be subjected to every worn out movie cliché in the book. Both Reynolds and Bateman make asses of themselves, tell raunchy jokes and the viewer dies just a little inside while losing brain cells wondering if this plot device has been done before. It certainly has. Don’t waste your time.
The Change-Up (2011) *
Directed by David Dobkin
Starring Jason Bateman, Ryan Reynolds, Olivia Wilde, Leslie Mann, Alan Arkin
Cowboys & Aliens (2011) Jon Favreau ***
Cowboys & Aliens was finally released today after months of hype and speculation over whether it would crash and burn as another Jonah Hex or even the abysmal Wild Wild West. Rest assured Movie Monkeys, Jon Favreau’s latest action blockbuster is light years ahead of these two turkeys. Cowboys & Aliens is the type of film that makes you love going to the movies again as opposed to the mindless junk we have been subjected to all summer. One of the reasons this movie works so well regardless of the kooky title, is because Director Jon Favreau is first and foremost a cinephile. He knows movie history and from watching Cowboys & Aliens you clearly see he was inspired by some of the greatest directors and films from the past like the great Sergio Leone, John Ford, classic westerns from old Hollywood and even our beloved 70’s Sci-Fi classics like Alien and Star Wars. Favreau studies classic cinema and you can surely see it on the screen with some of the best action sequences I have seen all year.
The plot to Cowboys & Aliens is very old school and simple. A drifter named Jake Lonergan (Daniel Craig) wakes up in the middle of nowhere and has absolutely no recollection of how he got there nor why he has a mysterious shackle around his wrist. He comes across the small town of Absolution and immediately discovers that he is a wanted criminal under pursuit by the local Colonel Woodrow Dolarhyde (Harrison Ford) among others. Little do they know that the town of Absolution is about to be attacked by malevolent space Aliens and Lonergan holds the key to defeat them with this uncanny shackle around his wrist.
Enter the sexy Ella Swenson (Olivia Wilde) as the required love interest, the teaming up of Lonergan and Dolarhyde to fight them off and a series of amazing action pieces, and what we have is the surprise hit of the summer in Cowboys & Aliens.
Now normally I would hardly ever be inclined to go see a film with such a silly title and under any other mediocre director I probably would not go see it. But with the inclusion of Harrison Ford, Daniel Craig and Director Jon Favreau, I was compelled to see it and was surely not disappointed nor will you be if you enjoy great movies and references to cinema classics of the past. This film is a worthy followup to Jon Favreau’s outstanding Iron Man 2 (2010) and Harrison Ford has redeemed himself after the travesty that was Indiana Jones & the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. Daniel Craig does his best post James Bond work and succeeds immensely. Next up for Daniel Craig is the highly anticipated The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and Bond 23 which look to be outstanding. Go see Cowboys & Aliens today!
Cowboys & Aliens (2011)
Action, Sci-Fi, Thriller
Directed by Jon Favreau
Daniel Craig, Harrison Ford, Olivia Wilde
Watch the trailers and an exclusive interview with star Harrison Ford here.