I do not think the layout of a store is necessarily an engineering feat, more like a psychological one in my opinion. Think about the ease consumers have these days; no matter where one may be, they can walk into the same brand of store and immediately know which aisles they need to stop in. Sure some stores may have slight differences in decorations or signage, but I am sure there is a reason why the stores are laid out in a particular way. I assume you have heard the term “mindless eating?” It is when one is not giving any thought to what they are putting in their mouth; an example would be those huge buckets of popcorn one sits with in the movie theater. Being so engrossed into the film hopefully, one doesn’t pay attention to the amount of popcorn they have eaten. Well the same thing can be said for “mindless shopping.” The way the store gets laid out, the end of the aisles known as “end caps” has either visual significance or price leaders to entice shoppers to stop and pickup the product. Now throughout the store the owners place sale items like small oases to get the consumer to travel from one side of the building to the other. When I go to the grocery store I do not have to think about what I want; I always go with a shopping list and because I am so familiar with the layout, I can quickly make my way through without much thought. It really is a simple process that does not need much effort on my part. I can say it was the same way watching this latest Nicholas Sparks (The Notebook, A Walk to Remember) movie. TRAVIS, played by Benjamin Walker (In the Heart of the Sea, Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter), tried all of his pickup lines on the new neighbor Gabby, played by Teresa Palmer (Warm Bodies, I am Number Four), but she was having none of it. As far as she was concerned he was a jerk. I really do not think I have to say anything else because those of you who are at all familiar with a Nicholas Sparks movie will already know the outcome. This dramatic romance followed the same formula as his previous films. In fact, I felt this one was one of the worst. The story followed the same, shall we say, outline to each of his films: the main characters either dislike each other or have issues; there is a hospital scene or tragic event, understanding parents and a tearjerker scene. Regarding this film I felt there was no chemistry between Benjamin and Teresa. The only acting worth mentioning was by Tom Wilkinson (Belle, Michael Clayton) as Shep. If you have never read or seen a Nicholas Sparks story or want a good cry then you may be interested in this movie. The rest of you would be better off skipping this film and go do some mindless shopping.
1 2/3 stars
That moment when a person first feels love for another person takes place at different times for each of us. A mixture of intuition, common sense and infatuation play a part on the timing when the switch gets flipped and we fall in love. There are some people who need time; they have a long distance racecourse type of method for falling in love, where the person has to pass checkpoints to earn further passage. Now other individuals can fall in love with another person right at the beginning, first sight. No matter which way it happens, if that kernel of love is not nourished it will never survive. As for myself, not only do I believe love has to be nurtured and fed, I feel when it is strong it can overcome many obstacles. Having had my share of long distance relationships, the only way I was able to maintain them was due to the strength of my love. The same could be said for the past relationships that were local too. With my hectic schedule of working and teaching, it can be a challenge to find free time to maintain and further grow a relationship. I used to date a stage manager who had a schedule opposite of mine; where I had free time on the weekends, they had weekdays open. It took some creative thinking to try and find times we could get together. The relationship did not last long, due to both of us not feeling a deeper connection to make those compromises one needs to make if they want to make the relationship thrive. DRAGGED to a bull riding competition college student Sophia Danko, played by Britt Robertson (Dan in Real Life, Delivery Man), was not enjoying it until contestant Luke Collins, played by Scott Eastwood (Fury, Gran Torino), gave her his cowboy hat. With Sophia about to move back to New York to pursue her love of art with an internship at an art gallery, she could not see how dating Luke would fit into her plans. Based on Nicholas Sparks’ (The Notebook, The Lucky One) novel, this romantic drama was dead on arrival. The main issue was the poorly done acting; Scott was stiff and wooden. In fact, the only one that came close to being believable was Alan Alda (Tower Heist, The Aviator) as Ira Levinson. It was a shame because I did not mind the story within the story aspect to this film, though both story lines were predictable. Also, the script needed a rewrite to get rid of the manipulative scenes that clearly were done to pull at the viewers’ hearts. Sitting in the theater being bored was no way to try and get me to fall in love with this movie.
1 3/4 stars
Where some loves recede from our minds like grains of sand in a tide returning to sea, there is one type of love that remains with us. It is our first love; that special moment where the use of singular pronouns turns to plurals. With no one else before had you ever had this unique and fresh relationship; where you were affectionate, kind and loving. The conversations between the two of you remained on a private level and were different then the way you talked with your friends. Possibly for the first time there was someone who got you, understood the reasons behind the way you did things. A first love is never forgotten for it remains nestled in the mind. Not necessarily interfering with your present choices in life, the memory of your first love hangs prominently on a wall of your heart, away from the harsh sunlight of current disappointments, always working in conjunction with your mind. It is funny even when you do find a true love, no matter how long it may take, that first one is always there to remind us like a faint exotic perfume. TWENTY years had passed before former hight school sweethearts Amanda and Dawson, played by Michelle Monaghan (Gone Baby Gone, Source Code) and James Marsden (Enchanted, X-Men franchise), found themselves face to face due to the death of their friend Tuck, played by Gerald McRaney (Major Dad-TV, The A-Team). Though the two friends had moved on with their lives, there still was an undeniable connection between the two of them as they spent time together in their old hometown. Based on Nicholas Sparks’ (The Notebook, Safe Haven) novel, this dramatic romance followed the same formula as the previous films had done. The story was so predictable even though I never read the book. What I found the most annoying was the syrupy soundtrack that announced the emotions we were supposed to feel for each scene. The acting was okay though I found all of the characters, including Luke Bracey (The November Man, G.I. Joe: Retaliation) and Liana Liberato (If I Stay, Stuck in Love) as the younger Dawson and Amanda, on the same level. I wondered if this was due to the cheesy script and I think that was part of it, but the director did no one any favors. The movie was slow and the scenes never felt complete for me. If you are a fan of his books or maybe I should rephrase that and say; if you are a fan of these movies made from Nicholas’ books, then you probably will want to see this with facial tissue in hand. I am all for a good tearjerker now and then, but this film left me dry.
1 1/2 stars
More times than not, the body can heal quicker from a physical attack than from an emotional one. The body immediately works at repairing itself where the mind tends to absorb the emotional abuse, letting it settle close enough to always be heard. It takes much effort to overcome that strange voice talking from the inner mind. Running away is usually only a temporary option. Such was the case for the main character Katie, played by Julianne Hough (Footloose, Burlesque), who found herself one day in the small coastal town of Southport, North Carolina. Deciding to settle down and leave her past behind, Katie tried to keep to herself even when widowed shop owner Alex, played by Josh Duhamel (Transformers franchise, When in Rome), tried to help her out. Could Katie really leave her old life behind and find happiness in this peaceful place? Adapted from the Nicholas Sparks (The Lucky One, The Notebook) novel that I did not read; I was surprised by the suspenseful opening scenes. Beautifully filmed, Julianne and Josh were okay in their roles as they made a handsome couple. I thought David Lyons (Eat Pray Love, Storm Warning) as Tierney did a better job of acting; his character was creepy. It was possible the script made his role easier, since the rest of the formulaic story was syrupy and rushed in places. The scenes felt forced to me, as if the goal was to get a reaction out of the audience instead of the actors. I found one of the twists in the story to be utterly unnecessary which made me angry enough to lower my rating of this dramatic film. Before I am asked, this movie worked as a date movie. By the end of the film I was physically tired from sitting and unsatisfied emotionally.