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Nicholas Sparks

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.

Blu-Ray Review: ‘The Last Song’ Fails to Hit Emotional Notes

The Last Song Blu-Ray

CHICAGO – Nicholas Sparks is the Michael Bay of touchy-feely weepies. No matter how derivative or cynically calculating his stories prove to be, they never fail to rake in the dough. Several of his books have been turned into blockbusters, the best of which benefit greatly from the strength of their cast, as in “A Walk to Remember” and “The Notebook.”

Blu-Ray Review: Stars Click, But ‘Dear John’ Doesn’t Deliver

Dear John

CHICAGO – A romantic drama like “Dear John” relies SO much on the chemistry between the two leads that if it’s not there, the whole thing falls apart. No one wants to watch an ill-fated romance if they don’t believe the love story that drives it. Luckily, Channing Tatum and Amanda Seyfried have instant, palpable chemistry and that mostly carries the relatively generic and extremely cliched “Dear John” over some serious rough spots.

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    CHICAGO – If you can remember the 1990s outside of childhood, you are in the glow of middle age, so congratulations. The Brown Paper Box Co. theater ensemble takes us back to those thrilling days of yesteryear with “Spike Heels,” a relationship comedy centering on the co-mingling antics of two couples, with a slight nod toward George Bernard Shaw and the play “Pygmalion” (or its musical counterpart, “My Fair Lady”).

  • Book of Merman, The

    CHICAGO – One potential theater-goer loves the “The Book of Mormon.” The other would rather stay home and watch old Ethel Merman YouTube videos. Pride Films & Theater offers the ultimate solution by combining both in a campy musical, “The Book of Merman.” Yep, two Elder characters from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints meets foghorn singer Ethel Merman.

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