Well winter is here and what better place to keep warm than in a movie theater! The winter movie season is notorious for its flops, particularly in January and February. But sometimes we get some really nice surprises and it looks like that may be the case again. So today I’m picking out five winter releases that I am genuinely interested in and want to spread the word about. These I’ll certainly flaunt. I’m also going to pick five releases that are (from my perspective) toilet ready. These I’ll flush. It’s Flaunt It or Flush It time again.
1. THE MONUMENTS MEN (February 7, 2014) – After first hearing about this film I was immediately interested. It’s a remarkable true story and with the right cast and direction it seems perfect for the big screen. The first trailer had me second guessing my excitement but the second trailer fired me up again. Based on Robert Edsel’s book, the film tells a story unique to World War 2 and features a strong cast. George Clooney stars and directs the film which was originally set to be released in time for 2013 Oscar consideration. Being pushed to February is worrisome but not enough to ruin my excitement for this movie.
2. INSIDE LLEWYN DAVIS (December 6, 2013) – Anyone who reads this blog regularly knows that I am a big, big Coen brothers fan. So naturally I would be excited upon hearing that their new film “Inside Llewyn Davis” hits theaters this winter. Of course it’s written and directed by the brothers and stars Oscar Isaac, a really good actor who deserves more spotlight than he is usually given. It’s guaranteed to have a quirky sense of humor and a fine directing style. Let’s just hope that the 1960’s New York City folk music scene is a good enough setting for their particular style of filmmaking.
3. THE HOBBIT: THE DESOLATION OF SMAUG (December 13, 2013) – While I can’t hardly say its full title without laughing, I’m still extremely excited for the next installment in Peter Jackson’s Hobbit trilogy. The first film was a lot of fun and captured a lot of Jackson’s earlier Middle Earth magic. Yet it was never as good as any of the Lord of the Rings films. Still it left me really anxious for the next installment. I love the Middle Earth that Jackson has created for the big screen and ANYTIME I have an opportunity to go back I’m excited. Here’s hoping that he delivers another solid if not better film.
4. THE RAILWAY MAN (January 2014) – Yet another movie with connections to World War 2. In “The Railway Man” Colin Firth plays a British officer who was captured and tortured while in a Japanese P.O.W. camp. Years after the war he is still an emotional wreck. He finds out that a captor of his is still alive. He seeks his captor out thinking that confronting him may be the only way to put his past torment behind him. The trailer for this looks stunning. Firth is a fabulous actor and he’s joined by Nicole Kidman, Stellen Skarsgard, and Japanese actor Hiroyuki Sanada who I’ve always liked. This has a chance to be a truly remarkable experience.
5. OUT OF THE FURNACE (December 6, 2013) – This is a movie that has creeped up on me. I’m not sure how a movie could fly under my radar with a cast like this: Christian Bale, Casey Affleck, Woody Harrelson, Forest Whitacker, Sam Shepard, and Willem DaFoe. Set in the economically strained Rust Belt, Bale and Affleck play brothers, one of whom gets caught up in a brutal crime ring and the other who sets out to help him. The trailer looks very good and it looks as though director Scott Cooper has created an intense environment and setting. I’m really hoping that “Out of the Furnace” delivers.
1. BEST NIGHT EVER (January 31, 2014) – Ok, tell me if you’ve heard this before – a group of friends go to Las Vegas for a one-night bachelorette party but things get wild and completely out of control. I mean how many times do we have to see this? The all female cast embraces this current trend of showing that they can be as stupid, sleazy, and juvenile as men. This is another of those raunchy comedies loaded with profanity, sex, nudity and all of the other formulaic crap that seems to dominate the comedy genre today. This thing looks pathetic and while I wouldn’t be surprised if it attracts an audience, I can guarantee you I won’t be a part of it. Lame.
2. A MADEA CHRISTMAS (December 13, 2013) – Maybe I haven’t tried hard enough but I just can’t get into these Madea movies. They pretty much hit the same note every time and there is no reason to think “A Madea Christmas” will be any different. Tyler Perry has certainly hit a gold mine directing, writing, and starring in these films. There will be plenty of people who go to this for the Madea name and others who will go because it’s a Christmas movie. Perry knows a cash in when he sees one. I can see “A Madea Christmas” doing good at the box office but it looks like a flusher through and through for me.
3. GRUDGE MATCH (December 25, 2013) – I would love to be excited about a movie that puts Robert De Niro and Sylvester Stallone together. But after seeing the trailer for “Grudge Match” several times now, let’s just say this isn’t the movie I would prefer. The two screen legends play retired boxers who never got along in their prime and have held grudges since. The old guys are persuaded to go at it one more time, blah blah blah. I can see it now, tons of old and out of shape gags and a happy, feel good ending. It looks silly, predictable, and utterly forgettable. Who knows, maybe “Grudge Match” will surprise. I don’t see it.
4. JUSTIN BIEBER’S BELIEVE (December 25, 2013) – Look, I know this pick is too easy and too obvious but I just couldn’t leave it off the list. Normally I would just cast something like this aside knowing that most readers would know its flush status without me mentioning it. But the Bieb’s first film brought in nearly $100 million! So consider this a public service announcement. This sequel promises to be more of the same. Expect this annoying little ulcer to prance around, pose, and belt his teeth-grinding lyrics to a horde of screaming young teens. I don’t know about you, but I don’t see myself sitting through 90 minutes of that!
5. VAMPIRE ACADEMY (February 14, 2013) – Sigh…here we go again. Look, I know this is based on a best-selling novel and I know that I’m not the target audience. But I’m also not the target audience for “The Hunger Games” yet it’s at least entertaining. “Vampire Academy” looks awful and I can’t help but think this is another example of Hollywood milking a current fad dry. I say current fad but are vampires as big as they were a few years back? “Twilight”, “True Blood” – all of these soapy vampire shows and flicks have run their course but that doesn’t stop Hollywood. How I miss the days of Nosferatu!