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New in Theaters February 15: A Good Day to Die Hard, Beautiful Creatures, Safe Haven

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By Chris Kavan - 02/14/13 at 07:22 AM CT

Although Identity Thief managed to create a pretty good spark at the box office last weekend, it wasn't enough to top the same weekend last year. In fact, other than a few slim wins week-to-week - for the most part 2013 has paled in comparison to 2012. Action movies in particular - despite starring some fan favorites - have utterly failed in every department. However, this week sees the return of one of the most lauded action franchises - joined by a YA powerhouse, a family-friendly animated film and a Valentine's Day romance courtesy of Nicholas Sparks. Surely something will connect with audiences.

A GOOD DAY TO DIE HARD Ever since I first saw the catchphrase "Yippe Kai Yay Mother Russia" I decided this was either going to be one of the best Die Hard films, or quite possibly the most corny (ala Crystal Skull). But when they announced that Die Hard was once again rocking an R rating, I breathed a massive sigh of release. You just can't have a good Die Hard without dropping the F-bomb (and including some real, actual violence). Will this be the pinnacle of the series? Somehow I doubt it's going to have as much impact on the action genre as the original Die Hard, but damned if it doesn't look like it's shaping up to be one hell of a ride - and one I'm willing to take.

BEAUTIFUL CREATURES I have no problem in saying that I really loathe the Twilight franchise and everything it stands for. That being said, YA adaptations are not all bad - The Hunger Games was good and I'm quite looking forward to Ender's Game later this year but what to make of Beautiful Creatures? From what I've seen - it's leaning a little too far into Twilight territory - focusing on witches rather than vampires - but I will say that the inclusion of actors like Jeremy Irons, Viola Davis, Emma Thompson and Emmy Rossum have me at least somewhat receptive that this may not fall too far into the campy, angsty mess that Twilight represents. I don't know enough about leads Alice Englert and Alden Ehrenreich to know if they will be an improvement over Kristen "One Emotion" Stewart and Robert Pattinson. But I don't see how they can be worse. This is one I would never watch in theaters, but maybe, just maybe, I'll take a chance on a rental.

SAFE HAVEN I think that Entertainment Weekly got it right when their Bullseye proclaimed "We liked this movie better last year when it was called The Vow." That, is essence, echoes my thoughts exactly. It seems every year we get another Nicholas Sparks adaptation or a movie along those same lines - sometimes it's good (think Notebook) sometimes not so much (The Lucky One, really?) - but one thing is for certain - enough women are going to drag their girlfriends or significant others to watch this - enough that we're probably going to see another film along these same lines next year. I don't go for this sappy fluff not matter how attractive and popular the leads are - and I'm certainly not starting now.

ESCAPE FROM PLANET EARTH I'm a big proponent of animated films - when they're, you know, halfway decent. Escape from Planet Earth does not seem to fit in that category. It looks like a slapdash effort at best - the animation reminds me of both Megamind and Monsters vs. Aliens - but the story just looks so lazy and kind of dumb. I think this is aiming squarely at a young audience - which, given the time of year, isn't a bad thing, but I have a feeling that parents will not be as impressed as their children. Without a solid family film in theaters in quite awhile, this has the potential to be pretty big - I just don't think it deserves it.

What will you be watching (or forces to watch) this weekend? I'm hoping to Die Hard once again - we'll see if John McClain can top Arnie and Stallone or if Bruce Willis falls just as flat. Regardless, I'll be back on Sunday with the final tally.


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