The Movie Watcher’s Guide to January 2011

We realize that you’re probably sitting at home right now, chewing your own nails off and wondering what movies are coming out this month. Maybe you’re even wondering why no one on the entire internet has said anything about them. Strange, we know.

Fortunately, Rob Hunter and Cole Abaius spent the entire month of December combing through Wikileaks, calling Cleo, and building balsa wood trailers to make sure that you, dear reader, are in the know about what’s coming out in January.

You watch movies, so this guide’s for you.

January 7th

Season Of the Witch

Who did it? Directed by Dominic Sena; written by Bragi F. Schut; starring Nicolas Cage, Ron Perlman, Christopher Freaking Lee

What is it? Nicolas Cage gets to act nutty and fight evil. What’s not to love?

Why should we care? Knights are tasked by the church with transporting a witch, and things go poorly. Cage is an interesting actor. He’s clearly given up on any semblance of quality and respectability and just accepts any role that’s offered to him. But unlike most actors who do the same, he doesn’t sleepwalk through the role… he gives each one the full Cage experience. And it’s the audience who benefits. The film looks like a fairly lightweight period horror flick, and you can be sure that the director (Whiteout, Swordfish, Gone In 60 Seconds) will do everything in his power to make it suck… but it should still be a partially entertaining time with Cage in the lead. -RH

Watch the trailer:

Country Strong

Who did it? Directed and written by Shana Feste; Starring Gwyneth Paltrow, Garrett Hedlund, and Leighton Meester

What is it? Paltrow plays a country singer fresh out of rehab who teams up with the guy from Tron Legacy and a Gossip Girl to fight the nation’s sore lack of pop country.

Why should we care? Sure, it looks like a Hallmark movie, but that’s where the magic truly lies. With rock bottom expectations of a schmaltzy exercise in Paltrow seeking her Blindside alongside the cardboard acting of Hedlund and Meester, this thing could turn out to be completely passable and shockingly average. -CA

Watch the trailer:

January 14th

The Dilemma

Who did it? Directed by Ron Howard; Written by Allan Loeb; Starring Vince Vaughn, Kevin James, Winona Ryder, Channing Tatum and Jennifer Connelly

What is it? A guy sees his best friend’s wife going to town on another man’s mouth with her mouth and has to figure out whether to tell him or not.

Why should we care? Beyond all the hilarious jokes about electric cars being driven by homosexuals (I’m not sure I got the joke), famed narrator of Arrested Development Ron Howard is taking a simple high concept and building what will most likely be a mixture of laughs and heart. Allan Loeb hasn’t written anything amazing yet, even though he has a lot of work ahead of him, and Kevin James seems best suited to fall down for a laugh these days. It would be easy to claim that Vince Vaughn’s involvement assures some quality, but unfortunately Couples Retreat came out and was seen by humans. -CA

Watch the trailer:

The Green Hornet

Who did it? Directed by Michel Gondry; written by Evan Goldberg and Seth Rogen; starring Seth Rogen, Jay Chou, Cameron Diaz, Tom Wilkinson, Christoph Waltz, Edward Freaking Furlong

What is it? A big budget, effects filled action movie starring Seth Rogen? Okay.

Why should we care? Rogen plays a man who turns vigilante with the help of his Asian sidekick after his father dies and leaves him with a vast fortune and a sense of responsibility. The gravelly voiced actor toyed with action in Pineapple Express, but the title role here looks to increase the physical mayhem to laughs ratio quite a bit. More surprising than his involvement though is the man in the director’s chair. Gondry is an unknown element in the action genre, but at the very least we know the film will look creative and fresh. Early reviews out of Austin have been promising… although folks there saw it without the post converted 3D. -RH

Watch the trailer:

Barney’s Version

Who did it? Directed by Richard J. Lewis; Written by Michael Konyves; Starring Paul Giamatti and Rosamund Pike

What is it? Paul Giamatti gets to be an asshole who loves hockey that will maybe make you cry.

Why should we care? There’s more to the story there, but if you’ve read the novel, you know that it’s all too good to give away in a simple synopsis. This film was nominated for the Golden Lion at Venice and features Giamatti (who demands to be seen in just about everything) as a cigar-chomping hockey fanatic recounting his life near the end of it. -CA

Watch the trailer:

A Somewhat Gentle Man

Who did it? Directed by Hans Petter Moland; Written by Kim Fupz Aakeson; Starring Stellan Skarsgard and several men named Bjorn

What is it? Fresh out of prison, Ulrik wants out of gang life which allows awkward hilarity to ensue.

Why should we care? For one, Stellan Skarsgard. That really should be enough, but the film also got some strong, yet culturally insensitive, praise coming out of Fantastic Fest last year. Skarsgard is re-teaming with Moland here, and even if his films haven’t gotten a lot of play in the US, he’s still a consistently strong director that’s been at it since the 1980s. For some, this just might be a gateway drug to his other films. -CA

Watch the trailer:

The rest of January lies ahead…

The FSR Staff is an author similar to Hydra. Its articles have many authors. It has many heads. Please don't cut off any of its heads, we're trying to work here.

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