COUCH THEATER — DVD PREVIEWS

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Julianne Hough, Josh Duhamel in “Safe Haven”

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PICKS OF THE WEEK
“Safe Haven” (PG-13) — Another adaptation of a Nicholas Sparks novel shows audiences that the old formula is wearing thin … and shows no sign of changing. Katie (Julianne Hough) is a young woman with a troubled past. She finds her way into a small coastal town in North Carolina, filled with beautiful beaches and uninspired dialog. She meets Alex (Josh Duhamel), a hunky single dad who lost his wife to cancer (which is somehow more prevalent in Sparks’ novels than real life.)

At this point, you could write a new Nicholas Sparks movie with a Mad-Libs style fill-in-the-blank game. We all know in which act the two most attractive characters will get together, and predict which minute some ridiculous obstacle will pull them apart. In “Safe Haven,” the last bit gets so silly that you might actually get some entertainment for your money.

“Jack Reacher” (PG-13) — Hollywood introduces a new serial hero to the big screen, possibly starting a new franchise hero. Tom Cruise plays Jack Reacher, and Iraq War veteran turned lone-wolf investigator. When a shooting spree leaves six seemingly random victims dead, the cops grab a suspect, and it looks like an open-and-shut case. Reacher gets on the job and starts pulling apart a tangled web of deception.

This is a tight, hero-centric thriller. Cruise can still play the action-man, and he does so well here. Reacher has a mind like Sherlock Holmes — as skilled at detective work as he is in sudden combat. Even if the mystery isn’t mind-blowing, the action sequences in this flick make it an attractive rental.

“Upstream Color” (NR) — You may not understand this movie on first watch, but you definitely will remember it. In the film, there is a rare little creature that can cause someone to lose free will and be put under direct control. But that’s not even scratching the surface of what the film is about. This bizarre and unique film is the product of a virtual one-man-band. Shane Carruth wrote, directed, produced, composed the score and co-starred in the feature. He even worked as camera operator and one of the editors. This one guy had all of those jobs, and managed to do them all well — creating an original, odd and brilliant movie.

“The Oranges” (R) — Nina (Leighton Meester of TV’s “Gossip Girl”) comes back home to suburban New Jersey, and ends up with the wrong boy next door. Nina is 24, and a handsome young man (well, Adam Brody) has been her neighbor her whole life. Too bad she falls for his dad (Hugh Laurie of TV’s “House.”) This little situation produces no real laughs. Despite a decent cast, the film doesn’t have anything that real families can latch on to.

TV RELEASES
“Fringe: The Complete Fifth Season”
“Flashpoint: The Fifth Season”
“30 Rock: Season Seven”
“Private Practice: The Complete Sixth Season”
“Rookie Blue: The Complete Third Season”
“Royal Pains: Season Four”

© 2013 King Features Synd., Inc.

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