Weekend Movie Preview (1.7.11)

The 2011 movie slate is about to commence and while a delayed Nic Cage film doesn’t exactly trumpet in the new year, I’m highly optimistic for 2011, especially from a blockbuster standpoint. For now, however, we’ve got medieval period sorcery action and another rehabbing country star musical drama.

New This Week

Season of the Witch

Directed by Dominic Sena
Written by Bragi F. Schut
Starring: Nicolas Cage, Ron Perlman, Claire Foy

The Word: Cage and Sena (“Gone in Sixty Seconds”) re-team 10 years later only instead of boosting cars, they’re transporting those England has deemed witches. Cage stars as a crusader who comes home to the Black Plague. Believing sorcery responsible, he’s been commanded to bring a woman believed to be such to an abbey in hopes that a ritual will end the plague. When they arrive, all hell breaks loose.

Rotten Tomatoes: 3% (awful)

My Thoughts: Apparently this film has been on the back-burner since last spring, which isn’t the least bit surprising. Cage will act in just about anything. Wigging it up this time with the long locks, this one’s bound to be one of his “off” movies and will need to seek redemption in the form of CGI and mayhem most likely.

Recommendation: Isn’t there a drama someone’s been raving about that you haven’t seen yet?

Country Strong

Written and Directed by Shana Feste
Starring: Gwyneth Paltrow, Tim McGraw, Garrett Hedlund, Leighton Meester

The Word: When “subbing” on “Glee,” Gwyneth Paltrow showed off her vocal skills and it served as the perfect marketing for her vocal-driven role in this familiar rehabbing country star drama. Filmmaker Shana Feste,  made last year’s winter indie drama “The Greatest.” She’s on the rise, but early buzz for “Country Strong” has not been.

Rotten Tomatoes: 17% (horrible)

My Thoughts: Good soundtrack? Maybe, but I can see all the same scenes from “Crazy Heart” and “Walk the Line” coming up all over again, just played out with a woman.

Recommendation: This film will likely not be long for theaters, so if you can stick out your urge for country music until the DVD, that’s advised.

Box Office Predictions

January films either tend to outdo expectations or fall flat. “Season of the Witch” will like lean toward the falling flat, but without any competition and a healthy distribution to more than 2,800 theaters, it should land in the top five.

First things first, however, True Grit will definitely take the box office away from Little Fockers this week. They were neck and neck last week and “Fockers” will not have anywhere near the staying power.

Third is where Season of the Witch comes in. I think somewhere between $10-12 million fairly balances the lack of competition with the horrendous reviews. If it underperforms at all, however, Tron: Legacy will be right there.

The dramas have been creeping up to the point where I want to choose one, but I’ve no idea which, so I’m going to slide down last week’s no. 4, Yogi Bear.

1. True Grit
2. Little Fockers
3. Season of the Witch
4. Tron: Legacy
5. Yogi Bear


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