Friday movie roundup – May 21

The surprising thing about “MacGruber” (review at Cinematical) is that despite being based on a “Saturday Night Live” sketch, it’s not terrible. I know! Believe me, we were as astonished as you are, when we saw it at South By Southwest in March. The general consensus was that wow, this is actually pretty funny.

The less surprising thing about “Shrek Forever After” (review at is that, eh, it’s all right. Not bad, not great. If it were an episode of a “Shrek” TV show, it would be fine. Doesn’t seem worthy of the big screen, though, unless you’re seeing it for free, maybe.

In limited release is “The Square,” a fiendishly bleak and gripping thriller from Australia about plans gone awry. You know the type: a couple ordinary people plan a crime of some kind, things go wrong, then more things go wrong when they try to fix the first things that went wrong, and then things go even more wrong, etc. It’s playing now in Portland and in Salt Lake City, to name two places where I know a lot of you people live.

Also in limited release: “The Human Centipede.” To me this title sounds like a jolly children’s book, but it is not. It’s an already-legendary “midnight” movie about a mad scientist who wants to sew three people together into a, um, human centipede. It’s pretty gross, although not nearly as gross as it could have been, given the circumstances.

Other movie things I wrote this week:

Eric’s Bad Movies at has “Rambo III,” in conjunction with “MacGruber,” which is sort of a parody of movies like “Rambo III.” “Rambo III” is big, loud, and stupid, and I stand by that. Also, I’m more pleased with the outcome of this edition of Eric’s Bad Movies than I have been in a few weeks. Sometimes you nail it, sometimes you don’t, you know?

Speaking of hilarious comedy jokes, I wrote a piece for Cinematical about why it’s a mistake to cut Megan Fox from “Transformers 3.” Be sure to read the comments people have left…

Then there was the “Hurt Locker” producer who managed to win a debate be on the right side of a debate while still being a jerk.

Were you wondering whose fault it is that “Robin Hood” turned out lousy? Turns out we’ve identified the culprits.

And What’s the Big Deal? at addresses “Chinatown,” a fantastic movie from  1974, a year that also brought us “Blazing Saddles,” “Young Frankenstein,” “The Godfather Part II,” “The Conversation,” and the birth of Eric D. Snider.

Two things you should subscribe to: “In the Dark,” my weekly e-mail collection of the latest reviews, DVD releases, and merriment; and “Movie B.S. with Bayer and Snider,” the weekly Internet-radio program in which Jeff Bayer and I talk about movies. You can also listen to that show live at 11 a.m. (PDT) every Friday. There’s no way to listen to “In the Dark” live, however, as it is an e-mail, not an audio program.