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Greetings, everyone!

First, my apologies for a lack of a post or review yesterday.  i spent the bulk of the day enjoying an unexpected day off work and the rest dealing with the realities of the cause of said day off.  Here in PA we got hit with snow pretty hard over the weekend, and then, just as we were beginning to dig out, got slammed again even harder. In addition to the problems it cause with work, the snow made it impossible to get to the cinema this week, thus no review.

I will do my best to remedy this next week.

In the meantime, here are this week’s national releases for your perusal

“Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief”

Trailer

Synopsis: Trouble-prone Percy Jackson is having problems in high school – but that’s the least of his challenges. It’s the 21st century, but the gods of Mount Olympus seem to have walked out of the pages of Percy’s Greek mythology texts and into his life. Percy has learned that his real father is Poseidon, god of the sea, which means Percy is a demigod – half human, half god. At the same time, the powerful gods on Olympus are feuding, which could launch a war enveloping our entire planet.

MovieDruid’s Comments: The “Harry Potter” phenomenon launched a large number of other literary series for young adults with somewhat similar themes.  However, the best of these, while drawing of the success of Harry Potter, managed to make a name for themselves on their own merits.  the “Percy Jackson” series in one of these.  And, when the series was to be brought to screen they turned to veteran director Chris Columbus (the first two “Harry Potter” films & “Bicentennial Man”) to helm the film.  And, while the film does have fresh young stars front and center, Columbus did manage to snag names like Rosario Dawson (“Sin City” & “The 25th Hour”), Pierce Brosnan (“GoldenEye” & “The Tailor of Panama”), Sean Bean (“Equilibrium” & “Flight Plan”), and Uma Thurman (“Kill Bill” & “Jennifer 8”) for the adult roles.  The cast and crew seem to have the makings of a new franchise that should be quite successful.

“Valentine’s Day”

Trailer

Synopsis: “Valentine’s Day,” follows the intertwining storylines of a diverse group of Los Angelinos as they navigate their way through romance and heartbreak over the course of one Valentine’s Day. Couples and singles experience the pinnacles and pitfalls of finding, keeping or ending relationships in a day in the life of love.

MovieDruid’s Comments: Hollywood appears to be backsliding a bit with this one.  The “dozens of unrelated stories that somehow tie together” fad was over several years ago.  It had a good run, culminating in “Crash” winning Best Picture, but it’s over.  The problem here is not that this is a “chick flick.”  The problem is that this is one of those movies where they threw over a dozen name stars together with a script that tries to tell an equal number of stories and hoped for the best.  And, in the end, neither the performers or the plots are given nearly enough time to truly develop a film that even comes close to making us care about what happens with anyone or anything in the film.  This type of filmmaking is a recipe for apathy, and that is never good when you are trying to make a romantic film.

“The Wolfman” -MovieDruid Pick of the Week

Trailer

Synopsis: Lawrence Talbot’s childhood ended the night his mother died. After he left the sleepy Victorian hamlet of Blackmoor, he spent decades trying to forget. When his brother’s fiancée, Gwen Conliffe, tracks him down to help find her missing love, Talbot returns home to join the search. He learns that something with brute strength and insatiable bloodlust has been killing the villagers. As he pieces together the gory puzzle, he hears of an ancient curse that turns the afflicted into werewolves when the moon is full. Talbot must destroy the vicious creature in the woods surrounding Blackmoor, but as he hunts for the nightmarish beast, a simple man with a tortured past will uncover a primal side to himself — one he never imagined existed.

MovieDruid’s Comments: First off, I know it seems wrong to pick a creature-feature as the Pick of the Week on the weekend of Valentine’s Day.  But, given the romantic film Hollywood gave us this week, I couldn’t in good consceince offer that one as Pick of the Week.  My suggestion to those looking for a romantic film this weekend is to check out last week’s Pick of the Week, “Dear John.”  Now that I have that out of the way, let’s talk “Wolfman.”  I am a huge fan of the old school Universal Monsters movies, those old black and white’s were very entertaining films and have held up remarkably well.  Among my favorites has always been Lon Chaney, Jr.’s 1941 “The Wolfman.”  And, in this case, they are remaking that film.  The idea of seeing a classic film of this nature being remade with modern techniques is enough to get me there alone.  But, then they hired Joe Johnston (“October Sky” & “Hidalgo”) to direct and Benicio Del Toro (“The Usual Suspects” & “Snatch”), Anthony Hopkins (“Instinct” & “The Silence of the Lambs”), Emily Blunt (“The Devil Wears Prada” & “The Young Victoria”), and Hugo Weaving (“V for Vendetta” & “The Matrix”) to star.  That made it even more enticing.  Then I found out Rick Baker (“Star Wars” & “Wolf”) was working the effects work for the film and I was sold.  If you are any kind of fan of old school creature films, this is a must see.

**As a side note, if the romantic film choices available to you this weekend are not doing anything for you and you live in Central Pennsylvania check out the Hershey Theater on Sunday.  This weekend their annual Classic Film Series continues with the “An Affair to Remember” on Sunday, February 14 at 2:00 PM.  Tickets are $7.  And, if you arrive early there is the traditional performance on the theater’s Aeolian-Skinner organ starting at 1:30.**

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