By The Playlist Staff | The Playlist January 4, 2013 at 12:00PM
Synopsis: Lenny has relocated his family back to the small town where he and his friends grew up. This time around, the grown ups are the ones learning lessons from their kids on a day notoriously full of surprises: the last day of school.
What You Need To Know: With his last two films, "Jack and Jill" and "That's My Boy" proving his least successful "traditional" starring vehicles since "Eight Crazy Nights" a decade ago, Adam Sandler, continuing his quest to actually become his character from "Funny People," has made his first ever sequel. "Grown Ups 2," a followup to the 2010 film that's Sandler's biggest ever worldwide grosser, reunites Sandler with Chris Rock, Kevin James and an increasingly grateful David Spade and Rob Schneider for more hilarious antics. Wait, did we say hilarious? We meant toxic. The filmmakers having not quite realized that the target audience would probably not notice if the exact same film was projected a second time, so the plot, such as it is, sees Taylor Lautner and Milo Ventimiglia as bullying frat-boys, with half of the male cast of "SNL" cameo-ing too. It's too early to tell more about the content, but rumors are that Kevin James will fall over, there'll be jokes about poop and making out with old people, and the female characters will all be nagging shrews. It will also make more money than every movie you actually like in the next twelve months.
Release Date: July 12th
Synopsis: Years after surviving an encounter with a witch in a gingerbread house, Hansel & Gretel have grown up to become badass witch-slayers, but come across their most fearsome adversary yet.
What You Need To Know: "Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter" might have died a death at the box office last year, but that hasn't stopped Paramount from pressing ahead with the release of "Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters" later this month. Mainly because they'd already delayed it a year, and they can't just not release any movies like they did in 2012. It was a promising prospect on paper; a horror-comedy directed by "Dead Snow" helmer Tommy Wirkola, and produced by Will Ferrell & Adam McKay. But when one remembers the other films from Ferrell & McKay's company (or tries; things like "The Goods" and "The Virginity Hit" passed into obscurity almost immediately), you start to feel a little nervous. And trailers seemed to reveal a film that's essentially a bloody, misogynistic version of Terry Gilliam's "The Brothers Grimm," with the comedy handled by leads Jeremy Renner and Gemma Arterton; both talented actors, but hardly the new Mike Nichols and Elaine May when it comes to comic timing. Gorehounds may end up being satisfied, we're not sure anyone else will be.
Release Date: January 25th
Synopsis: "The Host" is a love story set in the future, where earth is occupied by a species who erase the minds of their human hosts, leaving their bodies intact. Melanie Stryder is one of the last surviving humans who fights back, risking her life for the people she cares about most—Jared, Ian, her brother Jamie, and her Uncle Jeb — proving that love can conquer all.
What You Need To Know: We might be free of the "Twilight" movies for a few years, but Stephenie Meyer's shitty storytelling lives on, with this adaptation of her 2008 novel, her first best-seller away from her trademark vampire saga. She didn't stray that far from the material she made her name on, though, with a love-triangle (or quadrangle, we suppose) set-up, albeit with an "Invasion Of The Body Snatchers"-style twist. Some might take comfort from the presence of Andrew Niccol (writer of "The Truman Show," director of "Gattaca"), but "In Time" proved that he's been off his game for a long time, and the drab visuals of the trailer are hardly comforting. Plus the "Twilight" movies also proved that talented filmmakers like David Slade and Bill Condon can only do so much with the material. The presence of Saoirse Ronan in the lead role gave us some comfort until we remembered "The Lovely Bones," and some of the other cast, which includes Diane Kruger, William Hurt, Max Irons and Jake Abel, look to be a little adrift with the material.
Release Date: March 29th
Synopsis: Set in the present day, Frankenstein, freed from his creator, becomes involved in a noirish mystery involving a war between immortals in an ancient city.
What You Need To Know: Oh, Aaron Eckhart. While almost every other actor involved in "The Dark Knight" series got a major career boost, the one-time Harvey Dent has made a series of questionable choices since that film, most notably the awful "Battle Los Angeles." And now, he's stuck behind a dodgy make-up job in this horror actioner, presumably because Paul Bettany was busy or something. From the mind of "Underworld" creator Kevin Grevioux, who appears to have gone through his old scripts and used find/replace to swap mentions of 'vampire' for 'Frankenstein,' the film's ended up in the hands of Australian writer/director Stuart Beattie, whose "Tomorrow, When The War Began" was a hit at home, but picked up derisive reviews in the rest of the world. Some might be tempered by the news that Bill Nighy is playing the bad guy, but that didn't help the "Underworld" movies either, and that at least had the selling point of Kate Beckinsale in a catsuit kicking ass, not a guy with a disfigurement wandering around in a trenchcoat. An early September release date makes it pretty clear that Lionsgate's best case scenario for this one are capturing some of the audience that are missing a "Resident Evil" movie at that time of year.
Release Date: September 13th
Synopsis: Adaptation of the classic fairy tale, about a simple farm boy whose magic beans unlock the way to a kingdom of giants in the sky; giants who are in no way friendly...
What You Need To Know: All being well, the fairy-tale craze is starting to dry up, bar some high-profile Disney films like "Maleficent" and "Cinderella" on the way. But there's still a few films that should have been 2012 entries to filter through, and the most expensive of them is "Jack The Giant Slayer." Anyone who was hoping for the return of "Usual Suspects" director Bryan Singer to stripped-down small-scale fare is going to be disappointed; this is a big, effects-filled fantasy epic. It also, and it hurts us to say, because we'd like a Singer comeback as much as anyone, looks pretty terrible, with ropey effects for the giants, and a broad, campy tone. We're not quite convinced yet that Nicholas Hoult is the star that Hollywood wants him to be, and while there's some reliable players in the supporting cast (Ian McShane, Bill Nighy, Stanley Tucci, Ewan McGregor, Eddie Marsan), "Snow White & The Huntsman" proved that a host of fun character actors does not a watchable film make. Maybe Singer's got a piece of "Princess Bride"-esque fun up his sleeve, and maybe those effects will be improved by the time of release (less than two months away now...), but right now, we can't think of a single person who's actively looking forward to seeing this.
Release Date: March 1st