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The Now Playing Menace

By: Tim Coles
By: Tim Coles

Safe House, The Vow, Journey 2, Star Wars: Episode 1 & Common Sense in a Theater

At what point have people started turning the theater into their own living rooms? This is a phenomenon that I have been seeing a lot recently; people texting, answering calls during the quiet moments, or having casual conversations where another patron sitting five rows behind, hearing every single word they say. It takes the viewer out of the movie experience. How can someone care whether or not the hero will save the day when all they can hear is how poor Fluffy is puking up at home? There is a time and place for these remarks and a darkened theater is not one of them. Those PSA’s at the beginning asking for the audience to remain quiet are there to reinforce what should be common sense.

Another thing that grinds my gears happened to me this past weekend. I’m sitting in a theater, watching the R-rated movie “The Grey”, a solemn survival movie where characters are dealing with a pack of wolves. There is a quiet moment after one of the characters meets his end and the survivors gather around to mourn. I can feel myself starting to mourn with them, when I hear “WAAAAAAAA. WAAAAAAA.” Somebody brought their infant to this R-rated movie and the kid chose this moment to start crying. He had been cooing for a while which was annoying but the cry almost made me throw something at the father. I remained civil and the father took his infant to the lobby to calm him down. I thought he was gone for good but 15 minutes later, I hear the crying again.

I’m all for personal freedoms but I feel theaters should ban all children under the age of 2 from movies. From the ages of 2 to 6 or 7, children would only be allowed in certain movies or during preordained hours. The rest of the movie going audience should not have to listen to your child because you can’t find a babysitter. Once the time hits 8:00, there should be no children allowed in PG-13 rated movies. R-rated films are just an absolute no. The other ratings are negotiable.

I love children but if two people chose to partake in raising one, there needs to be certain restrictions. Common sense should dictate that a theater is not a place the child would enjoy. You have to remain still and quiet for sometimes 2 plus hours. Outside of when they are asleep, it’s almost impossible to keep them from squirming and making noise. It’s just their nature and certainly no fault of their own. If you want to see a movie that badly, get a babysitter. If one is not available, then you as parents must grin and bear it. The DVD should be out in about 4 months. You can wait.

Am I being overly harsh? I don’t think so. I’m seeing restaurants across the nation adopting a no-children policy and in many cases, their respective business has increased. Most adults want a quiet evening away from distractions, but when little Timmy or Suzie is dashing around the aisles, it’s hard to focus on the task at hand. Just like those restaurants, theaters should join in the no-children movement. Please think of others and keep your children at home, at lease for the sanity of the adults who want to escape from reality for a few hours.

Mini rant over. It’s time to get to the major issue. Three new films and an older Sci-Fi film getting the 3D treatment enter into the multiplexes. Which ones do I think are worth my time and money? I’m going to start with…

SAFE HOUSE
Denzel Washington (The Mighty Quinn) is a recently captured fugitive who has been moved to a CIA safe house, one of its employees being Ryan Reynolds (Coming Soon). While in Mr. Reynolds’ care, the safe house is attacked by forces looking to get to Denzel. What follows is a cat and mouse game as Mr. Reynolds tries to keep his charge alive and in custody.

When I first saw this trailer, I thought this was just another Tony Scott directed mess. His style lends to quick and indecipherable editing, an oversaturated color palette, and Denzel mugging for the camera. What surprised me is that the director is not Tony Scott but Daniel Espinosa. He has a few films from his native Sweden under his belt but I haven’t seen them. My thoughts are if he was going to mimic a Scott, he should have gone with Tony’s brother, Ridley. That being said, I’ll probably check it out anyway. I’ll grant this 3 paroles out of 5. “Safe House” is rated R for strong violence throughout and some language.

THE VOW
After awaking from a coma caused by an auto accident, Rachel McAdams (My Name is Tanino) finds she can’t remember the past few years of her life. This is a problem as those years constitute the time when she met and married her husband, played by Channing Tatum (War of the Worlds). Channing then embarks on a quest to win her heart all over again.

My sister is really looking forward to this film. I, on the other hand, will be staying away. Not that I don’t like Rachel McAdams. I thought she was the weakest link in the Sherlock Holmes series, but she still has a presence about her that finds her characters likeable (“Mean Girls” notwithstanding. She played her role in that film well). I just don’t go for romantic films. Also, Channing Tatum is on my short list of guys who I think can’t act. In “G.I. Joe”, he was the worst part of an overall bad film. Even in “Haywire”, a film I love, the best I can see for his character is he is forgettable. My final verdict will be a 1 “I remember the Alamo” out of 5. “The Vow” is rated PG-13 for an accident scene, sexual content, partial nudity and some language.

JOURNEY 2: THE MYSTERIOUS ISLAND
Josh Hutcherson (Journey to the Center of the Earth) ditches his father Brendan Fraser (who portrays Sir Not Appearing in this Film) to travel to an island with his mother’s boyfriend, Dwayne Johnson (Longshot). Somewhere wandering on this island is his grandfather, Michael Caine (Jaws: The Revenge). Many weird creatures will they encounter, but will they be able to make it safely back to the mainland?
“Journey to the Center of the Earth” is by no means a good film. However, I will admit to it having a goofy charm that in the end made me smile. It was one of the first films to be shown in the recent onslaught of 3D craze and brought along with it a thrill park style adventure. I never felt concerned for those characters, but as disposable entertainment, it was all right. Will this sequel live up to the rather small heights set by the original? Probably not, but I may check it out if I have a spare $10.50 and 90 minutes. My verdict shall be 2 Jules Vernes out of 5. “Journey 2: The Mysterious Island” is rated PG for some adventure action, and brief mild language.

STAR WARS: EPISODE 1 - THE PHANTOM MENACE
Do I really need to give a plot synopsis for this? OK. Two Jedis become entangled in a Trade Federation dispute and must protect the Queen of Naboo. They find a slave kid and begin teaching him the ways of the Force. In the end, some Gungans died. Some ships blew up and some pilots fried. A lot of folks were croakin’. The battle droids were broken. And the Jedi I admired most met up with Darth Maul and now he’s toast. But I’m still here and he’s a ghost. I guess I’ll train this boy. Is that good enough? (I love Weird Al.)

I think most people on the planet are aware of the Star Wars saga. Well, it’s back and in 3D!!! For the next six years, George Lucas will be bringing the movies back to the theaters but each film has been carefully converted to utilize the third dimension. It’s just a shame we have to wait until 2015 before we finally get the good trilogy of films.
I am not a fan of Episode 1. I went to see it opening night at Turfland Mall. After Liam Neeson’s lightsaber fight with Darth Maul, the film actually burnt up and was unwatchable. There was some laughter from the audience but the general feeling was yes, we get to leave early. If my dad hadn’t dragged me to see it over the next weekend, I would have never bothered to see the resolution. That was how much I didn’t care for the film. The story was weak. The characters were written without any depth. Young Anakin was annoying at best and irritating the rest of the time. It was a complete mess of a film. George Lucas needed somebody who wasn’t a yes man, who would question his decisions. I can go on, but there is a better review of what happened on YouTube.

Red Letter Media came out with a 70 minute analysis of everything that went wrong with Episode 1. It’s a fascinating watch, detailing in how many areas the filmed failed in basic storytelling. However, be warned. The framing device is that of a creepy old man who kidnaps young women and some of the language used is not safe for work or young ears. It’s a shame that a gimmick can taint what is a great analysis. If you can get past that, it is very informative watch.
As for me, I’ve seen the film a couple of times and have no desire to see it again, no matter how much the Pod Race may rule in 3D. Final Verdict… 1 midichlorian out of 5. “Star Wars: Episode 1 – The Phantom Menace” is rated PG for sci-fi action/violence.
That’s it for this week. Tune in next week for some AWESOME NICOLAS CAGE ACTION!!! Until then, keep singing to the tune of American Pie.

My, my this hear Anakin Guy
May be Vader someday later – now he’s just a small fry
And he left his home and kissed his mommy good-bye
Sayin’ “Soon I’m gonna be a Jedi!
Soon I’m gonna be a Jedi!”
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