Winter film preview

2009 opens plenty of remakes and 3D, but only a few bright spots

SKINNING DIP<br>Old-school slasher Jason Voorhees returns to his gig as the Crystal Lake shore patrol.

Old-school slasher Jason Voorhees returns to his gig as the Crystal Lake shore patrol.

Ah … here we go with the post-New Year’s blush at the local multiplex, when the promise of the new year is reflected in fresh cinematic entries.

From the looks of the early 2009 slate, the future’s so bright we gotta wear 3D glasses. There’s more Yankee-style dank dipping from the J-horror as well, and while they’re not making remakes of remakes (yet), they’re edging closer in early ‘09.

Where 2008 started with a bang (a giant lizard monster mashing Manhattan) and ended with a whimper (Tom Cruise as a mouth-breathing Nazi), maybe 2009 will end up as the opposite. Although the Magic 8-Ball says, “Cannot Predict Now.”

In the J-horror flavored The Unborn, Gary Oldman stars in an oddly familiar horror show about a plucky kid who discovers that her stillborn twin brother is still hanging about… and has eeeee-viiiil plans. If horror fans can hold out until the following week, there’s always the reboot of an old ’80s cult fave, My Bloody Valentine 3D. It may not be good, but it’s in 3D. Nothing cries entertainment like realistic entrails seemingly dumped in your lap.

The hop-hippin’ kids get Notorious, the bio-pic of the Notorious B.I.G., and the folks wanting to recreate the sugar buzz of Marley & Me get Hotel for Dogs. Meanwhile, Kevin James clocks in as Paul Blart: Mall Cop (think Die Hard in a mall, “git ’er done” style), and Anne Hathaway and Kate Hudson roll in the aisle in Bride Wars,

Late in the month, green-screen maestro Brendan Fraser plays a bookbinder in Inkheart. His mad skillz include the ability to bring fictional characters to life by reading aloud bedtime stories (ahem). Been there, done that. With that in mind, Rhona Mitra takes over the lead from Kate Beckinsale for the third entry of the Underworld franchise… vampires and werewolves, oh, my. But Mitra in pleather is a pleatherable draw.

For fans of the cult parkour actioner District 13, director Pierre Morel returns with the Luc Besson-produced Taken, in which Liam Neeson deals with all sorts of plot twists as a former spy out to rescue his daughter from slavers.

Closing out the month there’s The Uninvited (another J-horror dip from the business minds behind the American remake of The Ring), and the Renée Zellweger rom-com New in Town.

Rinse, lather, repeat.

You know what we need? A sequel to the Steve Martin reboot of The Pink Panther. I won’t say where we’re gonna get it, but we’re gonna get it nonetheless. To add insult to injury, early February sees another spoof movie: Dance Flick. Nuff said.

As a palate cleanser, there’s Coraline, the latest animated feature from the director of The Nightmare Before Christmas (no, it wasn’t Tim Burton; he just wrote it).

For the Star Wars fanatics, there’s a reason to come out of the basement with the mid-month release of Fanboys, in which the eponymous characters set out to Skywalker Ranch on a secret mission to steal a print of The Phantom Menace … hopefully to burn it.

But when Push comes to shove, we get a Heroes-flavored actioner with … Dakota Fanning?

Oh, my. Are we at that point yet? For the chick-flick aficionados, we have He’s Just Not That Into You and Confessions of a Shopaholic. I assume the titles pretty much spell things out.

From Run, Lola, Run director Tom Tykwer, we get The International. And from the “Just Kill Me Now” file, there’s the Michael Bay reboot of the Friday the 13th franchise (which precedes his reboot of A Nightmare on Elm Street next year), plus Medea Goes to Jail and the Superbad-meets-Bring It On romp Fired Up (jocks join a cheerleading squad to score off the field).

And, more 3D with The Jonas Brothers: The 3D Concert Experience. Ahem.

In like a lion comes the long awaited adaptation of the comic book The Watchmen (from the ADD-addled mind of Zack Snyder, the guy who brought you 300). Or maybe not: Warner is being sued by Fox over exactly who has the rights. Whee. So if it doesn’t show, there’s always the latest Sandra Bullock eccentro-fest, All About Steve, and the reboot of Disney’s Witch Mountain franchise, Race to Witch Mountain.

Meanwhile, hikers Milla Jovovich and Steve Zahn plan A Perfect Getaway, which is spoiled by psychos on their trail. And again, DreamWorks tries to serve a piece of Pixar pie with Monsters vs. Aliens.

March goes out like a lamb as Ice Cube stays in the comedy mode with Janky Promoters. I’ve heard a rumor that the man was once considered dangerous. There’s a janky metaphor about Hollywood there, but like ol’ Tinseltown itself, I can’t be bothered.