And as it will, a new movie year starts with soothing simplicity: as the feverish crush of Oscar hopefuls open in tiny scattered doses across the country, a few movies are nudged into wide release that were thrown into January primarily so that they couldn’t embarrass anybody too terribly much by tanking when anybody gives a damn instead of tanking when nobody’s going to see movies in the first place.
For my part, I love January mostly because so very little comes out that I can blast through these previews in half the time.
Just one wide release to star the year. One. God bless ’em. For that matter, I don’t see how The Devil Inside is going to do anything at all to break out of either of its two ghettos: the first being ohmigod another exorcism movie, the second being ohmigod another super low-budget horror film. But what the hell, there’s always a chance for an exorcism picture to do anything at all to be memorable and watchable, even if I don’t personally see a chance of that here.
If, as I assume it will, the 3-D reissue of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast wins the weekend box office, I won’t be seeing it and/or reviewing. Just a heads-up. Not because I don’t like the idea of seeing it on the big screen again; on the contrary. But neither the trailers for this, nor for the shockingly successful reissue of The Lion King last year, have changed my rock-steady conviction that 2-D cel-style animation, by its immutable nature, is not suited to 3-D treatment.
Which leaves us with Mark Wahlberg’s drug-smuggling thriller Contraband, which I am given to believe is a European remake, and Joyful Noise, and I’m not even ashamed to admit that I’m excited to see Joyful Noise, because shit, Queen Latifah AND Dolly Parton? Why not? It’s better than another fucking exorcism movie to fill the winter nights, that’s for damn sure.
Steven Soderbergh and The Limey writer Lem Dobbs have teamed up for another movie, Haywire. That is exciting. The conclusion of a whole mess of film executives was that it didn’t deserve any better than a January release. That is not exciting. But maybe it’s because the film is so weird and uncommercial that they didn’t know what else to do with it! That would be good, right? …goddammit.
Speaking of films that feel like they could have snagged a better release date, executive producer George Lucas has been trying to get Red Tails made for decades now, and you’d think that a fella with his clout wouldn’t have had such troubles with that, nor with getting it a nice late-summer berth. The trailer certainly makes it out to be a prettier-than-usual WWII dogfighting movie, at any rate, and I look forward to seeing what Aaron McGruder can show us as a screenwriter.
You know what absolutely deserves a third-weekend-in-January release date? Underworld: Awakening. Kate Beckinsale, fake vampires, leather, guns, 3-D. I legitimately take this as a comfort; the every-three-years release pattern for this series is a good way to have continuity and stability in one’s life.
So, the first time I saw the trailer for The Grey, I was sitting next to a friend and I turned to him and said, “I want to see this if Liam Neeson punches those wolves.” And then he gets ready to punch the wolves. I feel even less shame about sharing this fact with all of you than I did about the Joyful Noise thing.
Filling up the cracks: One for the Money, which has apparently made the critical mistake of thinking that people enjoyed The Bounty Hunter, or if they didn’t, it’s because Jennifer Aniston isn’t as popular as Katherine Heigl.
Also, there is Man on a Ledge, which is, I don’t know. I’ve seen the trailer like six times, and the best I can do is that it’s a caper-thingy. Perhaps it is the case that Sam Worthington is so absolutely devoid of personality, he actually causes amnesia when you see him in things, now.