February 15, 2013, - 4:56 pm
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.
* “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 . . .
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).
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 . . .
Watch the trailer . . .
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