Movie previews for January 2011

By Michael Vass | January 5, 2011

Like always, January is the trash bin of the movie industry. Films that have little hope of commercial success fill theaters trying to grab a few dollars from thsoe not completely burdened by bills from the Christmas season. In 2011 we have films with flash, revisioning, and stars but lacking quality.

There is at the top of the list of movies to forget, the revision of the television classic Green Hornet. Trailers have been pouring out for months on this stylized retelling of the Batman theme. The draw are of course the gadgets and the car. But sadly the film is filled with what passes for dialogue and the attempts at acting by Seth Rogen and Jay Chou. Were this comedy-action film actually capable of any mirth it would have been slated for a timeslot far close to the sumer blockbuster season. But our opinion remains the same as when we first previewed the movie. Avoid it until its free on cable, and then still think twice.

Following up Green Hornet is the equally abysmal No Strings Attached. The film is squarely targeting the tween to 20-something age group that believes sexting is the equivalent of a relationship. The flawed premise of the film is directly equal to the ability of Aston Kutcher to lead the film. Why Natalie Portman agreed to the film is likely tied to the amount of money she was paid for the film.

Honestly, if this film had any connection to romance beyond the copious amounts of ambiguous sex implied it would have a timeslot in February if not on Valentine’s Day. Instead this throwaway film is just another attempt to justify the so-called film career of Demi Moore’s boyfriend.

The Mechanic is another remake, this time of a Charles Bronson and Jan Michael Vincent film of the same name from the 1970′s. The premise remains that a new assassin is being trained by an older one. But the star power is amped up, as are the explosions. The storyline is heavily revisioned, to seem new to a generation unaware of the original film.

Jason Statham is secure in his position as the reigning action star of the early 21st Century. Ben Foster, who is probably best remembered in his role in the forgetable Alpha Dog or perhaps in the widely unseen Pandorum, tries for his shot at wider noteriety. But the film is exactly what you expect from the movie trailer. Explosions, bullets, dead bodies. The key to this film is that of the original film, will the protege usurp the teacher in the end. Considering the timeslot and revisions to the main plot, this key element is likely to be removed – also deleting the twist ending that gave the original such a sweet conclusion.

In a rare departure from the ususal refuse of mainstream films flooding January, there is the independent film Barney’s Version. Based on the 1997 book by Mordecai Richler, the film stars the talented and indie favorite Paul Giamatti. Also in the film are Dustin Hoffman, Minnie Driver, and Scott Speedman (of Underworld success).

The film is a drama, with intrigue and comedy. It encompasses Paris and Canada as a backdrop to a story of a life not ordianary, but not quite accurate either. This slower paced and far more intellectual film likely was placed in January because marketing departments couldn’t figure out how to package the film for American audiences, or to make it compete with other more action oriented films later in the year.

The film has already garnered 4 nominations – Golden Globe, Satellite Awards, and 2 London Film Critics Circle Awards.

Lastly there is the very original Ong Bak 3. Unlike traditional sequels of Hollywood, the Ong Bak films have traversed time and plot. The 3rd film in the series, still featuring the incredible skill of Tony Jaa, takes another turn this time incorperating a touch of the supernatural. This installment does pick up where Ong Bak 2 left off, but it does not give up any of the martial arts devestation that has made the prior films a hit.

Ong Bak 3 is a niche film, with a huge fan base for Tony Jaa. If you have seen the prior 2 films, the 3rd will be just what you’ve been waiting for. For those that are not fans of martial arts films, or films from outside the U.S. and England, you don’t know what you are missing.

Here is the English version of the movie trailer.

That raps up January for the most part. The fare from Hollywood is mostly useless trash, with independent films and Thailand being the standouts worth watching. Febrary should be quite interesting.

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Topics: Movie Previews and Reviews | 3 Comments »

3 Responses to “Movie previews for January 2011”

  1. DBoyF

    Not going to lie, I am a little disappointed with the movies for Jan 2011, especially with The Green Hornet. All the movie was was a bunch of special effects with some comedy between the two main characters. I just saw a South African romance/comedy version of the hangover and I thought it was 10 times funnier than the Green Hornet. I highly recommend it to anyone who is in need of a good laugh and a rest from high grossing studio films.

  2. Anon

    Actually I thought green hornet was a good movie a bit slow at first turned out to be good the guy that played kato was especially good could of used a better actor for green hornet though 1 out of 10 I give it a 6 1/2.

  3. Ken Falke

    There’s a murder mystery in both the book and movie versions of Barney’s Version. Let me solve the movie’s mystery — Giamatti kills Richler’s Barney. -Ken Falke

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