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Movie News & Reviews
First quarter movie lineup includes ‘Cloverfield,’ ‘Spiderwick’
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Well, the holiday movie parade has ended, and it will be months before the summer blockbuster season begins ... so what does Hollywood have in store for audiences during the lean months of January, February and March?

Perhaps something new, something fresh?

Let’s see ... Sylvester Stallone resurrects Rambo, Hayden Christensen returns to science fiction and a best-selling young adult fantasy series gets the cinematic treatment. Following is a rundown of some of the movies scheduled to hit theaters in the coming months.

Warner Bros. Pictures’ supernatural thriller “One Missed Call” opens Friday, Jan. 4.

When a chain of people receive terrifying cell phone messages of their own final, fatal moments, Beth Raymond and Jack Andrews must work feverishly to unravel the mystery behind the ominous calls. The cast includes Shannyn Sossamon, Ed Burns, Ana Claudia Talancon, Ray Wise, Azura Skye.

Rated PG-13. Visit www.onemissedcallmovie.com.

Warner Bros. Pictures also presents “The Bucket List” starring Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman, opening Friday, Jan. 11. This dramedy follows corporate billionaire Edward Cole and working class mechanic Carter Chambers, who meet in a hospital room, as they spend their remaining time doing all the things they ever wanted to do.

Rated PG-13. Visit www.thebucketlist.net.

On Friday, Jan. 11, 20th Century Fox releases the romantic comedy “27 Dresses,” starring Katherine Heigl and James Marsden.

Heigl plays a young women who has made a habit of being a bridesmaid but never a bride. When her sister becomes engaged to the man of her dreams, she re-examines her lifestyle in the hope of changing her bridesmaid status for good.

Paramount Pictures presents the much-anticipated J.J. Abrams’ film “Cloverfield,” opening Friday, Jan. 18.

Officially, the story focuses on five young New Yorkers who throw their friend a party on the very night a monster descends upon the city. Presented as if shot through the lens of their video camera, the film documents their struggle to survive.

So far, Abrams has adhered to the maxim “less is better,” keeping a tight lid on publicity and only providing tantalizing glimpses at the finished product. The lack of information generated an eruption of speculation in the blogosphere, with bloggers and fan boys alike trying to guess the identity of the monster ... could it be Godzilla? Cthulhu? The Stay Puft Marshmallow Man?

Rated PG-13. Visit www.cloverfieldmovie.com.

“Meet the Spartans” parodies at least eight films, including “300,” beginning on Friday, Jan. 25.

This 20th Century Fox spoof comedy stars Sean Maguire, Carmen Electra, Ken Davitian, Kevin Sorbo and Diedrich Bader. Written and directed by Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer, the pair responsible for “Date Movie” and “Epic Movie,” the film also pokes fun at George W. Bush, Lindsay Lohan and many pop culture icons.

It seems neither Rocky nor Rambo will ever go away – at least as long as Sylvester Stallone has anything to say about it. Lionsgate subjects audiences to “Rambo” on Friday, Jan. 25. This film is set 20 years after the last film in the series, and sees John Rambo running a longboat on the Salween River in northern Thailand, not far from the war-torn region at the center of the decades old Burmese-Karen conflict. Though Rambo has lived a solitary, simple life, he reluctantly agrees to help free human rights missionaries being held captive by the Burmese army.

Rated R. Visit movies.break.com/rambo.

MGM plans to release a horror film in the form of a faux documentary, “The Poughkeepsie Tapes,” on Friday, Feb. 8.

In the same vein as “The Blair Witch Project,” this film examines events surrounding the discovery of 800 videotapes detailing the torture and murder of countless victims at the hands of a sadistic serial killer. Most recent slasher flicks have missed the mark, sacrificing story for splatter and failing to deliver genuine chills. This film’s format gives it promise: Hopefully, it won’t degenerate into yet another unpalatable gore-fest.

Rated R. Visit www.documentaryfilmpartners.com.

“Jumper,” opening Thursday, Feb. 14, is based on the 1992 science fiction novel of the same name by Steven Gould.

The 20th Century Fox adaptation stars Hayden Christensen, who gained notoriety portraying the young adult Anakin Skywalker in the “Star Wars” films. In “Jumper,” a genetic anomaly allows Christensen’s character to teleport himself anywhere. He discovers this gift has existed for centuries and finds himself in a war that has been raging for thousands of years between Jumpers and those who have sworn to kill them.

Visit www.jumperthemovie.com.

Paramount Pictures and Nickelodeon Movies presents “The Spiderwick Chronicles,” opening Friday, Feb. 15.

Based on the books by Tony DiTerlizzi and Holly Black, this fantasy adventure begins when peculiar things start to happen to the Grace family who move into the secluded old house owned by their great, great uncle Arthur Spiderwick. One of the most successful young-adult fantasy series to appear in the wake of J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter books, the cinematic adaptation stars Freddie Highmore, Mary-Louise Parker, Nick Nolte, Joan Plowright and David Strathairn and the voices of Seth Rogen and Martin Short.

Rated PG. Visit www.spiderwickchronicles.com.

The fact that Warner Bros. Pictures’ “10,000 B.C.” does not star any big-name celebrities may be to its credit. The epic adventure set in prehistoric times opens on Friday, March 7.

Rest assured, this is not a remake of the historical 1966 Hammer Films production “One Million Years B.C.”, which starred Raquel Welch. A mammoth hunter travels through unknown lands, encountering saber-toothed cats and other prehistoric creatures.

Rated PG-13. Visit www.10000bcmovie.com.

The 20th Century Fox CGI animation adaptation of Dr. Seuss’ “Horton Hears a Who” hits theaters on Friday, March 14.

Jim Carrey and Steve Carell will lend their voices to this children’s classic. For those unfamiliar with the story, Horton, an imaginative elephant, hears a faint cry for help coming from a tiny speck of dust. Upon that speck rests the entire city of Who-ville, inhabited by the microscopic Whos. Thankfully, the makers of “Ice Age” worked on this film; CGI animation seems far more fitting for Seuss adaptations than live-action flicks such as 2000’s “How the Grinch Stole Christmas!” or 2003’s “The Cat in the Hat.”

Visit www.hortonmovie.com.

“Shutter” will develop on screens beginning Friday, March 21. Hollywood continues to look to Asia for fresh ideas in the horror genre. This film is a remake of a 2004 Thai film and is helmed by Japanese film director Masayuki Ochiai, known for the J-Horror films “Kansen” and “Saimin.” The story centers on a newly married couple who discover disturbing, ghostly images in photographs they develop after a tragic accident. Fearing the manifestations may be connected, they investigate and learn that some mysteries are better left unsolved.

Not impressed with the lineup so far?

Don’t worry: The summer blockbusters are just around the corner. What’s in store? “Speed Racer,” May 9; “The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian,” May 16; “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull,” May 22; and “The Incredible Hulk,” June 13.
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