Movies and Music That Rise From the Winter Wasteland

January is an entertainment graveyard. It's usually where forgettable movies, music and books go to die. Like most early-winter culture, some of this week's releases aren't worth the eulogy; but there are a few that rise up from the winter wasteland. So check out the entertainment guide before you hastily enter cultural hibernation. (Hermits are so passé).


Former rapper -- and one-time holder of street cred -- Ice Cube returns to the silver screen this week with another PG-13 rated family-friendly flick. But instead of co-starring with lovable children as he did in last year's "Are We Done Yet," the NWA alumnus shares "First Sunday" with two comedians who spew more cuss words per sentence than verbs -- Tracy Morgan ("30 Rock") and Kat Williams (HBO's "Pimp Chronicles").

Surprisingly, the Disneyfied version of these conveyors of crass actually works. This caper comedy bubbles with their likability. The movie follows Durell (Cube), who needs to pay off a debt to keep his ex-girlfriend from moving to another state with their son. He and his friend LeeJohn (Morgan) fumble their scheme to steal the money from a neighborhood church, and they end up spending the night there with the kooky congregation and the effete choir director (Williams).

"First Sunday" is more parent-inclusive than Cube's other Sunday matinee movies, but he's got a lot further to go before he can buddy up with Dr. Dre and Mickey Mouse at the same time.

"The Pirates Who Do Nothing" is the newest Veggie Tales movie for children, and the latest installment in the inanimate-objects-that-talk genre. "Pirates" follows three animated, lovable legumes with facial hair that go from performing in a pirate-themed restaurant to saving a real-life vegetable princess from real-life vegetable pirates. On the way, they must fend off snack attacks, a phobia of wicker furniture and, of course, eye-patch-wearing bandits. This Veggie Tales' theatrical release -- its first -- will crack up kids and charm adults. It's a solid addition to the series that has already sold more than 50 million DVDs since 1993. For newbie Veggie viewers, think of "Pirates" as "Three Amigos!" -- but with Chevy Chase played by a cucumber.

Jason Statham -- better known as that bad-ass British guy with the perfect, chiseled jaw -- furthers the confounding existence of his career as an action film star with "In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale." The movie, inspired by the video game "Dungeon Siege," follows Statham as a farmer who defends the kingdom from an evil sorcerer and his band of Krug -- essentially an army of Orcs with poor dental hygiene. Ray Liotta stands out as the evil sorcerer who tries to defeat the kingdom while unwittingly impersonating Derek Zoolander's patented look, "Blue Steel."

New to the small screen this week is last year's remake of Western "3:10 to Yuma." A critic's favorite, the movie is driven by powerful performances from Russell Crowe and Christian Bale, but a smarmy Ben Foster steals almost every scene he's in.

  • 1
  • |
  • 2
Join the Discussion
blog comments powered by Disqus
You Might Also Like...