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New in Theaters Feb. 14: RoboCop, About Last Night, Endless Love, Winter's Tale

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By Chris Kavan - 02/13/14 at 06:44 AM CT

Will love conquer Legos? That is going to be the big question over the Valentine's Day weekend as not less than three films (and one man/machine hybrid) take on the successful animated film. Granted, all three films are going after love in three very different ways: comedy, drama and fantasy - so at least couples will have a choice about what genre they can stomach the most. But that also means that romance is pulling people in three different directions (most likely meaning no one movie has a distinct advantage) so it will be interesting to see what movie comes out on top.

ROBOCOP Might as well start off with the only non-romance angled movie of the week. That would be the remake of cult favorite RoboCop - with Josť Padilha at the helm and Joel Kinnaman taking on the role of the man/machine one-man police force. Now, I am a fan of Paul Verhoeven's original film, which is quite violent but also quite satirical and it still feel relevant today. Padiha has a challenge ahead in turning this PG-13 version into a new vision and I honestly cannot think of how it can succeed. I have a feeling it's going to wind up a lot like Total Recall - it might not be a complete miss, but it is going to have nothing on the original film. Because it is the only action choice amongst a group of romance films, it might stand out - but I don't see this becoming any kind of major blockbuster and if it manages to make back its $100 million budget, I would consider that a major win.


ABOUT LAST NIGHT The main reason this has a leg up on the competition this week is two words: Kevin Hart. The red-hot comedian is riding a wave of good hope after two successful standup films and, of course, the red hot Ride Along. He has also works well in ensemble casts (including romance) as the 2012 hit Think Like A Man proves. Plus, you have other big names Michael Ealy, Regina Hall, Paula Patton, Joy Bryant and Adam Rodriguez round out the cast. Although this would seem to target the urban, African-American crowd - that has proven to be a recipe for success recently. If there is any film that should do well over the Valentine's Day weekend, I would put my money on About Last Night - whether it can stand up to the might of The Lego Movie, however, is the big question.


ENDLESS LOVE Targeting the younger couples this weekend will be Endless Love - where Alex Pettyfer and Gabriella Wilde attempt yet another take on the classic Romeo and Juliette tale when two young souls fall madly in love only to have their parents do everything to keep them apart. Has it been done, oh, a million times before? Yes - but for some reason, people just eat this up - no matter how trope-tastic the film becomes. This should play well to people who liked The Notebook and the like - but whether it will find the same success as work based on Nicolas Sparks - I kind of doubt it. Still, if you're going to release such a film - Valentine's Day is pretty much the best possible time to do it.


WINTER'S TALE And that brings us to Winter's Tale - which gives us our final romance angle: fantasy. If Endless Love brings to mind The Notebook, then Winter's Tale reminds me of City of Angels. We do have a decent cast: Colin Farrell, Jennifer Connelly, Russell Crowe, William Hurt and, in a rare supporting role, Will Smith. Granted, the movie looks sickly sweet enough to cause Diabetes just by getting close to it. This kind of cloying, overly-melodramatic pulp is not my cup of tea - and I have a feeling that the competition is just going to be too much and this film is going to languish behind the rest. But it all depends on the mood of the audience - who knows, maybe they want to see something as overwrought as this over the weekend. But it makes me want to gag a bit at the thought.


There you have it - a weekend for romance - and three different approaches to your heart (as well as one RoboCop). We'll see if the magic in the air will be enough to knock The Lego Movie out of the top spot.

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