Dear faithful readers, we hope you enjoyed your day of stuffed animals, roses, and antacids in the shape of little hearts. Or maybe you just got drunk and ate cheesecake (after which you probably needed a couple of those Rolaids disguised as candy). Holiday traditions are the best, aren't they? Well, in case you didn't get enough of the love, there's plenty going around in theaters this weekend. A(nother) fantastical being falls hard for a(nother) human, John McClane bonds with his son, a call girl finds herself torn between a client and her fiancé, paramours turn pathological in an Indian remake, and one more Nicholas Sparks lovefest sobathon -- er, novel -- gets a silver screen adaptation. Be sure to pack some insulin for the sugar rush, and tell us what you'll be seeing in the comments below!
"A Good Day to Die Hard" opened Thursday. Directed by John Moore. Starring Bruce Willis, Jai Courtney, Sebastian Koch, Sergey Kolesnikov, and Mary Elizabeth Winstead. Our review: " 'A Good Day To Die Hard' is a joyless affair, but is also so unimaginative and monotonous, it’s hard to get worked up about it. It is loudly obnoxious, hollow, by-the-numbers, rote and painfully uninspired, but it’s almost too boring to describe as horrible. It just sort of regrettably exists." MC: 29 RT: 13% PL: D+
"Beautiful Creatures" opened Thursday. Directed by Richard LaGravenese. Starring Alden Ehrenreich, Alice Englert, Emmy Rossum, Emma Thompson, Viola Davis, and Jeremy Irons. Our review: "While it's not exactly a home run, it's still an incredibly stylish, evocative, edgy (was that an incest reference?), and frequently funny (there's even a Nancy Reagan joke) Southern Gothic romance." Metacritic: 53 Rotten Tomatoes: 46% The Playlist: B-
"Escape From Planet Earth." Directed by Callan Brunker. Starring Brendan Fraser, Rob Corddry, Sarah Jessica Parker, Jessica Alba, William Shatner, and Ricky Gervais. This animated alien adventure is decidedly for the kids -- and the youngest kids at that -- with unabating action, wall-to-wall sound effects, and slight characterizations, all coated in heavy slapstick and mediocre artwork. MC: no reviews yet RT: no reviews yet
"Safe Haven" opened Thursday. Directed by Lasse Hallström. Starring Josh Duhamel, Julianne Hough, Cobie Smulders, and David Lyons. Another Nicholas Sparks romance, another helping of improbable coincidence, mawkish emoting, and southern accents. Bring tissues and an airsick bag. MC: 34 RT: 13%
"Like Someone in Love." Directed by Abbas Kiarostami. Starring Rin Takanashi, Tadashi Okuno, and Ryo Kase. Our review: "There is a fine line between meeting an audience halfway and witholding enough without falling into self-indulgence, but Kiarostami can't make that balance here. Enigmatic and dull to a maddening degree, 'Like Someone In Love' finds Kiarostami spinning his wheels." MC: 74 RT: 80% PL: C-
"Murder 3" opened Thursday. Directed by Vishesh Bhatt. Starring Randeep Hooda, Aditi Rao Hydari, and Sara Loren. A straight-up carbon copy of the generally well-received Colombian film "The Hidden Face," this Indian thriller fails to live up to its predecessor, any potential marred by a dragging storyline, wooden performances, and neophyte direction. The music's alright though. MC: no reviews yet RT: no reviews yet
"No." Directed by Pablo Larraín. Starring Gael García Bernal, Antónia Zegers, and Alfredo Castro. Our review: " 'No' is exactly the kind of film you hope to stumble across -- a film that hadn't been on your radar until buzz from too many quarters too diverse to be ignored made you seek it out, discovering a film that's extraordinarily well-made, superbly acted, funny, human, warm, principled and, yes, as enthrallingly entertaining as it is fiercely moral and intelligent." MC: 80 RT: 88% PL: A
"Saving Lincoln." Directed by Salvador Litvak. Starring Tom Amandes, Lea Coco, Creed Bratton, Bruce Davidson, and Penelope Ann Miller. Our review: "At its best, the shallow field effect creates the intimacy of an audaciously-terrible one-act play, with characters nearly tipping their hat whenever they drop a line about Lincoln’s assassination and future legacy. At its worst, the film is a panoply of ersatz camera placement and terrible scene blocking, actors having no clue how to interact with their surroundings as they rifle through dialogue that stands as a series of historical checkpoints rather than a cohesive story." MC: 29 RT: 25% PL: F
"The Berlin File." Directed by Ryoo Seung-wan. Starring Ha Jung-woo, Gianna Jun, and Ryoo Seung-bum. Our review: "
It is, in final analysis, too confusing, a bit too slow, and occasionally too dopey to be called a success. Its Berlin setting is fresh, yet the story itself, right down to a surprise pregnancy announcement, feels stale. Still, the performances, especially from Gianna Jun and Ha Jung-woo, are strong, and despite many flaws, it remains an enjoyably daffy bit of action cinema. Just don’t overthink." MC: 55 RT: 29% PL: C+
"The Jeffrey Dahmer Files." Directed by Chris James Thompson. Our review: "An incredibly small documentary that often feels less complete than one of those hour-long specials they run on a loop on the ID Channel, often cripplingly hampered by a series of clumsy reenactments that do nothing but distract. The definitive Jeffrey Dahmer documentary is out there, but this isn't it." MC: 63 RT: 67% PL: C+