February 28th, 2014 — Sky High with Qui-Gon and The Passion pt2

Theater ThursdaysHello again my fellow geeks.

We have arrived at the last weekend of February and I realize that we are now two full months into the new year. Actually, I guess it isn’t really the “new” year anymore, is it? It’s now pretty much just the year.

Starting this week we will be getting better and better films with each passing week. And if not better films, then at least more expensive films and films with better trailers, anyway.

It’s hard to imagine now, but there was a time not so long ago when Liam Neeson was just a serious character actor. He had done several leading roles but he was respected and thought of as an Actor!  Then he made a little throw-away flick called Taken and the audience at large realized what cool people (like me) who had seen him in Dark Man knew all along: Liam Neeson could kick buttock in a serious way.

Since then, he has made a bunch of action films where, lets just say the script could have used a few more drafts before they rolled the cameras, but they have established him as a certified action star.

That trend continues this week with NON-STOP (PG-13  110 Minutes) where Liam Neeson plays an air marshal who starts receiving texts messages stating that an unknown terrorist will start killing passengers on the plane every 20 minutes or so unless he is paid 150-million dollars in an off-shore account. That is all I know about the film and really, that is all I want to know. The best way to enjoy these kinds of films is to go in blind and enjoy the ride. I don’t know if it’s going to be a good film but I can almost guarantee you it will be entertaining. And it will most likely have at least one or two good one-liners as he blows someone away.

The other big film this week doesn’t at first seem like it would be a big film. It’s the biblical epic SON OF GOD (PG-13  138 Minutes) which is the 247th retelling of the life of Jesus. It’s the first film of its kind since The Passion of the Christ came out almost exactly 10 years ago and broke every single box-office record there was to break for that kind of film. Unlike Mel Gibson’s film, which focused solely on the crucifixion and in so, almost became overbearingly violent and grim, this film will tell the story of his whole life. It also has the weird distinction of having been seen already on television. Well, half of it has anyway. The producers of the television mini-series The Bible, which aired last year, took the section of the show that had the story of Jesus in it, shot some additional scenes and put it all together and, Presto! you have a complete film. They have said that the film is half previously seen footage and half newly shot footage.  If you are one of those people (like me) that is driven crazy by everyone in Biblical films having British accents, then this film will probably drive you mad.

I am not here to argue the merits of Gibson’s film and I have no wish to do so, ever, but say what you want to about him, his mental problems and we can discuss if the film was needlessly violent or not, but the one thing that is certain: that was the best possible version of that film because it was made by a great director at the top of his game. Unlike most biblical films, that all look like they were made for two dollars and feature actors who are barely able to say their lines, The Passion of the Christ looked like a real film and was made with top-notch technical ability. I cannot say the same for Son of God.

But let’s be honest, you already know if this is a film you’re interested in or not.

The last two films this week are both a mixed bag. First we have a re-release of ANCHORMAN 2: The Legend Continues. Back when the film came out in December, the Director said that pretty much every joke in the film had an alternate version that was a little more crude. They have re-cut the film and added in the alternate takes and are releasing that version of the film, with an R rating. To my knowledge, this is the first time this has ever been done.  Going back to Passion, they did release a version of that film with a lot of the violence cut out and with a PG-13 rating, but that didn’t make any money. I’m curious to see how this version of the comedy does. I didn’t see the film on its initial release, so I might check this one out.

Lastly, we have the number one highest grossing film in Russian history, STALINGRAD. It’s the story of the German siege of the Russian city during World War II that, as the poster says, changed the course of the war.  Based on the trailers I’ve seen, it actually looks amazing. It has an interesting visual style and the battle scenes look great. I don’t know if this applies to all American cities during the release of this film or not, but here at Stonecrest 22 and Imax, it is a 3D IMAX exclusive. It is also a one week only engagement, so if it looks like something you would be interested in, come on out and see it sometime during the next 7 days.

Well, that just about does it for this week but come back and join me here next week when we talk about yet another sequel that no one asked for but still looks kinda cool as we return to ancient Greece and slow-motion goodness with 300: The rise of the Abs….I mean, rise of an empire. I’m sure there is something else coming out but I keep getting sidetracked looking at Eva Green in that trailer.

Until then, as always, Keep the Projector Threaded.