Cinema Scoop  

Yippee ki-yay Valentine's Day!

Greetings movie lovers, it's time to take a look at what the cinema has in store for us on Valentine's Day and this coming weekend.

     A Good Day to Die Hard

John McClane travels to Russia to help out his seemingly wayward son, Jack, only to discover that Jack is a CIA operative working to prevent a nuclear-weapons heist, causing the father and son to team up against underworld forces.

     My Take

Bruce Willis once again returns to the iconic role that made him an action superstar in this fifth installment of the popular franchise. I'm a huge fan of the original Die Hard and I think it was one of the best action films ever made. But that was 25 years ago when Bruce was in his prime and the movie was somewhat fresh and exciting then. The next two sequels were quite fun and entertaining as well, but then they took 12 years off and released Live Free or Die Hard which didn't quite live up to the standards set forth by its predecessors. Now, another 6 years have passed, and at age 57, Willis is attempting to recapture his former glory. The big question is, does he still have it?

I'd like to think he still does, but based on what I've seen on the trailers, it appears that he may have fallen into almost a self parody mode. This new movie looks loud, bombastic and chock full of special effects that really don't serve any purpose other than to justify a likely inflated budget.

Behind the camera this time is Irish director, John Moore (Behind Enemy Lines, Flight of the Phoenix, Max Payne), who doesn't have the greatest track record where quality films are concerned.

Also starring in the film are Jai Courtney, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, and Sebastian Koch.

I hope I'm wrong and that the international setting will keep this series fresh and exciting and make for a highly entertaining action thrill ride.

What the heck else am I going to do on Valentine's Day?

     Beautiful Creatures

A supernatural love story set in the South, Beautiful Creatures tells the tale of two star-crossed lovers: Ethan (Alden Ehrenreich), a young man longing to escape his small town, and Lena (Alice Englert), a mysterious new girl. Together, they uncover dark secrets about their respective families, their history and their town.

     My Take

Thanks to the enormous success of that darn Twilight franchise (blechh), we are going to be getting a slew of these paranormal teen romance movies thrown our way for quite some time. This one, based on the novel by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl, just happens to be the first one on the slate for 2013. And what better timing than Valentine's Day to draw in all of those young couples and teenagers with budding hormones to swoon over these attractive young adults and all of their angst and supernatural inspired turmoil.

Naturally, they've rounded out the cast with some well established stars such as Jeremy Irons, Emmy Rossum, Viola Davis and Emma Thompson in order to lend the film some gravitas. Sadly, that's not enough to even remotely pique my interest.

Beautiful Creatures is directed by Richard LaGravenese (P.S. I Love You).

Twihards rejoice! This one is clearly going to be for you.

     Safe Haven

When a mysterious young woman arrives in a small North Carolina town, her reluctance to join the tight knit community raises questions about her past. Slowly, she begins putting down roots, and gains the courage to start a relationship with Alex, a widowed store owner with two young children. But dark secrets intrude on her new life with such terror that she is forced to rediscover the meaning of sacrifice and rely on the power of love.

     My Take

This romantic thriller is based on the novel from Nicholas Sparks, the best-selling author behind the hit films The Notebook and Dear John, and it stars Josh Duhamel and Julianne Hough.

This generic looking piece of schmaltz doesn't appear to have an original bone in its body. I'm pretty sure I've seen this exact same storyline, or a variation of it, numerous times before. Remember Sleeping With the Enemy with Julia Roberts? That one was probably heavier on the thrills then this one will be, but you get the idea.

I am not a fan of any of the Nicholas Sparks adaptations so I'm definitely not the target audience for this one. I do admire the director, Lasse Hallström (Chocolat, Cider House Rules, What's Eating Gilbert Grape), but he's made some pretty lackluster films such as Dear John and Casanova, so that's really no incentive for me to want to see this.

This one is clearly for the ladies only and I'd like to wager that any guy going to this film is getting dragged along by his sweetie. Have fun fellas.

I guess one advantage of being single is not having to sit through this kind of drivel.


Georges and Anne are in their eighties. They are cultivated, retired music teachers. Their daughter, who is also a musician, lives abroad with her family. One day, Anne has an attack, and the couple's bond of love is severely tested.

     My Take

This highly acclaimed French language film has finally made its way to Kelowna theaters. Nominated for 5 Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Actress for 85-year-old Emmanuelle Riva, Amour is being hailed by critics as one of the most honest and heartbreaking films of the year.

I'm looking forward to seeing it for the simple reason that it remains the only Best Picture nominee that I have yet to see. That, and the fact that it's the type of raw emotional human drama that I usually go for. I much prefer my romantic dramas to deal in truth and reality rather than shallow superficiality.

This appears like it will be a poignant depiction of true love and loss, and one that will require plenty of tissues. I'm ok with that.

If you want to see this Oscar nominated tearjerker then check it out at the Paramount Theatre starting on Friday.

Also opening this Friday is the animated sci-fi, Escape From Planet Earth, which has Brendan Fraser voicing Scorch Supernova, a beefcake space hero who defends his planet, Baab, against the nefarious villain Shanker (voice of James Gandolfini) in this 3D computer-animated adventure. Also featuring the voice talents of Jessica Alba, Rob Corddry, Ricky Gervais, Craig Robinson and Sarah Jessica Parker, Escape From Planet Earth should be fun for the kiddies out there.

Enjoy your Valentine's weekend everyone, and see you at the movies.

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About the Author

Just to give you a little background on my qualifications, I've been a film buff my whole life and I enjoy all different genres.

I especially have a passion for classic cinema.

I spent most of the past 17 years working for Rogers Video, so not only have I seen an immense amount of movies, but I've recommended many films to people over the years.

The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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