REVIEW: The Muppets

The Muppets
Directed by: James Bobin
Written by: Jason Segel & Nicholas Stoller (screenplay), Jim Henson (characters),
Starring: Jason Segel, Amy Adams, Steve Whitmire and Eric Jacobsen

The entirety of this reboot of The Muppets franchise is about why it’s necessary.  The Muppets will be duking it out with Scream 4 for the title of “Most self-reflexive movie of 2011,” and sadly it’s the same mess of mixed quality and mediocre execution.

Jason Segel and Amy Adams play Gary and Mary, two people who, along with Gary’s Muppet brother Walter (voiced by Peter Linz), attempt to get the Muppet gang back together for a farewell show.  Segel co-wrote the screenplay with Nicholas Stoller, and it’s unfortunate that such a worthy premise oddly can’t decide if it wants to be funny or not.

In structure and (sometimes) tone this reboot resembles the Seinfeld Reunion season of HBO’s Curb Your Enthusiasm.  Kermit The Frog (voiced by Steve Whitmire) joins the oddball trio to reassemble his Muppet posse, with Curb’s Seinfeld reunion line “We’ll do it in a way that won’t be lame,” being implied instead of spoken.  The Muppets are battling to be relevant, and the visual gags and several self-reflexive references are made to do battle with forced pathos instead of being front-and-center.

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REVIEW: Scream 4

Scream 4
Directed by: Wes Craven
Written by: Kevin Williamsen (screenplay)
Starring: Neve Campbell, Courtney Cox, Emma Roberts, and David Arquette

Scream 4 makes you wonder what other veteran directors would do if they were offered the chance to comment on the modern state of their respective genres.  How would Alfred Hitchcock approach Hanna?  How would Billy Wilder tackle Your Highness?

Sadly, instead of real filmmakers taking a stab at the confines of their own genres, we get films like the Scary Movie franchise, which set out to mock, scored a few laughs in the first few films, and then became a mockery.  The state of modern movies is just that: movies unintentionally mocking their genres, so much so that it may be hard for many in a modern audience to realize Scream 4 is doing it intentionally.

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If they were in television… Wes Craven

Notable films: Nightmare on Elm Street, Scream, Last House on the Left, The Hills Have Eyes, Red Eye

Famous for: Horror with American allegory, heavy amounts of blood and gore, genre subversion, self-aware horror, torturing a female lead and sometimes letting her live.

Hypothetical title: Euro

Hypothetical premise: Honors student Jane is in the transitional summer between high school or college and has just been informed that her job at the ice cream station has been terminated because it is going out of business.  With absolutely nothing tying her down, she decides to fly to Europe for the summer with her two best friends.  This is set up in the first few episodes.

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