*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.
Previously: Part 1
Movie: Dear John (Lasse Hallstrom)
High-Concept Synopsis: Romantic drama with Amanda Seyfried and Channing Tatum torn apart by The War, but united by Her Letters. Why yes, it DOES sound a lot like a Nicholas Sparks book, in fact.
Who Will Be Seeing It: People looking for the next The Notebook, which this is clearly aspiring to be. Well-meaning individuals who might want an hour and a half of staring at pretty people like Amanda Seyfried and Channing "Ain't Nothing Wrong With That" Tatum. Fans of 1980s Judd Hirsch sitcoms who choose their movies based solely on the title.
Who Won't Be Seeing It: People looking to avoid the next A Walk to Remember, which this movie is one vaguely-defined illness away from being. People who allow their pride to keep them from enjoying Channing Tatum for what he is. People who tried to remember the last time Lasse Hallstrom directed a good movie, got a headache, popped an Advil, and took a nap.
Why I'd See It: I'm a huge Amanda Seyfried fan, and my historic position in favor of looking at Channing Tatum remains unchanged. Whether I'll see it in a theater or reserve it for a lazy HBO Saturday morning type of affair remains to be seen. February 5
Movie: From Paris With Love (Pierre Morel)
High-Concept Synopsis: Diplomat Jonathan Rhys-Meyers gets caught up in spy-type John Travolta's terrorism-fighting effort. Car chases, yelling, and spectacularly misguided choices in facial hair ensue.
Who Will Be Seeing It: People who use phrases like "high octane" to describe the action movies they like. People drawn to the film based on the "story by Luc Besson" credit. People who enjoy laughing their asses off, particularly when Loud Travolta is involved.
Who Won't Be Seeing It: Uptight prudes who won't see a movie simply because it looks "terrible." People who check out all the crap Luc Besson has written throughout his career. People unclear as to what the movie is about...
Why I'd See It: IT'S ABOUT TERRORISM! Honestly, I haven't seen a trailer make a movie look this hilariously awful in a long, long time. Not only does Travolta have it dialed up to eleven, his goatee has it dialed up to TWELVE, and JRM is somehow having a delayed reaction to being in a Woody Allen movie five years ago by playing his character here as a nebbishy Jew. I don't know. It all looks amazing. February 5
Movie: Frozen (Adam Green)
High-Concept Synopsis: Three young snowboarders (including Kevin Zegers and Shawn Ashmore) get stranded on a chairlift at a ski resport that somehow isn't open during the week. So they're gonna have to escape somehow.
Who Will Be Seeing It: Fans of buzzy, novel horror plots. People looking forward to showering Ashmore with "What's the matter, Iceman, I thought you liked the cold!" taunts. People who knew anybody in college who regularly went skiing and might possibly be interested in seeing them die in horrifyingly inventive ways.
Who Won't Be Seeing It: People who remember another "it could so easily happen to you" horror offering, Open Water, and worry this one will end up super boring as well. People who knew anybody in college who regularly went skiing and wouldn't even take an hour and a half out of their day to watch them die horribly.
Why I'd See It: I'm a total sucker for horror movies with such seemingly mundane premises, and the trailer for this already shows more things happening than happened in all of Open Water. February 5
Movie: Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief (Chris Columbus)
High-Concept Synopsis: Kids learns he's the actual son of Posiedon, gets caught up in a battle among the gods, shoulders the pressure of 20th Century Fox really, REALLY wanting a youth-centered movie franchise.
Who Will Be Seeing It: The same people who see all the Harry Potter movies (FOX hopes). The same people saw the first Chronicles of Narnia movie (FOX hopes). Otherwise skeptical people who nevertheless can't quite resist some of the casting (Sean Bean as Zeus, Uma Thurman as Medusa, Rosario Dawson as Persephone, Kevin McKidd as Posiedon, Steve Coogan as Hades, Pierce Brosnan as Chiron, whoever that is).
Who Won't Be Seeing It: The same people who didn't see Eragon, Cirque du Freak, and all those other failed attempts at young-adult franchise making. People who remember the last Chris Columbus movie was I Love You, Beth Cooper. People who realize the cast list isn't uniformly intriguing (Melina Kanakaredes as Athena??).
Why I'd See It: I'm a sucker for Greek myth, and this seems like a novel, literate subject for a prospective kiddie cash-grubber. February 12
Click below for monster movies, festival darlings, and one or more hospitals for the criminally insane...
Movie: Valentine's Day (Garry Marshall)
High-Concept Synopsis: Multi-character, "love is all around" feel-good holiday drama in the Love, Actually mode, this time with Garry Marshall at the helm.
Who Will Be Seeing It: People who look at the cast list and see names like Julia Roberts, Jennifer Garner, Anne Hathaway, Topher Grace, Bradley Cooper, Shirley MacLaine, Ashton Kutcher, and Taylor Lautner.
Who Won't Be Seeing It: People who look at the cast list and see names like Jessica Alba, Jessica Biel, Jamie Foxx, Drs. McDreamy and McSteamy, and Taylor Swift.
Why I'd See It: Look, whatever, I'm not proud. I'm under no illusions that Garry Marshall can do the Love, Actually thing better than Richard Curtis, but I am physiologically incapable of looking at that many actors I like in one movie and not going to see it. This movie is why God created Embarrassing Movie Wednesdays. February 12
Movie: The Wolfman (Joe Johnston)
High-Concept Synopsis: Universal takes the old-school approach to the monster movie, with Benicio Del Toro as a Victorian nobleman who discovers to his horror that the full moon does some weird shit to his system, man. Anthony Hopkins, Emily Blunt, and Hugo Weaving co-star.
Who Will Be Seeing It: Fans of surprisingly venerable action-adventure director Johnson, who's never made anything classic but has notable hits going all the way back to Honey, I Shrunk the Kids in 1989. Old-school monster movie enthusiasts looking to rinse the taste of Van Helsing from their mouths. Taylor Lautner fans who will be HILARIOUSLY disappointed that all werewolves don't look like ripped teen gods.
Who Won't Be Seeing It: People who think Benicio Del Toro is hard enough to understand before his mouth gets all crowded with giant canine teeth. People who take a closer look at Joe Johnston's CV and spot Jurassic Park III and The Rocketeer. People who need their werewolves either mooning over depressed girls or bathed in blue light.
Why I'd See It: I'm not entirely sure this kind of cool, Victorian take on the werewolf story is a good fit for Joe Johnston, but I'm interested to see what works. The trailer boasts some beautiful looking imagery, though, and I'm kind of really excited by what appears to be a completely over-the-top Anthony Hopkins. February 12
Movie: Shutter Island (Martin Scorsese)
High-Concept Synopsis: 1950s U.S. Marshall Leonardo DiCaprio investigates the disappearance of a patient from a hospital ... for the criminally insane. Mark Ruffalo, Patricia Clarkson, Ben Kingsley, Max Von Sydow, Michelle Williams, Emily Mortimer, and Jackie Earle Haley co-star.
Who Will Be Seeing It: Scorsese fans who like the Cape Fear style gaudiness of the film's premise, look, and outrageously thick accents. Fans of big casts full of incredibly talented actors, even the ones suffering from Avian Bone Syndrome. People who have been looking for a good haunted-asylum story, and all things being equal, will probably see a Martin Scorsese movie over Ghost Hunters.
Who Won't Be Seeing It: Scorsese fans who don't exactly relish when he strays from morally compromised gangsters. People worried about the lack of "Gimmie Shelter" in the trailer. People too incapacitated by laughter at the insane New England accents to get out to the movies.
Why I'd See It: The more I think about it, the more the non-Scorsese-ness of this movie appeals to me. It could be totally awful or kind of crackheadedly awesome. And that goes double for DiCaprio with that hambone performance he's giving, per the trailer ("We ahh DOOley appointed federal MAHshalls"). It so rarely feels like he's having fun up there, so this'll be new. February 19
Movie: A Prophet (Jacques Audiard)
High-Concept Synopsis: A French prison story about a young Muslim man who gets caught up in the mob.
Who Will Be Seeing It: The Cannes crowd. The Indie Spirit crowd. People who have followed the ecstatic reviews calling it the new Godfather and whatnot.
Who Won't Be Seeing It: People who used similar reason to go see Gomorrah and are STILL drowsy over it.
Why I'd See It: I trust the people who saw it and loved it, and I do so like to be up and current on the latest snooty Cannes offerings. February 26
Movie: The Ghost Writer (Roman Polanski)
High-Concept Synopsis: Ewan McGregor is hired to ghost-write the memoirs of former British P.M. Pierce Brosnan. But then there are secrets! And scandals! And paranoia! Kim Cattrall, Olivia Williams, and Tom Wilkinson co-star.
Who Will Be Seeing It: Fans of keeping art and morality/legality in separate compartments. Fans of Polanski, whose artistic output is about the only thing about him that's unimpeachable. Fans of casts full of distinguished Brits ... and Kim Cattrall.
Who Won't Be Seeing It: Strict moralists, not-so-strict-moralists, and people who are generally pretty permissive but still don't feel so keen about lining Polanski's pockets. People frightened away by Cattrall's attempt at a British accent. People who sit down and try to figure out when was the last time Ewan McGregor made a good movie (it depends on how you felt about Cassandra's Dream, Big Fish, or Down with Love; that in itself is kind of a damning statement in and of itself).
Why I'd See It: The Polanski thing is going to be an issue with people -- certainly moreso than when he was standing behind a noble Holocaust drama. Me, I'm more of a compartmentalization guy. Fact of the matter is, with two such uninspiring leads as Brosnan and McGregor, Polanski is the reason I would see this. Don't tell Jezebel. February 26
Next up: Part 3!