Beautiful Creatures

Beautiful Creatures has many positives including charming lead actors and some big names in the supporting cast. But the story is not that good and the outrageous special effects are over the top (not in a good way).

Set in Gatlin, South Carolina, a fictional small town, the movie touches on witchcraft, curses and strange religious practices. A bit of local Civil War lore and trees laden with Spanish moss add to the southern flavor of the film.

The new kid in town, Lena Duchannes, plots to avert the curse which will change her on her rapidly approaching 16th birthday. She’s played by Alice Englert. Alden Erichreich plays Ethan Waite, a high school kid with an engaging smile and tons of charisma. He, of courses, falls hard for Lena.

The cast includes Jeremy Irons, Emma Thompson and Viola Davis. While their talents are considerable and appreciated, their casting seems odd for a movie that aspires to grab some love from the Twilight crowd, now that that franchise is (supposedly) exhausted. Emmy Rossum, however, as Lena’s older sister is a perfect addition to the company of players.

Beautiful Creatures is an okay teen love story, perfectly timed for a Valentine’s weekend release. And, it’s worth repeating: these two central characters have good chemistry and onscreen charm.

But the paranormal/witchcraft elements in Beautiful Creatures are not as compelling as those seen in other such movies. See this creature feature? Eh, maybe wait for the DVD or the cable run.






The Words

A  good story told well and a memorable performance by Jeremy Irons make “The Words” a movie I recommend.

This is a story of plagiarism. It’s the story of the person who copied the words, the person whose words were copied and the person who shares the story with the world.

When Mike Brewer borrowed my freshman English term paper about a Nathaniel Hawthorne short story (“I just want to see how you did it, Dave”) and then copied it word for word, I was upset. But I got over it. When, in “The Words,” a misplaced manuscript becomes a best seller, the results have significant, long-term ramifications.

The stories in “The Words” are of three men played by Dennis Quaid, Bradley Cooper and Jeremy Irons and how the words they write affects them. Three women played by Olivia Wilde, Zoe Saldana and Nora Arnezeder are also affected by those words.

Among the talented cast, Irons is especially effective as a grizzled old man who looks older than 64 (Irons’ age). Irons’ deliberate, low key recounting of things he lost in his younger days produces a performance that’s sure to nab award nominations. His voice—one of the most compelling this side of Morgan Freeman—is one that commands our rapt attention.

Brian Klugman and Lee Sternthal co-wrote and co-directed “The Words.” They’ve assembled a movie that unfolds its story in a clever manner and gives a bit of depth to its three lead male characters. “The Words” is not a perfect movie, but it entertains nicely and has a structure that keeps the moviegoer involved throughout. Really, go see it.