Saturday, January 28, 2012

New In Theaters - February 3, 2012

Starring: Drew Barrymore, John Krasinski, Kristen Bell,
Dermot Mulroney, Tim Blake Nelson & Ted Danson
Directed by Ken Kwapis for distribution by Universal

The Plot: A small town reporter and a his Greenpeace volunteer ex-girlfriend are thrust together when they become a part of a nationally covered mission to save a family of grey whales trapped under ice in the Arctic circle.

The Final Word: Based on actual events “Big Miracle” looks to be in a strong position to succeed at the box office given its family friendly plot and strong cast, which should act as a nice buffer for people looking to escape Super Bowl madness. Although it will only have a one week window before “Journey 2” and “Star Wars: Episode I: 3D” swoop into theaters looking to capitalize on the President’s Day weekend.

Starring: Dane DeHaan, Michael B. Jordan,
Alex Russell & Michael Kelly
Directed by Joshua Trank for distribution by 20th Century Fox

The Plot: Three teens begin to develop superpowers, but realize their newfound abilities may also lead them down a dark path as their lives begin to spiral out of control.

The Final Word: By now you’ve probably seen the clever trailers for the film, which really doesn’t portray it as your usual run of the mill movie. While it’s not a “found-footage” situation, it looks to be very close to that ballpark. With that said, it also won’t be the only horror film out this week as CBS Films will release “The Woman In Black.” Still you have to question the release date for both films as the target audience is going to be focused on the big game, not the big new Cineplex openings.

Starring: Daniel Radcliffe, Ciaran Hinds, Liz White, Janet McTeer,
Alisa Khazanova,Tim McMullan & Roger Allam,
Directed by James Watkins for distribution by CBS Films

The Plot: A lawyer is sent to a remote location to sort out the final will of a recently deceased client, only to find himself haunted by a mysterious woman in black, whose presence has even the locals spooked.

 The Final Word:  CBS Films doesn’t have the most amazing box office track record, which is surprisingly given the company’s strategy of producing low-cost movies with notable talent attached. Here, the company has Daniel Radcliffe in his first on-screen post “Harry Potter” role, but despite the actor’s strong appeal, “Black’s” release date is a question mark, given that its being placed in the same period as this year’s Super Bowl. Traditionally, films in that window don’t do particularly well.

Previewed next week: Journey 2: The Mysterious Island, Safe House, Star Wars: Episode I 3D, The Vow 

Saturday, January 21, 2012

New In Theaters - January 27, 2012

Starring: Liam Neeson, Frank Grillo, Dermot Mulroney,
Dallas Roberts, Joe Anderson, James Badge Dale & Nonso Anozie
Directed by Joe Carnahan for distribution by Open Road Films

The Plot: A group of Alaskan oil workers fight for survival against the elements a blood thirsty pack of wolves following a plane crash.

The Final Word: Director Joe Carnahan is one of those directors known for his over the top action sequences, which haven’t always panned out. Although there is something special about Liam Nesson movies released during this timeframe. His last two films “Taken” & “Unknown” bowed in theaters in this window and proved to be successful hits, with “Taken” even spawning a sequel.  Nesson has become of the most respected (and somewhat bankable) actors out there and if he signs his name to a picture, the majority of the time you won’t be disappointed (Carnahan’s “The A-Team” re-make aside).

Starring: Katherine Heigl, Jason O'Mara, Daniel Sunjata,
John Leguiziamo, Debbie Reynolds & Debra Monk
Directed by Julie Ann Robinson for distribution by Lionsgate

The Plot: A newly divorced woman takes a job as a bounty hunter and draws a former boyfriend as her first collar.

The Final Word: Remember when Katherine Heigel was a successful film star? Yeah, it’s been a while, but some have suggested this reverse “Bounty Hunter” from noted author Janet Evanovich could reverse her downward box office spiral. Jury’s still out….

Previewed next week: Big Miracle, Chronicle, The Woman In Black

Saturday, January 14, 2012

New In Theaters - January 20, 2012

Starring: Kate Beckinsale, Stephen Rea, Michael Ealy,
Theo James, India Eisley & Charles Dance
Directed by Måns Mårlind & Björn Stein for distribution by Sony Screen Gems

The Plot: Now aware of both the Vampire and Lycan clans, humankind embarks on a quest to destroy them, but have to battle vampire protector Selene to achieve their goal.

The Final Word: Like the “Resident Evil” series, the “Underworld” franchise isn’t going anywhere. Now into its fourth installment, the horror films starring Kate Beckinsale return to their usual release window and look to again capitalize on an audience that clearly remains interested.

Starring: Gina Carano, Channing Tatum, Ewan McGregor, Michael Fassbender
Antonio Banderas, Bill Paxton, Michael Douglas & Michael Angarano
Directed by Steven Soderbergh for distribution by Relativity Media

The Plot: Betrayed by her own organization, a black ops solider seeks payback on those who have wronged her as tried to figure out why she was targeted.

The Final Word: Originally, when news of this movie broke, many laughed it off as just another attempt by a athlete to cross-over to acting. Although since then a few new developments had emerged such as a strong supporting cast of known stars signed on and Steven Soderbergh was announced as director. Now the thriller starting mixed-martial-arts breakout Gina Carono has clawed its way into the conversation and audiences are legitimately psyched for its release.

Starring: Cuba Gooding Jr., Terrence Howard, Bryan Cranston,
Nate Parker, David Oyelowo, Ne-Yo, Michael B. Jordan,
Daniela Ruah, Stacie Davis & Gerald McRaney
Directed by Anthony Hemingway for distribution by 20th Century Fox & Lucasfilm

The Plot: A new take on the historical tale of the legendary Tuskegee air men, who bravely battled a war against international enemies and one against domestic discrimination.

The Final Word: While the story of the Tuskegee air men is well known, this new spin on the story comes from 20th Century Fox and George Lucas’ Lucasfilm, which means you can some cool visual effects that previous adaptation were probably lacking. This version also has a talented array of lead actors including Terrance Howard, Cuba Gooding Jr., Bryan Cranston and Gerald McCraney.

Previewed next week: One For The Money, The Grey

Saturday, January 7, 2012

New In Theaters - January 13, 2012

Starring: Mark Wahlberg, Kate Beckinsale, Ben Foster, Giovanni Ribisi,
Caleb Landry Jones, Lukas Haas, Diego Lun & J.K. Simmons
Directed by Baltasar Kormákur for distribution by Universal

The Plot: A reformed international smuggler is pulled back into his old life when his brother-in-law botches a job for a ruthless criminal.

The Final Word: Actors stepping behind the camera is nothing new, but this is definitely a unique situation as Icelandic actor Baltasar Kormákur is directing this American version of a top foreign film that he headlined.  While Universal probably isn’t expecting the film (based on the movie Reykjavik-Rotterdam) to break the bank, movies in this particular release window have historically opened strong as audiences are looking for something different than traditional holiday fare.

Starring: Queen Latifah, Dolly Parton, Keke Palmer,
Courtney B. Vance, Jeremy Jordan & Kris Kristofferson
Directed by Todd Graff for distribution by Warner Brothers

The Plot: Two choir members clash over their visions for how their group should prepare for the national championships.

The Final Word: Conversely to “Contraband,” while action films do well in this window, comedies don’t fare half as well. Audiences sense that comedies released so close to the holidays, but not during the holidays, were held back for a reason and in most cases they are right. Still, having Dolly Parton as your lead, at least guarantees your film some strong publicity.

Starring (voices): Paige O'Hara, Robby Benson, Richard White,
Jerry Orbach, David Ogden Stiers, Angela Lansbury, Bradley Pierce,
Rex Everhart, Jesse Corti, Hal Smith & Jo Anne Worley
Directed by Gary Trousdale & Kirk Wise for distribution by Disney

The Plot: The Oscar-nominated Disney film returns to theaters, but this time in 3D.

The Final Word: It may be a “tale as old as time” but it is also one of Disney’s most successful animated films EVER and following the success of “The Lion King 3D,” the house the mouse built may be able to afford another wing if this one performs as well. Disney actually has a little more banking on this than they did with “Lion,” as it was the success of “Lion” that prompted this continuation of re-releasing older classics with a 3D twist. 

Previewed: Underworld: Awakening, Haywire, Redtails