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New in Theaters January 25: Movie 43, Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters, Parker

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By Chris Kavan - 01/24/13 at 02:39 AM CT

While this year hasn't exactly been a barn burner at the box office - it has surprisingly been horror that has driven the top films since the new year dawned. This week, though, there is no horror to be found. You have a comedy, an action/fantasy piece and another pure action film (that will hopefully do better than The Last Stand). Do any films have a chance at standing up to some serious Oscar contenders? Let's see what we're getting into this week:

MOVIE 43 Anthology comedy is something that is rarely attempted these days. Usually when one does come along, it's by one director (John Landis for The Kentucky Fried Movie, Mel Brooks for The History of the World, Part 1). Movie 43 actually has a wide variety of directors tackling the short segments that make up the whole. It apparently is about a group of kids looking for the most banned movie in the world and stumbling across various results in the depths of the Interwebs. I'm usually wary about such a prospect, but the cast features everyone from Emma Stone to Richard Gere and big names like Hugh Jackman, Naomi Watts, Kate Winslet, Anna Faris, Gerard Butler, Halle Berry, Terrence Howard and Elizabeth Banks (amongst many, many others). Just based on the lineup alone, I think this will be worth watching just to see what the various directors (including Elizabeth Banks as well as Peter Farrelly, Brett Ratner, James Gunn and Bob Odenkirk and more!) can do with this amazing talent. The fact all these people actually chose to attach their names to this project means it should be interesting. I hope they're not just pulling my leg.

HANSEL & GRETEL: WITCH HUNTERS This looks like one of those films you don't admit to many people you're going to watch, but secretly, you want to see how this turns out. A fantasy/action film is hard to pull off, and the fact this film has was delayed - apparently to make Jeremy Renner more appealing to the international market - still makes me a bit wary. The movie does star some fantastic women in the form of Gemma Arterton, Famke Janssen - but I don't know if it's going to be enough to overcome what looks on the surface to be a ludicrous idea - a grown-up Hansel and Gretel taking down witches - especially looking for the one who created a candy-covered house and attempted to eat them. This is one I would rent out of curiosity, but I can't see watching this in theaters.

PARKER As far as I'm concerned, if you've seen one Jason Statham movie, you're pretty much seen them all. He always gets into fights, doesn't take crap from anyone and looks sharp while doing it. Parker has him playing a thief with ethics who, of course, is double-crossed and left for dead (but SURPRISE! He's actually NOT dead) and goes after his old crew with the help of a women on "the inside". The cast looks interesting: J-Lo, Michael Chiklis, Bobby Cannavale, Nick Nolte and... Patti LuPone?! Crazy! Yet I have a sneaking suspicion this is going to look just like every other action film Statham has been in and thus, I'll wait to rent it.

The lineup is certainly going to shake things up, but it's hard to say what audiences are going to be in the mood for. I'm giving the edge to Movie 43 based on the cast. Both Witch Hunters and Parker could do well or, like The Last Stand, fall flat on their respective faces. It seems like it has been a finicky year, but with awards season still heating up, the Oscar films still have the edge over most of the these newcomers. Anyway, on Sunday I'll have all the gory details.


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Wrote on 01/26/13 at 02:54 PM CT

January is always a pretty lackluster month, but I have to say that 2013 seems particularly devoid of any even halfway decent movies this year. And I don't consider the wide releases of Zero Dark Thirty or Silver Linings Playbook counting as "new" releases. Hopefully February gets better.

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Wrote on 01/26/13 at 02:22 PM CT

Agree 100% on the Jason Statham comment all his movies are alike, the only movie this week that has any appeal to me is Hansel and Gretel and that is only because Jeremy Renner is becoming one of my favorites and I have loved most all his movies and Movie 43 just looks stupid, one of those comedys that doesnt make you laugh just feel awkward so outside of that isnt a great week for me.

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