"Side Effects" is a well constructed movie about unsympathetic people being nasty. At various times throughout the movie you get sucked in and find yourself caring about one person or another, but in the end you leave the theater feeling vaguely unclean. The acting a writing are excellent, and this is a first rate film all around, but it wasn't a story I wanted to experience (and I didn't know that going in).
"A Good Day to Die Hard" wastes about half of its running time on routine action movie stuff before it finds its way back to Bruce Willis playing his best character getting beat up by absurd circumstances. The real catch phrase for this film, is, "This movie was not written with that level of attention to detail." Just sit back and watch Bruce Willis be John McClane, and you will have a good time.
"Safe Haven" is a Nicholas Sparks movie with a couple of welcome twists. Sparks is still playing with the "love tends to end tragically" theme that informs all of his work, but takes it to unusual places, and keeps it from being depressing. The movie has LOTS of flaws, but is a decent romance for all of that.
"Escape from Planet Earth" is a fluffy bit of child oriented animation. Given that, though, it is actually pretty entertaining. And William Shatner brings a great deal of fun to the piece as the voice of the villain.
"Beautiful Creatures" is a more of less a gender switched version of "Twilight" with sorcerers instead of vampires. Dementia tells me the book was clever but terminally bloated, and the film solves the bloat problems nicely. We enjoyed it a great deal. In a well run universe, this movie would blow the doors off of "Twilight", but, well, you know...
Last weekend I attended BashCon, an annual gaming con held by the University of Toledo. Details here: http://uncle-gnoll.livejournal.com/5379.html
On Thursday I got together with Jackie, a cashier at Gurnee Cinema, for a conversational lunch. The usual hyperbolic foolishness was discussed, and we generally had a great time.
On Friday, after the movie, Dementia and I ran up to Lake Geneva and checked in on Ernie Gygax, who is homeless at the moment. It seems that his apartment caught fire a bit after 9:00 AM last Sunday (2/17). Ernie, roommate Scott, and dog KC got out safely, but smoke and water trashed pretty much all of their possessions. He is currently in a hotel a few blocks from the old place, and is looking into a move to Illinois (in search of lower property values without moving too far).