'Die Hard' and 'G.I. Joe' sequels among new movies

05:00 AM, Jan 22, 2013

James Franco and Michelle William appear in a scene from the animated motion picture Oz: The Great and Powerful. (Photo provided by Disney Enterprises)/

Written By Bill Goodykoontz | Gannett

Much of what’s opening between now and May 3, when Iron Man 3 hits theaters, doesn’t look all that good.

But there will be surprises.

There’s a lot of violent fare, typical of this time of year, a few old faces and some animated movies, which are always hard to predict in terms of quality.

So who knows? Let’s roll the dice. There are diamonds in the rough out there somewhere.

Bruce Willis is back with another Die Hard, Jason Bateman and Melissa McCarthy are in the comedy Identity Thief, James Franco starts in Sam Raimi’s Wizard of Oz prelude and the sequel to G.I. Joe hits the screen.

As always, release dates are subject to change, so check your local listings.

Jan. 25

Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters (PG-13): Enough of the culture mashups! This one, with a self-evident title, is at least directed by Tommy Wirkola, who also directed the cult hit Dead Snow. That’s something, anyway.

Movie 43 (R): Everyone you have ever heard of stars in, writes or directs this intertwined comedy. Names? Hugh Jackman, Emma Stone, Richard Gere, Elizabeth Banks, Kate Winslet, Halle Berry and many, many more.

Parker (R): Jason Statham and Jennifer Lopez star in Taylor Hackford’s film about a thief double-crossed by his crew.

Rust and Bone (R): A single father helps a whale trainer (Marion Cotillard) recover after an accident that leaves her in a wheelchair.

Feb. 1

Bullet to the Head (R): Charming title. Sylvester Stallone and Jason Momoa play a cop and hit man who join forces to fight their common enemy. It’s directed by Walter Hill, who directed Southern Comfort and 48 Hrs. So there’s a glimmer of hope.

Stand Up Guys (R): Al Pacino, Christopher Walken and Alan Arkin play a trio of retired gangsters who get together for one more job.

Warm Bodies (PG-13): Nicholas Hoult plays a zombie who becomes involved with the girlfriend of one of his victims.

Feb. 8

A Glimpse Inside the Mind of Charles Swan III (R): So this is what Charlie Sheen does these days. (Yes, I know, he has a TV show. But have you ever seen it?) Here he plays a graphic designer whose life goes south after his girlfriend breaks up with him. The cast includes Jason Schwartzman and Bill Murray, and it’s written and directed by Roman Coppola.

Identity Theft (R): Jason Bateman plays a mild fellow whose identity is stolen. Melissa McCarthy plays the woman who steals it. Hilarity ensues, with any luck at all.

Side Effects (not yet rated): Rooney Mara is a woman who gets involved with prescription drugs to handle the release of her husband from prison. With Channing Tatum and Jude Law. Directed by Steven Soderbergh.

Feb. 13

Beautiful Creatures (PG-13): Richard LaGravenese co-wrote and directs this film about a man (Alden Ehrenreich) and woman (Alice Englert) who discover all sorts of secrets about their families and their town.

Feb. 14

Escape From Planet Earth (not yet rated): Animated film about an astronaut (Brendan Fraser) who answers an SOS call from an alien planet. Jessica Alba, Sarah Jessica Parker and James Gandolfini, among others, provide voices.

A Good Day to Die Hard (not yet rated): Bruce Willis returns as John McClane, who travels to Russia to help his son (Jai Courtney) fight bad guys.

Safe Haven (not yet rated): Evidently, as long as Nicholas Sparks keeps writing books, they’ll keep making movies based on them. Julianne Hough plays a woman with a secret past who arrives in a small North Carolina town. There’s drama and romance and Josh Duhamel, and teenage girls will cry.

Feb. 22

Dark Skies (not yet rated): Keri Russell stars in a horror film about an evil force terrifying a family.

Snitch (PG-13): Dwayne Johnson’s son goes to jail after being set up in a drug deal, so Johnson goes undercover for the DEA to try to free him.

March 1

21 and Over (not yet rated): Justin Chon plays a student whose friends take him out for a beer the night before his medical school interview. Gee. Wonder if he runs into trouble?

Jack the Giant Slayer (not yet rated): Perhaps you’ve heard this one before. Jack (Nicholas Hoult) gets his hands on magic beans, etc. But this time it threatens peace between giants and man. And stars Ian McShane and Bill Nighy. I smell the blood of an Englishman.

The Last Exorcism Part II (not yet rated): So in the original they didn’t really mean “last,” evidently. The Next-to-Last Exorcism isn’t as catchy a title. Still, that one was pretty good, and Ashley Bell, who played the possessed girl, is back. So, worth a shot, then.

Stoker (R): Mia Wasikowska plays a woman who lives with her unstable mother (Nicole Kidman). An uncle (Matthew Goode) comes to stay with them. She suspects he’s up to something, but finds herself attracted to him.

March 8

Admission (not yet rated): Tina Fey plays a fast-rising admissions officer at Princeton who risks her career for a student at an alternative school (Nat Wolff) who may be the son she gave up for adoption. Paul Rudd co-stars.

Dead Man Down (R): Noomi Rapace plays the victim of a crime boss (Terrence Howard) who seduces his right-hand man (Colin Farrell) to get revenge.

Oz: The Great and Powerful (PG): James Franco stars as a two-bit magician who finds himself in Oz, where things go well. At least until three witches (Mila Kunis, Rachel Weisz and Michelle Williams) suspect he’s not what he seems. Directed by Sam Raimi.

March 15

The Incredible Burt Wonderstone (not yet rated): Steve Carell plays a Las Vegas magician whose thunder is stolen by a hot new act, Jim Carrey. Carell’s assistant (Steve Buscemi) moves to Cambodia; Carell turns to his mentor (Alan Arkin) for inspiration. Television veteran Don Scardino directs.

Upside Down (not yet rated): Jim Sturgess plays a man trying to reunite with the love of his life (Kirsten Dunst) but “the laws of his world as well as the laws of gravity keep him from her.” Sounds like a lot of work.

March 22

The Croods (not yet rated): Animated film in which the world’s first prehistoric family has to hit the road after its cave is destroyed. Nicolas Cage, Ryan Reynolds and Emma Stone are among those providing voices.

Olympus Has Fallen (not yet rated): Gerard Butler plays a former Secret Service agent trying to prevent an attack on the White House. With Angela Bassett, Morgan Freeman and Aaron Eckhart.

March 29

G.I. Joe: Retaliation (not yet rated): Channing Tatum, Bruce Willis, Ray Stevenson and Dwayne Johnson provide some of the testosterone. In all seriousness, it’s good to see Walton Goggins.

The Host (not yet rated): Not, alas, a remake of the 2006 Korean horror film, which is splendid. Instead this is based on a Stephenie Meyer novel (and it doesn’t involve vampires in love). Saoirse Ronan plays the host of a parasitic alien. She resists its takeover; eventually they form a bond and look for the girl’s family and friends.

The Place Beyond the Pines (R): Ryan Gosling is a motorcycle stunt driver who robs banks to provide for his son and wife (Eva Mendes). Bradley Cooper is the police officer on his tail. Great buzz for this, which makes it sort of unusual this time of year.

Tyler Perry’s Temptation: Confessions of a Marriage Counselor (PG-13): Jurnee Smollet plays a marriage counselor who cheats with a client (Robbie Jones). Perry wrote and directed but doesn’t appear to have a role. But guess who does: Kim Kardashian. Interesting way to go about improving your reputation.

April 5

The Heat (not yet rated): Paul Feig directs Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy as a mismatched FBI agent and Boston cop who have to team up to catch a drug lord. Sounds lame, but Feig’s good and McCarthy is hilarious.

April 12

42 (not yet rated): Brian Helgeland wrote and directed this biography of Jackie Robinson (Chadwick Boseman), the first African-American player to cross the color line in Major League Baseball. With Harrison Ford as Branch Rickey.

Evil Dead (not yet rated): Remake of Sam Raimi’s cult hit. The sequel to that film is a classic . Wonder which film this will resemble more?

Oblivion (not yet rated): Joseph Kosinski directs from a script he helped write, based on the graphic novel he co-created. Tom Cruise plays a drone repairman who rescues a woman from a crashed spaceship, which leads him to question all he knows. Sounds groovy. With Morgan Freeman, which sounds groovier.

Scary Movie 5 (not yet rated): You know the drill by now. A parody of every recent horror movie you can think of. Ashley Tisdale is one of the stars.

April 19

Stuck in Love (not yet rated): Kristen Bell and Logan Lerman lead a reasonably big-name cast (Jennifer Connelly, Greg Kinnear and Stephen King, of all people, as himself) in this romantic drama from Josh Boone.

April 26

At Any Price (not yet rated): Ramin Bahrani, who co-wrote and directed the great Goodbye Solo, is back with this film about a father (Dennis Quaid) and son (Zac Efron) whose iffy relationship is further strained by a crisis that threatens the family farming business.

The Big Wedding (not yet rated): Robert De Niro and Diane Keaton play a divorced couple who pretend to be married for the wedding of their son (Topher Grace).

Pain and Gain (not yet rated): Dwayne Johnson and Mark Wahlberg play bodybuilders caught up in a “kidnapping scheme that goes terribly wrong.” Do they ever go terribly right?