Safe Haven – Lasse Hallstrom is a great,great director. I could write for pages about Gilbert Grape, Cider House, Chocolat, Shipping News, An Unfinished Life, and Salmon Fishing in the Yemen. But he seems to have a weakness for Nicholas Sparks. Now he’s doubled down with Dear John and Safe Haven, both stories with great au current stars….first Tatum and Seyfried and now Duhamel and Hough. I guess either Lasse is a softie who cried at The Notebook or really wants a big Sparks score ala Notebook.
This is Sleeping with the Enemy with a good looking guy to please the female audience (Julia Roberts just wasn’t enough to draw the date movie tear jerkers). Hough runs to restart her life (how do such good looking girls go so wrong and with no safety net?). And she doesn’t have Julia’s fancy Cape Cod house….I guess Sparks really is a romantic sap.
This film is too sappy, too long, not suspenseful enough (even Kim didn’t jump and THAT is weak). I found myself wondering howSparks has gotten so critically acclaimed.
[dropcap style="font-size: 60px; color: #9b9b9b;"] R [/dropcap] ock of Ages is set up to be this generation’s Grease. It’s funny that Grease was a fun show where the musical numbers seemed natural. Even with the musical theater ground tilling from Glee (Adam Shankman directed two episodes), this film starts off with too much suspension of disbelief. The Union Square audience on a hot summer day was simply not buying it. Almost all the stories were awkward. Sweet Okie comes to Broadway. Meets sweet bar-back who’s nice to her and wants to be a singer. Mayor’s wife has an axe to grind. Mayor prefers to just grind. Old Hippie grey beard struggles to keep the flame alive, and ignites some closeted passions. The Rock Star has done too much drugs. And the manager is trying to push the trends out of rock. It’s all a bit too stereotypical.
Tom Cruise and his Scientology tendencies made his space cadet role seem believable. We’ve certainly seen enough of his nipples now to last us. His getting “fired” by Katie Holmes is all the more understandable when you see him Giving tongue to Malin Akerman, the Rolling Stone gal. Alec Baldwin looks like he might hit a paparazzi at any second….not hit on Russell Brand. I suspect Juliane Hough got this role due to the popularity of Dancing With the Stars, not based on her acting. She certainly has the dancers body and a decent voice and is reminiscent of Olivia Newton John. I think Diego Boneta may have been the best thing in the film.
Actually, the real star of the show is the music, which is hard not to love. They build up with such greats as I Love Rock n’ Roll, Hit Me With Your Best Shot, Here I Go Again, Anyway You Want It, and the ending on We Built This City and Don’t Stop Believin’. It almost doesn’t matter how cheesy the dialogue or script was…..the music alone is worth seeing it.
[dropcap style="font-size: 60px; color: #9b9b9b;"] T [/dropcap] o be honest, I am not a big re-make guy. I really never understand why movie makers feel the need to remake really good, iconic films like Footloose. There is one Top Gun, one Legends of the Fall, and one oonstruck. Isn’t there enough new good material out there to justify not re-making oldies? I guess not for the money guys…who think a re-make is a sure thing. The only thing less sure is a sequel in my opinion. At least they waited for 27 years to remake Footloose….unlike The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, where the re-make is coming two years after a very successful first release…..go figure.
The director, Craig Brewer can claim both Hustle & Flow (better than expected) and Black Snake Moan (what was Samuel L. Jackson thinking?), so let’s assume he was up to the task. The casting was always going to be tough given that the 1984 Footloose had the ubiquitous Kevin Bacon, John Lithgow, Sarah Jessica Parker and Chris Penn. The good news is that Brewer did not try to compete altogether. Now he did cast Dennis Quaid and Andy MacDowell in supporting roles to anchor the marquee, but then appropriately went with Kenny Wormald and Julianne Hough in the lead young dancing star roles..
For every dislike I have for re-makes, Footloose 2011 managed to pleasantly surprise me by freshening up the plot or the details just enough to not outdo the original, but still add a touch of interest. Overall I liked this version of Footloose…..not like the original, but still entertaining.
I like to think of this as the MF Global of films. Look, after Refco, Bear and Lehman, we really didn’t need a repeat lesson in why broker-dealers tend to abuse their client funds…..but look at how entertaining MF Global is turning out to be. We are riveted to the screen by this re-make and they even back one of the old stars….Jon Corzine, who has played more diverse roles in life than Kevin Bacon. I wonder if someone will launch a new board game where Kevin Bacon chases Corzine around the board until he finds and collects $600 million. Wait for Netflix, but then do watch Footloose 2011.