Valdosta Daily Times

February 23, 2013

New ‘Die Hard’ proves series is dead

By Adann-Kennn Alexxandar
The Valdosta Daily Times

VALDOSTA — “A Good Day to Die Hard” (Action: 1 hour, 37 minutes)

Starring: Bruce Willis, Jai Courtney and Sebastian Koch

Director: John Moore

Rated: R (Violence and profanity)

Movie Review: This is the fifth film in this series. It follows the antics of cop John McClane (Willis) once more. This time, he is in Russia to help his estranged son, Jack (Courtney), a CIA operative, prevent a nuclear-weapons heist. To do this, the McClanes must get Komarov (Koch), a wealthy Russian dissident, out of Russia.

“Die Hard” is dead. This story has little substance. The action is plentiful, but plot is as useless as an old jalopy that coughs. Many automobiles are destroyed. Bullets fly like crazy, but the main characters appear bulletproof. The stunts are uselessly unbelievable. Even Willis’ dry wit cannot make this film entertaining.

This photoplay presents a good time to end this series. Car crashes and gun fights do not constitute a movie — at least not a good one.   

Grade: C- (Dead on arrival.)

“Safe Haven” (Romance/Drama: 1 hour, 55 minutes)

Starring: Julianne Hough, Josh Duhamel, and David Lyons

Director: Lasse Hallström

Rated: PG-13 (Violence and strong language)

Movie Review: Director Hallström has directed better films: “What’s Eating Gilbert Grape” (1993) and “Chocolat” (2000). “Safe Haven is not a safe bet.

Katie (Hough), a young woman with a cryptic past, moves to Southport, N.C. There, she meets Alex (Duhamel), a widower with whom she falls in love. Soon, her secretive past catches up to her.

This is a movie based on a Nicholas Sparks novel. Like most of the screen adaptations of his books, this one is formulaic.

Plot builds character. It is profoundly lacking here because the characters never see full development. Even more, their actions are questionable. Again, this exists because this plot is weak.  

It is a contrived plot. If one has evidence that a love interest is a possible murderer, do you bring that person back to your house to spend time with your kids? One would think the answer is an easy “no.” In this mess of a movie, the lead does just this. This is possible but not plausible.

Think of this film as a Tyler Perry-esque plot with tones of a teleplay on the Lifetime channel. The formula is the same. A woman runs away from a sadistic man to meet an angelic man. They fall in love. After they get to know each other, they break up quickly and dramatically. Then, they reunite and live happily ever after. 

This is a tired play that has outlived its usefulness. Children could create better romantic formula than this. 

Grade: C- (A poor refuge.)

“Escape from Planet Earth” (Animation/Adventure)

Starring: Brendan Fraser, Rob Corddry and Jessica Alba

Director: Cal Brunker

Rated: PG (Violence and some crude humor)

Movie Review: Scorch Supernova (Fraser) leaves planet Baab for Earth, a place known as the Dark Planet. When Scorch is stranded on Earth, captured by the United States military, his nerdy brother, Gary Supernova (Corddry), goes to Earth to attempt a rescue.

This animated piece is adventurous but not overwhelming. The neatest part is that Earth is known as the place where aliens disappear. Earth is sort of the Bermuda Triangle of the galaxy.

For a family film, this is kind of bland with fewer laughs than most films that target children. This exists because the characters are atypical heroes. The nerd rescues the muscled jock. The problem is neither is interesting nor brilliant. Even more, no imminent danger appears readily.

Log this one as another easy to sit through and easier to forget movie.

Grade: C- (A minor planetary diversion.)

“Beautiful Creatures” (Adventure/Fantasy/Romance: 2 hours, 3 minutes)

Starring: Alden Ehrenreich, Alice Englert, Viola Davis, Emma Thomson and Jeremy Irons

Director: Richard LaGravenese

Rated: PG-13 (Strong language and violence)

Movie Review: Ethan Wate (Ehrenreich) is just a normal high school teen wanting to leave the small South Carolina town in which he lives. His life changes when he meets Lena Duchannes (Englert), who is keeping a big secret. Duchannes is a 15-year-old sorcerer about to reach the apex of her power. An old family curse will make Duchannes’ transformation taxing for her relationship with Wate. Even more, Duchannes and Wate discover interesting histories about their families that could prove dangerous for them both.

For a modern movie, this films appears like a bad flick of the 1970s. It is creepy yet playful in an unserious manner that makes all unconvincing.

The film is based on the novel by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl. This screenplay appears really for those who are a fans of the novel. Otherwise, it appears much is missing from the story here, mainly undeveloped characters, as if the prequel to this underdeveloped plot is missing. Because of this, secondary characters are flat.

Ehrenreich is from California. His Southern accent is over stressed. At some point, northerners will learn that not all southerners talk similarly. Englert is bland. As a couple, Ehrenreich and Englert have little chemistry.

Other characters are uninteresting, too. Excluding the senior cast members Davis, Irons and Thompson, the characters not interesting. Davis, Irons and Thompson are only barely interesting because they present better acting than other actors.        

Grade: C- (Boring Creatures.)