2009 Winter Movie Preview: February
Coraline (February 6)
Stop-motion animation enters the 3-D era, courtesy of director Henry Selick ("The Nightmare Before Christmas") and Neil Gaiman (who wrote the novel Selick adapted for the screen). As you'd expect for a Gaiman story, "Coraline" is going to be too intense for the young ones -- Jesus, just take a look at those black button eyes -- but it's bound to offer plenty of adorably dark entertainment for the rest of us. Take the goth girl in your life and thank us later.
Friday the 13th (February 13)
The reboot/remake/reimagining tsunami reaches the iconic hockey mask-wearing scourge of Crystal Lake, drenching him in a wave of Michael Bay-produced, 21st-century T&A. The good news: It's bound to be better than latter-day "Friday" installments such as "Jason Goes to Manhattan." The bad news? It isn't going to be anywhere near as lovably low- budget as the original -- and with over two decades between us and the shock of the final act of the first "Friday the 13th," you know this one isn't going to pack the same kind of payoff that it had before. Still, it's bound to boast the highest jiggle quotient of the winter's major releases, and that just might be worth the price of a matinee ticket.
Youth in Revolt (February 20)
Nick Twisp, the girl-crazy protagonist of C.D. Payne's cult classic novels, reaches the big screen in the form of slacker teen du jour Michael Cera (who receives co- screenwriting credit, along with Gustin Nash and director Miguel Arteta). It's a Weinstein picture, which usually means protracted delays and horrible behind-the-scenes drama, but Cera's hipster buzz might be enough to get "Youth in Revolt" into theaters with a minimum of fuss. The February release is a little troubling, but between Cera's involvement and a supporting cast that includes Ray Liotta, Jean Smart, and M. Emmet Walsh, this looks like one of the safest bets of the season.
Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun Li (February 27)
In a perfect world, the everlasting stench of the 1995 "Street Fighter" movie -- which killed Jean-Claude Van Damme's career, and may very well have killed Raul Julia -- would be enough to keep subsequent adaptations of the evergreen fighting game off the screen forever. This isn't a perfect world, however, and Kristin Kreuk's agent is a bad person; the proof, chop-socking into theaters February 27, is "The Legend of Chun Li." We know it's going to be bad...but will it be so bad it's good? Cross your fingers.