‘Star Wars,’ ‘Safe House,’ More: Double Feature Friday!

If one movie a night is never enough for you and you’re looking for a flick to get you in the mood for this week’s new release, Double Feature Friday is here to help. This new weekly column takes a look at the week’s releases and pairs them with a complimentary film to watch before, after or as a substitution.

“Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace in 3D” & “Serenity”
The connection between these two goes deeper than their deep space setting. Joss Whedon filled the big-screen continuation of his television space opera, “Firefly,” with the fun and swagger of their original “Star Wars” trilogy, while creating a vision that was entirely his own. Sure, Mal burrows from Han, but that doesn’t make Nathan Fillion an ounce less likable or cool. You could easily argue that “Firefly” and “Serenity” were more earnest continuations of the space opera/western combo-genre that Lucas established with “Star Wars” back in 1977. “Serenity” can stand on its own, but watching “Firefly” beforehand will increase your enjoyment exponentially. Also, 2D.

“Safe House” & “Green Zone”
Matt Damon and Paul Greengrass’ post-Bourne collaboration fell victim at the box office to “Alice and Wonderland,” quickly and unjustly fading from the conversation. “Green Zone” meets the standard set by the duo’s previous work together and takes on a more contemporary edge with its “ripped from the headlines” story about WMDs. As with “Safe House,” Damon’s character must go against the wishes of his commanding officers—one of whom is also played by Brendan Gleeson—to find out the truth behind the government’s misdealing.

“The Vow” & “Memento”
What better way to journey across the memory loss spectrum than with Christopher Nolan’s sophomore effort before diving into its polar opposite! Instead of Rachel McAdams desperately trying to piece together the relationship she’s lost with the help of Channing Tatum, you get Guy Pearce desperately trying to piece together the relationship he’s lost with the help of body tattoos and Joe Pantoliano. Plus, there’s no better time to check out the movie that made the man before “The Dark Knight Rises” comes out in July.

“Journey 2: The Mysterious Island” & “Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore”
Listen, there are only so many reasons you would get up to go see “Journey 2.” It may be because of your love of Dwayne Johnson, but I’m guessing there’s probably a deep seeded irony/curiosity. If that’s your poison, I recommend director Brad Peyton’s previous directorial effort, the sequel to 2001’s “Cats & Dogs.” Before you scoff, read a sample of the cast: Academy Award nominees Nick Nolte and Bette Midler, J.K. Simmons, Neil Patrick Harris, James Marsden, and James Bond himself, Roger Moore. It is by no means a good film, but shouldn’t matter too much to you.

“Rampart” & “The Shield”
When FX initially ran promos for the gritty cop drama starring Michael Chiklis, it went by the name of “Rampart.” The shared name comes from the real-life Rampart Division scandal in the LAPD during the 1990s. If you weren’t able to catch the series back when it originally aired, “The Shield” remains a series worth watching, as it launched the careers of many of today’s top TV talents, like Walton Goggins from “Justified.”