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The January 2009 Movie Preview

by Dave Thomas
Deepika-Padukone_1_800x600.jpg
Chandni Chowk To China

Hope you like horror. Let me rephrase that. Hope you like crappy horror.

January 9

BRIDE WARS

WHAT'S THE PITCH?
Kate Hudson and Anne Hathaway battle to see who's the most popular actress, I mean, to see who gets a popular wedding venue.

WILL IT SUCK?
Gary Winick has done all right since Tadpole (13 Going on 30, Charlotte's Web) though one of the writers co-wrote Saving Silverman. The other writers worked on the American version of Creature Comforts, which wasn't bad. Likely outcome is meh.

HOW WELL WILL IT DO?
No competition from the week before since Hollywood is giving up on movies that weekend, and no romcoms for miles after. $47mil.

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THE UNBORN

WHAT'S THE PITCH?
Unborn twin vs. born twin.

WILL IT SUCK?
Wins the award for most problematic one sheet. Are you trying to titillate me or scare me because when you're talking about evil unborn ghost fetuses you can't do both. David S. Goyer writes, which can be a very good thing (The Dark Knight) but he also directs which hasn't worked out so well (The Invisible, Blade: Trinity). And how did Gary Oldman end up in this mishigas?

HOW WELL WILL IT DO?
There's a lot of horror this month and the only thing this has to distinguish itself is going first. $36mil.

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NOT EASILY BROKEN

WHAT'S THE PITCH?
Trials and tribulations of a married couple (Morris Chesnut & Taraji P. Henson).

WILL IT SUCK?
Nice to see Bill Duke back in the director's chair, though I'm biased cos' he totally hooked me up on a project I worked on a ways back. Based on a novel by T.D. Jakes (Woman Thou Art Loosed), so if you're a fan, you'll probably like it fine.

HOW WELL WILL IT DO?
I'd say that Tyler Perry proved that religious themed movies about everyday African Americans can make bank except that T.D. Jakes did that already with Woman Thou Art Loosed. $7mil.

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YONKERS JOE

WHAT'S THE PITCH?
Guy tries to win money for his disabled son by cheating at craps in Vegas.

WILL IT SUCK?
Early buzz is mixed. Unless you're really excited about Chazz Palminteri or Christine Lahti (or really quick dice changes) I'm not sure you should get psyched.

HOW WELL WILL IT DO?
Not much competition. Well, except for all those Oscar hopefuls no one had time to see during the holidays. $1mil.

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January 16
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MyBloodyValentine.jpg

MY BLOODY VALENTINE 3-D

WHAT'S THE PITCH?
Slasher remake in 3-D.

WILL IT SUCK?
Not only did director Patrick Lussier helm Dracula 2000, he also knocked out it's two straight-to-DVD sequels, and White Noise 2 and The Prophecy 3, so those are kind of horror remakes, right? Speaking of horror sequels, one of the writers penned Jason X and is handling the Messengers sequel (oh, yes, there will be a Messengers sequel).

HOW WELL WILL IT DO?
I don't think the 3-D gimmick is going to put asses in seats, but maybe Jensen Ackles will. $37mil.

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NOTORIOUS

WHAT'S THE PITCH?
Notorous B.I.G. bio-pic.

WILL IT SUCK?
From director George Tillman Jr. (Soul Food, Men of Honor). This does not concern me. One of the co-writers wrote Biker Boyz. He also wrote Get on the Bus. But he wrote Biker Boyz. This concerns me. (The other writer is credited with the 2nd Annual Vibe Awards.)

Good cast though, with Anthony Mackie as 2Pac, Derek Luke as Puffy and Angela Basset as Ma Bigge.

HOW WELL WILL IT DO?
I'd like to think this will be a sleeper hit, but my gut tells me otherwise. $23mil.

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HOTEL FOR DOGS

WHAT'S THE PITCH?
Kids start their own little SPCA.

WILL IT SUCK?
Writers have worked on The Drew Carey Show and the surprisingly good Sky High, so there's hope. My favorite little factoid about this film, though, is that it's based on a novel by the same woman who wrote the novel I Know What You Did Last Summer.

HOW WELL WILL IT DO?
Has to deal with Inkheart next week and a little bit of Mall Cop this week, but this has dogs. $33mil.

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PAUL BLART: MALL COP

WHAT'S THE PITCH?
Die Chubby

WILL IT SUCK?
Let me list you the offenses of director Steve Carr: Next Friday, Dr. Dolittle 2, Daddy Day Care, Rebound, Are We Done Yet?

HOW WELL WILL IT DO?
Busy weekend. This will be a strong test of Kevin James' ability to open a film without a major star to play off of. $26mil.

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CHANDI CHOWK TO CHINA

WHAT'S THE PITCH?
Hey, you got your kung fu in my Bollywood musical! You got your Bollywood musical in my kung fu!

WILL IT SUCK?
I'm not going to pretend to know fuck-all about Bollywood, but I know a thing or two about kung fu cinema, and the fact that they've got Gordon Liu up in here tells me they're keeping that side real. Trailer looks spectacular, except for that banana peel gag.

HOW WELL WILL IT DO?
No real competition. Might be able to tap into the Stephen Chow crowd. And straight-up Bollywood musicals have been doing better and better in the states. $4mil.

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January 23
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INKHEART

WHAT'S THE PITCH?
Kind of like Bedtime Stories, but more action-y.

WILL IT SUCK?
Early buzz is good. Impressive given that Iain Softley has directed mostly meh fare (K-PAX, The Skeleton Key) and writer David Lindsay-Abaire co-penned the miserable Robots. This gives me hope, however, since he's also penning Spidey 4.

HOW WELL WILL IT DO?
Has to deal with what will likely be a formidable second frame of Hotel for Dogs, but not much else. $36mil.

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UNDERWORLD: RISE OF THE LYCANS

WHAT'S THE PITCH?
Underworld: Backstory

WILL IT SUCK?
Even though Len Wiseman, who helmed the first two, has moved on to Die Hard and such, he still had a hand in the story and Undervet Danny McBride (not that one) had a hand in the screenplay, so we should see some consistency, for better or worse. One thing I can say is that they're finally focusing on what, for my money, are the series best assets: Bill Nighy and Michael Sheen.

HOW WELL WILL IT DO?
The introduction of Rhona Mitra is only going to make up so much for a lack of Kate Beckinsale. $44mil.

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POSSESSION

WHAT'S THE PITCH?
Woman's husband switches bodies with his brother. Or does he?

WILL IT SUCK?
Here's a shock: this supernatural thriller is a remake of an Asian horror film (Korean in this case). And it stars Sarah Michelle Gellar! Actually, I'm kind of curious to see how Lee Pace does as a heavy, and it's nice to hear CSM's (William B. Davis) gravelly baritone again, but the fact that this was adapted by the same guy who adapted Queen of the Damned kind of blows that all to hell. Early buzz is mixed.

HOW WELL WILL IT DO?
Gellar hasn't opened a thriller since 2004. And there are a lot of thrillers this month. $16mil.

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KILLSHOT

WHAT'S THE PITCH?
Hitmen Mickey Rourke and Joseph Gordon-Levitt vs. cute couple Diane Lane and Thomas Jane.

WILL IT SUCK?
Given the film's crappy production and distribution history, early buzz is remarkably good. Considered director John Madden's (Shakespeare in Love, Proof) best by IMDB users.

HOW WELL WILL IT DO?
Will try to capitalize on Mickey Rourke's Wrestler fame. Will fail. $2mil.

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donkey-punch.jpg

DONKEY PUNCH

WHAT'S THE PITCH?
Debauchery gone wrong on a yacht turns everybody all kill-y. Those of you with access to Wikipedia or an advanced knowledge of sex slang can guess where things take a turn.

WILL IT SUCK?
Early buzz is mixed.

HOW WELL WILL IT DO?
With all the mainstream horror going on, it seems unlikely indie horror will get much notice. $1mil.

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January 30
--------------------------------------

THE UNINVITED

WHAT'S THE PITCH?
Remake of another Asian horror film where ghosts try to warn people about some shit.

WILL IT SUCK?
The only thing making this stand out from any other horror this month is the big name studio (Dreamworks) and the big name supporting cast (David Strathairn, Elizabeth Banks). And for those paying close attention, this is at least based on a relatively well-regarded Korean horror film, A Tale of Two Sisters.

HOW WELL WILL IT DO?
First, they need to stop showing the trailer back to back with The Unborn (actually saw it happen). Next they need to release it in a month that hasn't already had three horror movies in as many weeks. $18mil.

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TAKEN

WHAT'S THE PITCH?
Former spy (Liam Neeson) takes on slavers who've kidnapped his daughter (Maggie Grace).

WILL IT SUCK?
Early buzz is split. Critics are taking a love it/hate it stance whereas audiences think it's the best thing Luc Besson's written since The Professional. For me, I'm just psyched to see director Pierre Morel's follow up to the fabulous Banlieue 13.

HOW WELL WILL IT DO?
A bit of popcorn competition from Pink Panther 2 and Push the following week, but the bigger problem is that getting a wide buy-in to hardcore action flicks without A-list stars is notoriously difficult. $11mil.

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NEW IN TOWN

WHAT'S THE PITCH?
Ha! Ha! Minnesotans are funny! They're not like city folk!

WILL IT SUCK?
The headline says it all.

HOW WELL WILL IT DO?
Renee Zellweger hasn't opened a romcom since 2001. I don't think this will change that. $22mil.

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THE CLASS

WHAT'S THE PITCH?
To Monsieur, With Love

WILL IT SUCK?
Probably one of the best reviewed films of the year. Won the Palm D'Or at Cannes. Is France's submission for a Best Foreign Oscar.

HOW WELL WILL IT DO?
Given the strong ad campaign, lack of competition and likely Oscar nod, quite well. $6mil.

Next Month: ZOMG!!! Jonas Brothers in 3-D!!!!

Comments

I got invited to the premiere of Chandi Chowk to China- I won't pretend to know fuck-all about Bollywood either, but it was a lot of fun, and some of the dancing and fight sequences where really great.

Great discussion of upcoming movies. I have written a page at http://www.squidoo.com/hotelfordogs about Hotel For Dogs a movie that I am looking forward to seeing.

Brenda

Today is my birthday, so I'm watching The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.

Will it suck?

I really hope not, Brad Pitt looking like a fragile little old hobbit, and Cate Blanchet's elf ears although are pretty rad, I think the movie will be bloody marvelous.

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