Let’s face it. January and February are the nuclear waste dump of Hollywood. A period when movies whose releases have been pushed further and further back because they couldn’t compete with whatever else was being released, movies that have disappointed studio execs, movies that studios don’t know what to do with, and movies that just have no one to believe in them find themselves finally showing to audiences.
Add to this the romantic comedy season leading up Valentine’s (a genre I’ll talk about in an upcoming blog) and choices at the theater can seem kind of bleak.
But among this 2 month crapfest, you can find some real jewels. There are always a few Oscar hopefuls that have been in limited release to qualify that finally go wide. There are also the above mentioned “no one believes in me” movies that can be sleeper successes.
So here are a few potential bright spots in this bleary season. They may not quite qualify as “I Can’t Waits” but…whaddya gonna do?
Last Chance Harvey
This movie, among my Holiday I Can’t Waits, starring personal fav Emma Thompson & heavyweight Dustin Hoffman opened in limited release on Christmas Day. I’ve been waiting for it to come to Nashville & it finally goes wide Jan 16th. See the trailer here.
The true story of Jews who defended themselves during World War II had Oscar buzz going but (like The Soloist) was pushed back to 2009. It stars yummy Daniel Craig, the always fascinating Liev Schreiber, and Jamie Bell (whom I’ve loved since Billy Elliott) as brothers who lead the group. Opened in limited release Jan 2nd. Goes wide Jan 16th. See the trailer here. Gave me cold chills.
Paul Blart: Mall Cop
OK, I’m really going out on a limb here. This could be an incredibly stupid movie. And not in a funny, Zoolander-kind-of-way but a I-can’t-believe-I’ve-just-lost-2-hours-of-my-life-kind-of-way. But I can’t help but like Kevin James. And some of the ads have made me giggle so…. go at your own risk. This could be one of those surprises… or not. Opens Jan 16th. See the trailer here.
I’ve actually been excited about this one for a while but its January release date does not bode well. Still, this could be the movie that Bedtime Stories wants to be. A fantasy about a man who can bring characters to life by reading about them aloud. Right up my alley with a great cast: Brendan Fraser (like him!), Eliza Bennett (from one of my favorites, Nanny McPhee), Helen Mirren (royalty), Paul Bettany (yum!), & Andy Serkis (Lord of the Rings! duh!). Opens Jan 23rd. See the trailer here.
Very unusual children’s book comes to life in beautiful animation directed by Henry Selick, who directed A Nightmare Before Christmas. Expect a bizarre dark fantasy in the style of Tim Burton. Coraline is voiced by Dakota Fanning with Ian McShane (who was great in Kung Fu Panda).
On a personal note, a graphic arts student whose aunt runs the company that did the main animation on Coraline came to tour the graphic design/animation company where I work a couple of months ago. Opens Feb 6th. See the trailer here. I really like Coraline’s character but those buttons are fuh-reaking me out!
This movie has had internet buzz for 2 years during a variety of delays and controversies (With a name like Fanboys are you surprised?) A low-budget film about Star Wars geeks who travel across country in 1998 to break into Skywalker Ranch & steal a copy of The Phantom Menace for their friend who is dying of cancer, it stars Dan Fogler & Jay Baruchel (of Tropic Thunder fame). Despite a few smutty elements, it looks to be filled with the geeky movie reference humor I love. Come on, that poster’s funny! Opens Feb 6th. See the trailer here.
An international (who saw that coming?) thriller that stars Clive Owen? Two ingredients that I love. However, the basic premise, big corporation is corrupt, seems a bit pedestrian. Opens Feb 13th. See the trailer here.