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Gorging on Movies

Rock and Bruce can't save the Joes

I was frankly surprised to hear that “GI Joe Retaliation” was tops at the box office last week, but I guess I shouldn't be. We are in the terrible doldrums of post-Oscars, pre-summer blockbuster season. Finding a really good movie is a quest akin to Diogenes looking for an honest man.

I'm also a little embarrassed to say I contributed to that box office figure. My daughter talked me into it. “It has Bruce Willis and The Rock,” she said with the “how can it be all bad” implied. Well...

As anyone who has read my movie reviews before knows, I like a good action movie as well as the next person. Explosions, sword fights, a good car chase are all promising elements in my book.

“GI Joe” had all of that, but it wasn't enough. The actions was flat, predictable and pretty blatantly aimed at the video game market. In other words, it was about as stiff as the “action” figures of the same name. I didn't expect much going in and the movie lived down to those expectations.

Still, the movie drew a big crowd. This week brings “Jurassic Park” back to the local theater in 3-D.

“If they're going to redo something in 3-D, it might as well be Jurassic Park,” my husband said. I can't help but agree. Spielberg knows how to make an action figure.

If you'd rather get a dose of Bruce Willis, I can offer a few suggestions. Sometimes it seems Willis has been in almost every movie ever made in the past two years, but not all of them have been worth plunking down eight bucks.

Two offbeat works that have made their way into my heart are “Lay the Favorite” and “Moonrise Kingdom.” If you're looking for action, you'll be disappointed. In the first, Willis plays Dink Heimowitz, an excentric gambler who helps an ex-private dancer in her quest for a different life. In the second, the children are the real stars of this charming indie, but Willis plays a sympathetically lovelorn island police officer who wears thick glasses and his pants just a little too short.

If you insist on Bruce in all his action glory, try “Looper” or “Fire with Fire” or, of course, the latest “Die Hard.” When you look at his long list of action credits, it's no surprise the IMDb website has named him the number one action hero of all time.

Finding good movies with The Rock (aka, Duane Johnson) is a bit more challenging. He isn't an actor that generally draws me to films, but two I can recommend are “The Rundown” with Sean William Scott and “Get Smart” with Ann Hathaway and Steve Carell, where he played the IQ-appropriate Agent 23.

Beyond that, you're on your own.

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