This is Jeff Bayer, and I don't update this site very often. If you'd like to listen to my current movie podcast you can find it at MovieBS.com.

January Monthly Movie Preview: 'Country Strong' to 'The Mechanic'

Monthly Movie Preview – January 2011 Fresh off the holiday headache of in-laws and frantic last minute holiday shopping, January promises a fresh start for most people. It's a brand new year and most of us have fooled ourselves into thinking that somehow this year's gonna be different. We're really gonna work off that holiday weight or we're really gonna take the time to give back.

Unfortunately, the movie line up is about as fresh and original as most people's New year's resolutions. Then again, if it ain't broke, why bother trying to fix it? January plays host to a number of different films. They range from comedies to the unlikely January action flick. No matter how you slice it, January's line up gives us all a glimpse as to what 2011 might have to offer movie-goers this year. Check it out.

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January 7

Movie of the Week

Country Strong

The Stars: Gwyneth Paltrow, Tim Mcgraw, Leighton Meester The Plot: Country Strong follows a young singer as he tries to make his break when attached to the falling star of a troubled country star. The Buzz: For those of you who are out there thinking that Country Strong looks like a chick flick, watered down version of Crazy Heart... well, I don't really have a counter to that. The fact of the matter is that Country Strong seems to suffer from an idiotic title and a less than promising plot. Why is it the movie of the week then? Well, for starters, it was either this or Season of the Witch. But really, when it boils down to it, Paltrow's return to the big screen, at least in her own star vehicle, is long overdue. Paltrow tends to be charismatic and I hafta have faith that even if the movie itself doesn't work very well, maybe she'll have a catchy song or two to make it worth my while. A man can hope...

The Others:

Season of the Witch - Nicolas Cage, Ron Perlman, Claire Foy I Love You Phillip Morris (expanding) - Jim Carrey, Ewan McGregor, Leslie Mann

January 14

Movie of the Week

The Green Hornet

The Stars: Seth Rogen, Jay Chou, Christoph Waltz, Cameron Diaz The Plot: A playboy gets serious when he becomes a crime fighter by night, with sidekick Kato to help against evil-doers. The Buzz: Michel Gondry directing a superhero flick? The excitement for that alone is more than enough to make up for the disappointment that Cameron Diaz is involved in this project. I'm not gonna claim to be a huge Green Hornet fan, considering it's a little before my time, but I've heard a couple of the old time radio tales and fallen in love already. I was a little nervous for a big screen update, especially with such flukes as The Shadow out there, but with a dream cast like this, I'm ready to put my fears to rest and trust in the comedic timing of Rogen and the delightful villainy for which Waltz is known.

The Others:

The Dilemma - Vince Vaughan, Kevin James, Winona Ryder The Heart Specialist (limited) - Wood Harris, Zoe Saldana, Method Man Rabbit Hole (expanding) - Nicole Kidman, Aaron Eckhart, Dianne Wiest

January 21

Movie of the Week

No Strings Attached

The Stars: Natalie Portman, Ashton Kutcher, Cary Elwes The Plot: Things get messy between two people who decide to keep things strictly physical between the two, but of course, feelings start to develop. The Buzz: Let the year of the "hazards of hooking up with friends" comedy begin! It's a kinda thin premise, but Natalie Portman has enough charm to bring life to this type of movie. I'm not expecting it to reign supreme come awards season, but a little frivolity is nice every so often. Kutcher isn't exactly my favorite leading man, but honestly, if he just sticks to his "look at my abs and don't listen to an unfunny word that's coming out of my mouth" routine, then even he'd be bearable. But let's not kid ourselves, this only made it to movie of the week because of my love of Natalie Portman and my belief that even a film of her making breakfast would be adorable.

The Others:

The Way Back - Colin Farrell, Ed Harris, Jim Sturgess, Saoirse Ronan

January 28

Movie of the Week

The Mechanic

The Stars: Jason Statham, Ben Foster, Donald Sutherland The Plot: An assassin takes his mentor's son under his wing after his mentor is murdered. He trains the boy in the ways of revenge as they hunt down the man responsible for his father's murder. The Buzz: Sound familiar? Could it be that this is a remake? Or could it be that this plotline is quickly becoming one of the action movie's favorite cliches? However you slice it, you should probably know that most people aren't gonna see this for the plot, but rather to watch Jason Statham unleash yet another wave of brutality on a bunch of nameless and faceless baddies. What was that I was saying before? If it ain't broke why bother fixing it? As long as there's enough violence and explosions to make it worth the price of admission, I'm not expecting much else.

The Others:

The Rite - Anthony Hopkins, Colin O'Donoghue, Ciaran Hinds

TSR Buzz: The United State of Pop 2010, The King's (Real) Speech, Hot Drinks

Box Office Review: 'Little Fockers' leads the new year's box office