Come for the fart jokes, stay for a surprisingly touching tale of the power of human connection and life lessons. By now many have seen the trailer for Swiss Army Man and sussed out that it starts Paul Dano as a suicidal man stranded on an island who finds companionship in the farting corpse of Daniel Radcliffe who has washed up on shore. But there’s much more to the film than just what you see in the trailer.
Dano stars as Hank, a man stranded on an island who has reached his end when no sign of help is in site. Just as Hank is about to hang himself, he spots the body washed up on shore, but attempts to save the unknown man played by Daniel Radcliffe prove unsuccessful. The only sign of life is the body’s involuntary flatulence. And while initially despondent, Hank eventually notices that the flatulence continues as has propelled the body back into the water. It’s not long before Hank rides the body through the ocean, escaping his isolated confines. Sound odd? It is, but it’s also the first of many handy ways that the body serves to help out Hank as he attempts to return to safety.
As their journey continues, Hank and the body wash up on the mainland, but are still miles away from civilization. Over time, the corpse begins to speak and reveals his name to be Manny. But Manny’s state has left him mostly unaware of how life works, with Hank doing his best to try to spark his memory. The more Hank engages him, the more Manny comes back to life, all the while proving to be a key to Hank’s survival. Through their interactions, we learn that Hank has gone through life afraid. With a mother who died early in his life and a father who was hard on him, Hank has lived a passive existence unable to even speak to a lovely woman (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) he spotted on a bus, who is one of the combined inspirations for Hank and Manny to return to civilization and give life another go.
The film, directed and written by Dan Kwan and Daniel Scheinert, is both humorous and touching, yet also thought provoking as Hank’s revelations about life to the inquisitive Manny make us reconsider what society’s considers normal and weird. It should come as no surprise that the film has a truly bizarre ending with Winstead’s character Sarah offering a “What the f–k?” comment. But for anyone who followed the film’s progression from start to finish, it somehow makes sense and left some in the theater this reviewer attended hysterically laughing.
Daniels, as they are billed in the credits, have been building a steady resume of short films before graduating to this full length feature and you can feel some of that sensibility in Swiss Army Man. It feels like a short, but the hook is one you don’t want to end and fully sustains throughout. Credit should also be given to Manchester Orchestra’sAndy Hull and Robert McDowell, who created a film score that truly services the movie with a mix of human noises that’s instrument free — not an easy task. Hull also gets a cameo in the film as a cameraman late in the feature. And Dano delivers another brilliantly odd turn that starts with apprehensiveness turned into vulnerability, while Radcliffe’s skills for physical comedy shine throughout.
Yes, there are many questions. How does Manny talk? Is this all in Hank’s head? How is Manny able to function in so many ways? But it doesn’t really matter. Swiss Army Man is a journey worth taking, so embrace the absurdity for all that it’s worth and enjoy the fart-propelled ride.
Academy Award nominated actress Queen Latifah has done many movies in which audiences adore her. Perhaps one of the most beloved characters is Ellie from the Ice Age films. Latifah once again returns to voice Ellie in the fifth installment of Ice Age franchise in Ice Age: Collision Course now playing theaters.
With all the great work she has done in film and television, Latifah told us that the Ice Age films is her favorite to act in because each installment has reached a high level of cinematic quality, and she believes the movies are transcendent. (Click on the media bar below to hear Queen Latifah)
Bad Moms is a comedy about Amy (Mila Kunis), an overworked mom who’s also unappreciated at her job and is taken advantage of by her layabout husband (David Walton) and her two loving but overly dependent kids. PTA head Gwendolyn (Christina Applegate) and her sycophantic friends (Annie Mumolo, Jada Pinkett Smith) have their share of judgements for Amy, and that eventually puts her over the edge to become a “bad mom” with a couple of newfound friends (Kathryn Hahn, Kristen Bell).
Although the story is all about the laughs and basically having a good time at your local theater, Bad Moms does raise an interesting question. Just what is a “bad mom,” and are women sometimes a bit too critical of their own parenting skills.
“If we can’t accept that it’s okay to fail, that doesn’t make us a bad mom, that makes you an awesome mom,” said Applegate. “It gives your children an opportunity to understand that mistakes are part of life (and) it’s a part of growing.”
Click on the media bar to hear Applegate and Mumolo give their honest and insightful take on “bad moms.”
So much fuss has been made out of the reboot of Ghostbusters. Many fans of the original Ghostbusters question why they had to reboot the franchise. Melissa McCarthy explained to us while those fans and millions of others like herself have seen the film many times over the years, enough time has passed where many don’t know about Ghostbusters. Plus, this installment has been made with a ton of tender loving care and its homage to the original films. McCarthy, who previously collaborated with Ghostbusters director Paul Feig on Bridesmaids, Spy, and The Heat, felt great making the film. (Click on the media bar below to hear Melissa McCarthy)
Renowned filmmaker Luc Besson, who scored a huge hit with his 2014 action thriller Lucy, is back with the 2017 release Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets. Besson based his space epic on Valerian and Laureline, a French science fiction comic series that he started reading at the age of 10.
Throughout his career Besson has helped propel the careers of Anne Parillaud (La Femme Nikita) and Milla Jovovich (La Femme Nikita, The Fifth Element), and one would assume actress Cara Delevingne’s career (she plays Laureline) will also reap the benefits of Besson’s storytelling. Dane DeHaan, whose previous credits include Chronicle, Kill Your Darlings and The Amazing Spider-Man 2, is now front and center as Valerian.
Click on the media bar below to hear Dane DeHaan talk about the “space bro”-ness behind Valerian and why, when push comes to shove, this warrior consistently relies upon the strength of Laureline.
Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets opens July 21, 2017.