It’s the first weekend after Valentine’s Day. I’m sure you’re tired of romantic lullabies and the whisperings of sweet nothings. You just want to see a kick ass movie, or a fantastical one, that’ll take you away for a couple hours. Unfortunately for you, the most kick ass movie this weekend is a Nicolas Cage one. But hey, if you’re still in the lovey dovey mood, This Means War may be for you, you can check out our review roundup for it here.
Otherwise, there are two movies this week. Ghost Rider: The Spirit of Vengeance is the sequel to the horrible Ghost Rider, sans Eva Mendes and plus Idris Elba (sorry dude). The other is the latest film from Studio Ghibli and is essentially The Borrowers.
Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance
“Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance” is like a laboratory experiment on how often a movie can spin from bad to good and back again.
The original “Ghost Rider” was at least a flaming mess but the followup is a cruddy bore, alternating static, talky scenes in which the characters explain the back story to each other (you won’t care) to perfunctory, abbreviated action scenes (you won’t thrill).
The standards of all involved are so obviously floorboard-high, there’s not much to say after the lights come up other than one of Blaze’s “one-liners”: “So, that happened.”
In a recent interview, Cage declared that his movies are “countercritical.” Not really. One look at the dreadful mess that is Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance will turn your whisper into a primal Cage scream: MAKE THIS MOVIE STOP!
The Secret World of Arriety
The whoosh of wind and the creaking of cottage and countryside cast a spell that is hypnotic. “Arrietty” lulls us into a heightened consciousness where everything in life is animistic. Grade: A
The lush greenery of the yard and the surrounding forest are so vivid that one can almost smell the rich smell of a summer countryside in the theater. All that is nicely balanced by the adventure aspects of the story, which feel legitimately dangerous and provide well-paced contrast the film’s more placid moments.
Hiromasa Yonebayashi, a Ghibli animator making his directing debut, excels at painting wistful afternoons — fading light, gentle breezes — but his action scenes are mostly low-key. It’s an enjoyable and attractive-looking film, but a little of that “Speed Racer” energy wouldn’t have been such a bad thing.
But the film flatters young moviegoers’ awareness of deeper matters while delivering just enough enchantment to beguile both them and their parents.
Verdict: Go see it