February 15, 2013, - 4:56 pm

Wknd Box Office: A Good Day to Die Hard, Safe Haven, Beautiful Creatures

By Debbie Schlussel

All of these movies debuted in theaters yesterday, on Valentine’s Day. Sorry I didn’t get my reviews up earlier, but I had other stuff going on, and most of you, my readers, go out to the movies on the weekends, not on week nights. Ironically the “best” of the bunch is the warmed over ’80s action stuff.

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* “A Good Day to Die Hard“: This isn’t a great movie. It’s not even the greatest of the five “Die Hard” incarnations. I liked the last Die Hard flick a lot and a lot better than this (read my review). But, still, this is exactly what you expect from this kind of thing, and in that it doesn’t disappoint, even if the stunts are completely unbelievable and the story and plot are lightweight if even existent. It’s non-stop, mindless action, car chases, shooting, and other stuff you’ve come to know from the Die Hard genre, and in that it delivers what it promises. It’s also not boring, not even for a second.

Bruce Willis, as New York cop John McClane, learns that his now grown son (with whom he is not close and from whom he hasn’t heard in years), played by Jai Courtney, is facing the death penalty in a Russian prison where he is incarcerated for murder. McClane takes his vacation days and travels to Russia to save his son. The entire movie takes place in Moscow and Chernobyl. Soon, McClane learns that his son is actually a CIA agent and set himself up in the prison to get a man out who has access to uranium (or plutonium, I forget which). They are trying to avoid and escape some Russian gangster types.


I liked this the best of the three recent action releases from ’80s actions stars (including Willis, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Sylvester Stallone). Like I said, the stunts are just not those from which a person would emerge alive, even from just one. And yet, 57-year-old Willis emerges from a whole day full of those, walking away. But, then, the stunts in James Bond movies and Fast and Furious flicks and all the others aren’t believable either. You don’t go to these movies for realism or real life. You go to these things for mindless escapism. And, for that, this works. And judging it on that basis, I give it . . .

ONE REAGAN
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Watch the trailer . . .

* “Safe Haven“: This is your typical sappy, maudlin, cliched, predictable Nicholas Sparks novel made into a chick flick. I don’t even think this one is good enough to be a bad Lifetime damsel-in-distress movie of the week. It’s amateurish, slow, and boring. And silly. The saccharine, excessively sweet Julianne Hough is a woman who is escaping something or someone. Throughout, we see a driven, determined cop, who is sometimes drunk, searching for her. He turns out to be her cop husband who abused her. In the meantime, she gets off the bus at a North Carolina seaside village, gets a job, and falls for the local widower (Josh Duhamel) whose kids she charms. Nothing here you haven’t seen a million times before and wish you’d spent the time on something else.

One other thing: this was so boring that I had one local movie critic call me to find out what happened in the part of the movie during which he fell asleep. Fortunately for him, it didn’t overlap with the part during which I fell asleep. Despite that, I missed nothing.

TD (Total Dreck).

HALF A MARX

Watch the trailer . . .

* “Beautiful Creatures“: This is supposed to be the next “Twilight” fad (if it does well). Instead of vampires, the people involved are “casters,” a nice euphemism for witches. Instead of a masculine girl brooding after the effeminate vampire in the “Twilight movies,” we have an effeminate guy brooding over the masculine girl witch. One thing that the “Twilight” movies smartly stayed away from is politics. This movie is chock full of attacks on Southerners, conservatives, those with traditional values, Christians, and even Nancy Reagan, who–we’re told–scared away even the witches from living in tunnels beneath Washington, DC, when Ronald Reagan was President.

While there was some charm to the movie at the beginning, it quickly devolved not only into the anti-conservative, anti-Southern celluloid polemics I mentioned, but also became a jumbled mess with a million confusing plot twists and devices like a necklace charm from the civil war and something about a curse that went back that far to a soldier fighting for the Confederacy or something (it was kind of confusing).

The story: a guy named Ethan, who loves to read and whose mother has recently died, can’t wait to get out of his small Southern town, preferably to go to college in New York. But he soon dumps his pretty Christian conservative girlfriend for Lena, whose family the town persecutes and denigrates as a bunch of satanists. They are witches, and she’s not supposed to be with him because of some curse that goes back to their descendants during the Civil War. In the midst of this all, Lena has relatives who are good witches and bad witches who interfere, and she worries whether she will morph into a good witch or a bad one.

It was an okay movie, nothing spectacular and a little sleep-inducing. But it’s unnecessary, gratuitous leftism earns it . . .

ONE MARX
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Watch the trailer . . .

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26 Responses

The “Die Hard” franchise works well for a reason Debbie doesn’t mention besides the mindless escapism:

Its one of the few outlets in which masculine men are depicted as saving the world and they get to have fun doing it. That’s a secret to their huge appeal in our increasingly feminized era.

Male heroes still have a cultural resonance and I beg to differ with Debbie – for that reason alone, I’d have given it more than one Reagan.

NormanF on February 15, 2013 at 5:27 pm

They should have stopped with Die Hard 1. Or okay, maybe part 3.

Sta t us MoNkieY on February 15, 2013 at 5:41 pm

Funny how many critics are trashing the latest Die Hard, with most of the naysayers talking about the plot making no sense.

The plot is stupid, but is certainly easy enough to understand—unless you’re a typical brainless movie critic.

Mindless action, but that’s all it’s supposed to be.

Red Ryder on February 15, 2013 at 6:20 pm

Well, I’m going to be giving Bruce another $10. His position on some political issues has my attention as well. I will NEVER watch another ahnold movie now that I know about his past and his recent past of pardoning a killer who was the son of a friend.

samurai on February 15, 2013 at 9:58 pm

God help us, these are horrible movies.

I don’t know what they are payin ya Deb, but it ain’t enough.

Review Lonesome Dove.

Yeah, do that.

chuck on February 16, 2013 at 9:05 am

I realize that Tommy lee Jones and Danny Glover are contemptable pukes, but this flick will mak you feel better.

Just trying to help.

chuck on February 16, 2013 at 9:09 am

Not to belabor the point, but the flicks you have had to review over the last month or so, wow…

Brutal.

You should get some kind of combat pay.

It’s like A Clockwork Orange. Ya gotta stick toothpicks in your eye lids.

There isn’t enough “Pretty Polly” for this job kiddo.

chuck on February 16, 2013 at 9:12 am

As for Beautiful Creatures,
We’re a long way from Arthur Miller’s “The Crucible” but they keep sprouting the same liberalese witch hunt malarky because what else would they do?
The only people capable of witch hunts today are the left anyway and that’s how they like it. What a load of BS.

One day hopefully a Southern conservative will drive a stake through Hollywood’s unoriginal zombie heart and we’ll all be spared the celluloid retread cash suckers.

Frankz on February 16, 2013 at 9:37 am

    FrankZ, I really enjoy reading your posts. You are bringing it lately. Very substantive and good points! Keep ‘em comin’!

    Skunky on February 16, 2013 at 10:34 am

I just watched a movie on Turner Classic Movies called Armored Car Robbery which was made in 1950 with actor Charles McGraw. What a great movie, compared to the current movies being made this is a classic.

Great photography, good dialog with no mumbling like today’s actors do, good story, no blood, attractive actors and actresses.

Hollywood cannot make good movies anymore. They always try to inject some political stuff somehow in their movies. Pure trash.
Boycott these movies. Why support the enemy?

Fred on February 16, 2013 at 10:35 am

de…i notice you missed the homage to chief dan george`s line in little bIg man…when daily he would announce to dustin hffman,that it`s a “good day to die“

paul klein on February 16, 2013 at 11:05 am

    There’s also an allusion to a Klingon saying.

    skzion on February 17, 2013 at 3:32 pm

Die Hard? DVD in six months. The other two … I’d rather poke needle under my fingernails.

I hate crowds, thus theaters and I despise Hollyweird focus-grouped target-marketed films. Despise, despise, despise.

Eisenhower should have said, “Military/Industrial/Entertainment Complex”

Jack on February 16, 2013 at 11:18 am

Death Wish (1974) Directed by Michael Winner. With Charles Bronson (last of the real movie stars) A New York architect
becomes a one-man vigilante squad after his wife is murdered by street punks, he then randomly goes out and kill would be muggers on the mean streets after dark.
Liberal judges and courts upholding the Human Rights of serious
criminals, the storyline of this movie is still relevant today.
Bruce Willis is a poor excuse for a man. I would rather watch
Clint Eastwood in Dirty Harry on DVD.

Chaim Paddaman on February 16, 2013 at 12:10 pm

Will definitely watch the die hard flick. The others, as usual, Debbie shares some of my sensibilities, I will not waste my time. Thanks.

Jake49 on February 16, 2013 at 1:00 pm

Thanks Skunky, glad to see your posts again too, was wondering where you got to, hope everything is ok.

Frankz on February 16, 2013 at 1:53 pm

My son and I went to see DH5 last night. Though it was a good action flick, it was missing some of the sardonic, self-deprecating humor we’ve come to expect from the franchise. Where were the humorous one-liners (does it sound like I’m ordering a pizza, etc)? Toward the end, I expected the helo rotor blade to come slicing through the air and either rip Lenin’s head off or at least puncture the statue in some way – something the old DH’s would have done. I think if they’d have had more of that, this would have played much better with the whole father/son jousting thing. Still a good night!

Denise on February 16, 2013 at 3:36 pm

We need to bring Nancy Reagan back to clear the witches out of the Congress and Senate.

Concerned Citizen on February 16, 2013 at 4:08 pm

We need Nancy Reagan to bash Nancy Pelosi over the head with her own broomstick. She knew how to take out the trash.
Sadly, all we have now is a bunch of politicos who only know how to feed the gremlins after midnight and blame someone else for the mess. It’s very sad.

Frankz on February 17, 2013 at 12:23 pm

Judging by the trailer, Safe Haven appears to be about young people finding true love. That’s been a popular theme for a long, long time.

A truer depiction by Hollywood would show a babymama and thug finding sexual release in an alleyway. And the taxpayers shouldering the burden from then to eternity…

In the latter case, I wish we could say – it’s only a movie!

Nir Leiu on February 18, 2013 at 5:43 am

Wait, isn’t Safe Haven a great date movie? It sounds like a chick flick, so doesn’t that mean the guy the girl is out with is the sensitive type, willing to show his vulnerability? This usually leads to breakfast the next day…Am I right?

FrenchKiss on February 18, 2013 at 12:15 pm

Seeing Julianne Hough in a bikini is worth the price of admission! Sexist? You bet! But I’m not dead either.

FrenchKiss on February 18, 2013 at 12:25 pm

    You me both, FK!

    Nir Leiu on February 18, 2013 at 5:35 pm

Don’t know whether DS got paid off to write her favorable review of DieHard27, but DO NOT waste a cent on this POS. It’s the worst release from a major studio I’ve seen in the last 2 years – the opening action sequence is 20 minutes of ridiculousness during which BW chases his son, destroying 1/2 of Moscow in the process, because his son won’t talk to him – what sense of jeopardy or concern do we have that kind of chase – all I was looking for was a little mindless action pic, I received a pic that actually was boring, tedious and actually stole brain cells from me. Plot holes bigger than the grand canyon (while Moscow is being destroyed no cops (only phony ones) come to stop the havoc; Avoid at all costs!

TG: I thought I was pretty tough on it. DS

Tony George on February 19, 2013 at 4:39 pm

Tony, I’m with you on this (to an extent). I found this film the absolute worst of the series. The first 20 minutes were excruciating to me as they apparently were for you because they were so preposterous and idiotic. I’m a big fan of the Die Hard series for the reason Norman above cites, that they support traditional male qualities along with varied other conservative values. That along with the cavalier wit of Willis makes these films a lot of fun. But this was the worst of the bunch. (I agree with Debbie, by the way, that the last one made was one of–or perhaps even the–best.

Denise writing above was right, too; there simply weren’t enough funny lines.

On the other hand, I think Debbie was right not to give this film less than a Reagan. Even if it wasn’t completely satisfying as entertainment because of gaping plot holes, the film is still basically conservative in its general criticism that Russia remains a corrupt dictatorship that manipulates its political process and is also a danger to the rest of the world because of its nuclear arsenal. It should be widely agreed that communist Russia is an enemy of the U.S., not a friend, and this film understands that. Essentially, then, the film presents some mildly hammy buffoonery tucked into a light Cold War action-thriller, all done in a politically correct era where the anti-Russia perspective is too rareā€”at least in Hollywood. Giving the film the grade of a Marx rather than a Reagan would have been misleading.

Burke on February 19, 2013 at 6:01 pm

Wow…beautiful story, beautiful words, really love it!

charms blog on July 31, 2013 at 6:30 am

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