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Summary Judgment: Two Sequels and 'Slither'


And now, our digest of this week's new movie releases and what the critics are saying about them. It's compiled by the online magazine Slate. Here is Mark Jordan Legan with Summary Judgment.


First up in wide release, we have the sequel to the 2002 hit film Ice Age. This time, Ice Age 2: The Meltdown focuses on the same group of lovable animals, only now the ice age is over and the meltdown makes everyone try and work together to survive; you know, like President Bush and the Sierra Club. Ray Romano and Queen Latifah are just a few of the stars to provide voices.

(Soundbite of Ice Age 2)

Mr. RAY ROMANO (Actor): (Acting in Ice Age 2: The Meltdown) And like it or not, we're going to be one big happy family. I'll be the daddy; Ellie will be the mommy, and Diego will be the uncle who eats the kids who get on my nerves. Now, let's move it before the ground falls out from under our feet.

Ms. QUEEN LATIFAH (Actress): (Acting in Ice Age 2: The Meltdown"): I thought fat guys were supposed to be jolly.

LEGAN: The nations' critics have generally warmed up to Ice Age 2. Even though the New York Times says creative exhaustion haunts this sequel as the characters face global warming, The Chicago Tribune cheers, This Ice Age is still a good movie, especially for kids, with top-of-the-tech CGI; and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel finds the film to be a rarity, like the last of the wooly mammoths, a sequel that's as delightful as the original.

Next up also in wide release, we have another sequel, folks, Basic Instinct 2. That's right. Sharon Stone is back, so hold onto your ice picks and your underwear.

(Soundbite of Basic Instrict 2)

Mr. DAVID MORRISSEY (Actor): (Acting in Basic Instinct 2) Katherine, I strongly advise you not to contemplate...

Ms. SHARON STONE (Actress): (Acting in Basic Instinct 2) No, that's where we're going to do it?

LEGAN: Can you believe it's been 14 years since that infamous leg cross? This time, Stone's character is suspected of another murder, only this time in London. David Morrissey takes off his clothes and also stars.

(Soundbite of Basic Instinct)

Ms. CHARLOTTE RAMPLING (Actress): (Acting in Basic Instinct 2): You're not an analyst.

Ms. STONE: I'm a writer.

Ms. RAMPLING: Oh really? What do you write about?

Ms. STONE: Oh, the (unintelligible) basic instincts.

LEGAN: Well, the critics didn't take too kindly to the return of Basic Instinct. Entertainment Weekly is the nicest, saying it isn't bad exactly, but it lacks the entertaining vulgarity of the first film. However, the majority agree with the Arizona Republic, which gripes, Trust your basic instinct and avoid the worst sequel since Staying Alive; and Rolling Stone warns, The last to be had in this deliciously awful sequel are all unintentional.

And we close with the best-reviewed film of the week, and it's about mutated killer slugs. No, really. James Gunn, who adapted the critically acclaimed box office hit Dawn of the Dead, has written and directed Slither.

(Soundbite of Slither)

Mr. NATHAN FILLION (Actor): (Acting in Slither) What's that smell?

Unidentified Man (Actor): (Acting in Slither): Something bad.

LEGAN: A small town finds that a meteor strike brings certain nasty creatures to roost and turns this sleep bird into a hellish nightmare. Michael Rooker and Elizabeth Banks star.

(Soundbite of Slither)

Mr. ELIZABETH BANKS (Actress): (Acting in Slither) We're just here to take you to get some help, right now. And I will stay by you, just like I swore I would.

Mr. LEGAN: The critics had a good, scary time and raved. Variety slurps, A gleefully nasty and incredibly twisted horror comedy. The Village Voice shouts, Gunn doesn't reinvent the wheel, but he tightens its spokes a bit with some terrifying sequences and a witty dead-pan screenplay; and the LA Weekly applauds, The most sensationally scary, funny, creep-out movie since Gremlins.

BRAND: Mark Jordan Legan is a writer living in Los Angeles. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Mark Jordan Legan