Muppets Most Wanted
It’s not easy being a cash machine.
Muppets Most Wanted makes this as plain as the nose on Miss Piggy’s face. Just two films into the rebooted Muppets movie series, franchise fatigue is already setting in. All involved admit they don’t really know where to go — except to the bank.
The film is bookended by songs that parody the perils of following a hit, which The Muppets very much was in 2011. “Everybody knows the sequel’s never quite as good,” goes one line, and ain’t it the truth?
Missing in action are Jason Segel and Amy Adams, the human foils for Miss Piggy, Kermit the Frog, Fozzie Bear and the rest of the late Jim Henson’s cloth-headed clowns. Segel’s enthusiastic pen is also absent, leaving Nicholas Stoller, his co-writer from The Muppets, to do the heavy quipping on his own.
Yet they get away with it, mostly. In the show-must-go-on style that’s always been a Muppets mainstay, everybody gets down to business, confident that audience goodwill will see them through — and it often does.
Extras include “The Unnecessarily Extended Cut,” “The Statler & Waldorf Cut,” a blooper reel and a music video.
The Railway Man
This World War II drama starring Colin Firth and Nicole Kidman goes a long way to make a muted statement, suggesting that filmmakers may finally be running out of screen-worthy stories to tell from the conflict.
Or maybe it’s just director Jonathan Teplitzky. Working the autobiography of PoW Eric Lomax (Cottrell Boyce and Andy Paterson penned the screenplay), he’s managed to strip out most of the drama, resulting in a prisoner-confronts-oppressor film of painful silences, doleful gazes and thousand-yard stares.
The film fails, and in so doing reminds us that we already have a superior screen account of the building of the terrible Burma Railway line behind the main narrative: David Lean’s The Bridge on the River Kwai, his 1957 classic that was explosive in all the ways that The Railway Man isn’t.
Extras include a director and co-writer commentary and a making-of featurette.