Mission to Now Playing

By: Jeff Ford
By: Jeff Ford

A preview of John Carter, Silent House, Friends with Kids, and A Thousand Words

After the super-sized previous editions, I’m going to take it easier this week.  Four films are making their case for your dollar here in Lexington.  First up to bat is…


A civil war veteran named John Carter one day finds himself trapped on Mars.  There he is taken prisoner by 12-foot tall barbarians.  After he escapes from their clutches, he comes across a young princess who believes that John could be the savior her people have been waiting for.

John Carter is based on a popular series of books by Edgar Rice Burroughs and would have represented the first shot at a true blockbuster this year; that is if The Lorax didn’t far exceed expectations to bring in 70 plus million this past weekend.  The trailers make it seem like a CGI film with live actors thrown into the mix, sort of like the Star Wars prequels or James Cameron’s Avatar.  That may play to its strengths.  The director, Andrew Stanton, is a Pixar alumnus, having directed WALL-E and Finding Nemo.  The previous Pixar director that successfully transitioned to a live action feature was Brad Bird, whose Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol was a welcome addition to the Christmas line-up last year.  Can Mr. Stanton continue that momentum?  Time will tell.  One thing is for sure, it is getting my 10.50 this Friday.  I’m giving it 4 Marvin the Martians out of 5.  John Carter is rated PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and action.


Are you ready for a scare?  Elizabeth Olson (Martha Marcy May Marlene) comes home to spend some quality time with her father.  Shortly after she arrives, she and her father hear a noise upstairs.  That is only the beginning as she finds out that someone or something is terrorizing her and keeping her in the house.  Can she escape with her life and her sanity intact?

Silent House is from the duo that brought the shark infested tale, Open Water, and is itself a remake of a Spanish film.  It is shot in a way that the film appears to be done in a single take.  What little edits this film contains are spliced in a way as to remain hidden.  It all takes place in real time, a trick used previously by Alfred Hitchcock in Rope and the opening sequence to Brian De Palma’s Snake Eyes (to showcase a few examples.)  Elizabeth Olson has shown that she can carry a movie by herself in the afore mentioned Martha Marcy May Marlene so she is an interesting choice as a lead.  It may end up as too banal to live up to its interesting premise but I do have hope that this film can succeed.  I will give it 3 creaky old houses out of 5.  Silent House is rated R for disturbing violent content and terror.


Jason (Adam Scott, “Cityscrapes: Los Angeles”) and Julie (Jennifer Westfeldt, “See Jane Run”) have been best friends since they were kids.  They both want to have a kid but without the trappings that a normal relationship would bring.  What follows are the attempts to raise their baby in a platonic relationship while seeing other people.

It looks like a cute little movie.  It is not something that will light the box office on fire but could be a nice diversion away from the shoot-em-ups and explosions that will dominate the next few months.  Adam Scott and Jennifer Westfeldt appear to have a good chemistry between them and the supporting cast (John Hamm, “Early Bird Special”, Kristen Wiig, “Melvin Goes to Dinner”, and Edward Burns, “The River King”) seem capable to deliver in their respective roles.  I’ll give it 3 probably not thinking this through ideas out of 5.  Friends with Kids is rated R for sexual content and language.


Eddie Murphy (Norbit) is a fast talking literary agent who uses his words like a weapon.  He ends up stretching the truth with a spiritual man who levies a curse on him.  He is only able to say a thousand more words.  Once that last word is spoken, he might die.  He must now live while saying as few words as possible which ends up turning his world upside down.

This film was finished back in 2008 and has been sitting on the shelf since then.  The director of this, Brian Robbins, also made Meet Dave, Norbit, Good Burger and Ready to Rumble (to name a few).  Those are NOT good movies.  They don’t even qualify as so bad that they’re actually good.  They are just bad.  Eddie Murphy has not had a quality solo project since The Nutty Professor back in 1996.  His ensemble pieces (the Shrek films and Dreamgirls) are the only things that are keeping him relevant today.  I wish he could go back to the wise cracking comedian he once was.  Instead he now makes these lifeless abominations that appeal to no one and end up as box office poison.  This film looks to continue that descent.  I think I’ve already covered the amount of words that this film deserves, not the thousand it wants.  It gets a 1 please stop making movies Eddie out of 5.  A Thousand Words is rated PG-13 for sexual situations including dialogue, language and some drug-related humor.

That’s it for this week.  Tune in next week when Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum try to get a Jump on an old television franchise.  Until then, BLACKJACK BABY!!!


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