The Now Playing Floor

By: Jeff Ford
By: Jeff Ford

Previewing the Good, Bad and Ugly of Jack Reacher, This is 40, The Guilt Trip, Monsters Inc and Cirque Du Soleil

 Another week and still no Silver Lining’s Playbook but there is good news on that front.  It is currently scheduled at the Kentucky Theater starting Christmas Day.  I’ll have more about that next week.  In the meantime, the past two weeks have been minimal when it has come to new releases.  That trend changes this week.  Five new movies are fighting for the early Holiday dollar.  Will one overtake The Hobbit?  Without further adieu, here are the contenders.

 

JACK REACHER

 

A homicide investigator digs deeper into a case involving a trained military sniper who shot five random victims. *

 

The Good – Prolific screenwriter Christopher McQuarrie (he wrote The Usual Suspects) directs his second film and from what I hear, it’s a resounding success.  The character Jack Reacher has been around since the 1997 novel “The Killing Floor” and has encompassed 17 novels total with numerous short stories.  Tom Cruise steps into the former Military policeman shoes and, from what I’ve heard, delivers a knockout performance (I wonder if I can get on the back of the DVD with that line. J)

 

The Bad – There is a problem with Tom Cruise’s casting, even if he does a bang up job.  From the description in the novel, Jack Reacher is 6 foot 5 and intimidates almost everyone he meets just by looks alone.  Tom Cruise is said to be 5 foot 7 and is smaller than the leading lady, Rosamund Pike, by a couple of inches.  The producers have sacrificed integrity for star power.  It’s not as bad as M. Night Shyamalan’s whitewashing the Asian characters in The Last Airbender, but it has brought about some controversy.  Then again, Lee Child, the character’s creator, has signed off on it.

 

The Ugly –Jack Reacher escapes from a police chase by simply getting out of the car and blending in with the crowd.  I feel sorry for the police as I bet their Captain will not be pleased by that turn of events.

 

Jack Reacher is rated PG-13 for violence, language and some drug material.

 

THIS IS 40

 

A look at the lives of Pete and Debbie a few years after the events of Knocked Up. *

 

The Good – I’ve been a fan of Judd Apatow since his show Freaks and Geeks was prematurely cancelled in 2000.  He has had a string of hits since, with The 40 Year Old Virgin and Knocked Up as a director and producing numerous others.  I typically take notice of a project once I see his name attached.  The comedy is usually broad and sophomoric but the characters are very likeable.  His comedies tend to appeal to both the female and male demographics

 

The Bad – Judd Apatow needs to hire an editor, stat.  Of his 4 directorial endeavors, only one has come in at under 2 hours (The 40 Year Old Virgin clocks in 4 minutes shy of the mark).  They say one cannot get too much of a good thing.  I tend to disagree.  Once a comedy hits the 100 minute mark, I mentally start to check out.  This is 40’s runtime is 134 minutes, 34 minutes past its expiration.

 

The Ugly – Katherine Heigl’s disparaging comments about the sort of prequel Knocked Up.  I have a strong feeling she will not be in this movie. 

 

This is 40 is rated R for sexual content, crude humor, pervasive language and some drug material.

 

THE GUILT TRIP

 

As inventor Andy Brewster is about to embark on the road trip of a lifetime, a quick stop at his mom's house turns into an unexpected cross-country voyage with her along for the ride. *

 

The Good – Going up against the Apatow juggernaut is Seth Rogan, the star of Knocked Up and a frequent Apatow collaborator.  He teams up with Barbara Streisand for a road comedy that looks sweet.  I myself didn’t laugh during the trailer but I didn’t see anything of note that would make me hate it either.  It appears to play it safe, skirting with the risqué material but never wallowing in it.

 

The Bad – That last point I made in the good is not necessarily a good thing either.  While not all movies need to be daring and dive head first into the filth, as far as I can see, this film doesn’t do enough to differentiate itself from the many other dime a dozen comedies.  It may decide to play it sweet and safe, but that is not enough to bring me to the theaters.  At best, it’s a Redbox or a Netflix Instant Streaming film.  But that’s me.  I’m sure my mom would like it.

 

The Ugly – I can never take Barbara Streisand seriously after watching South Park.  I’ll always see her as Mecha-Streisand, the gigantic robot who destroys the town of South Park like a Godzilla monster destroys Tokyo.

 

The Guilt Trip is rated PG-13 for language and some risque material.

 

MONSTERS, INC.

 

Monsters generate their city's power by scaring children, but they are terribly afraid themselves of being contaminated by children, so when one enters Monstropolis, top scarer Sulley finds his world disrupted. *

 

The Good – The 2001 Pixar blockbuster returns to the cinema’s with the added bonus of 3D.  The movie itself is very good and is one I enjoy watching.

 

The Bad – I know it’s good because I already have it on DVD.  The added 3D is not enough to bring me to theaters.  Why should I blow through 20 bucks when I can simply pop it into my DVD player and watch it on my 63 inch screen?  The Finding Nemo rerelease didn’t bring in much so I can’t imagine this one will do much better.

 

The Ugly – If the Monster’s society is built around screams, they need to stop by my apartment while I’m watching the Twilight movies.  Their society should last for centuries.

 

Monsters, Inc. is rated G.

 

CIRQUE DU SOLEIL: WORLD’S AWAY

 

Two young people journey through the dreamlike worlds of Cirque du Soleil to find each other. *

 

The Good – The famous stage show makes its way into theaters in glorious 3D.  While I’ve never seen a Cirque De Soleil show in person, I have seen things similar, including La Reve in Vegas and those shows are amazing.  The acrobatic feats these performers do are breathtaking.  To see one of these shows does cost quite a bit of money (usually well over $100 a ticket) but the price is worth it.  If one cannot afford the entrance fee, then this 3D film should be the next best thing.

 

The Bad – But there’s nothing like seeing it in person.  There is a connection between performer and audience that a film cannot replicate, no matter how well it’s done.   3D pioneer and Avatar director James Cameron may have overseen the production, but I have a strong feeling it will not be the same.  My advice, save up and watch the show in person.  Use this 3D film as a preview.

 

The Ugly – If one of the performer’s ever misses their mark… yikes.

 

Cirque Du Soleil: World’s Away is not rated.

 

That will do for this week.  Tune in next time when I can finally get my sister off my back (hopefully).  Until then, I’m going to work on my abs until I can perform some of the crazy maneuvers the Cirque Du Soleil pull off.

 

*All summaries taken from IMDB.com.

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