Movie Review: “Safe House” & “Journey 2: Mysterious Island”

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If you’re looking for a good movie to watch in theaters, this week’s movies offer a couple of satisfactory choices.  One is a crime action thriller for the adults and the other thrilling fantasy adventure for kids (or the whole family).

“Safe House”

No one is safe. It’s an appropriate tagline for “Safe House.”

Denzel Washington (“Unstoppable“) is Tobin Frost, a rogue ex-CIA agent on the run for selling intelligence secrets to the highest bidder. When he finds himself cornered in Cape Town, South Africa, he turns himself in to the U.S. Consulate, which leads him to be transferred and interrogated in a safe house guarded by a young, rookie agent, Matt Weston (Ryan Reynolds).

Action thriller is a fail-safe genre for Washington and he doesn’t disappoint.  It’s Reynolds (“Green Lantern”), known for his comedic talent in lighthearted romcoms, who surprises the most.  When the safe house is stormed by armed thugs, he’s left with no one to trust and in charge of the dangerous traitor.  Outrageous car chases, brutal hand-to-hand combats, nonstop shootouts, he gets down and dirty with the best of them.

Washington and Reynolds never develop the kind of rapport that we would expect, but their interactions are enjoyable, and frankly, a relief in between the super-charged, high-body-count violence. With choppy cuts and chaotic closeups, sometimes it’s hard to tell what’s going on.

“Safe House” ends satisfyingly though.  What does Frost have that is so valuable that everyone would like to get their hands on?  What does the CIA role in all this and how is it connected to Weston?  While blood spills messily, the conspiracy is unwrapped neatly and nothing is left to chance.

Starring: Denzel Washington, Ryan Reynolds, Vera Farmiga (“Source Code“), Brendan Gleeson, Sam Shepard.

“Journey 2: Msyterious Island”

Wondrous adventures in a mythical world, bursting with colors, filled with lush landscapes, towering waterfalls and fantastical creatures.

“Journey 2: Mysterious Island” sweeps us away to a lost island in the South Pacific.  Witness the grandeur of an ancient palace carved from stones, volcanic mountains spewing molten lava and gold, underwater caves, and real creatures with sizes that defy convention.  Elephants as small as puppies.  Lizards as big as dinosours.  Colossal flowers and mushrooms.  Giant birds, bees and ants.

Loosely based on Jules Verne’s novels and a continuation of the 2008 hit “Journey to the Center of the Earth,” ‘Journey 2’ answers a simple question, “Who’s up for an adventure?”  It leads to a dazzling discovery and epic exploration.  Predictable feud mixed with family humor.  ‘Journey 2’ is simply magical for those with adventure spirit and young at heart.  See it in 3-D if you can!

Starring: Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson (“Faster“), Michael Caine (“The Dark Knight“), Josh Hutcherson, Luis Guzman, Vanessa Hudgens, Kristin Davis.

Copyright (c) 2012. Nathalia Aryani.

Nathalia Aryani is a business manager, foreign language translator, lifestyle/travel writer and film columnist. She can be reached at Nathalia owns a movies blog, The MovieMaven (  Twitter:

Nathalia Aryani is a Rotten Tomatoes-approved film critic ( She has a movie blog, The MovieMaven ( Twitter: @the_moviemaven. She can be reached at [email protected].

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