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New in Theaters January 11: Gangster Squad, Zero Dark Thirty, A Haunted House

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By Chris Kavan - 01/10/13 at 12:57 AM CT

Last week it was, in my eyes, a surprising win for Texas Chainsaw 3D. But, as we have learned from the past, opening a horror movie early in the year often leads to decent returns (also see: The Devil Inside). Something tells me that the celebration is going to be short-lived, as horror movies also tend to be dreadfully front-loaded and fall pretty hard in their second weekend. But fear not, there are some great choices this weekend, including a potential Oscar-winning film.

ZERO DARK THIRTY Although this movie has done quite well in limited release over the past few weeks, this film about the hunt for Osama bin Laden finally gets a nationwide debut this weekend. A lot have been said about this film, from people upset about it apparently being pro torture to the near certainty that Jessica Chastain is the front-runner for Best Actress. One thing is for certain - I think this is going to be one of the best films of the year and is already on schedule for a Thursday evening watch. It will be interesting to see where it places on my list.

GANGSTER SQUAD After suffering a delay due to the fallout from the Aurora, Co. shooting, Gangster Squad is finally ready to debut after cutting a scene involving a movie theater shooting. But was the delay worth the wait? Despite a cast featuring Ryan Gosling, Emma Stone, Sean Penn, Josh Brolin, Giovanni Ribisi and Michael Peņa - early reviews seem to point to Gangster Squard being more of a caricature of the 40s-50s L.A. rather than a serious venture. A bit hammy and over-the-top for serious consideration, none-the-less, I still think this will be entertaining - maybe not great - but even if the people involved give less-than-inspired performances, it will still be fun. It matters if audiences take the word of critics, or decide for themselves. It could be a hit or a complete miss depending on which way the wind blows.

A HAUNTED HOUSE I was hoping that we were passed the whole "parody" movie thing, but it seems this particular genre will never really die. We don't have Scary Movie 5 (yet) but instead we can "enjoy" this Paranormal Activity spoof starring Marlon Wayans, David Koechner, Essence Atkins and Nick Swardson. I cannot fathom why people still eat this up, but it seems these terrible parody movies make just enough to keep directors making more of them. I wouldn't watch this even if it was free and I don't see how it's going to do any business, but then again, I didn't give a chance to Texas Chainsaw 3D, and that movie turned out to beat a sweeping musical, a Tarantino western and an epic fantasy. Who knows, A Haunted House could (perish the thought) do the same.

Another weekend that should be pretty big. I'm interested to see if a dark Oscar contender can stand against an star-studded gangster film or if a terrible-looking parody can somehow sneak into the top five. See you on Sunday with the results.


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Wrote on 01/11/13 at 09:33 PM CT

And yet somehow these parody movies keep getting made... sigh - maybe no one will go to this one and they'll finally get the message.

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Wrote on 01/11/13 at 01:05 AM CT

Chris, i'm with you, I also wouldn't watch A Haunted House even if it was free. That looks like a really, really awful movie.

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