2011 Fall Movie Preview: January
Season of the Witch (January 7)
Nicolas Cage continues his portfolio-fattening run of action flicks with “Season of the Witch,” a medieval-set adventure thriller about a pair of returning Crusaders who stagger back from the war to discover their homeland ravaged by the plague -- and are charged by their town elders with transporting a suspected witch to a faraway land. The January 7 release date doesn’t inspire confidence, but if you’re jonesing for mystical derring-do and CGI set pieces, where else are you going to turn?
The Dilemma (January 14)
Well, that was fast: 2011’s first bromance comedy arrives just 14 days into the year, in the form of Ron Howard’s “The Dilemma,” in which a pair of lifelong pals (Vince Vaughn and Kevin James) find their friendship tested when one guy catches the other’s wife out with another man. Moderately heavy stuff for a Kevin James laffer, but if the brouhaha over the juvenile gay joke in the trailer is any indication, Allan Loeb’s script will keep things dependably lowbrow in spite of the subject matter -- not to mention a talented supporting cast that includes Jennifer Connelly, Winona Ryder, and Queen Latifah.
The Green Hornet (January 14)
After years of delays, cast and crew turnover, and gleefully toxic buzz from the online film community, the Seth Rogen-led “Green Hornet” update finally arrives in theaters. It’s certainly debatable whether modern audiences can be bothered to care about a character whose TV heyday ended in the late ‘60s, but Rogen’s passion for the source material is obvious, and even though this is being dumped in the icy January graveyard, we’re curious to see director Michel Gondry’s take on the 3D action genre. After everything Rogen has gone through to get “The Green Hornet” made, it’d be nice to see him turn it into a hit.
No Strings Attached (January 21)
No Strings Attached “No Strings Attached” has two major strikes against it (Ashton Kutcher stars, and it’s a romantic comedy), but we’re still intrigued. Why? For starters, it was directed by Ivan Reitman, who’s been known to crank out a classic comedy when the mood strikes him -- and then there’s the rest of the cast, which includes Kevin Kline, Greta Gerwig, and Natalie Portman as the commitment-phobic yin to Kutcher’s horndog yang. In the mood yet?
The Mechanic (January 28)
Yes, it’s another hard-boiled actioner from Jason Statham, the guy whose movie titles are usually as short and simple as his haircut. But who else is making shoot ‘em ups this gleefully violent (or unapologetically basic)? This time around, Statham plays a skilled assassin whose quest to avenge his slain mentor is complicated when the slain man’s son (Ben Foster) demands to join in the fun. Think of it as a double testosterone spin on “The Professional,” minus a chunk of the acting talent, and you’re on the bullet-riddled right track.