Critics Consensus

Critics Consensus: A Bad Day for A Good Day to Die Hard

Plus, Safe Haven is schmaltzy, Beautiful Creatures is uneven, and Escape from Planet Earth wasn't screened, so guess the Tomatometer!

by | February 14, 2013 | Comments

This week at the movies, we’ve got the return of John McClane (A Good Day to Die Hard, starring Bruce Willis and Jai Courtney); a tentative love affair (Safe Haven, starring Julianne Hough and Josh Duhamel); teenage witchcraft (Beautiful Creatures, starring Alden Ehrenreich and Alice Englert); and alien astronauts (Escape From Planet Earth 3D, with voice work by Brendan Fraser and Rob Corddry). What do the critics have to say?

A Good Day to Die Hard


Macho, wisecracking John McClane (Bruce Willis) holds a distinct place in the hearts of movie fans, so it’s painful to hear that the latest installment of his venerable franchise, A Good Day to Die Hard, is unequivocally the weakest. This time out, McClane travels to Russia to help his estranged son (Jai Courtney), a CIA agent in the midst of an undercover operation. Father and son team up, and subsequently, stuff gets blowed up real good. The pundits say that even Bruce Willis’ smirking demeanor can barely enliven A Good Day to Die Hard‘s clichéd, uninspired script, which emphasizes noisy, senseless action over characterization and humor. (Check out this week’s 24 Frames for a gallery of Willis’ most memorable movies.)

Safe Haven


Safe Haven is the latest movie adaptation of a Nicholas Sparks novel, and critics say it’s got the same problems that have bedeviled previous Sparks outings like The Last Song and The Lucky One: in other words, it’s schmaltzy, predictable, and melodramatic. Katie (Julianne Hough) arrives in town haunted by traumatic events from her past. Eventually, she falls for widowed single dad Alex (Josh Duhamel). But will the aforementioned dark secret intrude on her new life? The pundits say Safe Haven is a soapy thriller that’s distinguished only by an egregiously ludicrous plot twist toward the end.

Beautiful Creatures


Sure, Beautiful Creatures shares some similarities with Twilight, but critics say it’s witty and well-acted – good enough, in fact, to make one wish it wasn’t so tonally uneven. Ethan (Alden Ehrenreich) is instantly smitten by Lena (Alice Englert), who’s just moved to his small southern town. But their budding love affair is endangered by Lena’s supernatural powers. The pundits say the cast is likeable, but the plot is predictable, and on the whole Beautiful Creatures can’t quite pull off its tricky mix of romance, comedy, and the supernatural.

Escape From Planet Earth 3D


It looks like critics won’t need to beat a hasty retreat from Escape From Planet Earth 3D, since it wasn’t screened prior to its release in theaters. Alien astronaut Scorch Supernova (Brendan Fraser) is tricked into landing on earth and subsequently held captive at Area 51, so it’s up to his nerdy brother Gary (Rob Corddry) to rescue him — and their home planet. Hey everyone: guess the Tomatometer! (And check out our interview with cast members William Shatner and George Lopez here.)

Also opening this week in limited release:

  • Best Foreign Film Oscar nominee No, starring Gael García Bernal in a drama about the opposition movement against Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet, is Certified Fresh at 86 percent.
  • The Japanese import Like Someone in Love, a drama about a call girl who befriends an elderly widower, is at 79 percent.
  • Shanghai Calling, starring Bill Paxton in a dramedy about a lawyer who attempts to find his footing after being relocated to China, is at 33 percent.
  • Saving Lincoln, a drama about the relationship between Abraham Lincoln and his bodyguard, is at 29 percent.