2013 WINTER MOVIE PREVIEW
I will warn you right up front. This coming season that occurs post-Christmas and post-awards is perpetually the worst and slowest time of the Hollywood cinematic year. Other than a few expanding releases of holiday leftovers and Oscar contenders like Zero Dark Thirty and Quartet, this is the first dumping ground of the year (the second is September when summer is over and kids are back at school) for movies that weren't good enough for a prime November-December release from their studios. Other than the beacon of Valentine's Day, this following preview is not a pretty thing. Hopefully, there are one or two movies that grab your attention. Happy New Year and welcome to 2013. Watch Fandango and your local west side Chicago movie theaters for these upcoming releases!
Texas Chainsaw 3D-- Kicking off the new year is another exercise in the Hollywood cycle of remakes and reboots. They must think dropping the "Massacre" from the title makes this different than Jessica Biel running around in tight clothes ten years ago or the prequel that followed in 2006. This unlucky movie stars Alexandra Daddario (of the Percy Jackson series) and Trey Songz. (trailer)
A Dark Truth-- Academy Award nominee Andy Garcia, Academy Award winner Forrest Whitaker, Eva Longoria, and Kim Coates star in political thriller about an ex-spy who's now a TV host set to expose bad corporate dealings in South America. (trailer)
Gangster Squad-- Zombieland director Ruben Fleischer's gangster crime film finally gets its chance in theaters after a six-month post-Aurora delay. Josh Brolin, Ryan Gosling, Michael Pena, Nick Nolte, and Anthony Mackie plays 1940s LA cops out to take down the crime empire of Mickey Cohen (Sean Penn), with a hot squeeze (Emma Stone) next to him. (trailer)
A Haunted House-- It was bound to happen sooner or later, but the Wayans brothers (led by Marlon, this time around) have brought their Scary Movie spoof talents to the latest horror trend of haunted homes (Paranormal Activity, etc.) with jokes and gags. Enjoy the comedy! (trailer)
Broken City-- Mark Wahlberg seems to be starting an annual tradition of making an appearance in the January/February dead zone after Contraband opened last year during this same time. Stepping up considerably from that film, Wahlberg is a cop (naturally) up against a powerful NYC mayor (Oscar winner Russell Crowe). Broken City is directed by one half of the Hughes Brothers (From Hell, The Book of Eli) and fellow Oscar winner Catherine Zera-Jones co-stars as the mayor's wife. (trailer)
Mama-- The versatility of Jessica Chastain (The Help, The Tree of Life, Lawless, and Zero Dark Thirty) knows no bounds as she tackles a remake of renowned Spanish horror film, presented by Guillermo del Toro. The plot follows a married couple who adopt their feral nieces after they were discovered abandoned in the woods, Nell-style, by their mother, who may still haunt them. (trailer)
The Last Stand-- Something tells me, despite the title of this film, that this isn't "The Governator's" last movie after his return the the silver screen in The Expendables 2. Arnold Schwarzenegger plays a former city cop turned small town sheriff holding down the fort from encroaching drug kingpin heavies from across the border. (trailer)
Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters-- This sure isn't the Brothers Grimm fairy tale you've heard of. Hansel and Gretel (Jeremy Renner and Gemma Arterton) have traded in breadcrumbs for weapons to combat witches (led by Famke Janssen) in merciless 3D. Messy is looking like an understatement with Will Ferrell producing. (trailer)
Parker-- Let me guess. Jason Statham plays an anti-hero of swift action and spirited revenge and retribution? How did I know? It's because he plays the same guy in every one of his movies. While this one attempts to add a little makeup with director Taylor Hackford (An Officer and a Gentleman, Devil's Advocate) and co-star Jennifer Lopez, it's the same pig. (trailer)
Movie 43-- With an A-list cast too long to list (see its Wikipedia page), eleven directors combine different segments of raunchy comedy together designed to push the limits of fun, frivolity, and censorship. The wild red-band trailer speaks for itself.
Warm Bodies-- In a little twist to the recently popular trend of zombies, we get to watch the lifeless and brainless slowly cure themselves thanks to falling in love. 50/50 director Jonathan Levine adapts Isaac Marion's novel with Nicholas Hoult, Theresa Palmer, John Malkovich, Dave Franco, Analeigh Tipton, and Rob Corddry rounding out the cast. (trailer)
Bullet to the Head-- Delayed since last April and director Walter Hill's first feature in 10 years, Sylvester Stallone is up to his old tricks as a hitman who teams with a cop (Fast Five's Sung Kang) knocking on doors in the back alleys of New Orleans to investigate a pair of murders that bring them together. Fellow action relic Christian Slater and Conan's Jason Momoa are in the for the body count. (trailer)
Stand Up Guys-- Oscar winners Al Pacino, Christopher Walken, and Alan Arkin play a trio of aging gangsters who have interconnected scores to settle and amends to make with the higher-ups for the time Pacino's character spent in prison. (trailer)
Identity Thief-- Jason Bateman re-teams with the director of Horrible Bosses to play his typical and flustered everyman, this time as a victim of identity theft who seeks out the perpetrator (Melissa McCarthy) on the other side of the country. The cast includes Genesis Rodriguez, Amanda Peet, T.I., John Favreau, John Cho, Morris Chestnut, and Eric Stonestreet. (trailer)
Side Effects-- Steven Soderbergh duplicates his two-films-a-year pace of 2011 (Contagion, Haywire) to follow 2012's Magic Mike with something (naturally) completely different. Side Effects is a psychological thriller about a prescription drug abuser (The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo's Rooney Mara) awaiting her husband's (Channing Tatum) release from prison while dealing with a pair of doctors (Soderbergh vets Catherine Zeta-Jones and Jude Law). (trailer)
A Good Day to Die Hard-- I don't know about you, but this is one that gets my highlighter streak on the calendar. Old or not, you can't go wrong with John McClane kicking ass, this time on Russian soil while teaming up with his son (Jack Reacher newcomer Jai Courtney). Let's hope Irish director John Moore (Max Payne, The Omen) doesn't screw this up. (trailer)
Safe Haven-- If John McClane isn't romantic enough for you, here's the required semi-annual tearjerking romance supplied by a Nicholas Sparks novel and released just in time for Valentine's Day weekend. Julianna Hough stars as a woman looking to hide from her sordid past, but reluctantly falls for a local North Carolina stud (Josh Duhamel). Expect a required date night, just as you did last year with The Vow and The Lucky One. (trailer)
Beautiful Creatures-- Well, if John McClane is too macho and Nicholas Sparks is too cheesy, you'll have to settle for this supernatural romance starring Emmy Rossum and newcomers Alden Ehrenreich and Alice Englert and dark small town hijinks. (trailer)
Escape from Planet Earth-- Far from The Lorax, Rainmaker Entertainment (the purveyors of straight-to-video Barbie movies) attempts to step up to a national audience with a stranded alien adventure that stands in as the 3D animated family film entry for the dreary winter season. Escape from Planet Earth features a voice cast of Brendan Fraser, Jessica Alba, Sarah Jessica Parker, Rob Corddry, and William Shatner. (trailer)
Snitch-- Dwayne Johnson continues his path away from The Tooth Fairy and other family fare with this gritty thriller. He plays a father who makes a deal to get his son out of jail by going undercover as an informant to infiltrate a drug cartel. I'm guessing one or two guys get punched extremely hard in the face by an ex-professional wrestler wearing a "S-Medium" shirt with an XL frame. It pays the bills, Rock. Keep doing it. (trailer)
Dark Skies-- From the director of Legion and Priest, Keri Russell and Josh Hamilton (the one from Louie, not the new overpriced slugger for the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim) combat an alien presence who seems to be taking over and controlling their children, and soon themselves, in this horror film dose of counter-programming. (trailer)
There you go! That's your full January-February slate of upcoming films for the Winter 2013 season. In my opinion, March 2013 (with Oz: The Great and Powerful, G.I. Joe: Retaliation, Jack the Giant Slayer, Carrie, The Incredible Burt Wonderstone, The Host, and The Place Beyond the Pines) can't get her soon enough. Good luck and, once again, Happy New Year!