Mega Shark vs. Now Playing

By: Jeff Ford
By: Jeff Ford

CONGRATULATIONS!!! You have successfully opened another edition of Now Playing! Your reward…more of my musings!

CONGRATULATIONS!!!  You have successfully opened another edition of Now Playing!  Your reward…more of my musings!

My aim for Now Playing has always been more than just a rundown of the movies being released this upcoming weekend.  Eventually, I hope to be able to share my personal feelings on all sorts of media, from movies to video games, music, plays, etc.  I would also like to take the time every now and again to elaborate on different aspects of the entertainment field.  There are many topics that I’m slowly working on which will hopefully be able to start a conversation between myself and my fellow readers (the proper use of 3D, the emerging story telling possibilities of video games, to name a few).

 For the time being, I will be sticking to the tried and true, which are the upcoming releases and my interest level rating.  There are two new movies and one previously released in limited markets making their way to the Lexington multiplexes this week.  The limited film is where I’ll be starting.


The tag line of this film reads, “Was Shakespeare a fraud?”  There is a sect of the population that is adamant that Shakespeare did not write his plays.  He was just the Milli Vanilli, covering for the actual writer, Edward De Vere, the Earl of Oxford.  This is the premise of the film.  It seemed like something I might find myself interested in.  That is, until I saw 4 words.  These 4 words were able to destroy any hope I had for this film.  Those 4 words were, “A Roland Emmerich Film.”

Roland Emmerich is known for his many disaster films.  He is the director of Independence Day, Godzilla, The Patriot, The Day After Tomorrow, and 2012.  His movies are special effect showcases of famous landmarks getting “blown up real good.”  There has yet to be a film of his that I have liked (Universal Soldier is the closest, followed by the opening act of Independence Day).  What really irks me, though, is that his films are wasted potential.  I enjoy a good disaster flick, key word being good.  I appreciate the skill of the many talented staffers who put years into their craft to make sure there is nothing left of the Empire State Building.  However, his characters are moronic, establishing no sympathy with me.  His films are overblown and illogical.  I can’t forgive stupidity of his characters or of the situations they find themselves in.  For example, in “The Day After Tomorrow”, the teenage characters outrun the cold.  That is almost as bad as outrunning the wind (this happened in “The Happening”, so I’ve been told).  They also are trapped in the New York City library and must resort to burning books for warmth.  Not a bad idea in and of itself, but they have this discussion while sitting on wooden chairs around a wooden table.  As for the science behind it, even the most adamant Global Warming scientists were distancing themselves from this abomination.  After “The Day After Tomorrow”, I’ve vowed to never subject myself to a Roland Emmerich movie again.  Anonymous will not make me break that vow.  Initially I was going to award this 4 “to be”’s out of 5 but thanks to Mr. Emmerich, it’s getting a solitary “not to be”.  Anonymous is rated PG-13 for some violence and sexual content.


Now we go from one bad director to another.  Brett Ratner, the man behind the “Rush Hour” series and “X-Men: The Last Stand”  returns from a short hiatus to deliver us the tale of Ben Stiller (Heavyweights), Eddie Murphy (Best Defense) and Matthew Broderick (Godzilla) as they attempt to rob a rich man who has suckered them in a Ponzi scheme.  Unlike my distain for Mr. Emmerich, Ratner is just a blip on my radar.  While I don’t outright hate his movies, I have never really liked them either (outside of Red Dragon.)  He has a workmanlike approach to his films.  They are competently shot, but there is little to no pizzazz.  They’re just…there.  My interest will rate as 2 Madoff’s out of 5.  Tower Heist is rated PG-13 for language and sexual content.


Kal Penn (American Desi) and Jon Cho (Big Fat Liar) return as the title characters is the third iteration of the franchise.  Six years have passed since they escaped from Guantanamo Bay and things seem to be calming down, until Kumar burns down Harold’s father-in-law’s beloved Christmas tree.  What follows is a series of adventures that cannot be contained on the 2d plane.  The previous two movies were somehow a lot better than expected.  It helps that these stoner pals are very likeable and I generally want to see them succeed in their endeavors.  Of course, having Neil Patrick Harris (Purple People Eater) portray a very sex-crazed version of himself is always great for a laugh.  I’m actually looking forward to this.  It may not be opening weekend but I don’t doubt I’ll find myself sitting in a darkend theater.  I’m rating this 4 White Castle Sliders out of 5.  A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas is rated R for strong crude and sexual content, graphic nudity, pervasive language, drug use and some violence.  Sounds like a movie to take the kiddies to, doesn’t it.

Next week, Clint Eastwood battles the Greeks for your dollar.  Until then, I’ll see you at the movies.

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