It’s no surprise that January 2013 movies, for the most part, stink. If they were good, the studio would’ve made sure to release them by December 2012, in time to be considered for the Oscar picks. Flicks like “Texas Chainsaw 3D” and “John Dies at the End” are a wince-worthy contrast to the brilliant December 2012 Academy Award contenders like Kathryn Bigelow’s “Zero Dark Thirty,” Ben Affleck’s “Argo” and Quentin Tarantino’s “Django Unchained”. So, if you are wondering what there is to look forward to in the near future, here’s the mighty short list.
“Gangster Squad” stars Sean Penn, Ryan Gosling, Josh Brolin, Emma Stone and Nick Nolte. LAPD is fighting to keep East Coast mafia hoodlums out of Los Angeles in the 1940s and 50s. Ryan Gosling looks damn good in his suit; always the professional, the audience won’t see how uncomfortable he was in the “itchy wool” that gave him a rash. Sexy actor Gosling is the kind of guy all men wish they were and all women wish they could have. He plays Sgt. Jerry Wooters in this testosterone filled crime drama. Stone plays his love interest. Brolin is Sgt. John O’Mara and Nolte plays Chief Parker. Lots of brawling and oodles of violence. Based on a true story, this one’s a winner. Rated R. 113 minutes. Opens in New York City on Friday, January 11, 2013.
“Mama,” produced by Guillermo del Toro (“Pan's Labyrinth” and “The Orphanage”) is a spine-tingly spook fest about young sisters Lilly and Victoria who disappeared into the woods on the same day their father murdered their mom. Uncle Lucas, played by smokin’ hot Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (“Headhunters”), sets out on a frantic quest to find his nieces. After five years, Lucas and his girlfriend, Annabel, played by Jessica Chastain (“Zero Dark Thirty”), miraculously find the girls. The couple is committed to giving the young ones a loving home. Things don't go smoothly; spooky scary stuff grabs hold. PG-13. 100 minutes. Horror. Opens in New York City on Friday, January 18, 2013.
“The Last Stand” stars Arnold Schwarzenegger, Eduardo Noriega and Forest Whitaker. The kingpin of a drug cartel, Gabriel Cortez (Noriega), is a wanted and dangerous man who escaped from the custody of the FBI. Off goes Cortez at 250 mph to safety via the Mexican border. Hostage in tow, he hits a big snag by the name of Sheriff Ray Owens (Schwarzenegger). Forest Whitaker plays U.S. law enforcement agent John Bannister. Don’t expect cerebral stimulation. Rated R. 107 minutes. Action crime thriller with bloody violence. Opens in New York City on Friday, January 18, 2013.
“Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters” are the adult brother (Jeremy Renner) and sister (Gemma Arterton) vigilante team of bounty hunters on a mission to kill witches and other undesirables. Hired by the Mayor, they have been given the task of protecting children from the evil sorceress Muriel (Famke Janssen). Warning: Paramount Pictures didn’t screen this for critics. One can assume it’s bad. Another deterrent is the release date it was originally slated for, which was way back in March 2012. Go at your own risk. Rated R. 120 minutes. Action, fantasy, horror. Opens in New York City on Friday, January 25. In IMAX 3D.