2012 Winter Movie Season Preview

Winter has come.

The Holidays being over, Hollywood now nestles into its burrow to await March, hibernating during the cold winter months. The cinematic highlights of January and February are typically the movies which were “released” in the prior year, but are only trickling out to cineplexes now.

As to NEW releases?

Let’s just say I hope you saved your nuts, my squirrely friends. 😀 Remember our “Tossin’ It Out There” thread from a few days back which asked which movies you were looking forward to the most in 2012? Scant few of these were mentioned there.

That’s not to say nothing’s happening! There’s new movies every week… Let’s take a look and see what Hollywood expects to hold us over between now and Spring…


January 13th


Directed by Baltasar Kormakur

Starring: Mark Wahlberg, Kate Beckinsale, Ben Foster, Giovanni Ribisi, Caleb Landry Jones, Lukas Haas, Diego Luna, J.K. Simmons

Marky Mark brings his unique blend of cheese back into our lives with “Contraband”, a film where he plays a “retired” smuggler who gets sucked back into the mix after someone close to him botches a run.

Which Marky Mark will we get? Boogie Nights/The Departed Marky Mark, or Planet of the Apes/The Happening Marky Mark?

This weekend we find out!!


Joyful Noise

Directed by Todd Graff

Starring: Queen Latifah, Dolly Parton, Keke Palmer, Jeremy Jordan, Courtney B. Vance, Dexter Darden, Kris Kristofferson

Let the competition for head of the choir begin! Dolly Parton and Queen Latifah star in a music laden comedy revolving around two women vying to be the lead of a competitive church choir. Comedy and catfights ensue.

Be on the lookout for lots of singing numbers and choral pieces as I’m sure the choir transforms from old school to new school. You know, if I had to guess.


January 20th


Directed by Steven Soderbergh

Starring: Gina Carano, Ewan McGregor, Antonio Banderas, Channing Tatum, Michael Fassbender, Bill Paxton, Michael Douglas

Here’s one that actually did get some mentions from visitors on Tuesday, Steven Soderbergh’s “Haywire”, an action movie with a female lead featuring a ton of fight scenes (Carano is an MMA fighter and former “American Gladiator” 🙂 ) and a boatload of superstar supporting actors.

I’ve been worried since Comic-Con that they were trying to cover up for Caranos lack of acting talent (hey, she’s gorgeous AND she kicks ass, you can’t have it all…) but apparently I shouldn’t be worried. Advance reviews are decidedly positive. Hooray!


Red Tails

Directed by Anthony Hemingway

Starring: Cuba Gooding Jr., Terrance Howard, Bryan Cranston, Nate Parker, David Oyelowo, Tristan Wilds, Cliff Smith, Kevin Phillips, Rick Otto, Lee Tergesen, Andre Royo, Ne-Yo, Elijah Kelley, Marcus T. Paulk, Leslie Odom Jr., Michael B. Jordan, Jazmine Sullivan, Edwina Finley, Daniela Ruah, Stacie Davis, Gerald McRaney

Red Tails is based on the story of the Tuskegee airmen, the storied group of WWII pilots who faced racism and segregation prior to being called into service and performing valiantly.

It’s a powerful story, and deserves revisitation. I’m just not certain I trust George Lucas to do it. Reportedly he began attempting to bring this story to the screen as far back as 88. What his troubles were I’m not sure, but two words can sum up my expectations “Broad Strokes”.


Underworld: Awakening

Directed by Mans Marlind and Bjorn Stein

Starring: Kate Beckinsale, India Eisley, Michael Ealy, Stephen Rea, Theo James, Charles Dance

Would you believe I’ve never seen an “Underworld” movie?

The series just never held any allure, and the buzz was never strong enough for me to feel the need to address the oversight.

But now with the blog, it looks like I’m going in. I may power through the first three in one day to prep up.


January 27th

The Grey

Joe Carnahan

Starring: Liam Neeson, Frank Grillo, Dermot Mulroney, Dallas Roberts, Joe Anderson, James Badge Dale, Nonso Anozie

Liam Neeson is in a plane crash somewhere cold and he misses his wife and runs through the snow and fights a wolf with his bare hands.

The End.

Naw, I’m sure there’s more to it than that, but it is a survival in the snow movie, and the marketing has pretty strongly emphasized the face off against the wolves. Best case scenario in my opinion is “The Edge” with wolves instead of a bear. But hey, I love that movie, so…


Man on a Ledge

Directed by Asger Leth

Starring: Sam Worthington, Elizabeth Banks, Jamie Bell, Anthony Mackie, Ed Harris, Edward Burns, Titus Welliver, Génesis Rodríguez, Kyra Sedgwick

So. Here’s what I can discern without spoiling the movie for myself beyond the trailer/marketing.

A man climbs out on a ledge and creates a media frenzy by claiming he’s going to jump. Meanwhile, the distraction is helping to cover a bank heist. But it’s all going on in order to expose some kind of high level wall street type criminal.

It’s got a very “Inside Man” feel to it, but that movie had Spike Lee, Denzel and Clive Owen. This one doesn’t. So we’ll see how it comes out, kudos to them for attempting something with a bit of a “level of difficulty” to it.


One for the Money

Directed by Julie Anne Robinson

Starring: Katherine Heigl, Jason O’Mara, Daniel Sunjata, John Leguizamo, Debbie Reynolds, Debra Monk


I’m just gonna say it.

This looks… ok, to me.

“Uhm… Excuse me, is this where you go to turn in your man card? Oh, down that hall there? Ok…”


February 3rd

Big Miracle

Directed by Ken Kwapis

Starring: John Krasinski, Drew Barrymore, Kristen Bell, Tim Blake Nelson, Dermot Mulroney, Ted Danson

Where are the nuclear wessles?


No, seriously, I saw this movie already and this is how it goes:

Drew Barrymore: Those whales are trapped! They’re going to DIE if we can’t help them!

143 Other People: We can’t! We’re sorry…

Drew Barrymore: But we HAVE TO!

143 Other People: Oh… Ok…



Directed by Josh Trank

Starring: Dane DeHaan, Michael B. Jordan, Alex Russell, Michael Kelly

Is the term “Found Footage” starting to make everyone cringe? I know it is for me.

Anyways, three dudes gain super-powers by finding a mysterious object or some such. After a short time of enjoying their newfound abilities, one literally “let’s his power go to his head” and turns evil.

I smell “X-Men: First Class” meets the CW for some reason…


The Woman in Black

Directed by James Watkins

Starring: Daniel Radcliffe, Ciarån Hinds, Janet McTeer, Liz White, Alisa Khazanova, Tim McMullan, Roger Allam, Daniel Cerqueira, Shaun Dooley, Mary Stockley, Cathy Sara, David Burke, Victor McGuire, Lucy May Barker

I think it speaks poorly to me as a person that there’s a part of me that really would like it if the “Harry Potter” kids turned into the cast of “Diff’rent Strokes” pt. 2. I keep rooting to hear to hear they’re on drugs or are secretly arming themselves against the “New World Order”… So far they’re disappointingly well-behaved.

Here, Radcliffe plays an outsider/investigator who goes to a small town in Olde England and discovers it’s being haunted. Has potential.


February 10th

Journey 2: The Mysterious Island

Directed by Brad Peyton

Starring: Dwayne Johnson, Michael Caine, Josh Hutcherson, Vanessa Hudgens, Luis Guzman, Kristen Davis

Good grief.

I suppose it’s for kids though, right?


Safe House

Directed by Daniel Espinosa

Starring: Denzel Washington, Ryan Reynolds, Sam Shepard, Robert Patrick, Liam Cunningham, Brendon Gleeson, Vera Farmiga, Fares Fares, Nora Arnezeder, Joel Kinnaman, Ruben Blades

So. Here’s what I can gather. Denzel’s an ex CIA badass captured by the CIA. The “Safe House” he’s in is attacked, and Ryan Reynolds has to move him. Denzel promptly begins to mind $&#% Reynolds into letting him go.


I can see that. I’m in. 😀


The Vow

Directed by Michael Sucsy

Starring: Rachel McAdams, Channing Tatum, Scott Speedman, Jessica Lange, Sam Neill

The title of this film SHOULD be “The 2012 Annual Valentine’s Day Weekend Chick Flick”.

The high concept is that a woman loses her memory in a car crash, so that her husband has to make her fall in love with him all over again.

My standard quip is something to the effect of “This HAD to be written by a woman”, but in this case I think it was actually written by a committee of Hallmark, Russell Stovers and 1-800-Flowers marketing execs.


February 17th

Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance

Directed by Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor

Nicolas Cage, Idris Elba, Fergus Riordan, CiarĂĄn Hinds, Violante Placido,

I expect marginal improvement over the disappointing original based on the involvement of batshit crazy directors Neveldine and Taylor.

They put on a panel at this year’s NYCC and the footage they brought, plus their enthusiasm, had me hoping we’d get a worthy flick for this character.

Unfortunately, that feeling was dispelled upon finally seeing the first trailer. Eesh.


This Means War

Directed by McG

Tom Hardy, Chris Pine, Reese Witherspoon, Chelsea Handler, Til Schweiger, Abigail Spencer

This movie looks to be an action/romance/comedy, with the emphasis on the comedy. Two spies both simultaneously fall for the same girl – Reese Witherspoon. They both then promptly abuse their spy clearances in order to engage in battle over her.

Comedy ensues. And you know? It looks as though some comedy might actually ensue… so… ok.


February 24th

Act of Valor

Directed by “Mouse” McCoy and Scott Waugh

Starring: Active Duty Navy SEALs, Roselyn Sånchez, Alex Veadov, Jason Cottle, Nester Serrano

I’m mildly disturbed by the concept of this movie. It seems way too close to a recruiting tool for me. Not that there’s anything wrong with recruiting tools, but they should be labeled as such and kept away from regular movies.

And if it’s not a recruitment tool, don’t our “Active Duty Navy SEALs” have more important things to do than be making movies?

All that aside, it has the potential to be a very accurate movie, so the potential is there for it to be to movies what “Call of Duty: Modern Warfare” is to video games.



Directed by Heitor Dhalia

Starring: Amanda Seyfried, Jennifer Carpenter, Sebastian Stan, Emily Wickersham, Wes Bentley, Erin Carufel, Socratis Otto

Amanda Seyfried stars in a movie about a girl who believes a serial killer has returned years after the fact in order to finish what he started… killing her.

As far as thriller premises go, it’s pretty threadbare. But hey, Amanda Seyfried is in it. So, tickets sold already = one.


So there you have it folks! All the big movies coming out between now and mini-summer… March! What do you think? Any of these you’re excited to see? Can’t wait til the ground thaws and Hollywood brings us back the big ticket movies again? Let us know! 😀

42 thoughts on “2012 Winter Movie Season Preview

  1. A lot of friends of mine are obsessed with the Underworld series. I’ve seen a couple I think. I’ve not seen the one without Beckinsale in it though. None of them really do anything for me. It’s like Resident Evil – they just keep making them!

    Haywire looks like a good film. I hope. The trailers have been great. Hoping the fantastic supporting cast members support any lack of acting talent Gina may have.

    Only saw a trailer for This Means War the other week. The fact that it has Tom Hardy AND Chris Pine in it means I must see it.

    The trailer for The Grey always cracks me up for some reason. The last scene with Liam Neeson, with his gloves of smashed up miniature alcohol bottles, facing off against the wolf… oh Liam!

    • Yeah, I dont know, the Grey still has potential, it could be a really good survival movie… I dont know.

      “This Means War” looks ok. It could be funny, the trailer looked alright…

      I’m with you on the Underworld series (well, except that I havent actually seen them LOL) I just dont have a lot of desire to see them. And you’re 100% right, they seem like they belong to the same family tree as Resident Evil. For certain.

      • It could be a good survival type film, but I’m just not sure. Clearly, I just have problems with the film villain-ising the poor wolves. Clearly. Also, when did Liam Neeson become this tough-guy-come-action-man?

        This Means War did amuse me. But what grated me the most about it was Reese Witherspoon! I used to love that girl. Hoping there will be more silly action and fun stuff from Pine and Hardy to cancel that out. Looking forward to seeing Hardy doing something a bit lighter too – he’s not done anything vaguely comedic, has he?

      • “Also, when did Liam Neeson become this tough-guy-come-action-man?”

        Feb 28, 2008. I looked it up. “Taken” opened and became a surprise hit.

        As to Hardy, no… I dont think he has. Although, a quick look over his filmography on IMDb shows me he had a part in Guy Ritchie’s “RocknRolla”. I dont know how to count that. LOL. Those wouldnt be outright comedies, but they’re certainly funny as hell 😀

        I saw it, I just dont remember it that well. Huh. A quick walk in to my living room reveals I own it on Blu Ray. LOL! I may have to revisit…

      • Taken did amuse me a lot for being so successful for what it was. I can’t wait to see the sequel! Honestly. …

        I do that a lot. Right now I’m trying to remember whether I saw The American. I have it recorded, but for some reason I’m thinking I saw it on the small screen already.

    • LOL. Isn’t it though?

      Thats funny.

      And yeah, a lot of muck to dig through between now and March, but hey. This is how Hollywood wants it. sooo…

      Thanks for posting up Mr. The Cool!! 😀

  2. The only movies here that I really want to see are The Grey, Haywire, Chronicle, and The Woman In Black.

    This is the studio dumping season. This is where movies like This Means War, One For the Money, Whale Movie Starring Drew Barrymore, and Act of Valor belong. I almost saw Act on Tuesday but changed my mind. That’s a free preview screening. And I backed out of it. I’ll see anything if you give me free preview passes, so for me to decide not to attend such a screening is a big deal.

    I don’t understand the thought behind Underworld 4. I don’t know why we need a new film in this flaccid franchise. Even Stephen Rea doesn’t pique my interest, just my pity. I get that Len Wiseman thinks his wife is hot. I get that he wants to dress her up in skintight black leather. If he was a better filmmaker, I’d allow him his indulgences and thank him for them, because he’s got the right idea. I also get that Wiseman really really likes The Matrix. But Underworld hasn’t made any money since 2006, probably due to the fact that people aren’t as familiar with Rhona Mitra (who is not only just as attractive as Kate Beckinsale but is by far a better actress). And in 2006, the movie only made a profit in worldwide grosses. So I’m not sure who thought this would be a good idea. It stands a chance of being profitable, but only a slim chance given that the last “real” Underworld film came out six years ago and what people expect from their vampires today is very different from what they expected in ’06.

    This Means War is a huge cheat. The first trailer set the whole thing up as “awesome Chris Pine/Tom Hardy action spy movie”, and then Reese Witherspoon showed up and ruined the whole thing. Maybe if they end up going after her in the end, it’ll be worth it. Doubtful though. I understand that Hardy needs visibility and money. This isn’t how he should be getting either.

    Meanwhile, The Grey received strong response at Butt-Numb-A-Thon, which is very encouraging. (Alternately: Ghost Rider has preemptively been dubbed the worst movie of 2012.) Haywire is almost a must-see just because it’s Soderbergh directing action, and Gina Carano seems legit. Plus, Fassbender and MacGregor. I think anyone who liked Harry Potter probably should see The Woman In Black just because it’s probably worth observing where his career goes now that he’s no longer playing the Boy Who Lived. And then there’s Chronicle, which could either be the real deal or just an MTV movie.

    Oh– Red Tails. The trailers are selling this in the most dissonant way possible. It’s a period picture about real men facing real discrimination and putting themselves in real danger, and it’s being sold to us with the shitty dub-step music of today. They don’t mesh. You might as well play High On Fire over the Epic Whale Movie trailer, or maybe use Don’t Worry, Be Happy as the soundtrack to Silent House.

    • Oh man, T (the artist formerly known as Sp1der, LOL) said he wanted to see “Chronicle”, too, and I just can’t see it. The concept is fine I suppose, but there’s SOMETHING in that trailer setting off warning bells.

      Underworld makes a profit. It’s got to be that simple. I’ll know more when I “take the plunge” so to speak, but I’m sure it’s all a numbers game. Their promo expense must be low… People already know whether they want to see it or not.

      LOL @ This Means War.

      Hey, I’m hoping The Grey and Haywire are good… There’s always one or two modest early year hits a la “Taken”. The fights in Haywire are INSANE. Plus, exactly, Soderburgh is at the wheel… It should be good.

      My biggest thing with Red Tails is that Lucas is behind it in spite of not directing. He’s hitting the rounds promoting it, he supposedly directed reshoots, it was his project from way back… And I just don’t trust him any longer.

      Thanks Andy, some high quality contributing right there. 😀

      • Reese Witherspoon showing up in the This Means War trailer totally spoiled it for me too. Though it could be worse. It could have been Katherine Heigl.

      • The only reason for Underworld to get made now is, I agree, profit, but I have my doubts. I don’t know if the franchise is relevant at all now, even with Twilight being such a cash cow; if anything, Twilight‘s success might hurt Underworld, which is a vampire movie in a decidedly different vain from sparkly vampires and poorly built romance.

        We’ll see about The Grey and Haywire. I expect good things from both of them, but I’ll post my thoughts once I see them both.

        Agreed about Lucas and Red Tails. That guy has to earn some of my trust back.

        And yeah, Jaina, I agree– Reese Witherspoon killed the entire trailer for that movie. Heigl would have been far worse, but still– mood killer.

  3. Winter movie season is all about setting up proper expectations and hoping that eventually something will surprise you. I’m willing to give Man on Ledge and Haywire a try, but I don’t really expect all that much. I might check out This Means War, but that is only because Tom Hardy is in it.

    As far as One for the Money goes, I think people here might appreciate this:

    • I’ll agree on the concept on Chronicle. It COULD be interesting. But that trailer, something about it… Maybe it’s just the found footage conceit has really worn out its welcome with me.

      Neeson – hopefully – will make “The Grey” worth seeing. And you know, you’re right. Haven’t given a lot of thought to that poster, but it actually is excellent. Says a lot, just by showing his face.

  4. I started cracking up when I saw the poster for “The Woman in Black.” When the damn poster looks so fucking cheesy, you know the movie is going to be a laugh riot.

  5. I’m only looking forward to ‘Chronicle’ and ‘The Woman in Black.’ Other than that it looks like another boring winter. I agree with @Andrew–another studio dumping season!

  6. Apparently in Red Tails a character yells, “How you like that, Mr. Hitler?!?!?!”


  7. Wow, guess I will be catching up on DVDs during the next couple months. I might go see Haywire, but I can’t say I am interested in most of these at all…

      • Dude; YOU need to use to use the pregnant pause much better than that if you want glum!

        Also, wanted to say thanks for stopping by dearfilm.net … It classes up the joint

      • HA!!

        That’s the first time I’ve been accused of THAT!

        But you know, its all good man. I did a lambcast with Brian so now I have to check out his stuff, you know how it works. 😀 I’ll keep swinging through…

  8. Checked out a lot of the trailers here…. Haywire, Man on a Ledge, Contraband and, to a lesser extent, This Means War all seem like they have some potential. Anticipation of those films is in that order.

    Red Tails looks decent. Not great, but decent. I’m not as concerned about Lucas’s involvement as you are.

    Ghost Rider looks goofier than the first one.

    Chronicle has an interesting premise, but the “found footage” gimmick never had a welcome to wear out with me. Who would keep filming through all of that? And trailer is pretty squarely in lukewarm waters.

    And as for Journey 2… Mr. Caine. Michael. I’m a huge fan. You’re a brilliant actor, one of the best veteran actors around today. But your last three film credits… Gnomeo & Juliet. Cars 2. Journey 2. Fire your agent. Or shoot them. OK, I can see maybe getting hoodwinked on Cars 2, since it was Pixar. But from everything I’ve heard, it stunk, and I’m sure you could tell from the script. Of course, you have more than one famous quote about taking movies that pay the rent or buy a house, but surely you have enough houses now. You can afford to be pickier.

    • Caine’s greatest quote ever.

      “I’ve never seen Jaws 4. But I HAVE seen the house it built. And I can assure you, it’s quite lovely.”

      A man with that mentality will not fire his agent for getting him three roles. LOL

  9. I’m not really looking forward to any of those, so one can tell this is post-holiday winter season 😉 I’m somewhat intrigued by Haywire, Safehouse, and The Woman in Black but that’s pretty much it. One for the Money doesn’t look as pathetic as previous Katherine Heigl fare though, I will give it that.

    And Big Miracle looks so incredibly corny, it’s painful to see the trailer.

    • Yeah… that’s pretty much the story on “Big Miracle” isn’t it?

      I actually think Safehouse has a fighting chance… just to see Denzel mess with Ryan Reynolds. LOL I think that’d be hysterical.

  10. So…there is hope for Carano? Say it ain’t so? I’ve been on a roller coaster ride with this movie. Please movie gods, let it be true… Is Haywire a go?

    • Earlt reviews are starting to appear on Rotten Tomatoes.


      7 reviews, all fresh. I didn’t click through to research any of the “full reviews” but here are a couple of exceprts from the blurbs for you.

      “Gina Carano, a new riveting action star is born”

      “Carano lives up to her nickname ‘Conviction’ in her first feature role, one clearly shaped to take advantage of her attitude in the octagon.”

      Overall, they’re saying the movie is just a straight up actioner that doesn’t try to be anything else and then does what it does very well. I think the fact that its being screened early is a good sign. The studio is thinking critics will enjoy, so theyre trying to enlist them in selling it, you know? Kind of like the opposite of when they don’t release a movie for review and the RT score stays – until it opens. 😀

  11. Pingback: Blogging Community Highlights | The Warning Sign

    • Ohhhh yeah, right. I remember you and I were tweeting about that one. Yeah, it’s out now. I’ll probably fit it in sometime this week. That and Iron Lady…. not that I wanna see that one much.

      • Cool. Good to hear. Going to catch it Tuesday night, so there’ll be a review up here in the near future. I hope it winds up being “as good as anticipated” as you say. I think I’d enjoy the film its being sold as very much. If that makes sense

  12. I’m still waiting for American fall season to come down here! Anyway, I’m doing my best to catch up, so I can allow myself to think a little about winter season too. I’m always up to some Soderbergh. I’m really curious about Haywire: Soderbergh usually puts action in dialogues and psychology, let’s see what he can do with real action!

    • That still stinks so bad! LOL. 😩

      But seeing as that’s the case Jersey… have you seen “Contagion” yet? If not, I recommend that. Thats a Soderbergh as well, and he does a great job. There are parts when its freaking scary.

      Everyone has eyes on “Haywire” I guess. I’m hoping it’s really good!

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