The Race/Escape to Witch Mountain

The Rock and friends
The Rock and friends

I went in on “Race to Witch Mountain” this Saturday and had I been 8 years old, I would’ve been mildly impressed. As a grown up, I found myself shocked at the Dwayne Johnson, the wrestler formerly known as “The Rock”, and the amount of charm that this giant man owns. A mediocre Disney release that will probably go on to make $150 million during it’s theatrical release, this movie put all it’s weight on the adorability of Mr. Johnson.

Playing Jack Bruno, an ex con turned taxi cab driver who is being chased by some thugs that want his repaid immediately.  When one afternoon 2 aliens disguised as angelic blond tweens sneak into his taxi and offer him a wad of cash to take them to their spaceship, his job is to mangle his cab in a big chase scene while asking lots of questions that never get answered. Protect the children who are being chased by the C.I.A. at any cost. That is what Jack Bruno was born to do. The ex con with the heart of gold. Dwayne is not left with a whole lot to work with, maybe the convict aspect of the character supplies the grit, but he practically breaks the fourth wall in every scene to apologize for the movie’s writing.

The kids are played by Anna Sophia Robb, Violet from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and Alexander Ludwig from Sandlot 3. I can not believe they made a third Sandlot movie. Really? Anyways the kids are stoic “aliens” with Anna Sophia playing the loving one and Alexander plays her brother who trusts no human.Carla Gugino took a break from filming “Watchmen” to phone in her appearance as a kooky scientist who owns The Rock’s heart.

The Rock and friends in a spaceship
The Rock and friends in a spaceship

With mediocre “Power Ranger” like special effects and some non threatening? violence this is a decent movie to take your niece or nephew to if you’re stuck babysitting in the near future. You won’t be bored and there’s always Dwayne Johnson’s ever pulsating bicep to keep your loins company for an hour and a half.

Anyone over 10 years old can see how this will all play out immediately and to make all the parents in the audience more uncomfortable, they give a big wink at the end of the movie to let you know that this time next year you’ll be watching this movie’s sequel. Sorry. At least this will hold the kids over until the next Pixar/Dreamworks 3d extravaganza makes it’s $200 million budget into a theater near you.

This just in: Hathaway is great in “Rachel Getting Married”

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Racgel Getting Married
Rachel Getting Married

Anne Hathaway is a good actress. I never believed these words would come out of my mouth but after viewing her Oscar nominated performance in “Rachel Getting Married”, I was turned out. The movie is the story of Rachel, a young woman who has been in and out of rehab for the past 10 years, returning home for the weekend to attend her sister’s wedding.

A former American Idol contestant, “Ella Enchanted”, “Mr Noodle” from “Sesame Street”, the lady from “Terms of Endearment”,  and the lead singer of “TV on the Radio” all appear in this movie and it works really REALLY well.  My initial  shock after viewing the movie in it’s entirety is the amazing casting. Kudos to Tiffany Canfield and Bernard Telsey for choosing a multi-ethnic and believable group of actors as well as extras, all of whom are necessary to this flick.

Going through emotional hell with this dysfunctional family on the tension express was enthralling. So rare that addiction, love, family, and death can be dealt with so eloquently in a movie. The wedding is a perfect spectacle, like nothing you’ve seen in any movie or real life.  You want to be apart of it, the togetherness in beings so completely separate.

Live music is used to guide you through the happiness and peril these characters are faced with. I’ve read in several places that the infamous table scene is one to look  out for but I was still taken aback  by my severe reaction. Spotlighting over 10 different characters in one of the most  pivotal scenes to the film, the emotional roller coaster straps you in. Sadness, embarassment, happiness, love, loss, desperation, jealousy, angst and tenderness are all tapped in, during this extended glimpse from the wedding rehearsal dinner. I have never been more uncomfortable watching a movie as I was during a certain point in that scene. It was excruciating. Hard to believe it only took the screenwriter  Jenny Lumet, 7 weeks to write this amazing character study.

Now I refuse to spoil any bit of this movie because it deserves at least one full uninterrupted viewing by everyone in Danger’s opinion. Remember that life is left unresolved more often than not and there won’t be any disappointment. You will find a character to relate to, there will be at least one note of music that you love, and you’re eyes will glaze over for at least a second, even if you won’t admit it to anyone.

Bravo. Anne Hathaway. Bravo.