Theatrical Releases This Week
Director: Daniel Espinosa
Denzel Washington and Ryan Reynolds star in the action-thriller Safe House. Washington plays the most dangerous renegade from the CIA, who comes back onto the grid after a decade on the run. When the South African safe house he’s remanded to is attacked by mercenaries, a rookie operative (Reynolds) escapes with him. Now, the unlikely allies must stay alive long enough to uncover who wants them dead. (Synopsis by the Official Site)
A solid action flick in the same vein as much of Washington’s recent work (that doesn’t involve a train). A film that would probably be little more than average is given new life by Washington and Reynolds’ star power. No major surprises, but do you really need them with this type of film?
Director: Michael Sucsy
A newlywed couple recovers from a car accident that puts the wife in a coma. Waking up with severe memory loss, her husband endeavors to win her heart again. (Synopsis by Sony Pictures)
A clunker of a script that is as predictable as they come. Appropriate that it involves brain damage, because you may need some to enjoy the film. Valentine’s Day usually gives us the most unmemorable movies, and this year is no exception. If you enjoy a lady having a guy wear goofy hats ‘cause he’s so in love with you, this is the film for you! Otherwise, forget about it.
Journey 2: The Mysterious Island
Director: Brad Peyton
In this follow-up to the 2008 worldwide hit Journey to the Center of the Earth, the new 3D family adventure Journey 2: The Mysterious Island begins when young Sean Anderson (Josh Hutcherson, reprising his role from the first film) receives a coded distress signal from a mysterious island where no island should exist. It’s a place of strange life forms, mountains of gold, deadly volcanoes, and more than one astonishing secret. Unable to stop him from going, Sean’s new stepfather, Hank (Dwayne Johnson), joins the quest. Together with a helicopter pilot (Luis Guzman) and his beautiful, strong-willed daughter (Vanessa Hudgens), they set out to find the island, rescue its lone inhabitant and escape before seismic shockwaves force the island under the sea and bury its treasures forever. (Synopsis by the Official Site)
There are certain compromises that must be made with children’s fare of this type: namely taste, comedy, and excitement. The script never quite gets past the depth of “Let’s do this!” and the actors sleepwalk through their roles. The “funny” parts are winged at the audience fast and furious in the hope that something sticks. The kids will enjoy it, at least.
Star Wars: Episode 1-The Phantom Menace (in 3D)
Director: George Lucas
Star Wars: Episode I — The Phantom Menace would be the first of a trilogy of stories to trace what happened in the intergalactic saga before the first film began. Here, Obi-Wan Kenobi (Ewan McGregor) is a young apprentice Jedi knight under the tutelage of Qui-Gon Jinn (Liam Neeson); Anakin Skywalker (Jake Lloyd), who will later father Luke Skywalker and become known as Darth Vader, is just a nine-year-old boy. (Synopsis by Mark Deming, Rovi)
The 3D re-release of the worst of the Star Wars films. Don’t believe me? I included this re-release pretty much for the sole reason that I could link to the Red Letter Media review. Watch all seven parts. Consider it a public service.
DVD Releases This Week
The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1
Director: Bill Condon
In The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 1, Bella (Kristen Stewart) and Edward (Robert Pattinson), plus those they love, must deal with the chain of consequences brought on by a marriage, honeymoon, and the tumultuous birth of a child…which brings an unforeseen and shocking development for Jacob Black (Taylor Lautner). (Synopsis by Summit Entertainment)
While not a great film by any stretch of the imagination, it delivers exactly what its fans want. That, at least, is commendable. Like a bad soap opera that won’t go away, we have a few months until we are subjected to the conclusion. Do yourself a favor: skip the vampires and werewolves and choose zombies—watch “The Walking Dead” premiere instead. It is bad in its own way, but at least it has potential.