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What to see and what to avoid this weekend at the movie theaters

Vanessa Hudgens new movie "Gimme Shelter" opens this weekend
Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images

The cold weather has made people want to see movies, for some reason. Despite the intense snow and even more intense cold, there have already been records set and two hit movies released in 2014. This weekend, it seems like it might be the weekend to go and see one of the movies released in 2013 that is currently nominated for an Academy Award or some other award. That’s because this weekend there are two movies of note opening, and neither of them are getting any kind of endorsement from the national critics.

Here are the movies opening January 24, 2014:

I, Frankenstein - Aaron Eckhart, Bill Nighy, Jai Courtney. From the same people who brought you the Underworld franchise comes this retelling of the Frankenstein story. Eckhart plays the man who has been put together from the body parts of dead people and is now, of course, immortal. However, there is a battle going on for the souls of the living in this day and age because, well, there always is in this kind of film. Using Dr. Frankenstein’s technology, an evil force wants to create a bunch of soulless beings that can then be inhabited by vicious demons bent on taking over the world. Only the Monster can stop them because, well, that’s what happens in these kinds of movies. This one currently has a 0% approval rating from critics and the reviews are scathing. This may be one to catch, late at night, perhaps slightly drunk or falling asleep, in basic cable about six months from now. Rated PG-13.

Gimme Shelter - Vanessa Hudgens, Brendan Fraser, Rosario Dawson. This is the one that had some pre-release buzz. That’s because this is supposedly the most adult and powerful performance from former teen star Vanessa Hudgens. In this movie she plays a young pregnant teenager who is trying to find salvation and change her life around inside the walls of a shelter for homeless teenagers. The young woman’s name is Apple, and she has had, to say the least, a rough life. When she finds the support she has always craved amidst the others at the shelter, she begins to turn her life around. Again, the buzz on this was intense, but now that it has been screened for critics the reviews have not been great. Several have said that Hudgens should be applauded for her efforts, but that being an intense dramatic actress may not be her forte. There have also been intense criticism for the script which many critics are saying is heavy-handed with its message. Rated PG-13.