Starring: Denzel Washington, Ryan Reynolds, Brendan Gleeson,
Sam Shepard, Vera Farmiga, Fares Fares & Robert Patrick
Directed by Daniel Espinosa for distribution by Universal
The Plot: A low level CIA operative is forced to partner with a captured renegade when their safe house is compromised and the pair realize they’ll need each other’s help to survive.
The Final Word: While there honestly isn’t anything very inventive here about the plot (at least on paper), nobody is going to care because of the talented case associated with it. We know Denzel Washington can portray both good guys and bad, but for some reason it’s always more fun to watch him play the villain. Ryan Reynolds on the other hand is known primarily for being the hero and this pairing shouldn’t have any problems drawing a crowd. Audiences are unwilling to part with their money unless they are certain what they are going to get; in case they know exactly what they are going to get and that’s why this will work.
JOURNEY 2: THE MYSTERIOUS ISLAND
Starring: Dwayne Johnson, Michael Caine, Josh Hutcherson,
Vanessa Hudgens, Luis Guzma & Kristen Davis
Directed by Brad Peyton for distribution by New Line (WB)
The Plot: Following the events of the original, a now seventeen year old Sean Anderson convinces his stepfather to accompany him on a quest to a mysterious island from which he’s been receiving coded messages.
The Final Word: The original “Journey To The Center Of The Earth,” wasn’t a massive success, but it did well enough to merit a sequel, even if the film’s original star Brendan Fraser took a pass on the project. Stepping into the lead role will be Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, who coming off “Fast Five” has never seen his box office stock higher. Still the film will be going up against the 3D re-launch of “Star Wars: Episode I” which could give it a run for its money over the normally profitable President’s Day weekend.
STAR WARS: EPISODE 1 - THE PHANTOM MENACE
Starring: Liam Neeson, Ewan McGregor, Natalie Portman, Jake Lloyd
Ian McDiarmid, Pernilla August, Ahmed Best,
Anthony Daniels, Ray Park, Kenny Baker & Frank Oz
Directed by George Lucas for distribution by 20th Century Fox
The Plot: The iconic sci-fi franchise unleashes the first of its sixth installments in 3D.
The Final Word: While this was always in the works, long before Disney scored with “The Lion King 3D,” the decision to release the “Star Wars” film was motivated by the same result; added money. Although it will be interesting to see how a non-Disney film does with the 3D re-release experiment, especially given that “Menace” was one of the least liked in the series. Still “Star Wars” have proven for years, they’ll buy and re-buy the same movies over and over again even if the only differences are aesthetic.
Starring: Rachel McAdams, Channing Tatum, Sam Neill,
Scott Speedman & Jessica Lange
Directed by Michael Sucsy for distribution by Screen Gems (Sony)
The Plot: Following a traumatic car accident a man must make his wife fall in love with him all over again when she loses all memories of the pair as a couple.
The Final Word: Like “Dear John,” last year, Channing Tatum looks to have another Valentine’s Day tearjerker on his ever expanding filmography. Based on actual events, the movie should play extremely well given its timing and its very likable cast.
Previewed next week: This Means War, Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance, The Secret World Of Arrietty.