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Nicholas Sparks

Film Review: ‘The Longest Ride’ is a Journey to Nowhere

CHICAGO – “The Longest Ride” is sentimental schlockmeister Nicholas Sparks’ latest attempt to remix “The Notebook.” It’s got an old man recounting lost love, handwritten letters, young lovers kissing in the rain, breakups, reunions, corny dialogue and of course those North Carolina backdrops. He’s playing all the same notes, but this time he’s lost the melody.

Blu-ray Review: Even Nicholas Sparks Fans Will Be Annoyed by ‘Safe Haven’

Safe Haven

CHICAGO – At its best, Lasse Hallstrom’s “Safe Haven,” based on the book by the insanely popular Nicholas Sparks, is merely safe, Lifetime Channel TV Movie junk. At its worst, it’s pretty offensive and exploitative of women actually stuck in abusive situations and men forced into single parenthood after losing a spouse. As he has done before, Sparks takes real-world issues and turns them into manipulative devices. Hallstrom (“Chocolat”) has enough filmmaking skill to keep it from getting too boring despite the attempts on the part of the two remarkably dull leads to put you to sleep.

Film Review: Hey Lovers, ‘Safe Haven’ is a Decent Date Movie

Safe Haven

CHICAGO – It’s Valentine’s Day, and along with the impossible to get dinner reservations, the decision of which movie to see has probably spoiled this holiday as much as Walgreen roses. But the romantic drama ‘Safe Haven’ is a well performed, well paced narrative that won’t make you gag, and that includes you wishing-to-see-Die-Hard dudes.

HollywoodChicago.com Hookup: 25 Pairs of Passes to ‘Safe Haven’ With Julianne Hough, Josh Duhamel

CHICAGO – In the latest HollywoodChicago.com Hookup: Film with our unique social giveaway technology, we have 25 pairs of movie passes up for grabs to the advance screening of the highly anticipated “Safe Haven” starring Julianne Hough and Josh Duhamel!

Blu-ray Review: Awful ‘The Lucky One’ Makes Other Romantic Melodrama Look Better

The Lucky One

CHICAGO – The Blu-ray of Scott Hicks’ horrendous “The Lucky One” includes special features called “Zac Efron Becomes a Marine,” “Watch the Sparks Fly - The Romantic World of The Lucky One,” and “Zac and Taylor’s Amazing Chemistry.” This is false advertising. Because it implies that Mr. Efron believably becomes a Marine, the film is even slightly romantic, or that its two stars have an ounce of chemistry. This is the bottom of the Nicholas Sparks barrel, an inert romantic drama that fails on every level.

Film Review: ‘The Lucky One’ Suffers From Emotionally Constipated Performances

CHICAGO – I’m of two minds about the work of Nicholas Sparks. On one hand, I admire his sensitive portrayals of good-hearted people, particularly young lovers, which serve as comfort food for teenagers overwhelmed by peer pressure.

Interview: Nicholas Sparks Highlights Young Love in ‘The Lucky One’

CHICAGO – The belief that most people are decent at heart may seem overly naive in a society that often favors cynicism over sincerity. Yet it is precisely this hopeful worldview that has made Nicholas Sparks one of the most successful authors of his time. His international bestsellers have captivated readers worldwide, and have inspired seven big screen adaptations.

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TV, DVD, BLU-RAY & THEATER REVIEWS

  • [Trans]formation

    CHICAGO – The issue of gender identity, especially for those who are born with a vagueness as to what to call themselves between/beyond boy and girl, has come front and center in the U.S., both with the legalization of gay marriage and the callous repudiation of identity by trying to pass laws dismissing it (the North Carolina “bathroom” laws). The performance companies of The Living Canvas and Nothing Without a Company is currently staging “[Trans]formation,” which presents gender identity art by six performers, who perform most of the play in the nude.

  • Life Sucks

    CHICAGO – Let’s face it, life does suck. But what can we do about that? How do we survive? Lookingglass Theatre Company’s latest stage presentation tries to answer those thorny questions through a group of fellow travelers, flung together at a cabin retreat, trying to figure out why (indeed) “Life Sucks.”

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