I feel no remorse for starting this movie preview on January 21, because there’s no way we’ve missed anything good. Texas Chainsaw 3D? A Haunted House? Broken City? Mama? The Last Stand? Even the once-promising Gangster Squad was largely trashed upon release, scoring a generally dismal 34% mark on RottenTomatoes thanks to criticisms of director Ruben Fleischer and the movie’s over-stylized violence.
So under the assumption that none of those are worth your time (except, maybe The Last Stand, for the long-waited Schwarzenegger/Knoxville pairing), it’s time to explore the upcoming year in film to see what movies we should anticipate and what movies we should dismiss on arrival. We’ll work through the first three months today.
Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters (January 25)
Premise: *points to above title*
Why It Could Work: It’s a horror-comedy produced by Will Ferrell and Adam McKay…this could be amusing, right?
Why It Could Bomb: Seriously, this movie is about Hansel and Gretel hunting witches, and it’s being released on January 25. The question is not “will it be terrible?” The question is “just how terrible will it be?” Jeremy Renner, let’s just pretend you’re not actually starring in this, OK?
RottenTomatoes prediction: 12%
Movie 43 (January 25)
Premise: Every person you’ve ever heard of stars in one of 12 separate storylines in this raunchy ensemble comedy.
Why It Could Work: Seth MacFarlane, Hugh Jackman, Emma Stone, Elizabeth Banks, Kristen Bell, Naomi Watts, Kate Winslet, Anna Faris, Richard Gere, Uma Thurman, McLovin, Seann William Scott, Liev Schreiber, Jason Sudeikis (as Batman), Justin Long (as Robin), Terrence Howard, Tony Shalhoub, Jack McBrayer, Stephen Merchant, my fingers hurt.
Why It Could Bomb: Well, the trailers look uniformly terrible. Also, it’s…being released on January 25.
RT Prediction: 34%
Parker (January 25)
Premise: Jason Statham stars as a professional thief who gets betrayed by…OK, seriously, it’s a Jason Statham movie. Released in January. That’s your premise. Congratulations, I’ve wasted an extraordinary amount of words on this when all I needed to say was “Jason Statham movie”.
Why It Could Work: Jason Statham dresses up as a priest for some reason. Also: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pzNvYh_rMM8&feature=youtu.be&t=11s
Why It Could Bomb: It’s a Jason Statham movie. Featuring Jennifer Lopez as the female lead.
RT Prediction: 50%
Bullet to the Head (February 1)
Premise: Sylvester Stallone teams with a young NYPD detective for ONE. LAST. JOB. And kills a bunch of people, probably. (Definitely.)
Why It Could Work: Sylvester Stallone has an axe battle with Khal Drogo.
Why It Could Bomb: Sylvester Stallone.
RT Prediction: 38%
Stand Up Guys (February 1)
Premise: Al Pacino gets out of prison after 28 years and re-teams with his old partner Christopher Walken, who’s been contracted to kill Pacino. Alan Arkin is also somehow involved.
Why It Could Work: The cast.
Why It Could Bomb: What was Pacino’s last good movie? Ocean’s Thirteen, which would have worked with me as the villain? Before that, what The Merchant of Venice in 2004?
RT Prediction: 42%
Warm Bodies (February 1)
Premise: A young zombie (Nicholas Hoult) falls in love with a young human girl (Teresa Palmer). But her dad is a war general played by John Malkovich! CONFLICT.
Why It Could Work: Warm Bodies is directed and written by Jonathan Levine, whose last movie was the sensational 50/50, one of my favorite movies of 2011. And the premise is an intriguing spin on a tired genre.
Why It Could Bomb: It’s still a tired genre.
RT Prediction: 65%
Identity Thief (February 8)
Premise: Melissa McCarthy steals Jason Bateman’s identity. Jason Bateman decides to track her down. Hilarity ensues.
Why It Could Work: Jason Bateman…?
Why It Could Bomb: All right, I love Jason Bateman, but this movie looks like an unmitigated disaster.
RT Prediction: 25%
Side Effects (February 8)
Premise: Steven Soderbergh’s final theatrical release before his retirement (say it ain’t so!) follows a young woman (Rooney Mara) who experiments with prescription drugs while she waits for her husband (Channing Tatum) to be released from jail. Jude Law and Catherine Zeta-Jones each play doctors.
Why It Could Work: It’s Soderbergh with a terrific cast in what looks to be a gripping little thriller. And don’t let the early release date fool you – last year’s Haywire, released in January, is one of the finest movies of Soderbergh’s career.
Why It Could Bomb: Side Effects might look like a generically rote B-movie without Soderbergh’s name involved.
RT Prediction: 74%
A Glimpse Inside the Mind of Charles Swan III (February 8)
Premise: Charlie Sheen stars as the titular character, a successful graphic designer and ladies’ man whose life spirals hilariously downward after he’s dumped by his girlfriend. Jason Schwartzman, Aubrey Plaza, Patricia Arquette and Bill Murray co-star in director Roman Coppola’s second career feature.
Why It Could Work: It’s directed by a Coppola, it’s an entertaining premise and it stars Charlie Sheen and Bill Murray. If nothing else, this will be fantastically entertaining.
Why It Could Bomb: Coppola hasn’t directed a movie since 2001’s CQ, which nobody’s ever heard of (it’s at a decent 66% on RottenTomatoes).
RT Prediction: 72%
A Good Day To Die Hard (February 14)
Premise: John McClane is BACK! In Russia! With his son!
Why It Could Work: It’s an odd-numbered Die Hard movie, and it’s rated R.
Why It Could Bomb: Director John Moore last helmed 2008’s Max Payne, which scored a sensational 16% on RottenTomatoes. Also, really? Another Die Hard? Just follow the instructions in the franchise’s name, already.
RT Prediction: 53%
Safe Haven (February 14)
Premise: Josh Duhamel and Julianne Hough fall in love. Based off a Nicholas Sparks book.
Why It Could Work: It’s from the director of What’s Eating Gilbert Grape?
Why It Could Bomb: That was 20 years ago. Also, Nicholas Sparks.
RT Prediction: 22%
Snitch (February 22)
Premise: The Artist Formerly Known As The Rock (Dwayne Johnson) becomes an undercover drug informant to save his son. Aww!
Why It Could Work: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mr8glaM4ruM
Why It Could Bomb: The director doesn’t have a Wikipedia page.
RT Prediction: 32%
Jack the Giant Slayer (March 1)
Premise: Jack and the Beanstalk, with super-evil giants and lots of CGI.
Why It Could Work: It’s directed by Bryan Singer, who helmed X-Men and X2, along with The Usual Suspects.
Why It Could Bomb: Does anybody want to see a CGI-heavy movie based on Jack and the Beanstalk? Is there honestly one person interested in this project?
RT Prediction: 60%
The Last Exorcism Part II (March 1)
Premise: To have the single dumbest title of any movie this year.
Why It Could Work: The original movie scored a 73% on RottenTomatoes…wait, WHAT?!
Why It Could Bomb: It’s a horror movie sequel. It looks terrible. And for the love of Eli Roth, it’s called The LAST Exorcism: Part TWO. THIS DOES NOT MAKE ANY SENSE.
RT Prediction: 18%
Oz the Great and Powerful (March 8)
Premise: In a prequel to the events of The Wizard of Oz, small-time Kansas magician Oscar Diggs (James Franco) is transported to Oz, where he meets all those evil and good and possibly morally uncertain witches (Mila Kunis, Michelle Williams, Rachel Weisz).
Why It Could Work: Sam Raimi’s a generally terrific director (Spider-Man, Spider-Man 2), and it’s hard to get a much better trio of actresses than the group that plays the witches.
Why It Could Bomb: For one, James Franco looks to be a little bit bored. And can you blame him? The entire movie seems to have been shot in front of a green screen.
RT Prediction: 48%
The Incredible Burt Wonderstone (March 15)
Premise: Las Vegas magician Burt Wonderstone (Steve Carell) reunites with his former partner (Steve Buscemi) to take on dangerous street magician Steve Gray (Jim Carrey!).
Why It Could Work: Carell, Carrey and Buscemi starring in a movie? With Alan Arkin, James Gandolfini, Olivia Wilde, Brad Garrett, Jay Mohr and Gillian Jacobs? That’s a fantastic randomly awesome cast. Also, Steve Carell’s hair.
Why It Could Bomb: The trailer’s basically devoid of laughs. I know it’s just a trailer, but man, that looks really, REALLY bad.
RT Prediction: 36%
Admission (March 22)
Premise: College admissions officer Tina Fey has a Meet Cute with Paul Rudd. Also, she might have a son! And he might be stupid but want to go to the school she works at!
Why It Could Work: Two likeable leads.
Why It Could Bomb: The whole thing has an air of “slight, easily forgettable dramedy that you’ll forget two seconds after you’ve seen it.”
RT Prediction: 57%
Olympus Has Fallen (March 22)
Premise: President Aaron Eckhart gets taken hostage by terrorists – and ONLY ONE MAN – a disgraced Secret Service agent played by Gerard Butler – CAN SAVE HIM. ONE MAN – HAS THE CHANCE TO REDEEM HIMSELF – AND SAVE HIS COUNTRY.
Why It Could Work: Morgan Freeman plays the Speaker of the House. (Sorta surprising that he’s not the President in this one, though, isn’t it?) Also, Harvey Dent/Lucius Fox reunion, what up!
Why It Could Bomb: Gerard Butler. Also, it’s two months away and we haven’t seen a trailer for this yet. Encouraging!
RT Prediction: 36%
G.I. Joe: Retaliation (March 29)
Premise: The Artist Formerly Known As The Rock and Bruce Willis take over to kick some ass and take some names after Channing Tatum (probably) dies and the Joes get wiped out. Or something like that. It’s a sequel to that first terrible-looking G.I. Joe movie, what do you want?
Why It Could Work: Bruce Willis and Dwayne Johnson should be a fun combination, right? And it’s written by the writers of Zombieland, so that’s promising.
Why It Could Bomb: The movie was supposed to be released on June 29 of last year, and in May – yes, that’s one month beforehand – it was pushed all the way back to now, to “add 3D”. Riiiiiiiiiiight.
RT Prediction: 27%
The Place Beyond the Pines (March 29)
Premise: Per Wikipedia: the multi-generational story of a motorcycle stunt rider (Ryan Gosling), who considers committing a crime in order to provide for his newborn child, an act that puts him on a collision course with a cop-turned-politician (Bradley Cooper).
Why It Could Work: Ryan Gosling. The rest of the cast is superb, too (Cooper, Eva Mendes, Ray Liotta, Rose Byrne, Dane DeHaan, Bruce Greenwood) and it’s directed by critical favorite Derek Cianfrance, but seriously, RYAN. GOSLING.
Why It Could Bomb: For no reason. Absolutely no reason. This movie is going to be all of the awesome.
RT Prediction: 88%
Temptation: Confessions of a Marriage Counselor (March 29)
Premise: Directed, written and produced by Tyler Perry. Starring Kim Kardashian. Ahem. Let’s skiped ahead a couple of sections.
RT Prediction: -32%.
April through June tomorrow. See you then. Happy MLK Day.