Notable new releases and events
The symbol indicates titles of unusual interest, quality, and/or critical acclaim.
Will Bruce Willis succeed where fellow aging action heroes Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger failed? The latter two stars have already bombed this winter with box office duds Bullet to the Head and The Last Stand, respectively, but Willis hopes that audiences will find him a little less expendable as he returns to cineplexes with A Good Day to Die Hard. The fifth film in the Die Hard series (and, yes, a sixth installment is apparently in development) finds Willis' John McClane in Russia, where he spends a day battling terrorists and hardly dying with the help of his grown son Jack (Jai Courtney); John Moore (Max Payne) directs. Note that the film (like most of this week's releases) opens Thursday as a special Valentine's Day treat.
Also out Thursday is the melodrama Safe Haven, yet another adaptation of a Nicholas Sparks novel; Josh Duhamel and Julianne Hough star for director Lasse Hallström (who previously directed the Sparks adaptation Dear John). Beautiful Creatures is another romance adapted from a novel, but with a supernatural twist; Richard LaGravenese directs. Skewing even younger than those two films is Escape From Planet Earth, a rare kid-friendly animated film from The Weinstein Company; the interstellar adventure features the voice talents of Brendan Fraser, Rob Corddry, Sarah Jessica Parker, Jessica Alba, and William Shatner.
Fans of artsier fare have two choices (at least in LA and NY) this week. Wednesday's Like Someone in Love has been on the receiving end of some disappointingly mixed reviews, though fans of director Abbas Kiarostami (Certified Copy) will likely still seek out this unconventional love story set in Tokyo. Critics have been more fond of Friday's No, which is nominated for an Academy Award in the foreign-language category and was a hit at Cannes last year; Gael Garcia Bernal stars in this based-on-a-true story look at an ad man's attempt to bring down Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet in the 1980s.
Tuesday's key DVD/Blu-ray releases include last year's 007 flick Skyfall, Sundance hit The Sessions, the documentary Bully, and high school dramedy The Perks of Being a Wallflower. Check our DVD Release Calendar for a full list of this week's new releases.
Originally expected to be released last year, Aliens: Colonial Marines (360, PS3, PC) finally arrives on store shelves this Tuesday. The first-person shooter takes place between the second and third Alien films, with locations including the second movie's planet LV-426. The story comes from Battlestar Galactica scribes Bradley Thompson and David Weddle, while the game itself was developed by Gearbox Software (Borderlands, Duke Nukem Forever). We're still waiting for the review embargo to break, so there are no scores available yet.
Thanks in part to Tuesday's State of the Union address (which will preempt most of that evening's regular programming), it's a relatively light week for TV premieres. Our goes to the season 2 premiere of Inside Comedy (Monday, 11p on Showtime), a weekly talk show that finds industry vet David Steinberg sitting down with fellow comedians to discuss their craft. Monday's season opener will feature Louis CK and Bob Newhart, while future episodes will include Steve Martin, Carol Burnett, Will Ferrell, Jim Carrey, Tina Fey, Judd Apatow, Lily Tomlin, and more.
ABC's Zero Hour (Thursday, 8p) is the lone high-profile new series to kick off this week. Expect plenty of Da Vinci Code/National Treasure comparisons for this conspiracy thriller from Taken director Pierre Morel and Transformers producer Lorenza di Bonaventura, which is mainly notable as the television return for ER star Anthony Edwards. Here, he plays the editor of Modern Skeptic Magazine who gets caught up in a complex global mystery (Nazis! Rosicrucians! clocks!) even he cannot debunk. Scott Michael Foster, Michael Nyqvist, Carmen Ejogo, and Jacinda Barrett also star, and note that the running time is about 60 minutes longer than the title suggests.
Reality fans can enjoy the returns of Survivor (Wednesday, 8p on CBS) and The Amazing Race (Sunday, 8p on CBS), while TNT's cop drama Southland (Wednesday, 10p) is back for a fifth season. And Showtime will air its lengthy History of the Eagles music documentary on
one two of these nights: Friday and Saturday at 8p.
In a relatively light week for music releases, one of the most notable new albums is Holy Fire, the third album from English indie-rockers and Mercury Prize nominees Foals. Their self-described "swampy" and "stinky" new album finds Foals working with veteran producers Flood and Alan Moulder, and sees the band jumping from indie label Sub Pop to the larger Warner Bros. in the U.S., and critics are noticing its bigger, stadium-friendly sound. Other albums out Tuesday include Honeys by Pennsylvania punks Pissed Jeans, Waiting For Something To Happen by Veronica Falls (streaming today at Pitchfork), and How I Knew Her, the Kickstarter-funded solo debut from Nonesuch-signed singer-songwriter Nataly Dawn.
Closing the book on last week
|Most Popular Title on Metacritic|
|Dead Space 3 (360) 78||Week of 2/3-2/9|
|Weekend Box Office Champion (Estimated, U.S. only; source: Boxofficemojo.com)|
|Identity Thief 35||$36.6 million; 1st week at #1|
|#1 Album on Billboard 200 (Source: Billboard.com/Nielsen SoundScan)|
|Justin Bieber: Believe: Acoustic||1st week at #1|
|Top-Rated Primetime Broadcast Show (Source: Nielsen)|
|Super Bowl XLVII (CBS)||108.7 million viewers; week of 1/28-2/3|