Warner Bros. Pictures
DVD Release Date: January 28, 2014
Whether you’re celebrating Valentine’s Day with your significant other or flying solo, we have a reason for you to skip the movie theater date and stay in this year. Grab some popcorn and curl up on the couch with the Nicholas Sparks Limited Edition DVD Collection; a 7-film box set filled with some of the most beloved films adapted from Sparks’ timeless collection of novels, including: “Safe Haven” (2013) starring Julianne Hough and Josh Duhamel, “The Lucky One” (2012) starring Zac Efron and Taylor Schilling, “Dear John” (2010) starring Amanda Seyfried and Channing Tatun, “Nights In Rodanthe” (2008) starring Richard Grere and Diane Lane, “The Notebook” (2004) starring Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams, “A Walk To Remember” (2002) starring Mandy Moore and Shane West, and “Message In A Bottle” (1999) starring Kevin Costner and Robin Wright.
What I love about this Limited Edition box set is that there’s a movie for every kind of romantic – something that I think everyone can connect to. I remember seeing “A Walk To Remember” when I was a teenager with a few of my best girlfriends and being swept up in the fast-paced but profound love of teenagers Jamie Sullivan (Moore) and Landon Carter (West). The unknowingly pretty ‘good girl’ falls for the cute ‘bad boy’ when they’re thrown together to interact in various community-service activities after Landon gets himself into trouble? Yeah, you think you can predict the ending of this coming-of-age drama, but you can’t. We watched it, we cried, and then we watched it again. Two years later we fell in everlasting love with Allie (McAdams) and Noah (Gosling) in “The Notebook”, the story of two ‘love birds’ who have to find their way back to each other no matter the obstacle.
There’s a reputation about romance films that they’re unrealistic fairytales, but one of the best things about Sparks’ stories is that they’re as entertaining as they are gut-wrenching, and they’re as head-in-the-clouds romantic as they are tangible and powerfully testing, but most of all – they’re completely addictive. These are movies that you see again and again – and now you can, back to back!
THE GOOD: I tend to rush in opening a DVD set before reading the back of the box, so initially I thought there was a lack of Special Features because I didn’t see a bonus disc; however, I was pleasantly surprised to learn that nearly each disc includes the movie as well as either additional scenes, commentaries, alternate endings or featurettes. In addition to all of those goodies, you’ll find a heartfelt personal letter from Nicholas Sparks along with a set of beautiful collectible postcards celebrating each movie in the collection.
THE BUMMER: I was totally disappointed that this collection didn’t include “The Last Song” (2010) starring Liam Hemsworth and Miley Cyrus.
MESSAGE IN A BOTTLE (1999)
Grieving widower Garret Blake (Kevin Costner) builds boats for a living. Rebuilding his life-that’s another matter. But that’s before Theresa Osborne (Robin Wright Penn) comes to his North Carolina village. Theresa, a lonely divorcee and researcher for the Chicago Tribune, knows that Garret is the author of the message she found inside a bottle on a Cape Code beach. And she knows the message spoke to her in a way that profoundly touched her heart.
A WALK TO REMEMBER (2002)
A Walk to Remember is the story of an only son of a wealthy family that finds true love with the most unexpected person. The daughter of a minister (Mandy Moore) meets the only son (Shane West) and the story takes us through hard times, love and bitter sweet passion. This great love story shows us that it all comes down to who is by your side and who is willing to stand up for love even when it seems impossible.
THE NOTEBOOK (2004)
As teenagers, Allie (Rachel McAdams) and Noah (Ryan Gosling) begin a whirlwind courtship that soon blossoms into tender intimacy. The young couple is quickly separated by Allie’s upper-class parents who insist that Noah isn’t right for her. Several years pass and, when they meet again, their passion is rekindled, forcing Allie to choose between her soulmate and class order. This beautiful tale has a particularly special meaning to an older gentleman (James Garner) who regularly reads the timeless love story to his aging companion (Gena Rowlands).
NIGHTS IN RODANTHE (2008)
The stars of Unfaithful rekindle their on-screen chemistry in this rich tale of hearts’ awakenings from the bestseller by Nicholas Sparks (The Notebook, Message in a Bottle). Richard Gere is Paul, a surgeon who long ago unwittingly traded family for career. Diane Lane is Adrienne, a devoted mother trying to move on after her husband’s infidelity and struggling with his desire to return to their marriage. At a remote inn on the Outer Banks, both separately expect to do some serious soul-searching. But an approaching storm forces each turn to the other for strength, setting the stage for a life-resonating romance.
DEAR JOHN (2010)
The story of John Tyree (Channing Tatum), a young soldier home on leave, and Savannah Curtis (Amanda Seyfried), the idealistic college student he falls in love with during her spring vacation. Over the next seven tumultuous years, the couple is separated by John’s increasingly dangerous deployments. While meeting only sporadically, they stay in touch by sending a continuous stream of love letters overseas – correspondence that eventually triggers fateful consequences.
THE LUCKY ONE (2012)
U.S. Marine Sergeant Logan Thibault (Zac Efron) returns from his third tour of duty in Iraq, with the one thing he credits with keeping him alive—a photograph he found of a woman he doesn’t even know. Learning her name is Beth (Taylor Schilling) and where she lives, he shows up at her door, and ends up taking a job at her family-run local kennel. Despite her initial mistrust and the complications in her life, a romance develops between them, giving Logan hope that Beth could be much more than his good luck charm.
SAFE HAVEN (2013)
When a mysterious young woman (Julianne Hough) arrives in a small North Carolina town, her reluctance to join the tight-knit community raises questions about her part. Slowly, she begins putting down roots, and gains the courage to start a relationship with Alex (Josh Duhamel), a widowed store owner with two young children. But dark secrets intrude on her new life with such terror that she is forced to rediscover the meaning of sacrifice and rely on the power of love in this deeply moving romantic thriller.
*Official movie synopsis via www.NicholasSparks.com.
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Warner Bros. Pictures
DVD Release Date: June 18, 2013
Director: Bryan Singer
Starring: Nicholas Hoult, Eleanor Tomlinson, Ewan McGregor, Stanley Tucci, Ian McShane, Bill Nighy, John Kassir
You think you know, but you don’t know Jack.
Based on the fairytales Jack the Giant Killer and Jack and the Beanstalk, this fantasy adventure film is the best of both stories. English heartthrob Nicholas Hoult takes on the lead role of Jack, a young farmhand who was sent into town by his Uncle with the mission to sell his horse in order to pay for the repairs on their leaky roof, but instead of cashing in–Jack returns with nothing but beans. Meanwhile, Princess Isabelle–played by Eleanor Tomlinson, argues with her father, King Brahmwell (Ian McShane), for the right to explore the kingdom and meet the people on her own instead of staying to marry the slimy Lord Roderick (Staneley Tucci). In turn, the princess runs away getting caught in a rain storm and seeking shelter at Jack’s home.
The pair, who have grown up with the story of the Giant beanstalk firmly in their minds, quickly find out what kind of power those beans hold as Jack’s house is carried into the sky by a huge stalk–with the Princess in tow, inadvertently opening a gateway to the world of giants between Heaven and Earth. Jack, Roderick, Roderick’s attendant, Wicke (Ewen Bremner), set out on a magical adventure to rescue the princess along with the king’s knights–including his right hand man Elmont (Ewan McGregor). [READ MORE]
Release Date: March 23, 2012
Director: Gary Ross
Starring: Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Woody Harrelson, Elizabeth Banks, Lenny Kravitz, Stanley Tucci, Donald Sutherland
When a popular book is turned into a movie, die-hard fans of the book are sure to watch the movie with a critical eye and point out lots of little things that didn’t make the jump from page to screen. With The Hunger Games, the new movie based on the incredibly popular Suzanne Collins trilogy, this isn’t going to work. If you’re going to see The Hunger Games, you better stop being distracted by what isn’t in the movie and focus on all the fantastic stuff that’s on screen.
From the very first shot, you know this is going to be very different. Like all book adaptations, they had to scale down the immense amount of detail in the book for the screen; despite being 2 1/2 hours long, a lot of the movie still feels rushed. However, they fleshed out the movie by adding new things that aren’t in the book, which I thought was interesting. If you’re a die-hard fan of the book and can overlook some plot incongruences, you’ll find that this movie captures the feeling of reading the book perfectly. [READ MORE]
New Line Cinema
Release Date: April 25, 2008
Directors: Jon Hurwitz and Hayden Schlossberg
Starring: John Cho and Kal Penn
Harold (John Cho) and Kumar (Kal Penn) are back in Harold and Kumar 2 Escape from Guantanamo Bay, the long-awaited sequel to the 2004 surprise cult-hit where the two overcame great and numerous misadventures while craving White Castle’s delicious little burgers.
Picking up moments after the end of the first film, Harold and Kumar are getting ready to embark on a greater journey, this time following Harold’s love-interest, Maria (Paula Garcés, Red Princess Blues). While on the airplane, Kumar decides to test out his newly invented smokeless bong in the bathroom. Mistaken for a terrorist with bomb-in-hand, our heroes are subdued and imprisoned in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, which they manage to escape from in little time. [READ MORE]
Walt Disney Pictures
Release Date: January 22, 2008
Director: Andy Fickman
Starring: Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, Madison Pettis, Roselyn Sanchez, Travis Sanders, Kyra Sedgwick
Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson (Gridiron Gang, Walking Tall) stars as Joe Kingman, star quarterback for the Boston Rebels professional football team. Although he has made a career for himself in a position requiring him to run a team, he often puts himself before his teammates. The self-proclaimed "King" even makes it a point to end each interview he does by reminding media and fans alike that he is "number one on the field and number one in your heart." His main option on offense, when Kingman decides to look past himself, is Travis Sanders (Morris Chestnut – The Perfect Holiday, Like Mike), a conflicting personality to Kingman’s if there ever was one. The wide-receiver often gets ribbed by his teammates for his tendency to cut out early on post-game partying to spend time at home with his wife and kids. [READ MORE]
Sony Pictures/Apatow Productions
Release Date: December 4, 2007
Directors: Greg Mottola
Starring: Michael Cera, Jonah Hill, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Seth Rogan, Bill Hader
In the summer of 2007, Hollywood saw more blockbusters released than possibly ever, with proven-franchises finding success in sequels (Spider-Man 3, Shrek the Third, Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End), as well as in feature-film debuts (Transformers, The Simpsons Movie). But that summer also saw the rejuvenation of the often-times ill-fated R-Rated comedy, with Seth Rogan and Judd Apatow responsible. Not only did they work together on the critically acclaimed Knocked Up, but they used their now proven formula of smart and witty humor to balance out the sexual connotations that often dominate the high school comedy genre here in Superbad.
With Rogan already having worked with rising star, and Apatow mainstay, Jonah Hill (Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Walk Hard) in Knocked Up, and Michael Cera providing the awkward humor along with the quick, subtle comebacks he perfected on the Emmy-Award-winning sitcom Arrested Development, the comedic expectations here should be rightfully held to high standards. Newcomer Christopher Mintz-Plasse (Little Big Men) compliments the stars well in his acting debut as Fogell, a friend of Seth and Evan’s who fits in even less than they do. [READ MORE]
Walt Disney Pictures
Television Premiere: August 17, 2007
Director: Kenny Ortega
Starring: Zac Efron, Vanessa Anne Hudgens, Ashley Tisdale, Corbin Bleu, Lucas Grabeel, Monique Coleman
Following the events of the original High School Musical, this original Disney Channel movie begins at the culmination of a school year that, as Ashley Tisdale’s Sharpay Evans states in this film, "It was a very trying year, ladies. My drama department was invaded by outsiders. Singers coming from the chemistry lab and locker room. Shocking, really." This time around, the plot has the whole gang spend their summer vacation working at a local country club, owned by Ryan (Lucas Grabeel) and Sharpay’s parents. While Sharpay used her clout to get Troy (Zac Efron) a job, since she wanted to get him away from his girlfriend Gabriella (Vanessa Hudgens), as well as his Wildcat teammates, Troy insisted that his friends get summer jobs there as well, resulting in the whole gang from the first movie being on-hand for a new adventure. [READ MORE]
DVD Release Date: September 26, 2006
Director: Matthew O’Callaghan
Starring: Will Ferrell, Frank Welker, Drew Barrymore, David Cross, Dick Van Dyke
A kid’s film with little-to-no adult humor offered – using a more traditional style of animation rather than the seemingly industry standard methods of CGI – successful in today’s society? Impossible! With Pixar/Disney and Dreamworks releasing some of the film industries best animated comedic and family films over the past decade, and predominantly going the CGI direction in those films, the thought of a feature-length film based on a 65-year-old children’s book series of a monkey whose only means of communication are action and expression seems like a sure-fire miss, an idea that may have gone over well in the early 90s but is destined to fail in this new age of entertainment. However, with Curious George, the formula, unfamiliar to this generation, works surprisingly well. [READ MORE]
20th Century Fox
Release Date: June 28, 2006
Director: Brett Ratner
Starring: Hugh Jackman, Halle Berry, Patrick Stewarr, Ian McKellen, Famke Janssen, Anna Paquin
Taking place shortly after the concluding events of X2: X-Men United,
X-Men: The Last Stand opens to a war scene set in the Danger Room, the training facility used by the X-Men to prepare themselves for battle. Led by veterans Wolverine (Hugh Jackman – Van Helsing) and Storm (Halle Berry – Gothika), the younger mutants, Rogue (Ana Paquin – Finding Forrester), Iceman (Shawn Ashmore – Underclassman), Colossus (Daniel Cudmore – Alone In The Dark), and Kitty Pryde (Ellen Page – I Downloaded A Ghost) are all going through preparation with an emphasis on teamwork. While the previous movie had the core group of mutant heroes join together to save their race from extinction, there was a key loss that left the rest of the team divided and this is one of the focal points of the movie being explored early on. Ever the loner, Wolverine single-handedly ends the battle session, leaving him and Storm at odds as she feels strongly about teaching her students the values and benefits of coming together to accomplish a goal as opposed to individual achievements. [READ MORE]
Release Date: June 28, 2006
Director: Brian Singer
Starring: Brandon Routh, Kate Bosworth, Kevin Spacey, James Marsden
Superman Returns is essentially the sequel to 1980′s Superman 2, and while there have been some liberties taken to ease the 26 year transition, for the most part continuity is maintained. Likewise, newcomer Brandon Routhe’s physical resemblance to the late Christopher Reeves adds to the continuity of the newly revived franchise. This respect paid to the former Man of Steel and the franchise that he helped jump-start in the late 70′s is displayed from the opening credits both with the introductory commentary by Marlon Brando’s Jor-El along with the familiar theme music heard in the film’s score.
After a 5 year hiatus from Earth while searching for the remnants of Krypton, Superman (Routh) returns home to find that nothing is the same as he left it. Lois Lane (Kate Bosworth – Beyond The Sea), once Superman’s inamorata, now the jilted lover, has moved on since his leaving, engaged to pilot and newspaper editor Richard White (James Marsden – X-Men), and mother to a sickly child (Tristan Leabu) who becomes more important to the story as it progresses. Lois, rightfully peeved after falling for the hero only to have him take an extended leave of absence without a proper farewell, has recently won a Pulitzer Prize for an article which she wrote entitled "Why The World Doesn’t Need Superman." Unfortunately, her character takes a hit due to her ignorance or Superman’s alter-ego, Clark Kent, and his affection for her. This unrequited affection is displayed throughout the film, causing the desirable reporter to seem quite inconsiderate as a result. [READ MORE]