With all of movie-world focused on the Golden Globes, the Oscars and the never-ending Lindsay Lohan saga, some of the new releases may get lost in the shuffle. And, while nobody’s premiering next year’s Oscar favorite this month, there are plenty of new releases on the horizon. Here is a look at some of the most interesting entries on the schedule, some of which may even be good, maybe even unironically good.
First, some unfinished business from last year.
• Country Strong, which features Gwyneth Paltrow as a country singer trying to make a comeback, opened in limited, Oscar-eligible release a few days before Christmas but opens wide this Friday, Jan. 7. (The local press screening is scheduled for the evening of Jan. 6. Hmmm.)
• Blue Valentine, the no-longer-rated-NC-17 drama about a failing marriage starring Michelle Williams and current It-boy Ryan Gosling, also opened in some places in 2010 but opens in Boston this Friday, Jan. 7. Red River Theatres in Concord has it on the “coming soon” list along with other late-year releases Rabbit Hole (Nicole Kidman, Aaron Eckhart) and Somewhere (writer/director Sofia Coppola’s latest film), both of which are currently screening in Boston. Another Year (writer/director Mike Leigh’s latest film) and the animated film The Illusionist, two other movies you may have seen on end-of-the-year best lists and in award nominations, are also scheduled to play at Red River “soon.”
And now, for some actual 2011 releases (as currently scheduled; all of this could change if, like, James Cameron finds another four minutes of blue-cat-people sex and re-releases Avatar again):
• The Green Hornet Let’s skip discussion of Nicolas Cage’s Season of the Witch (a horror movie, probably in both senses, scheduled for release this Friday) and that Vince Vaughn/Kevin James buddy comedy thing (The Dilemma; opening Jan. 14) and jump to next week and the Seth Rogen-fronted The Green Hornet. Cameron Diaz, Tom Wilkinson and Christoph Waltz also appear. Kato is played by Jay Chou (who seems very likeable from the trailers). Evan Goldberg co-wrote the movie with Rogen (the two wrote Superbad together as well), and Michel Gondry (Be Kind Rewind and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind) directs.
• The Mechanic Jason Statham plays an assassin — yay! Opens on Friday, Jan. 28.
• The Rite Anthony Hopkins stars in some exorcism-focused bit of potential cheese-food also opening on Friday, Jan. 28.
• The Roommate Leighton Meester, who should be able to get better work than this, plays a disturbed-looking college freshman in a horror film about getting a super creepy roommate, scheduled to open on Friday, Feb. 4.
• Gnomeo & Juliet It’s the Shakespeare classic but animated and with garden gnomes (FYI to high school students looking to get out of an English assignment: there are no gnomes in the original play). Opens on Friday, Feb. 11.
• Just Go With It Manchester’s own Adam Sandler stars in this romantic comedy (there has to be one the weekend before Valentine’s Day). Sandler plays a single guy whose “in” with the ladies is to pretend to be stuck in a bad marriage but who has to take the charade much farther when he finds a woman he wants to spend more than just one night with. Opens Feb. 11.
• Justin Bieber: Never Say Never As with Miley Cyrus and Jonas Brothers movies before it, this concert film is in 3-D. Parents of girls under 11 years old, buy your shriek-dampening ear plugs now. Opens Feb. 11.
• I Am Number Four Media junkies will recognize the name of this movie from a New York magazine story about James Frey (the guy broken into a million little pieces by Oprah) and his new outfit, Full Fathom Five, which is attempting to generate blockbuster young adult novels. The book (of the same name) this movie is based on spent five weeks on the children’s chapter book New York Times Bestseller list, according to Wikipedia. Will all this add up to a Twilight-like phenomenon? We’ll see on Feb. 18.
• Unknown Taken gave us a reason to go to the theater in February a few years ago. Its lead, Liam Neeson, stars in this movie about a man who awakens from an accident to find that another man has stepped into his identity. Opens on Feb. 18.
• Drive Angry 3D It’s another Nicolas Cage film! “Hell already is walking the earth.” Cage plays a dead man (with certain supernatural powers, of course, like, ability to walk around) looking for vengeance. Muscle cars and shoot-outs will keep you warm on Friday, Feb. 25.
• Hall Pass Another entry in the The Hangover genre of dude comedy: a man is give a free pass by his wife to engage in some bachelor-like debauchery for one week. The Farrelly brothers write and direct. Opens on Feb. 25.