poniedziałek, 23 kwietnia 2012

'The Lucky One': The Reviews Are In!

Critics find Zac Efron film to be typical Nicholas Sparks fare.
By Fallon Prinzivalli

Zac Efron in "The Lucky One"
Photo: Warner Bros.

In the film adaptation of the Nicholas Sparks novel "The Lucky One," Zac Efron plays Logan, a Marine who returns from Iraq in search of the woman he believes was his good luck charm overseas. He finds her (Beth, played by Taylor Schilling) and learns she runs a dog kennel with her son Ben and grandmother Ellie. Despite Beth's reservations, Ellie hires Logan to help with the work around the kennel, and Ellie ends up warming to the soldier.

Overall, critics are not impressed with the Scott Hicks-directed movie, but their reviews are mixed. Some claim that the acting is bland and the storyline is the typical "boy-meets-girl" Sparks experience, while others believe the romance is "well-constructed" given the source material. Either way, the film is sure to appeal to the author's fans and should fare well with romance lovers at this weekend's box office.

The Story
"The Sparks-styled romance has almost become its own movie genre — predictable, pure of heart, sentimental and never straying from the boy-meets-girl basics, or the surface, for that matter — and in that 'The Lucky One' delivers." — Betsy Sharkey, Los Angeles Times

The Romance
"The central love story is well-constructed for what it is; it offers the requisite amount of fantasy with just a miniscule dollop of realism." — James Berardinelli, Reelviews

"Their love scenes, like every other element of Hicks' film, are lighted in a way that gives everything an impossibly warm, romantic glow. You can roll your eyes, or you can give in." — Christy Lemire, The Associated Press

Zac Efron
"Efron does fill out the hunky-guy uniform nicely. He's no longer the scrawny teen from 'High School Musical.' But despite his promise in smaller movies like 'Me and Orson Welles,' here he's all flat affect, taking bottled-up angst to an extreme where you never actually see it. He's perfectly likable but never riveting, dropping the ball on the chance to portray the complicated psychology of a war veteran. Apart from one early scene in which he flinches at a video-game shooting, you never have the sense he's dealing with combat repercussions." — Sara Stewart, New York Post

The Final Word
"Part of the experience of a Nicholas Sparks movie is encountering revelations and reversals in the plot that challenge your sense of the preposterous. That's how destiny works: unlikely incidents pile up [and] good intentions go awry ... If realism is what you're after, you'll do better at 'The Three Stooges.' 'The Lucky One' is where you will find death, redemption and kisses in the rain." — A. O. Scott, New York Times

Check out everything we've got on "The Lucky One."

For young Hollywood news, fashion and "Twilight" updates around the clock, visit HollywoodCrush.MTV.com.

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'Game Of Thrones' Births A Shadow Baby

Things get weird on the latest episode, and MTV's 'Watching the Thrones' is ready to dive into it head-on.
By Josh Wigler

Shadow Baby on "Game of Thrones"
Photo: HBO

In case you didn't realize it before, Sunday night's episode of "Game of Thrones" should have made it quite clear: Westeros can be very, very weird.

Think about all the various forms of magic cropping up all over the Seven Kingdoms: the crippled Brandon Stark is able to walk again by way of his wolf dreams. North of the Wall, humanoid monsters with voices like crackling ice exist, with the ability to raise their victims from the dead. And across the Narrow Sea, the first dragons to be born in decades are beginning to grow under the love and care of exiled princess Daenerys Targaryen.

And now, on top of all of that, we have ... a shadow baby?!

Needless to say, episode four of the fantasy series' second season, "Garden of Bones," was a strange one. Keep reading for our take on the latest trip to Westeros, and watch the video below for more from our weekly "Watching the Thrones" roundup!

Hungry Like the Wolf
Robb Stark is a hugely important part of "A Clash of Kings," the novel upon which season two is based. But his physical presence leaves something to be desired — which is to say, he's rarely seen in the book, mostly talked about. That's not the case on "Game of Thrones." Here, Robb is fully present, as seen in the opening moments of "Garden of Bones." Robb's direwolf, Grey Wind, grows stronger with every battle, and Robb's skills as a tactician and leader of men are improving at the same pace. This latest episode also pulled the curtain back on something not seen in the books, but hugely important to Robb's character: a little trace of love. But that nurse on the battlefield does not go by the name Jeyne Westerling as she does in the books; indeed, as she presents herself, she's hardly a noble-born woman at all. Is it just an alias for now, a parlor trick that Jeyne is playing? Or has "Thrones" altered Robb's love interest in a seriously significant way?

The Greatest City in the World
Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to Qarth! At long last, Dany and her khalasar have reached civilization. And if the people of Qarth are to be believed, Dany has arrived at the greatest city in the world. If you're a bit skeptical of that claim, that's more than fair. But even if Qarth as a city doesn't necessarily live up to the hype (and that itself is up for debate), there are things that happen in Qarth that rank high on the list of all-time greatest "Thrones" moments. Needless to say, Dany has some interesting times ahead of her.

The Ghost of Harrenhal
Poor Arya Stark. It's just not getting any better for the little girl forced to live as a little boy. Arya, Gendry and Hot Pie found themselves at the mercy of the Tickler and the Mountain in this week's episode, watching the pair interrogate their prisoners to death with a disturbingly clever combination of a rat, a bucket and a torch. Not pretty stuff. Even the arrival of Tywin Lannister is hardly a mercy; he's more civilized than their initial captors, sure, but he's a Lannister all the same. On the bright side, now Arya has a few more names to add to her people-to-kill list alongside Queen Regent Cersei and her wicked son Joffrey.

Draining the Poison
Speaking of Joffrey, he's just getting worse and worse with each episode, if you can believe it. From beheading Ned Stark to threatening Sansa's life with a crossbow held at point-blank range, Joffrey's wicked ways seem to know no bounds. And that's not even the worst of it: The way he made the two prostitutes purchased for him by Tyrion torture each other was absolutely sickening to watch. Joffrey is easily one of the most loathsome characters in all of "Ice and Fire" lore, if not the most loathsome — and believe it or not, he's even more unlikable on the show. Brutal, brutal, brutal.

Shadow Baby!
While the latest episode of "Thrones" ended the show's three-week kid-killing streak, it made up for the combo-breaker by having us witness the priestess Melisandre give birth to a shadow baby. A shadow baby. Clearly, it's a bit more complicated than that, but it's strange and horrific to behold all the same. If you ever doubted that Melisandre has magic at her disposal, doubt her no longer. Perhaps she hasn't backed the right horse in the race for the Iron Throne, but she definitely has formidable power on her side, as Davos can attest to firsthand. As for where that shadow baby's headed next? Readers of the books certainly know — and if you haven't read the books, well, keep the Kleenex on hand. You're going to need it.

Tell us what you thought of the latest "Thrones" in the comments section!

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Zac Efron Reveals Best Music For Setting The Mood

'Phil Collins,' 'Lucky One' star deadpans to MTV News.
By Kara Warner

Zac Efron
Photo: MTV News

In a discussion of the finer aspects of the recently released romantic drama "The Lucky One" with stars Zac Efron and Taylor Schilling, one of the most entertaining subjects to come up revolved around prolific romance author Nicholas Sparks, author of the novel upon which the film is based. Specifically, we wondered whether Efron and Schilling had ever experienced any Sparks-like fantasy romance scenarios in real life.

"I'm sure I've said some of those lines," Efron admitted to MTV News. "They're probably worse — not as good as the ones [Sparks has] written, but they were excellent in the moment."

"I'm sure they were great," Schilling offered. "I'm sure they worked in the moment."

"I feel like they were good," Efron said with a smile.

"It's about the right moment," Schilling added, referring to the fact that there's a perfect time and place for romantic gestures. "There have been a few sweeping gestures [in my life] but what means the most to me are the little things from the heart. There have been a few notes and well-timed flowers that mean more than anything else."

"Every once in a while when you look into each other's eyes and that music starts playing, I love that," Efron joked, which prompted us to ask a follow-up question about which song you should play when trying to set the mood.

"That's a good question. What would be your song that you would play?" Schilling asked Efron. "I have no answer."

"Phil Collins," Efron deadpanned, which sent his co-star into a fit of giggles.

"That's great!" she said, laughing. "That's a good blanket artist. It's a great answer."

"I think so," Efron said.

We can just picture it now, Efron and a very lucky lady about to lock lips with Collins' classics "In the Air Tonight" or "Against All Odds" playing in the background.

Check out everything we've got on "The Lucky One."

For breaking news, celebrity columns, humor and more — updated around the clock — visit MTVMoviesBlog.com.

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