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Comedy and horror collide in new movies opening this weekend

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It is a busy weekend for new movies. Of course, the quality of these films is questionable. Sorry to be so down on the movies opening in January, but generally the movies are of lower quality during this time of year. Of course people are also trapped at home, dying to be entertained, so that means that people are really wanting to go to the movies. That’s how Hollywood makes the money.

This weekend there is a comedy, an animated family film, a horror movie in the found-footage genre and a political thriller that resurrects a Tom Clancy signature character. Here are the movies opening this weekend, January 17, 2014:

Devil’s Due - Zach Gilford, Allison Miller, Colin Walker. Another entry in the ever-growing and seemingly never-ending found footage movies. This time it’s back to horror and it’s the tale of a newlywed couple who, during the course of their honeymoon, find that they have lost time and have no memory of what happened. However, they are determined to get on with their lives, but soon find out the wife is pregnant. This is much earlier than they planned, but the husband decides to start filming everything. Pretty soon, however, it becomes clear that this is not a normal birthing situation. As his wife begins speaking in demonic voices, smashing car windows with her hand, and drawing mysterious symbols on the floor it becomes clear that Satan himself is about to be birthed. Reviews for this one are not stellar, and say that there is nothing new in this tired tale. Maybe wait for it to come to home video. Rated R.

Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit - Chris Pine, Kevin Costner, Keira Knightley. The character of Jack Ryan is like James Bond in that you can adapt almost any story to fit him and have almost any actor play him. Chris Pine takes up the role in a story not based on any Tom Clancy novel, as a young Ryan. In this version he is just starting out as an analyst when he stumbles across a terrorist’s financial plot to bring down the United States. Costner plays his mentor and Knightley his love interest. He soon steps out from behind a desk and the shooting and ‘splosions start. This one is getting decent reviews and you action and espionage fans may appreciate it. Rated PG-13.

The Nut Job - Katherine Heigl, Will Arnett, Brendan Fraser. What do you do when you are a squirrel that is so unpleasant that he gets himself kicked out of the park where all of the other squirrels live? Well, if you believe this movie, you recruit a number of other misanthropic animals and plan a heist of a big stash of nuts so you can get fat even though you are no longer living in the park. An animated family film that is getting scathing reviews and complaints that its main character is so unlikeable that it derails any potential fun the rest of the movie might have provided. Rated PG.

Ride Along - Kevin Hart, Ice Cube, John Leguizamo. A buddy-cop movie featuring the very popular comedian Kevin Hart as a security guard at a local school who plans to marry the sister of a tough-talking cop (Ice Cube). In order to prove that he’s a man, Hart’s character agrees to go on the titular ride along. What follows is hilarity, apparently, except for movie critics. This movie has not gotten good buzz and scathing reviews from critics. Too many standard cop movie tropes are in this one although some are saying Hart’s performance is funny. Rated PG-13.

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