Winter Movie Guide: January 2012 – Week 4

The Grey

Directed by Joe Carnahan

Starring Liam Neeson, Frank Grillo, and James Badge Dale

“In Alaska, an oil drilling team struggle to survive after a plane crash strands them in the wild. Hunting the humans are a pack of wolves who see them as intruders.”

Joe Carnahan burst onto the Hollywood scene with two decidedly non-Hollywood films:  Blood, Guts, Bullets, & Octane and his second film Narc gained him the recognition he needed to get his project Smokin’ Aces off the ground.  It did well enough to warrant a direct-to-video sequel and landed Carnahan the job of directing the A-Team film in 2010.   While he has been working on his passion project, Killing Pablo for years, he has done other films to support himself in the meantime, and The Grey is the latest of those films, and it looks like some of his best work since Narc 10 years ago.

It’s Liam Neeson going all Bear Grylls on a pack of wolves that are attempting to hunt him down as he attempts to get back to his family.  Part Alaska, part Liam Neeson’s training sequences in Batman Begins, this one is sure to keep audiences on the edge of their seat, and in recent years Neeson has rarely disappointed his audience that loves seeing him be a complete bad ass.  This is right in line with that. See what Jeremy thought of the film in his review.

Man on a Ledge Written by Pablo F. Fenjves

Directed by Asger Leth

Starring Sam Worthington, Elizabeth Banks, Jamie Bell, Anthony Mackie, & Ed Harris

“As a police psychologist works to talk down an ex-con who is threatening to jump from a Manhattan hotel rooftop, the biggest diamond heist ever committed is in motion…”

This might come off as your standard gimmick film, and that’s what everyone assumed Phone Booth was until people came out of the theater enjoying it and realizing it’s a pretty well made movie.  It seems that’s not exactly the case with Man on a Ledge, and Sam Worthington is no Colin Farrell, but Jamie Bell pops up and he’s always fun to watch, and it looks like Ed Harris fills in with a standard baddie role. Not sure that it will do huge box office, but it’s the sort of fare you typically see in January, movies that can’t be marketed against anything, they just kind of have to sink or swim on word of mouth, and whether people are spending money at the theater that weekend.  With the Super Bowl still a week away, it seems as though the weekend is ripe for the taking, although I just don’t see Worthington beating out Neeson.  Only the weekend will tell. See what Jeremy thought of the film in his review.

One for the Money

Adapted from the novel by Janet Evanovich

Screenplay by Stacy Sherman & Karen Ray and Liz Brixius

Directed by Julie Anne Robinson

Starring Katherine Heigl, Jason O’Mara, & John Leguizamo

“Unemployed and newly-divorced Stephanie Plum lands a job at her cousin’s bail-bond business, where her first assignment puts her on the trail of a wanted local cop from her romantic past.”

Janet Evanovich has made her name as a sort of female Elmore Leonard.  Her Stephanie Plum series has reached 18 titles, and this is the first feature film adaptation for theatrical release, the last time One for the Money was adapted, it was as a TV movie with Lynn Collins.  Now, Stephanie Plum gets her shot at a film series, with Katherine Heigl as the popular bounty huntress with a few odd quirks and a bit of a knack for getting into humorous situations.

While written off as a chick flick, this one is sure to make some cash, it will definitely make its budget back and more, I think Evanovich’s novels will start getting snapped up for serious big screen development, just like studios did with Michael Connelly’s novels last year after the success of The Lincoln Lawyer due to his high volume of loyal older fans, as they’re one of the prime movie-going audiences, and they’re the type that bolster the Sunday numbers.  It might not even crack the top 5 for the weekend, but it’s sure to stick around a few weeks until all the Evanovich fans have had their chance to check it out.  Keep an eye out for Wilson’s review coming soon.

EXPANDING

The Descendants gets an expansion to 900 theaters for the Oscar push.  Read Jeremy’s review right here.

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