Haven't done one of these seasonal movie previews in a while, but I enjoy them. In particular, I find taking a look at the first quarter of the year's offerings fairly instructive, both due to the odd mix of dumpsville crap, fun crap, and the occasional conspicuous lack of crap; and also the fact that, in the wake of the year-end onslaught, most of these movies never made my radar.
*Yes, I realize we're well too soon for Spring, but calling it a "Winter" preview doesn't seem right either. I'm learning to make my peace with it, and so should you.
Movie: Daybreakers (Michael and Peter Spierig)
High-Concept Synopsis: In the future, almost everyone you know is a vampire (yes...the "future"), and supply-demand models being what they are, the blood is almost gone. Vampire Ethan Hawke and his vampire researchers must find a way to keep the human race alive. So they can eat.
Who Will Be Seeing It: People who are really, REALLY on Team Edward. People who cannot resist a good peak-oil allegory. Blue-filter enthusiasts.
Who Won't Be Seeing It: Vampire-hating outliers. People who wonder why, if you wanted to make any version of Ethan Hawke immortal, you'd choose this one.
Why I'd See It: It looks like harmless futuristic fun, more in the Underworld (or Dark City if you're feeling charitable) mold than anything moon-eyed like Twilight. January 8
Movie: Leap Year (Anand Tucker)
High-Concept Synopsis: Amy Adams decides to sack up and propose to her boyfriend (Adam Scott), only she has to travel to Ireland to do it. The danger in that being that you'll meet a hottie Irish guy (Matthew Goode) who's so much better looking than your stupid boyfriend.
Who Will Be Seeing It: People who tend to romanticize handsome Irish men falling for redheaded American lasses who come to the Emerald Isle at a crossroads. Redundantly, everyone you know who so much as tips back a beer on St. Patrick's Day.
Who Won't Be Seeing It: Cynics. People who got burned on the Irish-guy/American-gal thing with P.S. I Love You. Duke Phillips, Abe Simpson and other invenerate Irish-haters.
Why I'd See It: You're not going to find a cuter prospective couple than Amy Adams and Matthew Goode. Then add some Irish to that? As anybody who's ever enjoyed the cool pleasures of a Shamrock Shake can tell you, Irish always makes it better. January 8
Movie: Youth in Revolt (Miguel Areta)
High-Concept Synopsis: Michael Cera plays Jesse Eisenberg, basically, and in his efforts to land the local pretty girl, he develops a suave a-hole of an alter ego, Francois.
Who Will Be Seeing It: Audiences happy to hear at least one of Cera's characters won't be wearing a hoodie. Fans of the supes-quirky cast, including Steve Buscemi, Justin Long, Jean Smart, Fred Willard, Zach Galifanakis, Mary Kay Place, and MAH GIRL Ari Graynor.
Who Won't Be Seeing It: Audiences burned out on the Cera-as-high-school-yearner genre. People turned off by Cera's dead-eyed portrayal of Francois, as seen in the trailer.
Why I'd See It: That's a pretty great cast, and I haven't burned out on Cera as thoroughly as others (Paper Heart notwithstanding). The trailer underwhelmed, so I'm tempering my expectations, but just a lil' bit. January 8
Click below for multiple apocalypses, winged creatures, and screamy '80s action stars...
Movie: The Book of Eli (Allen and Albert Hughes)
High-Concept Synopsis: Denzel Washington is a rugged, ragged man in a post-apocalyptic wasteland of America. Doesn't have no whiny-ass kid, though, so take your Viggo/The Road comparisons elsewhere.
Who Will Be Seeing It: People who saw The Road back in December and didn't want that dreary hopeless feeling to end. People curious as to how this tale of a lone survivor will have room to accommodate Gary Oldman, much less Mila Kunis and Jennifer Beals.
Who Won't Be Seeing It: People who remember the last time the Hughes Brothers directed a movie, 2001's sputtering From Hell. People who might want to smile some time before May.
Why I'd See It: I don't dislike Denzel Washington. I just am never motivated to watch him star in movies. It'll be interesting to see this more plot-heavy take on The Road-style subject matter. January 15
Movie: Creation (Jon Amiel)
High-Concept Synopsis: She's an extremely religious wife! He's...Darwin! How will they ever get on long enough to formulate a theory that is no more or less likely than the Book of Genesis!
Who Will Be Seeing It: Fans of historical romance. Supporters of real-life couple Paul Bettany and Jennifer Connelly. Biblical scholars in the mood for a fantasy epic but found Avatar sold out.
Who Won't Be Seeing It: Filmgoers dubious of how long this purported Oscarbait movie took to release, only to get dumped in January.
Why I'd See It: I do enjoy Paul Bettany, and I keep rooting for Jennifer Connelly to regain her pre-Oscar form. I'm doubtful that this is the film to do that, but regardless, Darwin needs all the support he can get. January 22
Movie: Extraordinary Measures (Tom Vaughan)
High-Concept Synopsis: Medical drama about doctor Harrison Ford looking to find a cure for rare children's disease. Brendan Fraser and Keri Russell play the kid's parents.
Who Will Be Seeing It: Fans of crusading medical dramas like Lorenzo's Oil, Awakenings, and the parts of Patch Adams not involving Robin Williams (there were probably some!). People psyched by Ford's "I DRIVE A DODGE STRATUS!" delivery in the trailer.
Who Won't Be Seeing It: People who have paid to see a Harrison Ford movie in the last ten years.
Why I'd See It: I am actually a big fan of Lorenzo's Oil, but Brendan Fraser is no Nick Nolte, and Keri Russell, God love her, is no Susan Sarandon. Harrison Ford stands a puncher's chance with Peter Ustinov, though. January 22
Movie: Legion (Scott Stewart)
High-Concept Synopsis: Fallen-angel Paul Bettany arrives to save humanity from an apocalypse of angels, and save Adrianne Palicki's messiah-child in particular. Dennis Quaid, Charles S. Dutton, and Lucas Black co-star.
Who Will Be Seeing It: Fans of over-the-top Biblical-tinged apocalypse action thrillers. Anybody who's seen the bugfuck amazing trailer. People trying to develop contingency plans for every possible variety of apocalypse, even the most insanely unlikely.
Who Won't Be Seeing It: People looking for subtle, dignified filmmaking. In January.
Why I'd See It: The trailer really sold me with the over-the-top weirdness (angels! spider-like Good Humor men!). It reminds me of Constantine, which I mean as a compliment. This seems like a movie that will be nothing but good, creepy, fun times. January 22
Movie: Tooth Fairy (Michael Lembeck)
High-Concept Synopsis: The Rock plays a minor-league hockey player whose bad behavior gets him recruited to be a tooth fairy. Much like Up in the Air, it's a story of our times.
Who Will Be Seeing It: The same audiences who saw The Rock in Race to Witch Mountain and The Game Plan. Folks curious to see the once-in-a-lifetime on-screen interaction of The Rock and Julie Andrews. Hockey fans starved for on-screen representation, so much so that they'll accept Ryan Scheckler as one of their own.
Who Won't Be Seeing It: The same audiences who saw The Rock in Southland Tales. All six of us. Audiences holding out for Paul Giamatti to do a movie where he accidentally signs a contract to be the Easter Bunny, thus allowing for a triple feature with these two movies and The Santa Clause.
Why I'd See It: Look, I like The Rock just fine, and I have a weird push/pull thing with Ryan Scheckler (don't want to talk about it), but this movie is pretty clearly not for me. Happy Julie Andrews can still collect a paycheck, though. January 22
Movie: Edge of Darkness (Martin Campbell)
High-Concept Synopsis: Mel Gibson's daughter gets killed, and his Charles Bronson-style death rampage gets mixed up with an international intrigue plot, featuring Ray Winstone and Danny Huston.
Who Will Be Seeing It: Red-blooded Americans who love vengeance almost as much as they love Jew-hating, tit-sugaring, Hollywood-persecuted leading men.
Who Won't Be Seeing It: Audiences weary of the standard revenge plot. Mel-Gibson-hating PC thugs who can't stand it when a man is free enough to speak out about the invisible hand that guides everything from Hollywood to banking to U.S. foreign policy. That being lady cops.
Why I'd See It: Martin Campbell directed a dumb/fun Bond movie, and the Ray Winstone parts of the trailer suggest this won't entirely be a Dirty Harry retread. But I can't see myself paying to see Mel Gibson. January 29
Movie: When in Rome (Mark Steven Johnson)
High-Concept Synopsis: Kristen Bell plays a driven NYC type who travels to Rome an invokes some gypsy curse (or so I have gathered) that makes men fall in love with her. Romance! Comedy! Josh Duhamel!
Who Will Be Seeing It: Veronica Mars fans who have not let Kristen Bell's post-Mars movie projects sour them on her talent. Romantic comedy fans looking for the biggest fish in January's pond. The Society to Perpetuate Movie Titles Based on Cliches.
Who Won't Be Seeing It: Anyone who got burned by director Mark Steven Johnson's previous efforts Ghost Rider, Daredevil, and Simon Birch. V-Mars fans still holding on to the foolish hope that if Bell's career struggles enough, she'll come crawling back to a Mars movie.
Why I'd See It: I like Bell, and a fizzy, happy romantic comedy could be just the thing to ride out the weekend between the NFL conference championships and the Super Bowl. (What? I am a land of contrasts.) January 29
Coming soon, Part 2!