By Katie Walsh | The Playlist February 4, 2011 at 5:11AM
Well, it's February, the groundhog saw his shadow, which means spring is coming soon, but unfortunately, there's no groundhog to show us the light at the end of the crap, horrible films tunnel, so we'll just have to keep humping those Oscar screeners. Not much in theaters to tempt one from the warmth of home, where there's cable, DVDs, Netflix Instant and Hulu (important PSA: this writer just discovered that the short documentary "Heavy Metal Parking Lot" is on Hulu, so RUN don't walk over there right now to watch it, then come back and read the rest of this post. Okay, you're back, wasn't that great?!). If you're going to get out and make your way to the theater, there are a few selections that may entice you. "The Roommate" adds to the list of things young girls should be terrified of, "Sanctum" gives you a nice dose of 3D claustrophobia, the producers of "The Other Woman" grab the Natalie Portman zeitgeist by the hair and shake the life out of it, Halle Berry's failed Oscar bait "Frankie and Alice" opens in limited release, and there are a few other flicks to wile away a winter weekend.
Doppelgangers Minka Kelly and Leighton Meester get bitchy in "The Roommate," another journey down the well-trodden "Single White Female" path. This marks the English language debut of Danish director Christian E. Christiansen and co-stars beef slice Cam Gigandet and Alyson Michalka (breast supported sidekick in "Easy A"). On the plus side, Leighton Meester's hair looks really, really pretty. Trailer Rotten Tomatoes: N/A Metacritic: N/A
Like claustrophobia? How about 3D? Well then, "Sanctum" is the movie for you! Producer James Cameron lends his 3D juju to this based-on-a-true story cave exploration tale, starring Ioan Gruffudd, Rhys Wakefield and Richard Roxburgh. The trailer promises lots of, um, time spent in underwater caves, aka our nightmare. Our review says, "when you’ve got a cave and 3D water and a few forgettable character tropes, the possibility for imagination remains faint." Looks like you should just pull out that well-worn copy of "The Descent" instead. RT: 32% MC: 42
Natalie Portman's having the Best Month Ever! Girl's got an Oscar nomination, a baby on the way (did you hear? Natalie Portman is pregnant. In case you didn't know, she's growing a baby in her belly. A hot one), and a decently performing sex-com with "No Strings Attached." Oh, and "The Other Woman" is opening this week. Those producers pulled a smart move releasing this flick right now when the entire nation has a bad case of Natalie Portman fever. This adaptation of Ayelet Waldman's novel "Love and Other Impossible Pursuits" follows a young newlywed as she deals with the death of a newborn, her new relationship with her stepson, oh and that minor detail of the jealous ex-wife. Trailer RT: 39% MC: 32
Micro-indie mystery (say that five times fast!) "Cold Weather" opens in limited release this weekend from director Aaron Katz. The SXSW 2010 selection follows a young Sherlock Holmes-obsessed dude who gets to solve a real mystery when an ex-girlfriend disappears. Our review says the film is "a masterful combination of micro-indie sensibilities and missing-person mysteries," and that it "finds its success by constructing a legitimately tense plot and employing a loose aesthetic that allows atmosphere and charm to sometimes take precedent." Trailer RT: 75% MC: 66
The next time we do one of those Fire Your Agent features, we have to put Rachel Bilson on the list. Why is she even famous again? "Waiting For Forever" looks to be a sappy unrequited love story fairly dripping with treacle, and the trailer will give you a serious case of the eye rolls. Take off that stupid hat, Tom Sturridge. Ugh, the stupid hat has a heart coming out of it on the poster! The only way this movie could be redeemable is if the stupid hat gets set on fire at the end and Tom Sturridge cries and cries about the burned up stupid hat. And while we're at it, who is Tom Sturridge anyway? If you're in desperate need of an overly sentimental, trying-too-hard-to-be-quirky rom-com, go watch "Heavy Metal Parking Lot," it'll cure you of that affliction right quick. Bah humbug. RT: 8% MC: 28
Halle Berry dons a variety of wigs to do the multiple personality thing in "Frankie and Alice," which opens in limited release after a tiny Oscar-qualifying run that was all for naught. Stellan Skarsgård co-stars as her psychologist, and Phylicia Rashad as her mother. Trailer RT: 9%
As for documentaries in theaters this week: Finnish nuclear waste doc "Into Eternity" RT: 100%; Yann Arthus-Bertrand's planet Earth documentary "Home;" "Troubadours" profiles the legendary Troubadour club that was the epicenter of the '60s/'70s singer-songwriter scene and the Carole King/James Taylor concert that capped off its 50th anniversary RT: 80%; "Dressed" follows a Laotian-American fashion designer on his journey to New York Fashion Week.