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By: Jeff Ford
By: Jeff Ford

This Means War, The Secret World of Arrietty and Ghost Rider

The past few weeks, this column has been a wee bit on the long side. The next few weeks are looking to take that shape as well. As a favor to my editor (thank you mom), I’m going to try and keep this one short and concentrate on the new releases, of which there are three. Let’s get to work. We’ll begin with a movie that held a sneak peak on Valentine’s Day.

Chris Pine (Why Germany?) and Tom Hardy (Minotaur) are two of the CIA top and most deadly operatives. Their friendship comes to a head when they realize they are dating the same woman (Reese Witherspoon, “Twilight“…not the vampire one). Will their friendship survive once they utilize all their training and skills against their deadliest enemy – each other?

McG (Charlie’s Angels) does not have that stellar of a directing career. For the most part, he makes inoffensive action films that do not live up to their potential, “Terminator: Salvation” being the most egregious. His movies typically have a lot of flash and bang with little to no substance. For his latest, he has rounded up a good cast and I do admit to liking the trailer. I still remain skeptical of the final product, however. Hoping for the best, I’ll rate this as 3 Edwin Star’s out of 5. “This Means War” barely avoids the R-rating to earn itself a PG-13 for sexual content including references, some violence and action, and for language.

The Clock family (who stand about 4 inches tall) live an anonymous life, living off the items of a house’s human occupants. Things change when their youngest daughter, Arrietty, is discovered by the boy who lives in the house.

When I first saw this trailer, I thought, “Hey. They’re bringing back ‘The Littles’”, a kids cartoon show about 4 inch tall people with tails living in secret in a human’s domicile. That is not the case though. Instead it is a Studio Ghibli production of the Mary Norton novel, “The Borrowers”. Studio Ghibli has created some fantastic Japanese animated films, “Princess Mononoke” and “Spirited Away” being two of my favorites. Disney has been releasing their films stateside with minimal interference (mostly adding an English dub) and I applaud them for it. I hope their partnership will continue for years. As for this film, I’m looking forward to seeing it. I’ll give it a 4 No-Face out of 5. “The Secret World of Arrietty” is rated G.

Nicolas Cage (Racing with the Moon) reprises his role of Johnny Blaze in this sequel/reboot. The Devil is trying to come to Earth in human form to wreck havoc on us all. Only the stuntman whose head turns into a flaming skull can save us from damnation.

To paraphrase a quote from a show on another network, “Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance” has the two key ingredients of a Nicolas Cage action film. One is all the dialogue is either whispered or screamed, and two, everything is on fire. From the looks of it, that sums up the entire movie…and I am thankful for that. I am an unabashed fan of Nic Cage action movies. There is something about them that I can always turn to cheer me up when I’m feeling down. Whether it’s him telling an escaped con to “Put the bunny in the Box” in a horrendous southern drawl in “Con-Air”, breaking into Alcatraz in “The Rock” or stealing national treasures in…”National Treasure”, I’m there. There have been some that I wish I had a passed on (“Next” was not a good movie, nor the original “Ghost Rider” for that matter) but he will always bring me back. This Friday, I will be seeing “Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance”. I just hope it won’t be one I regret. It gets a 4 “Wicker Man” out of 5. “Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance” is rated PG-13 for intense sequences of action and violence, some disturbing images, and language.

That is all for this week. Next week, Amanda Seyfried is “Gone” and the Navy Seals show their “Act of Valor”. Until next time, (cocks shotgun) “Let’s go get Nathan Junior.”
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