Let’s Go To The Movies – 1/20/2012

Posted: January 20, 2012 in Movies

Every Friday I imagine myself in a grand hall where signs read “Popcorn” and “Candy” while an elderly old man in a quaint red suit and bell hop hat tells me that my movie is down the hall in “theater 18”.  I’m at the movie theater, where dreams come true and everything is magical.

Ok, I lied, I’ve never had those dreams before but it sounded good.

Here are 1-20-2012’s new release movies in your local theaters this weekend:



Synopsis: This dynamic action-thriller directed by Steven Soderbergh boasts a talented cast that includes Channing Tatum, Ewan McGregor, Michael Fassbender, Antonio Banderas, Bill Paxton, Michael Douglas, Michael Angarano; and introduces MMA superstar Gina Carano as Mallory Kane, in a demanding lead role that has her performing her own high-adrenaline stunts. Mallory Kane is a highly trained operative who works for a government security contractor in the dirtiest, most dangerous corners of the world. After successfully freeing a Chinese journalist held hostage, she is double crossed and left for dead by someone close to her in her own agency. Suddenly the target of skilled assassins who know her every move, Mallory must find the truth in order to stay alive. — (C) Relativity Media

Cast: Gina Carano, Michael Douglas, Michael Fassbender, Ewan McGregor, Bill Paxton, Channing Tatum

Rating: R

Run Time: 1 hour 33 minutes

Rotten Tomatoes Reviews Score: 80%

Sample Reviews:

USA Today

LA Times

Boston Globe


Mark’s Take:

Director Steven Soderberg has made his living making smart, exciting thrillers.  It all started with Erin Brockovich then he continued his success with Traffic right on into Ocean’s Eleven.  He’s a man that knows how to piece together a great story using an ensemble cast.  From reading early reviews on Haywire it would seem that Soderberg, while taking a virtual unknown martial arts fighter (Gina Carano) and turning her into a badass wrecking machine on-screen.  If I had to pick a movie to go see this weekend, this would probably be it.


Underworld Awakening

Synopsis: Kate Beckinsale, star of the first two films, returns in her lead role as the vampire warrioress Selene, who escapes imprisonment to find herself in a world where humans have discovered the existence of both Vampire and Lycan clans, and are conducting an all-out war to eradicate both immortal species. — (C) Official Site

Cast: Kate Beckinsale, Stephen Rea, Michael Ealy, Theo James

Rating: R

Running Time: 1 hour 28 minutes

Sample Reviews:

Times of India

Sowetan Live


Mark’s Take:

I like Kate Beckinsale, I really do…she’s really hot, but I have no idea why they keep making Underworld movies?  They pretty much grew sour after the second one, which begs the question….when is enough, enough?  Lycans, vampires, guns, blood, darkness…cliche?  Enough dammit!  Skip this one.


Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close

Synopsis: Oskar (Thomas Horn) is convinced that his father (Tom Hanks), who died in the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center, has left a final message for him hidden somewhere in the city. Feeling disconnected from his grieving mother (Sandra Bullock) and driven by a relentlessly active mind that refuses to believe in things that can’t be observed, Oskar begins searching New York City for the lock that fits a mysterious key he found in his father’s closet. His journey through the five boroughs takes him beyond his own loss to a greater understanding of the observable world around him. — (C) Warner Bros

Cast: Thomas Horn, Tom Hanks, Sandra Bullock

Rating: PG-13

Running Time: 2 hours 9 minutes

Rotten Tomatoes Review Score: 49%

Sample Reviews:

Chicago Tribune

Roger Ebert

Philadelphia Inquirer


Mark’s Take:

I really want to believe in this movie, if not only for the story behind it.  A boy loses in his father in the 9/11 attacks and then works the city learning different things he never knew about his dad.  It’s got two great actors in it in Hanks and Bullock, so how bad could it be?  Or how good could it have been, is the question you should be asking upon seeing early reviews.  A couple of months ago this movie was on everyone’s “Oscar Watch” list.  Go ahead and scratch it off.  Meh.


Red Tails

Synopsis: 1944. To help win the war, the Pentagon brass has no choice but to consider the untested African-American pilots of the experimental Tuskegee training program. Just as the young Tuskegee men are about to be shut down and shipped back home, they are given the ultimate chance to show their courage. These intrepid young airmen take to the skies to fight for their country – and the fate of the free world. — (C) Official Site

Cast: Cuba Gooding Jr., Terrance Howard, Bryan Cranston

Rating: PG-13

Run Time: 2 hours

Rotten Tomatoes Review Score: 33%

Sample Reviews:

San Francisco Chronicle

Wall Street Journal



Mark’s Take:

What happens when you take a director who has never directed a big budget motion picture and put him behind the camera of a LucasFilms film?  You get Red Tails.  A try-hard movie that would like for you to love it but you just can’t get past it’s cheap pick-up lines.  So you leave this movie at the bar where you found it after it’s bought you a couple of drinks.  That’s where Red Tails will get you.  It might be interesting to watch in spurts (especially for World War buffs and historians) but I just can’t get behind a film that boasts the downtrodden Cuba Gooding Jr. and the once-fantastic Terrance Howard as its main stars.  I just can’t.


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