‘The Lucky One’ May be Just Another Love Story

Nicholas Sparks has a way with words. Seven of his books have been adapted for the big screen, all of his books have been New York Times Best Sellers and the films have done moderately well. Two of his books are currently in preproduction and ‘The Lucky One’ comes to theaters. Much like other Nicholas Sparks films, the movie showcases an already established star, Zac Efron and also features Taylor Shilling as his love interest.

‘The Lucky One’ is the story of U.S. Marine Logan Tibault (Efron), and his return to the United States after his third tour of Iraq. Logan gets a hold of a picture of a young woman who keeps him motivated to live and is determined to thank the woman upon his return. His meeting with the woman of the photograph, Beth Clayton (Shilling), doesn’t go so smoothly as he is hired by her to clean and take care of her local kennel. Soon after his job acquisition, the two fall in love. This development isn’t exactly surprising because after all, this is a Nicholas Sparks adaptation.

‘The Lucky One’ doesn’t particularly stand out to me through the previews or from its stars. Reviews accumulated by Rotten Tomatoes almost all say the same thing, “The film is formulaic” and “There is no chemistry between the two stars.” This isn’t an out of the ordinary observation from movies having to do with love. In this case, while Zac Efron is a capable actor, a lot of the scrutiny over this film is that he’s almost too pretty to take seriously. One of the reviews goes as far as to say that while he has great blue eyes that twinkle, his face is more often vacant than not, leaving the audience to only admire that twinkle. That’s not to say he’s the only reason why there might not be chemistry. His ‘High School Musical’ franchise perfectly showcase chemistry between him and his former girlfriend Vanessa Hudgens. Sometimes it just doesn’t work.

With a Rotten Tomatoes rating of 28%, ‘The Lucky One’ doesn’t seem likely to become a classic, though it’s expected to perform well. Efron still has a rabid fanbase who will likely catch the film on opening day, and Nicholas Sparks’ fans will flock to the theaters in droves. The film is clearly marketed towards fans of Zac and his physical appearance, and believers of the phrase “There’s someone out there for everyone.” At the very least, it should make a great date night movie. ‘The Lucky One’ opens in theaters this Friday.

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‘Lockout’ is Neither Here Nor There in the Grand Scheme of Things

Action packed thrillers are made often. Generally, action movies have a lead actor on a mission to save the world and get the girl, much like action figures, except with more interchangeable plots. ‘Lockout’ looks to follow suit in some ways more than others. The film takes place in the year 2079, with ex-CIA agent Snow being held in custody by the United States. He is questioned for his actions prior to the capture, which include struggling to attain a suitcase, fighting the “bad guys” and killing his best friend. Guy Pearce stars as the elusive Snow, while Maggie Grace is Emilie Warnock, the daughter of the President of the United States.

On YouTube, ‘Lockout’ has drawn many similarities to ‘Escape from New York’, most likely due to the references towards having to find the President and taking place in the future. The difference in this film is that he must find the President’s daughter. While watching the trailer, unlike all the other trailers I have seen this year, I couldn’t help but get bored half way through. The film’s tone and characters don’t seem very interesting at first look. The film is likely to only appeal to young men to fully grown men, as some of the dialogue is difficult to follow for a younger audience. While the men are certainly handsome, I can’t see women flocking to see this film either.

‘Lockout’ was created on a $20 million dollar budget, which is great considering its opening this weekend at the Box Office. After three days, the film is estimated to have grossed just over $6 million, which is dismal for Hollywood standards. The film has a 32% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, one of the lower of the films I have mentioned in recent posts. Many critics complain that the film is too derivative of other films in the genre. Regardless of its critical response, the film still has an aftermath on DVD and Blu-Ray which could bring in a good profit whether or not the critics enjoyed it. ‘Lockout’ is out in theaters now.

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Expect the Unexpected in ‘The Cabin in the Woods’

The horror movie event of the year is finally here! Written, directed and produced by the famed Joss Whedon and his partner Drew Goddard, ‘The Cabin in the Woods’ is the latest horror movie from Lionsgate to add more to the horror genre. The film stars Chris Hemsworth as Curt and Anna Hutchinson as Jules, plus three other young actors as a group of college students taking a road trip to a secluded cabin deep in the woods. The audience watching the film is clued in on the fact that scientists are manipulating the area by introducing odd creatures and sealing the students within a force field away from civilization.

‘The Cabin in the Woods’ has been critically acclaimed, with a 93% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Critics question the films motives and whether or not it is an attempt to blast other horror films of recent times for being too conventional and formulaic. While there are some areas in the film that seem like other horror films, there are also comedic parts to the film. The writers of the film claim that it wasn’t their intention for the film to mock other films, because they wanted it to seem as organic as possible.

The film is rated ‘R,’ for adult audiences, though it’s likely that teenagers younger than 18 will sneak in to the see the film. Hailed as a ‘game changer’ by recent reviews, the trailers for the film show more scenes and twists than it should. The marketing team at Lionsgate understood that for a film like this to do well, without being compared to other horror films, some extra details needed to be divulged to the general public. While this is a smart tactic for a broad audience, horror movie buffs have complained that they’ve seen it all in the trailers. Drew Goddard insists that the film wasn’t created to surprise the audience with every twist and turn, but telling a cohesive story from start to finish. By the end of the weekend, we will know if their efforts to distinguish the horror film from others was successful or not.

Created on a $30 million dollar budget, ‘The Cabin in the Woods’ suffered a major setback in 2010 when MGM was preparing to file for bankruptcy and tried to sell the film. Luckily, Lionsgate was willing to purchase the film in its completed form. Unlike other purchases in Hollywood history, they decided against cutting parts from the film out of respect for the movie and its writers. The film is expected to reach somewhere in the teens over the weekend, with an estimated $13 million – $18 million in Box Office revenues. Whether or not you’re a fan of horror films, ‘The Cabin in the Woods’ sounds like a genuinely well constructed film with a possibility of becoming the next big cult hit. ‘The Cabin in the Woods’ is out in theaters now.

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‘The Three Stooges’ Join the 21st Century

Growing up, I wasn’t subject to the trials and tribulations of Moe, Larry and Curly. I happened to see them on an episode of ‘The New Scooby Doo Movies’ and saw a few reruns of the 1960’s show. The characters have long been a part of pop culture and have been mentioned on numerous occasions both in TV and film. After suffering many pre-production phases and studios picking up and subsequently dropping the movie, ‘The Three Stooges’ film is finally making it to the big screen this Friday.

‘The Three Stooges’ takes place in present time, with Moe, Larry and Curly on a mission to save their childhood home from being destroyed. After somehow (we have to wait for the movie) becoming entangled in a murder plot, the three stooges are thrust into the world of reality TV. The slapstick comedy comes from the directing and writing team of the Farrelly Brothers. They have directed numerous hit films including ‘There’s Something About Mary’ and ‘Dumb and Dumber.’ The brothers have stood behind the film over the years and through all the studio difficulties because they believed in the characters’ appeal towards people of all ages. The film is rated PG for this reason.

Shot on a $35 million budget, there were a few casting changes because of the asking price coming from more popular actors. In the end, Chris DiamantopoulosSean Hayes and Will Sasso won the roles of Moe, Larry and Curly. Additional stars in the film are Sofia Vergara and Jane Lynch, playing the villain and a nun, respectively. The film was originally a Colombia Pictures production; it was then passed on to Warner Bros before reaching MGM. When MGM declared bankruptcy in 2010, the film struggled to find a new home until Fox agreed to pick it up.

‘The Three Stooges’ is expected to open somewhere in the $12 million – $24 million range at the Box Office. For a film targeted towards the whole family, the lower end of predictions seems a bit low. Marketing for the film has come from TV spots and promotional appearances, which includes a recent WWE Raw appearance in which Curly was body slammed. As a means of promotion, this is a good tool to reach an older, male audience who may have caught the former TV series. ‘The Three Stooges’ opens this Friday.

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‘Damsels in Distress’ is a Potentially Odd or Fantastic Film

This was a very long weekend. I was planning on reviewing ‘American Reunion’ for this blog post, as I’ve been eagerly anticipating this sequel since I first heard of it. Unfortunately, time was against me. This week you’ll be getting another blog post about a movie, albeit this one is more obscure than the last few.

Movie theaters across the nation air different trailers before the film. This form of marketing is for theaters and film studios to target the population they believe there films will do best in. Unless it’s one of the major motion pictures “of the year,” such as an action hero film like ‘The Avengers’ or an animated film (among few others), there is a chance that a trailer one sees in one theater won’t be shown in another. For example, if I had watched ‘The Hunger Games’ in the Greater Los Angeles Area, I may not have come across ‘Damsels in Distress.’

‘Damsels in Distress’ introduces us to three somewhat stuck-up and conservative upper class women attending an East Coast College. These women make it their mission to “save” others from following the barbaric, chauvinistic ways of male counterparts and women who have followed suit. They choose to help people realize their full potential, all the while assisting a suicide prevention center while going to school. The three young women welcome a new member to their group and attempt to show her the ropes, while encountering complications in their personal lives as well. The film stars relatively unknown actresses Greta Gerwig and Analeigh Tipton, with actor Adam Brody being the most recognizable actor in the film.

Films like ‘Damsels in Distress’ are a gamble to create and produce. Analeigh Tipton as Violet appears as a pompous, overly conservative young woman whose intentions are genuine, but she’s going about it the wrong way. Midway through the trailer, the audience is lead to believe there may be a reason feel sorry for her. The film’s set gives it a throwback to the 70’s and 80’s prep school days with only a hint of modern day influences, mostly when referencing the men in the film. A more conservative and older-skewing audience of primarily females is what I’d guess to be the intended audience. The women I’d expect to see at this film admire Greek architecture and have hope for these young women and their struggles with society, which of course includes men.

The critical response for ‘Damsels in Distress’ has been generally positive so far, with a strong 77% of critics liking the film. Having opened this weekend in only 4 theaters, the film is estimated to have raked in a strong $64,000 in revenue, with a 16,000 per screen average, the strongest this weekend. On a $3 million budget and small marketing expense this is great start, and opening in more theaters is very likely. While ‘Damsels in Distress’ may not seem like your type of movie, I suggest watching the trailer before judging the film on the title. The premise has intrigued me in a way I haven’t been with most films of this type and I look forward to seeing it in the future. ‘Damsels in Distress’ is open in select theaters now.

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‘American Reunion’ Brings the People of East Great Halls Back for One More Time

‘American Pie’ has gone through its fair share of sequels. From the theatrical releases ‘American Pie 2’ and ‘American Wedding’ to the four straight-to-dvd releases, ‘American Pie’ has been a very profitable franchise since its debut in 1999. As you could tell from my previous blogs, there has been an abundance of sequels released this year and in recent times that are not always hits with their older audience. An example of an older film I haven’t posted about is the thriller ‘Scream 4’ released last year. While the surviving cast of the prior three films returned for this sequel, they were not made to be the main stars.

Whether or not the writer of the latest installment to the ‘American Pie’ series, ‘American Reunion,’ learned from that mistake is questionable, but make no mistake, this latest film focuses on reuniting each of the main cast members. Jason Biggs returns as the awkward Jim, while Alyson Hannigan returns as Michelle, as well as all of the other members for another raunchy but more adult film to the franchise. As the 13th year after graduating approaches, they decide to meet up for a reunion at their hometown of East Great Falls. Back at home, the characters run into more trouble and hi-jinks as relationships end, form, and Stifler continues being the ultra-pervert.

This film is – simply put – dedicated to long time fans of the film. If you haven’t seen a single one of the original films, it’s not likely that newcomers will start. The films have each grossed over $200 million at theaters internationally, meaning there is a large audience for them. But with the last film featuring the original characters out nearly a decade ago, is there still as large of an audience?

‘American Reunion’ is expected to pass $20 million according to Box Office Analysts. That would put it under the last three films but still a relative success. ‘American Reunion’ has gotten mixed to negative reviews which is less than its predecessors. While the film isn’t destined to be as successful, it will surely be a delightful treat to fans of the charismatic cast. ‘American Reunion’ is out in theaters now.

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Can the Titanic Strike Twice with ‘Titanic 3D?’

Everyone knows the story of the ship that sunk Rose DeWitt Bukater and Jack Dawson all those years ago. ‘Titanic’ is finally seeing its 3D release, 15 years after the original came out and just in time for the 100th Anniversary of the devastating boat sink. So why all these years later? Besides marking 100 years, James Cameron and his team have been interesting in bringing ‘Titanic’ to the big screen with 3D conversion since 3D became popular. The process took over a year, closer to 60 weeks and a LOT of workers to take a film with a running time of over 2 hours and 35 minutes to successfully convert to 3D.

The audience for ‘Titanic 3D’ is broad and generation-crossing. The original film took in $600 million in the US alone, making it the largest audience ever for a film in North America at the time. It grossed over $1 billion worldwide, with only 11 other films passing this amazing feat. The only film to out-gross it is ‘Avatar,’ another James Cameron classic, also in 3D. The original reached seniors, middle-aged adults, teenagers and children through its various forms of distribution. The 3D version of the film is expected to bring back a large chunk of that audience, in addition to a younger generation not as familiar with the film. The trailers even pay homage to the original with Celine Dion’s classic “My Heart Will Go On” playing in the background.

With as big of a production as the film was and the 3D conversion cost, the studio is expecting an opening of anywhere between $20 million – $25 million, which is considered a modest prediction among many box office analysts. One of the most recent films that was converted to 3D and subsequently did well at the Box Office was animated film ‘The Lion King.’ That film opened with $30 million and grossed over $94 million domestically before ending its second run in theaters. ‘Titanic’ is an iconic film for the industry and critics agree that it’s worth seeing again in its new form. ‘Titanic 3D’ is out in theaters now.

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