Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Winter movie preview (February 2011)

With the Academy Awards looming later in the month, February releases don’t have terribly high box office expectations. Still, there are occasional breakout hits that emerge from the month, particularly around Valentine’s Day.


Starring Richard Roxburgh, Rhys Wakefield, Alice Parkinson, Dan Wyllie and Ioan Gruffudd
Directed by Alister Grierson

An action-thriller focusing on a group of underwater cave divers is heavily promoting the involvement of filmmaker James Cameron (“Avatar”), who is one of the film’s producers. The story, which mostly has a cast of unknowns, will likely not appeal to claustrophobic people, as much of the action takes place in cramped caverns, as the divers struggle to find their way out after their original exit is cut off by a flash flood. (Feb. 4)

“Just Go With It”
Starring Adam Sandler, Jennifer Aniston, Brooklyn Decker, Nick Swardson, Nicole Kidman and Dave Matthews
Directed by Dennis Dugan

The frequent collaborating team of star (Sandler) and director (Dugan) are together again in a romantic comedy that involves a single guy looking to land a beautiful schoolteacher (Decker). He enlists the aid of his office assistant (Aniston) and her two children to pose as his ex-wife and kids to cover a lie of his. Ignoring the unrealistic aspects of the story (of which there would seem to be many), can the movie deliver laughs, and end a disappointing box office skid for Aniston? (Feb. 11)

“Justin Bieber: Never Say Never”
Directed by Jon Chu
Bieber fever looks to invade movie theaters, as the teenage music star gets his own documentary, with plenty of footage from his 2010 concert tour. It also includes reflections from the star on his relatively young career. For those of you who’ve been eagerly anticipating seeing Bieber in 3D (and you know who you are), now’s your chance. (Feb. 11)

“I Am Number Four”
Starring Alex Pettyfer, Timothy Olyphant, Teresa Palmer, Dianna Agron, Callan McAlliffe, Kevin Durand
Directed by D.J. Caruso

A highly exceptional teen takes refuge from a deadly alien enemy in a small town in an action-packed science fiction film that has Michael Bay (“Transfomers”) as one of its producers. So with Bay on board, you can expect things will blow up real good, but will a good story follow? (Feb. 18)

Starring Liam Neeson, Diane Kruger, January Jones, Aidan Quinn and Frank Langella
Directed by Jaume Collet-Serra

A couple of years ago, Neeson starred in an unexpected box-office hit, “Taken,” that reinvented the actor in an action hero. Clearly, filmmakers are hoping for the same result here, with the star in another action-thriller as a man who goes into a coma following a car wreck. He awakens to find his identity stolen by another man (Quinn) and his own wife (Jones) not even recognizing him. This sets him out on a desperate search to find out why. (Feb. 18)

“Drive Angry”
Starring Nicolas Cage, Amber Heard, William Fichtner, Billy Burke, Charlotte Ross, Christa Campbell and David Morse
Directed by Patrick Lusser

The constantly working Nicolas Cage is back playing another intense character looking for revenge. He plays Milton, a felon on the hunt for a cult who murdered his daughter and kidnapped his granddaughter. Needless to say, he’s in a foul mood, and will stop at nothing to catch them. Maybe not the best family flick of the season, but action fans looking for a “Mad Max” kind of film might get some satisfaction. (Feb. 25)

“Hall Pass”
Starring Owen Wilson, Jason Sudekis, Jenna Fischer, Richard Jenkins and Christina Applegate
Directed by Peter Farrelly and Bobby Farrelly

A pair of best friends (Wilson and Sudekis) who feel their marriages have become a little stagnant are given an unexpected gift by their wives – a “hall pass,” allowing them a week of freedom to do whatever they want in a comedy from the directors of “There’s Something About Mary.” The Farrelly brothers certainly have familiarity with this kind of humor and the cast is appealing, which could produce a late winter hit. (Feb. 25)