Because the pickins’ are so slim every first quarter of the year (some more so than others), I like to point out the stuff people should check out before the big boys of summer/spring push the little guys of late winter out of a theater near you.
You can still catch some of these in theaters – so don’t delay.
THE PLACE BEYOND THE PINES (starring Ryan Gosling and Bradley Cooper)
Methodical, melodramatic and ambitious PINES features three movies for the price of one. Equal parts intimate, brutal, moody, violent and graceful, it remains a rivetingly complex piece of cinema that’s sure to linger in your mind and throw a shroud of parental stress over fathers and fathers-to-be…
SIDE EFFECTS (starring Jude Law, Rooney Mara and Channing Tatum)
An intelligent, refreshingly slow-burn, prescription drug thriller with a sharp, intelligent script, per-usual pinpoint direction from Steven Soderbergh and riveting performances from both Jude Law and Rooney Mara. Some of the late-in-the-show reveals may not be that surprising – but as a whole, and amidst some of its foggy puzzle pieces, it remains an entertaining, lethargically absorbing and effectively nimble piece of filmmaking.
WARM BODIES (starring Nicholas Hoult, Teresa Palmer and John Malkovich)
THE WALKING DEAD meets TWILIGHT by way of SIXTEEN CANDLES. This delightfully undead and creatively spirited zombie romantic comedy (or Zom/Rom/Com!) takes a lighthearted, cheerful, funny, optimistic and sometimes gross look at the power of love – and how it can overpower the urge to mindlessly rip someone apart and eat them for lunch.
THE CROODS (starring the voices of Nicolas Cage, Emma Stone and Ryan Reynolds)
A beautifully envisioned, entertaining, colorful, heart-felt and giddily action-packed prehistoric world where both children and parents alike will find smiles-a-plenty! You’d have to have rocks in your head to not enjoy the simple pleasures of this rollicking animated caveman movie!
SPRING BREAKERS (starring James Franco, Vanessa Hudgens and Selena Gomez)
James Franco’s performance may have been neither great nor powerful in the recent OZ movie, but he more than makes up for it here as an over-the-top, wannabe gangster rapper who shows four young coeds the true meaning of girls going wild. A stylistically ludicrous teenage dream!