If you are wise, you will skip Joyful Noise and choose to see Meryl Steep’s latest Oscar bait portrayal as former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher instead. Rejoining her Mamma Mia! director Phyllida Lloyd, I can assure you they’re bound to garner Steep yet another Best Actress nomination. Beauty and the Beast also opens in 3D as Disney continues their new trend of re-releasing their greatest hits collection, even if this one’s been available on Blu-ray 3D since October. Is it really worth paying to see in theaters when you probably already have it in your collection? Probably not, but I digress.
Speaking of milking cash cows, the vampires and lycans are at it again in the fourth Underworld film, this time subtitled: Awakening. Too bad Kate Beckinsale has returned for her third part of the dead in the water franchise her husband, Len Wiseman, has built. Admittedly, I was kind of excited for these before the first film was released. But what looked like a monster mashed Matrix turned out to be just another series leaning towards fans of the other god-awful Sony owned Resident Evil films. At least Beckinsale is far more fun to watch in her skin tight leather than Milla Jovovich could ever dream in her chop-suey edited, CGI breast-enhanced, fight scenes. Four screenwriters and two directors later, this still doesn’t look any better than the last three.
On the positive side of things, we do get a new Steven Soderbergh action thriller with Haywire. Heavily touted as the big screen acting debut for MMA fighter Gina Carano, let’s hope that Soderbergh brings along his independent film sensibilities to add some panache to the chaos that’s bound to ensue. Armed with a great supporting cast in Michael Fassbender, Antonio Banderas, Bill Paxton, Mathieu Kassovitz, not to mention Michael Douglas and Ewan McGregor as villains, maybe he can wind up bringing us this year’s Hanna. Having a script from Lem Dobbs, a man who knows his way around a good story (Dark City, The Limey, The Score), only seems to improve those chances.