Ray of Hope For Moviegoers

Paul Blart: Mall Cop, Hotel for Dogs, The Unborn, Bride Wars: these movies may have their two or three fans (no offense to those), but for the most part, they are utter garbage. And after seeing films such as Slumdog Millionaire, Gran Torino, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and Frost/Nixon, it is a wonder why movies like Paul Blart would even want to be released.
But will spring be some sort of saving grace? From the looks of things, probably not. Still, there are a few releases coming out within the next few months that have at least the slightest bit of promise.

Coraline The Nightmare Before Christmas director Henry Selick is returning to stop-motion animation with this film based on author Neil Gaiman’s novella of the same name. It follows Coraline (voiced by Dakota Fanning), a young girl who goes through a mysterious door in her new home. She finds herself in an alternative world that at first seems pleasant. But when she finds herself as a prisoner of sorts, Coraline has to find her way back home. The source material has been celebrated (winning multiple awards in 2003), giving the film adaptation some promise. And considering Henry Selick did a terrific job with Nightmare, he may be the perfect man for the job. Coraline is due in theaters Feb. 6.

Friday the 13th Reboots of Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Halloween have been done, so it is only suitable for Jason Voorhees to get his own treatment. As you would expect, a group of young adults uncover Camp Crystal Lake, looking to sex, booze and drug it up. Their expectations are short lived as they soon meet Jason (Derek Mears), who filmmakers have promised will be more aggressive. With the other reboots getting decent accolades, it is possible this could very well go over well enough with audiences and critics. And as long as the film slashes things up right, we won’t mind it. Wouldn’t you know it – Friday the 13th is due out Friday, Feb. 13.

Watchmen Who watches the Watchmen? We will be, and thankfully, we’ll be watching it on time. After a legal dispute, Fox and Warner Brothers have settled their differences. Now, we will be able to get spring’s biggest film. Watchmen is set in an alternative 1985, where superheroes/vigilantes are the former norm, now driven into obscurity. But when a former hero is killed, continual vigilante Rorschach sets off to find the truth behind an uncovered conspiracy and brings out other former masked-men. The source material is incredible. Alan Moore’s graphic novel is widely acclaimed as “the most celebrated graphic novel of all time.” But the heavy read includes a lot of material, so it will be interesting to see how director Zack Snyder (300) is going to fit all of it in. Watchmen is due out March 6.

The Soloist Robert Downey, Jr. is going nowhere but up, and Jamie Foxx appears to be taking on more daunting roles. Downey, Jr. plays Steve Lopez, a Los Angeles journalist who stumbles upon Nathaniel Ayers (Foxx). Currently living on Skid Row, Ayers is a Julliard-trained musician who is deeply troubled. Lopez is enduring his own hardships and sees Ayers as his ticket to a comeback, befriending Ayers along the way. From the looks of things, The Soloist is Oscar-bait for both the actors and director (Atonement director Joe Wright). While this is still seeing a spring release, word says it may be pushed back later in the year to gain more Oscar draw. But for now, expect The Soloist to hit theaters on April 24.