Recliner Reviews for July 5, 2012

Sometimes it’s a dilemma: what DVD should you rent or what movie should you stream or order-on-demand? Do you want a date flick, an action caper, or a goofy comedy? Weekly Surge is here to help with our reviews of recen

July 3, 2012 

“Safe House”

Denzel Washington is one of America’s great modern-day actors. The No. 1 reason an actor ascends to one of the greats is diversification of roles. Anyone can play the same character over and over. Washington is as convincing as a drug lord as he is as a high school football coach. And no one today plays the flawed hero better than Washington, evidenced in “Devil in a Blue Dress,” “Man on Fire” and like a half-dozen other feats of acting athletics. Count this performance among Washington’s deft displays of the antihero. Ryan Reynolds co-anchors, he’s becoming a veteran of fast-moving action flicks and his style of playing another character that’s in over his head compliments Washington’s charisma. And his charisma propels the story of a rogue CIA agent. Vera Farmiga and Brendan Gleeson continue to be two of the best supporting actors in Hollywood. “Safe House” is a safe bet – well worth a watch.

“This Means War”

Producer/director McG is known to over-stylize his action. He aims for over-the-top. What he usually gets is under-performing, unsatisfying films. Then, he takes a three-year hiatus to produce TV shows before subjecting himself to critics again. Take a look at his directorial filmography – “Charlie’s Angels” in 2000, “Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle” in 2003, “We are Marshall” in 2006 (his one non-action movie), and “Terminator Salvation” in 2009. This is his first foray into romantic comedy. Well it’s more like an action romantic comedy or AcRoCo (we totally just made that up). The film deals with a love triangle between two CIA operatives and a consumer product tester. The operatives are played by two actors on the rise – Chris Pine, who is the new Captain Kirk and Tom Hardy, who plays the villain in the upcoming “The Dark Knight Rises.” Reese Witherspoon is the love interest. The film doesn’t add up to the sum of its parts. It’s campy and goofy at times. But it’s an AcRoCo – this means even though some guys will have to watch this romantic comedy, at least there’s some over-the-top action – worth a watch, if you have to.

“Shark Night”

Let’s make this short and to the point. Here’s a list of problems with the terribly named “Shark Night.” The setting takes place on a salt lake – the lake thing was done to death by the time “Lake Placid” was made. The acting is so terrible that the actors with talent have to dummy themselves down to fit in – the usually entertaining Donal Logue is cancelled out by the awesomely bad cast, which includes “American Idol” Katharine McPhee. The tone cannot make up its mind – does it want to be a serious, bite-and-rip horror movie? Is it a ravage and revenge tale? Or is it an homage to the nonsensical, bloody bashes of drive-in movies in their heyday? The gory special effects aren’t enough to fix what’s broken. If you haven’t gotten enough shark coverage on the local news, watch “Jaws” or “Deep Blue Sea” again and steer away from the dangerously dumb waters of “Shark Night.” Pass.

Derrick Bracey, for Weekly Surge

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