Movies in Theaters This Thursday, February 14-15, 2013: Beautiful Creatures, Escape From Planet Earth, A Good Day to Die Hard, Safe Haven, and More
With Valentine’s Day upon us (if you haven’t bought your loved one a present yet, you might be in a world of trouble), there’s no better time for a dinner and a movie, right? Well, Hollywood knows this, and they are releasing four wide releases just for the occasion.
I would say three of the four look (I haven’t seen them, so I can’t say for sure) like good – or at least decent – date movies. For the fantasy folks, there’s the romantic fantasy (you don’t see those everyday) movie Beautiful Creatures. It’s an adaptation of the novel of the same name, getting those fans excited. For the animated lovers, Escape from Planet Earth premieres. Comedic actors Rob Corddry, Ricky Gervais, Craig Robinson, Jane Lynch, and George Lopez are among the voices. For lovers of the more prototypical rom-com, you can enjoy Safe Haven (read Kristen’s review here). It’s an adaptation of a Nicholas Sparks book, so you can count me out.
For my money, the final option, A Good Day to Die Hard, is my choice. In anticipation, I’ve been rewatching the Die Hard franchise and forgot how much I adore those movies. However, the last installment (Live Free or Die Hard) was my least favorite, and this has a good probability of echoing similar problems.
In limited releases, The Jeffrey Dahmer Files, Like Someone in Love, No, The Power of Few, and Saving Lincoln all get released traditionally on Friday. More information on those are below.
Enjoy your Valentine’s Day and the rest of the long weekend!
Oscar nominee Richard LaGravenese (The Fisher King, P.S. I Love You) directs the supernatural love story Beautiful Creatures from his adaptation of the first novel in the best-selling series by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl.
Ethan Wate (Alden Ehrenreich), 17, has had the same recurring dream for months. A mysterious young girl is waiting for him on a Civil War battlefield. Ethan desperately wants to be with her, but there is an unknown danger — and each time a lightning bolt cracks like a gunshot, killing Ethan before he ever reaches the girl.
The danger of this strange dream world, however, is preferable to Ethan’s waking existence in Gatlin, South Carolina, a small, conservative Southern town that hasn’t caught up to the 21st century, where nothing ever changes and nothing ever happens. Trapped at home with a father who has completely withdrawn since the sudden death of Ethan’s mother, Ethan yearns for a life he can only read about in books.
But Ethan’s mundane world is shaken up with the arrival of Lena Duchannes (Alice Englert), the beautiful and enigmatic niece of Macon Ravenwood (Jeremy Irons), the reclusive owner of gothic Ravenwood Manor. Ethan finds himself immediately drawn to Lena, even though destruction seems to inexplicably follow her and it becomes apparent that she is a Caster, with powers beyond her control. The town, led by conservative Mrs. Lincoln (Emma Thompson), wants her banished. Even Gatlin’s all-knowing librarian, Amma (Viola Davis), is afraid history may repeat itself — a history of family secrets and a curse that looms for Lena as she approaches her 16th birthday. It is that time when a Caster is chosen by the forces of either the Light or the Dark.
But Lena’s fate may already be sealed by the curse that draws both her and Ethan into a tangled web of spells and peril from which there may be no escape.
The film stars Alden Ehrenreich (Tetro), Alice Englert (Ginger & Rosa), Academy Award winner Jeremy Irons (Reversal of Fortune) Oscar nominee Viola Davis (The Help, Doubt), Emmy Rossum (TV’s Shameless), Thomas Mann (Project X) and Academy Award winner Emma Thompson (Howard’s End, Sense and Sensibility). Rounding out the cast are Eileen Atkins, Margo Martindale, Zoey Deutch, Tiffany Boone, Rachel Brosnahan, Kyle Gallner, Pruitt Taylor Vince and Sam Gilroy.
The 3D animated family comedy catapults moviegoers to planet Baab where admired astronaut Scorch Supernova (Brendan Fraser) is a national hero to the blue alien population. A master of daring rescues, Scorch pulls off astonishing feats with the quiet aid of his nerdy, by-the-rules brother, Gary (Rob Corddry), head of mission control at BASA. When BASA’s no-nonsense chief Lena (Jessica Alba) informs the brothers of an SOS from a notoriously dangerous planet, Scorch rejects Gary’s warnings and bounds off for yet another exciting mission. But when Scorch finds himself caught in a fiendish trap set by the evil Shanker (William Shatner), it’s up to scrawny, risk-adverse Gary to do the real rescuing. As the interplanetary stakes rise to new heights, Gary is left to save his brother, his planet, his beloved wife Kira (Sarah Jessica Parker) and their adventure-hungry son Kip.
John McClane goes global. For the first time, the New York City cop finds himself on an international stage as a fish out of water in Moscow. The film introduces McClane’s estranged son Jack, an apple that hasn’t fallen far from the tree, and who may even be more of a hard-ass than his father. John and Jack must put aside their personal and professional differences, and work together to keep each other alive and stop the Moscow underworld from controlling nuclear weapons.
An affirming and suspenseful story about a young woman’s struggle to love again, Safe Haven is based on the novel from Nicholas Sparks, the best-selling author behind the hit films The Notebook and Dear John. 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 in this deeply moving romantic thriller.
In 1991 Jeffrey Dahmer was arrested in Milwaukee and sentenced to 957 years in prison for killing 17 people and dismembering their bodies. ‘Jeff’ explores the city of Milwaukee by meeting those surrounding Dahmer during and after his hidden spree. Recollections from Milwaukee Medical Examiner Jeffrey Jentzen, Police Detective Patrick Kennedy, and neighbor Pamela Bass are interwoven with archival footage and everyday scenes from Dahmer’s life, working collectively to disassemble the facade of an ordinary man leading an ordinary existence.
Fresh from the triumph of his Tuscany-set Certified Copy (NYFF 2010), master filmmaker Abbas Kiarostami travels even further afield from his native Iran for this mysteriously beautiful romantic drama filmed entirely in Japan. Like Someone in Love revolves around the brief encounter between an elderly professor (the wonderful 81-year-old stage actor Tadashi Okuno, here playing his first leading role in a film) and a sociology student (Rin Takanashi) who moonlights as a high-end escort. Dispatched to the old man by her boss—one of the professor’s former students—the young woman finds her latest client less interested in sex than in cooking her soup, talking, and playing old Ella Fitzgerald records (like the one that gives the film its allusive title). Eventually, night gives way to day and a tense standoff with the student’s insanely jealous boyfriend (Ryō Kase); but as usual in Kiarostami, nothing is quite as it appears on the surface. Are these characters—who conjure in one another the specters of regret and roads not taken—meeting by chance, or is it fate? Is this love, or merely something like it?
In 1988, in an effort to extend and legitimize its rule, the Chilean military junta announced it would hold a plebiscite to get the people’s permission to stay in power. Despite being given 15 minutes a day to plead its case on television, the anti-Pinochet opposition was divided and without a clear message. Enter Rene Saavedra (an excellent Gael García Bernal), an ad man who, after a career pushing soft drinks and soap, sets out to sell Chileans on democracy and freedom. Winner of the top prize in this year’s Directors’ Fortnight in Cannes, No is little short of a miracle: shooting on U-matic video tape to give the film the look of the Eighties, Pablo Larraín (Tony Manero, Post Mortem) has created a smart, funny and totally engrossing political thriller with a powerful resonance for our times.
The Power of Few is a time bending thriller starring Christopher Walken, Christian Slater, Q’orianka Kilcher and Anthony Anderson. The film, told from multiple perspectives, mixes urban crime and religious conspiracy, and encourages audiences to look at things from different perspectives to see how the choices of a single person can affect the outcome of things in a world where everything is interconnected.
Based on a true story. When Abraham Lincoln (Tom Amandes) is elected President, he brings only one friend to Washington: his banjo-playing, joke-telling former law partner and confidant, Ward Hill Lamon (Lea Coco). Lamon is also handy with a gun, and when the first assassination attempt occurs in 1861, Lamon appoints himself the President’s bodyguard. From this unique perspective, Lamon witnesses every aspect of Lincoln’s fiery trial as Commander-in-Chief, from the constant military and political pressure, to the personal losses of friends and family members. Lamon soothes Lincoln’s tormented soul, saves him from repeated attempts on his life, and introduces him at the Gettysburg Address. Lamon is not present on that fateful night at Ford’s Theater in 1865 because Lincoln sends him on a mission, yet it is Lamon who redefines that tragic event in a surprising and uplifting manner. This visually unique film features sets created from actual Civil War photographs, using a new process called CineCollage, invented by director Salvador Litvak (When Do We Eat?). The film stars Penelope Ann Miller as Mary Todd Lincoln, Bruce Davison as William H. Seward, Creed Bratton as Senator Charles Sumner, Josh Stamberg as Salmon P. Chase and Saidah Arrika Ekulona as Mrs. Elizabeth Keckly.
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