Winter doldrums in Movieland
The bleak dead of winter is a time that tries movie lovers’ souls. It’s when over-hyped holiday blockbusters and Oscar-buzzed prestige pictures have settled in for their long winter runs. It’s when studios look to dump obvious turkeys, formulaic programmers and hard-to-market odd-goods on the cabin-fevered masses. It’s the traditional in-between season when studios are preoccupied with awards and seem to give short shrift to new releases.
But from now until the first inklings of spring, there are a indeed a handful of big-studio releases that promise a little heat to relieve the winter doldrums.
Here are a few “event pictures” that should feed our movie jones until April.
“Legion” (Friday). God is angry, and the Apocalypse is nigh in this thriller that sports Paul Bettany as a studly Archangel Michael, who appears at a greasy-spoon diner to say grace over a pregnant waitress whose baby is the only hope for mankind. First-time director Scott Stewart, former head of a cutting-edge FX company, promises awesomely celestial special-effects battles as legions of macho angels descend on Earth.
“The Wolfman” (Feb. 12). Universal Pictures mines its vaults to resurrect one of its most hair-raising monsters in this butched-up, retro retelling of the popular old folk tale. Benicio Del Toro plays a nobleman who returns to his ancestral land when he learns that his brother and many villagers have been fatally mauled by a nightmarish beast. With a classy cast that includes Anthony Hopkins and Emily Blunt and a reliable director in Joe Johnston (“Hidalgo”), this could be frightfully good.
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