The holidays are over. Spring seems like a long way away. You need a distraction. Here are some movies that will get you out and about and maybe cure some of those winter doldrums. Release dates are based on the best available at publication but are, of course, subject to change.
1. Project Almanac (January 30)
A group of teenagers discovers plans for a time machine. What would you do? Build one, of course! But as we all know, movie teens can’t even throw a party without things getting out of hand; imagine what happens when they start messing around with the space-time continuum. Expect increasingly serious shenanigans and at least one scene in which a character explains the butterfly effect.
2. Jupiter Ascending (February 6)
Mila Kunis plays a woman who was “born under signs that predicted future greatness.” But that prophecy doesn’t seem to be panning out, at least until pointy-eared, genetically engineered hunter Channing Tatum shows up. He clues Mila in to her destiny, which apparently has cosmic implications. Written and directed by Andy and Lana Wachowski (The Matrix, Cloud Atlas), expect a trippy ride. Also features Eddie Redmayne, Sean Bean, Maria Doyle Kennedy, Terry Gilliam (!), and the very Britishly named Tuppence Middleton.
3. Seventh Son (February 6)
Ben Barnes (Stardust, Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian) stars as a young man apprenticed to Jeff Bridges, “the sole remaining warrior of a mystical order” in the fight against evil. He soon finds himself in over his head when the malevolent Mother Malkin (Julianne Moore) escapes. I’m not sure about this, but my guess is she intends to wreak some havoc. Based on the book series The Spook’s Apprentice by Joseph Delaney (called The Last Apprentice for US publication). Also features Kit Harrington, Djimon Hounsou, and Olivia Williams.
4. What We Do in the Shadows (February 13)
Do we need another vampire movie? Well, yes, if it stars Jemaine Clement (Flight of the Conchords) and comes from Funny or Die. A group of vampire housemates shows the newest bloodsucker the ropes in this absurd comedy. According to the website, the hashtag is #deliciousnecks—beat the rush and start using it now. Directed by Clement and co-star Taika Waititi.
5. The Lazarus Effect (February 27)
Medical students discover a way to bring dead patients back to life. Didn’t Julia Roberts and Kiefer Sutherland already do that in Flatliners? No matter; the same idea can play out in lots of different, fascinating ways, and there’s some good buzz around this one. Directed by David Gelb, who’s primarily known for documentaries, and starring Evan Peters (American Horror Story, X-Men: Days of Future Past), Olivia Wilde (Cowboys and Aliens, TRON: Legacy), Mark Duplass (The One I Love, Safety Not Guaranteed) Sarah Bolger (Once Upon a Time), and Donald Glover (Community, Mystery Team).
6. Chappie (March 6)
Let’s do some math. On a scale of 1 to 10, I’d rate director Neil Blomkamp’s first feature, District 9, at least a 9 while his second, Elysium, barely pulls a 2. So by the law of averages, my anticipation level for Chappie should be hovering around 5.5. Sadly, the uninspiring trailer drops it to around a 3, but I’ll try to keep an open mind. Starring Hugh Jackman, Sigourney Weaver, previous Blomkamp collaborator Sharlto Copley, and Dev Patel of Skins.
Bonus: Hot Tub Time Machine 2 (February 20)
Really? At least John Cusack had enough dignity to say no to this one.