Lasse Hallstrom brings Nicholas Sparks’ ‘Safe Haven’ to the big screen

The upcoming film adaptation of the Nicholas Sparks’ novel Safe Haven is the eighth time the author’s novels has been brought to the big screen.  And while, yes, there is a typical Sparks’ love story at the heart of the book and film, Safe Haven has things that make it different from any of the previous movies.

Read moreLasse Hallstrom brings Nicholas Sparks’ ‘Safe Haven’ to the big screen

Thrills in ‘Mama’ are all relative

Jessica Chastain goes sexy punk in 'Mama'
Jessica Chastain goes sexy punk in ‘Mama’

[rating=3]Starring: Jessica Chastain, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Megan Charpentier, Isabelle Nélisse, Daniel Kash, Jane Moffat
Directors: Andrés Muschietti
Writers: Neil Cross, Andrés Muschietti, Barbara Muschietti

What makes a thriller good? Is it ingenuity or number of scares? Mama, directed by Andrés Muschietti, dips into the supernatural while still gripping onto such familiar umbrella areas as scary houses and unpredictable children. It’s no fright fest, but it is, for a long time, an intriguing domestic parable. As an exercise in the genre, Mama doesn’t completely redefine its core, but it stretches it to a more limber stage.

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‘The Last Stand’ is worth sitting down for

Arnold Scharzenegger is Sheriff Ray Owens in 'The Last Stand'
Arnold Scharzenegger is Sheriff Ray Owens in ‘The Last Stand’

Some movies should have a sign hung over the doorway that read, in big bold letters, “suspend disbelief before entry”.  The Last Stand is one such movie. While the action is a bit over the top, the comedy is able to generate laughs where desired and the audience gets the fun romp that is expected; the basic story and plot elements are just ridiculous.

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‘Gangster Squad’ looks great, but lacks substance

Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling in a scene from 'Gangster Squad'
Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling in a scene from ‘Gangster Squad’

The old TV shows Dragnet always ended with the narrator saying “the story you’ve just seen is true.  The names were changed to protect the innocent.”  When it comes to Gangster Squad, parts of the story are true.  There really was a Gangster Squad in Los Angeles in the late 1940s, there really was a mobster named Mickey Cohen, and there were LAPD sergeants named Jack O’Mara and Jerry Wooters.

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It isn’t NYC that needs repair in ‘Broken City’ – it’s the script

Russell Crowe, Mark Wahlberg and Jeffrey Wright in the mayor's office in a scene from 'Broken City'
Russell Crowe, Mark Wahlberg and Jeffrey Wright in the mayor’s office in a scene from ‘Broken City’

[rating=2]Starring:  Russell Crowe, Mark Wahlberg, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Jeffrey Wright, Barry Pepper, Alona Tal, Natalie Martinez, Kyle Chandler and Michael Beach
Director(s):  Allen Hughes
Writer(s):  Brian Tucker

For nearly ten years now there is a “black list” published annually in Hollywood.  It supposedly contains the best “unproduced” scripts out there.  Broken City was on this list for several years until it finally escaped from “development hell” … but perhaps it should have been left there.

Read moreIt isn’t NYC that needs repair in ‘Broken City’ – it’s the script

‘LUV’ is raw, profane, violent… and good

 

Michael Rainey Jr. and Common in 'LUV'
Michael Rainey Jr. and Common in ‘LUV’

LUV stars rapper Common as “Vincent”, an ex-convict who is now living with his mother and nephew in Mom’s house.  Word on the street is that he gained early parole for “ratting out” some of his former criminal associates.  And he has no plans to return to his former life, instead planning to borrow a large sum of money from a bank to open a crab shack.  The idea of opening yet another large crab shack in Baltimore speaks for itself when it comes to bad business models.

Read more‘LUV’ is raw, profane, violent… and good