Fun at the Movies: The Spy Next Door & Avatar
In the span of one week, I managed to catch two movies with my family and if you haven't had a chance to hit theaters yet, I'm here to give you the lowdown on "The Spy Next Door" and "Avatar."
The Spy Next Door: We were recently invited by Lionsgate Entertainment to attend a free screening of this brand new Jackie Chan film at Planet Hollywood. I zipped myself and the kids into Manhattan straight from school and they whipped out their pencils so they could finish their homework on our metronorth commuter train. Once we arrived, my daughter was in heaven. As we walked inside, we discovered that Planet Hollywood features tons of movie memorabilia from "Twilight," plus goodies from the Jonas Brothers along with tons of action films, but all my kids cared about was Robert Pattinson and Nick Jonas - and convincing the VJ later that night to play a Michael Jackson video (he obliged and we were treated to "Thriller"). But I digress. We were there to see a movie!
After following the restaurant's yellow brick road, we arrived at a private screening area where we met up with one of our favorite blogging moms, Amy at Selfish Mom who, along with her kids, were armed with popcorn and soda and ready for some Jackie Chan action. At precisely 6:30 pm, the movie started without previews...gotta love that! But let's cut to the karate chop.
"The Spy Next Door" is a combination of "Kindergarten Cop" and "The Pacifier" minus Arnold Schwarzenegger and Duane "The Rock" Johnson. Jackie Chan stars as Bob Ho, an undercover CIA superspy on loan from China who decides to give up his career in espionage to settle down with his next-door neighbor and girlfriend, Gillian (Amber Valetta). When Bob volunteers to babysit for his girlfriend's unruly kids, little does he know that his final mission will come back to haunt him after one of the kids downloads a top secret formua from Bob's computer and his archenemy, a Russian terrorist, moves in for the attack. While it's hard at times to understand the dialogue between Chan and the evil Russian villains who are determined to kill him, your kids will be transfixed by those famous Jackie Chan kicks and flips. Bottom line: "The Spy Next Door" got two thumbs up from two very tough critics - my 10 year old and my seven-year-old. Nuff said. Check out the trailer below for "The Spy Next Door and if you'd like to find out where it's playing in your area, just visit Fandango for times, locations and tickets.
Avatar: At first, I had told my husband there was no way you could drag me to see Avatar. I had no desire to see a movie that was nearly three hours long featuring guns and aliens, but all that changed over lunch. While dining with Risa at Big City Moms, she informed me that all her Facebook friends were raving about "Avatar" and when she went to see it, she loved it so much she didn't want it to end. And so, based on the recommendation of someone else's Facebook friends, I agreed to go. And let me tell you - it was one of the best movies I've seen in years.
I should have known I was in for a classic movie experience the minute I saw James Cameron's name flash across the screen. The film instantly draws you into the lives of the characters - Jack (Sam Worthington) - a paralyzed army vet agrees to fill in for his twin brother who died before he could go on a mission to Pandora where he's transported into the body of an Avatar. Okay, I know I've lost a few people with that one, but stay with me. When Jack slips into a tube and is transported into his brother's avatar body, he narrowly escapes being eaten by several dinosaur types and is saved by a warrior princess who he falls in love with even though she's seven feet tall and they're both blue. Meanwhile, Sigourney Weaver plays Grace - the scientist who has managed to connect with the tribe that has set up camp right next to a sacred tree filled with a rare stone that's worth tons of money. Meanwhile, the army wants Jake to infiltrate the avatars so he can convince them to move and they can get their rocks and Sigourney Weaver just wants everyone to get along. Kumbaya.
Okay - I am so not doing this movie justice. Let's just say that "Avatar" has all the elements you'd look for in the perfect movie - action, suspense, Sigourney Weaver, romance, scary moments and an ending that will make you cry. Okay - that kind of sounds like "Working Girl" but seriously, you must go see "Avatar." Now if you have kids - make sure they are over seven years old - otherwise, you'll be taking at least 12 trips to the bathroom during the film (it's 160 minutes long). Plus, my son kept asking me - is it over yet? But despite his questions, he loved every minute of the film and so did I. If you haven't seen a preview yet, take a look. And, don't wait until the film comes out on DVD. "Avatar" is one of those movies that must be viewed in a theater - plus they have a 3D version too. Have fun - because that's the name of the game!