Saturday, January 01, 2011

Winter movie preview (January 2011)

After the big Oscar push by Hollywood in the last couple of months of the year, January can often seem anticlimactic when it comes to the release schedule. But there are usually at least a couple films that have breakout hit potential during the month. But the number of releases certainly are scaled back.

“Season of the Witch”
Starring Nicolas Cage, Ron Perlman, Stephen Campbell Moore, Claire Foy and Christopher Lee
Directed by Dominic Sena

The ever-busy Nicolas Cage heads up the cast of a 14th century-set film in which he plays a Crusader returning to his homeland, which has been devastated by the Black Plague. He is given the task of taking a suspected witch to a monastery, with the hopes that the monks there can bring an end to the plague. Well, the subject matter certainly isn’t going to get audiences rushing to theaters. (Jan. 7)

“The Green Hornet”
Starring Seth Rogen, Jay Chou, Christoph Waltz, Cameron Diaz, Edward James Olmos, David Harbour and Tom Wilkinson
Directed by Michel Gondry

Sony Pictures would love nothing more than to have a new franchise launched with this adaptation of what started as a radio program in the 1930s. Seth Rogen stars as Britt Reid, a bit of a ne’er-do-well, until his father’s murder leads him into newfound responsibilities and a superhero alter-ego. The cast and director, Michel Gondry (“Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind”) holds promise, but its release date being moved to mid-January is a bit troubling. (Jan. 14)

“The Dilemma”
Starring Vince Vaughn, Kevin James, Jennifer Connelly, Winona Ryder, Channing Tatum and Queen Latifah
Directed by Ron Howard

It’s surprisingly been more than a decade since director Ron Howard’s last comedy (“How the Grinch Stole Christmas”), but he’s certainly shown a knack for the genre in previous efforts (such as “Parenthood”). Stars Vaughn and James are also quite familiar with comedies, playing Ronny and Nick, a pair of best friends and business partners. That relationship gets put to the test when Ronny (Vaughn) finds out Nick’s wife (Winona Ryder) is cheating on him, putting him in the unenviable spot of determining when, or if, he should say something. This is another of those films that seems odd to have missed out on the holiday movie season, especially when considering Howard and Vaughn were two of the film’s producers. (Jan. 14)

“The Company Men”
Starring Ben Affleck, Chris Cooper, Kevin Costner, Tommy Lee Jones, Maria Bello, Rosemarie Dewitt, Craig T. Nelson
Directed by John Wells

A hotshot business executive (Ben Affleck) is taken by surprise when he’s swept up in a round of cuts at work, and struggles to find employment elsewhere. Writer/director John Wells is making his directing debut with this timely tale of corporate downsizing, featuring an all-star cast. The Weinstein Company picked up the movie after its debut at the Sundance film festival last January, but hasn’t been able to settle on a release date until now. Maybe. (Jan. 21)

“No Strings Attached”
Starring Natalie Portman, Ashton Kutcher, Cary Elwes and Kevin Kline
Directed by Ivan Reitman

Coming off her success of “Black Swan,” it seems surprising to see Natalie Portman in what would seem to be, at least at first glance, such a conventional romantic comedy. She and Ashton Kutcher (who is in danger of being trapped in this genre) play casual friends who aim to keep their relationship purely physical. Take a wild guess at what likely happens next? (Jan. 21)

“The Mechanic”
Starring Jason Statham, Ben Foster, Donald Sutherland, Tony Goldwyn, James Logan, Mini Anden, Jeff Chase, Christa Campbell
Directed by Simon West

A coolly calculated assassin (Jason Statham) finds himself on a mission for vengeance when his friend and mentor is murdered. He’s joined on the journey by his mentor’s son (Ben Foster), who seeks to learn some killing skills of his own. The film is a remake of a 1972 Charles Bronson action flick, and can hopefully bring something original to what is a rather warmed over plot. Statham is certainly no stranger to this kind of part, as he seems to portray an assassin in every other movie he does. (Jan. 28)

“The Rite”
Starring Anthony Hopkins, Colin O’Donoghue, Alice Braga, Ciaran Hinds, Toby Jones
Directed by Mikael Hafstrom

In this supernatural thriller, a young seminary student (Colin O’Donoghue) is asked to attend an exorcism school at the Vatican. Naturally, demonic forces are awaiting him, along with an unorthodox priest (Anthony Perkins). Supposedly inspired by actual events, Mikael Hafstrom (“1408”) directs what could be a sleeper hit or maybe just a sleeper. (Jan. 28)

1 comment:

Walkydog said...

The Mechanic grabs me most, I just love Donald Sutherland. Think The Rite is being hyped up too much. Thanks for previews.