Friday movie roundup – Jan. 7

Hello, and welcome to January, the month where movies go to die!

The first sacrificial lamb of 2011 is “Season of the Witch” (review at Cinematical), a long-delayed medieval fantasy starring Nicolas Cage and Ron Perlman. It is stupid and corny, though at least it is not boring.

Or how about “Country Strong,” in which Gwyneth Paltrow is an alcoholic country singer? This one is stupid and corny AND boring, and nothing any of the characters do makes any sense. Enjoy!

“Country Strong” goes wide today, but it’s actually a 2010 release. It opened in New York and L.A. on Dec. 22 so it could qualify for 2010 awards consideration. Seems reasonable: Oscar-winning star, dramatic role about overcoming an obstacle, strong resemblance to last year’s Oscar-winning “Crazy Heart” — this has “awards season” written all over it. Yet now that people have actually seen it, you’ll notice it isn’t getting any awards consideration. Whoops.

Still in limited release are four very good end-of-2010 pictures. “Rabbit Hole” (review at made my top 10 list. “The Illusionist” and “Another Year” were two of the highlights at the Telluride Film Festival. “Blue Valentine” has been percolating ever since its Sundance premiere last January. I note with some alarm that my reviews of “Rabbit Hole” and “Blue Valentine,” written nearly a year apart, are remarkably similar.

At, “Eric’s Bad Movies” addresses “Fluke,” about a man who dies and comes back as a dog. I don’t remember which of you devils brought this movie to my attention, but thank you, I guess. “What’s the Big Deal?” is about “Blowup,” from 1966. Hot photography action!

Subscribe to “In the Dark,” a weekly e-mail with the latest movie reviews, DVD releases, and other pertinent info.

Listen to “Movie B.S. with Bayer and Snider,” a weekly Internet radio show featuring Jeff Bayer and Eric D. Snider, at It’s live at 11 a.m. (Pacific) every Friday, then downloadable as a podcast. Ignore the iTunes “explicit” tag; we always keep it PG.