Double Feature

January 2022 - Happy New Year! I'm very much looking forward to starting 2022 in front of the TV. Ray Donovan returns with a movie to wrap up the series. We'll have the season finale of Dexter: New Blood. And, if you're not watching Yellowjackets, now is the time to start. Believe me, any of these television shows will be better than the two movies I'm reviewing this month.

In 2009's Did You Hear About the Morgans? a couple on the verge of divorce finds that fresh, country air – and new identities - are just what they need to put the spark back into their marriage. Hugh Grant and Sarah Jessica Parker star as the squabbling spouses. Sam Elliott and Mary Steenburgen are the older, wiser couple who helps them out.

Grant and Parker play Paul and Meryl Morgan. They live in Manhattan where he works as a lawyer and she's a realtor. Thanks to their busy schedules – and his affair – they're separated and headed for divorce. Then, by chance, they witness a murder. They're quickly rounded up by the US Marshals and temporarily assigned to the witness protection program.

Almost before they have time to learn their new identities – Paul and Meryl Foster – the couple finds themselves in small town Wyoming under the watchful eye of the sheriff (Elliott) and his wife (Steenburgen). Paul and Meryl spend the next few days jogging, avoiding bears, learning how to shoot and falling in love again.

Overall review: Ehhh, it was OK. The movie suffers from predictability. You know from the beginning that the Morgans will reconcile in the end. But, with the charm of Grant and Parker, it's pleasant enough to watch them get there.

John Travolta and Joaquin Phoenix star in Ladder 49, a PG-13 drama from 2004 that revolves around a fire station in Baltimore. Robert Patrick and Jacinda Barrett also star.

Phoenix plays firefighter Jack Morrison. It's his job to search through burning buildings and try to rescue anyone he finds. As the movie opens, he saves a man trapped on the 12th floor of an industrial complex. But, before Jack can get out, there's a collapse. He falls several stories and is trapped.

While he waits to be rescued, Jack recalls his life and career. He remembers meeting Capt. Mike Kennedy (Travolta), who's now the deputy chief leading the rescue effort. He remembers meeting Linda (Barrett) in a grocery store, then eventually marrying her and having two children. He remembers the time when he rescued a girl from a burning building and received a commendation. He remembers having the opportunity to take a safer job in the fire department - and turning it down.

Overall review: Ehhh, it was OK. There are some fun moments here, but Phoenix is an odd actor. He's so low-key, that you almost want to shake him and say, "Show some emotion, dammit!" Travolta is steady, and there's plenty of fire to keep things heated up. Still, the movie just seems like it's missing "something."