Winter Cultural Preview: Cold weather, hot movies

Cold weather, hot movies

Denis Côté's Bestiaire opens the 30th Rendez-vous du cinéma québécois on February 15

This winter, warm yourselves up at a nearby multiplex

The beginning of the year is, among other things, the time to catch up on the Oscar hopefuls, some of which are only opening up here this January and February (The Iron Lady, We Need to Talk About Kevin, A Separation, etc.).

As far as proper 2012 releases go, this winter’s first must-see is undeniably Haywire, Steven Soderbergh’s down-and-dirty action flick starring MMA champion Gina Carano and the ubiquitous Michael Fassbender. (January 20)

Thrill junkies will also want to catch Joe Carnahan’s The Grey, in which Liam Neeson plays a member of an oil drilling team stranded in Alaska, where they must face a pack of wolves. (January 27)

Ghost Rider was in no way a good movie, but it did feature a particularly kooky performance by Nicolas Cage. If only for that, I must admit I’m looking forward to Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance from Crank directorial duo Neveldine/Taylor. (February 17)

Locally, the big film event of the winter is the 30th edition of Les Rendez-vous du cinéma québécois, which will be bookended by Denis Côté’s Parc Safari documentary Bestiaire and Brigitte Poupart’s Dave St-Pierre portrait Over My Dead Body. (February 15 to 26; www.rvcq.com)

Also eagerly awaited is the release of Michael Dowse’s rowdy hockey comedy Goon, from a screenplay by Jay Baruchel, who also stars along with Seann William Scott, Liev Schreiber and Marc-André Grondin. (February 24)

Finally, the month of March is packed with potential blockbusters – updated fairy tales Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters (March 2) and Mirror Mirror (March 16), fantasy adventure John Carter (March 9), buddy-cop comedy 21 Jump Street (March 16), sci-fi franchise starter The Hunger Games (March 23), etc. But for my money, the can’t-miss title is Casa de mi Padre, a Spanish-language comedy featuring Gael García Bernal, Diego Luna and… Will Ferrell! (March 23)

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