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.

TOP 7 Anticipated Films (Jan. & Feb. 2009)

The months of January and February are Notorious for offering crumbs of quality scraped from the dishes used at Oscar's feast. However, some Fanboys might be Taken by surprise with reboots of their favorite horror classics, (My Bloody Valentine, now in 3-D or Friday the 13th). As for PG-13 horror, that particular sub-genre hasn't had a classic in a while. Maybe David S. Goyer's The Unborn can change that. Regardless, there will be a fair share of Youth In Revolt if releases like Hotel for Dogs or even The Pink Panther 2 exist only to educate young viewers on the true horror of the post-Oscar movie calendar. For the busy marquee topping months of January and February, here is a top 7 list of the most anticipated movies. Other films to watch out for (in ways both good and bad) are: Street Fighter: Legend of Chun Li, Dance Flick, He's Just Not That Into You, Confessions of a Shopaholic, and The International.

7. The Unborn - Writer-director David S. Goyer returns from his Dark Knight honeymoon with a supernatural PG-13 horror movie with a decent cast (Gary Oldman, Meagan Good, and Carla Gugino). The first trailer is pretty fulfilling, promising contorted human spider walks, creepy children, things popping out everywhere, and tons of screaming. However, the preview doesn't offer a lot of info on what the premise is (unborn twin wants to be born?). But it's all very curious whether Goyer's The Unborn will be able to breathe life into a genre financially and critically challenged. He did co-write The Dark Knight, but at the same time he has films like Jumper on his resume.

6. Youth in Revolt - Michael Cera plays another Nick in another teen comedy, this one with a Juno-like edge to sex. Cera is Nick Twisp, a trailer park teenager who tries in many ways to lose his "innocence" to a specific girl. A more heartfelt theme is possible, meaning this could be another fuzzy coming of age flick with a little less John Hughes than Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist. There's been little buzz, no trailers or posters (that I know of), but it'll be interesting to see whether Cera will portray an adolescent different from George-Michael Bluth/Evan/Paulie Bleeker/etc.

5. Notorious - No, the horror-movie murdering producers aren't remaking Alfred Hitchcock's classic (yet). This film is about the mo' money and mo' problems of east-coast rapper Notorious B.I.G, the legend behind hits like "Big Poppa" and "Hypnotize." According to those who were close to the real Biggie Smalls, the embodiment by newcomer Jamal Woolard is remarkable, which could make for an impressive performance. Music biopics get a bad rap for being clones of one another, and for having poor performances that barely reach impersonation. Maybe Notorious can fix that.

4. My Bloody Valentine 3-D - The original film has arguably less importance than the classic slashers, but today that doesn't matter. Lionsgate is revamping this horror experience with everything its got - from the usage of 3-D to the marketing's proposal that "nothing says 'date movie' like a 3-D ride into hell." Regardless, this could prove to be a fun time, with its excitement enhanced by an in your face 3-D experience. Though ticket prices might cost a bit extra for the glasses, (they did for Bolt, at least), multiplexes will find themselves packed with (hopefully) of-age viewers taking their dates on a romantic "3-D ride into hell."

3. Taken - Director Pierre Morel did a wild French film called District B13, which had some spectacular parkour (free-running) stunts. Unfortunately, it only earned its recognition on the shelves of Blockbuster. His newest film stars Liam Neeson as an ex-spy who must find his kidnapped daughter. Though the trailer is more dramatic than expected, early buzz says that Neeson kicks an amount of ass equal to or more than any of the JB's (Bourne, Bond, maybe even Bauer). Though a fan on IMDB.com's comparison of the film to Shoot 'Em Up has me scared, it'll be fun to see whether Taken will be the explosive action movie to hold us until summer.

2. Friday the 13th – With this reboot, it appears Jason is not only powerless to his mother, but also to greedy producers. With Texas Chainsaw Massacre redone and sequel-ized and A Nightmare on Elm Street on its way, no slasher is safe from a makeover. From producer Michael Bay comes a re-hash of one of the most famous hackers ever, using the same location (Camp Crystal Lake) but not the same plot as the original 1980 film that started a 10½ movie long franchise. Word on the Internet says that this version of Jason is more methodical in his gruesome killing, which could make for an exciting revision of a villain who eventually started to parody himself (see: Friday the 13th: Part VII’s sleeping bag murder). Though this film is going to continue the ignorance that Jason was the original slasher in the original film, the first trailer released for this film was vicious and exciting, like a good slasher flick should be.

1. Fanboys - Using a cast of rising stars such as Jay Baruchel, Dan Fogler and Kirsten Bell, Fanboys is supposedly about a bunch of Star Wars followers who venture to George Lucas’ Skywalker Ranch before the release of Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace in 1999. This ode to Star Wars and movie geekdom was originally supposed to arrive in 2007. But when Miramax decided to edit out a subplot involving cancer, future fans of the film and Star Wars kids alike staged a protest against the studio’s current film, Superhero Movie to keep their unseen film as it was meant to be. At the least, Fanboys could be an amusing tribute to a giant franchise and it's hardcore followers. Even if it sucks, it will likely have a cult following bigger or equal to that of The Star Wars Holiday Special.

He said - She said ... The Spirit

Box Office Review - December 28, 2008