MRR - 2013 Winter Movie Preview

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John McClane travels to Russia to help out his seemingly wayward son, Jack, only to discover that Jack is a CIA operative working to prevent a nuclear-weapons heist, causing the father and son to team up against underworld forces.
January 3rd, 2013

So it’s 2013. The Award-caliber stuff is done for now and there is another four months before the Summer Blockbuster season kicks off. Sure there’s a lot of other great stuff happening between now and then- The Super Bowl, March Madness, St. Patrick’s Day- but is there anything at the movies that could possibly make the first cold months of the year go by any quicker? Here’s a pretty in-depth movie guide for fans of drama, action, comedy, and so on to help kick off the movie year just right.

Scary Comedies (quite a few meant to give you a jolt and a chuckle):

My best bet:

Evil Dead- Lets get one thing straight- the original is one of the best horror movies of all time and the sequels may even be better. Do I want to see a remake of Sam Raimi’s tale of five friends who vacation in a secluded cabin and then read from a satanic book that leads a bunch of demons straight to them? Probably not. But am I happy that Raimi and Diablo Cody (“Juno”) had a hand in writing the screenplay for it? Definitely. Out on Apr 12.

And the rest:

John Dies at the End- Based off a graphic comedy novel about the transformative effects of soy sauce. You know, that drug that gives you an out of body experience but may prevent you from ever being human again and cause an outbreak that leads to an invasion that could destroy humanity. That drug! Out on VOD now. In theaters Jan 25.

A Haunted House- The Wayans Brothers left the “Scary Movie” franchise after the second film but Marlon Wayans is returning with this spoof on the “Paranormal Activity” movies. Out on Jan 11.

Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters- Jeremy Renner and Gemma Arterton play the, no longer, traumatized siblings. 15 years later, they are now experienced witch slayers looking to rid the world of at least half of Hogwarts alumni. Out Jan 25.

Warm Bodies- A different type of movie for Jonathan Levine, the director of cancer comedy-drama “50-50” and coming of age flick “The Wackness”. This one stars Nicholas Hoult as a turned-zombie (after the epidemic) who saves a human survivor named Julie and learns that there is still some humanity left in him and the world. Romance and comedy ensue. See George Romero, all you need is love. Out Feb 1.

Scary Movie 5- David Zucker, never better than when he did the “Naked Gun” spoofs with his brother Jerry, Jim Abrahams, and Pat Proft (the last two also did awesome work on “Hot Shots”) reteams with Proft for another spoof on scary movies, but does it say anything about the series when very few of the films they’re going after were actually horror movies? As of right now the list includes “Black Swan”, “Paranormal Activity”, “The Hunger Games”, “Inception”, “Fifty Shades of Grey”, the “Madea” movies, “Final Destination”, “Rise of the Planet of the Apes”, and the “Childs Play” movies. Out Apr 12.

Just scary in general:

My best bet:

Stoker- Definitely one of my most anticipated movies for the winter, this is the English language debut of “Oldboy” director Park Chan-Wook as well as the screenplay-writing debut of Wentworth “Prison Break’s Michael Scofield” Miller. The script was voted to the 2010 Black List of best unproduced screenplays as well. The film stars “Alice in Wonderland’s” Mia Wasikowska as a young girl who has recently lost her father, lives with an unstable mother (Nicole Kidman), and grows increasingly more suspicious of the uncle (Mathew Goode) who has just moved in. Out Mar 1.

And the rest:

Mama- Guillermo del Toro is producing this ghostly flick that is no doubt going to be given a huge boost from having near-definite Best Actress nominee Jessica Chastain in the lead role. It centers on the two girls of murdered parents who wind up staying with their uncle (Game of Throne’s Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) and his girlfriend (Chastain). But if Hollywood has taught us anything, it’s that in addition to germs and chicken pox, kids are also the number one carriers of poltergeists as well. Out Jan 18.

Side Effects- Steven Soderbergh gives us another psychological thriller based off medical emergency, going from the outbreak of a killer virus to a pharmaceutical that can kill. Channing Tatum and Rooney Mara play a successful New York couple whose life unravels when Mara’s character is given anti-anxiety drugs by her psychiatrist (Jude Law). Out Feb 8.

Dark Skies- A supernatural force is targeting Donald (Josh Hamilton) and Lacey (Keri Russell) Barret and their family, forcing both to try to discover what this mysterious force happens to be? Out Feb 22.

Carrie- Another remake that could go either way. This one has Chloe Grace Moretz (“Kick-Ass”, “Let me in”) take over for Sissy Spacek in the role of Carrie White, the awkward High School girl abused by her ultra-religious mother (here played by Julianne Moore) and bullied to a sickening degree by her classmates until….telekinesis b@#$#$%! Kimberly Pierce (“Boy’s Don’t Cry”, “Stop-Loss”) directs. Out Mar 15.

Lords of Salem- Another demonic tale from filmmaker Rob Zombie, this one concerns a record (with a note proclaiming it’s a “gift from the lords”) dropped off with DJ’s at a radio station. But this is not just any record, and as the band that put it out gets ever more popular, things get bloody. Out Apr 26.

Action with some muscle on it:

Best Bet:

Pain and Gain- Michael Bay takes a break from “Transformers”, and big budgets for that matter, to tell this true story about body-builders from the Sun Gym Gang (Mark Wahlberg is Daniel Lugo, Anthony Mackie is Adrian Doorbal, and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson is Paul Doyle) fed up with the poor life who devise a plan to kidnap and extort spoiled industrialist Victor Kershaw (Tony Shalhoub). Ed Harris is also on hand as the detective assigned to catch the criminals when the Miami police fail to do so. Out Apr 26.

And don’t forget:

A Good Day to Die Hard- I’m always down for another dose of Bruce Willis’ John McClane. This time he must go to Russia in order to help his son (Jai Courtney) take down a Rogue Russian leader who has escaped from prison. Yippie Kay Yay Mother F*&%!ers Out Feb 14.

The Last Stand- This is a comeback year for Arnold Schwarzenegger that begins with him taking the role of a small town sheriff in a sleepy small town who soon finds himself the only thing standing in the way of an escaped drug kingpin trying to cross the border into Mexico. Johnny Knoxville is also on hand as one of a few incompetent police officers that Arnie will have to whip into shape. Out Jan 18.

The Rest:

Parker- Jason Statham plays a double-crossed thief who hatches a plan with sexy Jennifer Lopez to rip off the same guys who ripped off him. Out Jan 25.

Bullet to the Head- Sylvester Stallone plays a hitman who teams with a DC cop to take down the murderers of both of their partners. Out Feb 1.

Snitch- Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson stars as a father who works out a deal with the U.S Attorney to infiltrate a drug cartel and act as an informant in order to save his son from a 10+ year prison sentence for dealing drugs. It’s based on a true story and also stars Susan Sarandon. Out Feb 22.

Olympus Has Fallen- This will be the first of two films this year dealing with the White House being taken over by terrorists (the other comes out this summer and stars Channing Tatum and Jamie Foxx), this one has Gerard Butler as a secret service agent who must protect the president (“The Dark Knight’s” Aaron Eckhart) from Korean baddies. Out Mar 22.

GI Joe Retaliation- It was scheduled to come out last year before Paramount decided to pull it to convert the film to 3-D. The sequel has also scrapped some of the characters from the disastrous first film and added in characters played by Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and Bruce Willis, the later playing original GI Joe commander General Joseph Colton. The directing reigns have been handed over to John M. Chu. The story is centered on the beaten and outnumbered Joes doing everything in their power to take back the world from the control of Cobra. Out Mar 29.

Action sci-fi:

Best Bets:

Oblivion- Tom Cruise returns to sci-fi for the first time since 2005’s “War of the Worlds”. Here the Earth has been destroyed, with most of mankind along with it. Cruise plays a drone repairman responsible for fixing the aircraft used to scrounge for any vital resources that may be left. On a routine flyover he meets an attractive female stranger (Olga Kurylenko) whose arrival leads to several unexplained events that force him to question his existence. Joseph Kosinski, who directed “Tron Legacy”, also handles directing duties here. Out Apr 12.

The Host- It didn’t take Hollywood long to try and capitalize on another Stephanie Meyer book, but this one has slightly better chances of success with gifted story teller Andrew Niccol (“Gattaca”, “The Truman Show”) at the helm. It also has better acting talent with Saoirse Ronan (“Atonement”, “Hanna”) playing Melanie, a young girl whose body is overtaken by a parasitic alien called a “soul”. But Melanie refuses to fade away. Out Mar 29.

Funny People:

Best Bet: Mellisa McCarthy

Identity Thief- Could be a game-changing year for every ones favorite comedic actress and Hollywood. Here she plays a con artist using the credentials of Jason Bateman’s character to live it up in Miami. He finds out about it and sets to tracking her down. Out Feb 8.

The Heat- Her other comedy re-unites her with “Bridesmaids” director Paul Feig and teams her up with Sandra Bullock. Bullock is an FBI agent while McCarthy is a Police detective who must come together in order to take down a Russian mobster in this action-comedy. Out Apr 5.

The Rest:

Movie 43- I predict this will be either the funniest or most tedious film of the year. Peter and Bobby Farrelly (“There’s Something About Mary”) have put together a gigantic cast that includes Richard Gere, Halle Berry, Elizabeth Banks, Gerard Butler, Terrence Howard and nearly everyone else in Hollywood and sets them up with different filmmakers (including the Farrelly’s themselves) to create many short-films that are supposedly outrageously, disgustingly, and offensively funny. Out on Jan 25.

A Glimpse Inside the Mind of Charles Swan III- Charlie Sheen rarely does films anymore (other than the crappiest of Scary Movie films) but this comedy, from the mind of frequent Wes Anderson collaborator Roman Coppola, may actually allow him to actually act for the first time in God knows how long. He plays a jilted graphic designer who turns to self-evaluation to come to terms with life without the love of his life. Out on Feb 8.

Admission- Tina Fey plays an admissions officer at Princeton whose life is turned upside down when her former college classmate (Paul Rudd), now a High School principal, informs her that he believes one of his students might be the son (Nat Wolff) she gave up for adoption many years ago. Out Mar 8.

The Incredible Burt Wonderstone- Steve Carell plays one-half of a former magic act who must convince the partner (“Boardwalk Empire’s” Steve Buscemi) he injured to return in order to compete with a popular David Blaine-Criss Angel-like street performer (Jim Carrey). Out Mar 15.

Fantasy:

Best Bet:

Oz the Great and Powerful- It may be received just as poorly as Tim Burton’s “Alice and Wonderland” adaptation but when you have a director like Sam Raimi (“Evil Dead”, “Spiderman”) you gotta give him the benefit of the doubt. A prequel to Dorothy and Oz, this one has James Franco as an unethical circus magician hurled into the land of Oz and the problems facing its inhabitants. Michelle Williams is on hand as Glinda the good witch, while the Wicked Witches are played by Rachel Weisz (of the East) and Mila Kunis (of the West). Out Mar 8.

The Rest:

Beautiful Creatures- The latest super-natural Young Adult book that Hollywood is hoping to turn into a mega-million dollar franchise, this one centers on small-town boy Ethan (Alden Ehrenreich) who begins a relationship with Lena (Alice Englert), a young witch trying to remain good, even though wickedness is constantly tempting her. Emma Thompson, Jeremy Irons, Viola Davis, and Emmy Rossum each take on supporting roles. Out Feb 13.

Jack the Giant Slayer- A spin on the classic tale of “Jack and the Beanstalk”, this Bryan Singer-directed film has Nicholas Hoult star as Jack, a farm boy who mistakenly opens a gateway between the human world and one of Giants, who wish to capitalize by taking our world for themselves. A battle ensues. Out March 1.

You won’t care, but your girlfriend/wife will, so you do too:

Best Bet:

Drinking something with alcohol in it beforehand

The rest:

Safe Haven- Based off a book written by the man responsible for “The Notebook” and “Dear John”, ok he has a name (Nicholas Sparks), Julianne Hough plays a woman coming from a rough past who decides to lay stakes in a small North Carolina town, and even start a relationship with sexy Alex (Josh Duhamel). But dark secrets threaten the relationship. Out Feb 14.

Tyler Perry’s Temptation: Confessions of a Marriage Counselor- One of Tyler Perry’s non-Madea movies about a marriage counselor (Jurnee Smollett, who to be fair was an excellent child actress if you ever saw the movie “Eve’s Bayou”) who falls in love with one of her patients, a womanizing social media mogul, after feeling not so loved by her husband. As far as I can tell, this is also the first serious movie role for another (actress?): one Kim Kardashian. Out Mar 29.

The Big Wedding- Robert DeNiro and Diane Keaton play a long-divorced couple who must pretend they are still married at their son’s wedding. Katherine Heigl, Susan Sarandon, and Robin Williams also star. Out Apr 26.

Dump Your Kids for 2 hours:

Best Bet:

The Croods- Another animated film, this one by filmmaker Chris Sanders (“How to Train Your Dragon”), about a caveman (Nicholas Cage) forced to leave his home along with his family after an earthquake. It’s a journey of many dangers, the biggest of which may be a nomad cave-boy (Ryan Reynolds) who charms his family, particularly his daughter (Emma Stone). Out Mar 22.

The Rest:

Escape from Planet Earth- Animated flick about a nerdy alien (Rob Corddry) who must travel to another dangerous planet to save his astronaut brother (Brendan Fraser) and his own planet. Out Feb 14.

Real Life, Real Drama

Best Bet:

The Gangster Squad- Ryan Gosling and Josh Brolin play leaders of a team of LAPD outsiders who come together to take down one of LA’s most notorious crime bosses in the 40’s, Mickey Cohen (Sean Penn). Reuben Fleischer (Zombieland) directs. Out Jan 11.

The Rest:

No- Gael Garcia Bernael plays real-life Chilean advertising executive Rene Saavedra, chosen to spearhead the election campaign that would eventually take town dictator Augusto Pinochet and free the country from oppression. Out Feb 15.

42- Brian Helgeland (writer of “LA Confidential) takes on this bio-pic about legendary baseball player Jackie Robinson, played here by Chadwick Boseman (“The Express”), who was the first player to break the game’s color barrier. Harrison Ford is also on hand as Dodger’s general manager Branch Rickey, who saw something in minor-leaguer Robinson and helped bring him up to the majors. Out Apr 12.

Great actors causing drama:

Best Bet:

A Place Beyond the Pines- Ryan Gosling plays a role similar to the one he had in “Drive”, this time as a motorcycle stunt driver who must consider being a thief in order to provide for his young child. This puts him on a collision course with Bradley Cooper, a cop-turned-politician. The film reunites Gosling with his “Blue Valentine” director Derek Cianfrance and also stars Ray Liotta and Eva Mendes. Out Mar 29.

The Rest:

Broken City- Mark Wahlberg plays a private investigator for the mayor (Russell Crowe) brought in to investigate the first lady’s extra-marital affairs. What he finds is that the mayor is not in that small group of politicians I like to call “the honest ones.” Out Jan 18.

Dead Man Down- Colin Farrell is an assassin for the mob blackmailed by a woman (Noomi Rapace) into helping her get revenge on the man who scarred her in a violent attack (Terrence Howard). This reteams Rapace with her “Girl with a Dragon Tatoo” director Niels Arden Oplev, making his English-language debut. Out Mar 8.