With Oscar nomination announcements around the corner and accolades being given daily, we’re smack in the middle of an odd season. January is the month where studios dump their unwanted titles and hope for buzz to fuel their Oscar contenders. It’s also the month that a few brave studios will offer mindless counter-programming options in hopes of luring those moviegoers who don’t care about awards pictures.
The solitary wide release of the weekend is the third and supposedly final installment to one of Fox’s worn-out franchises. Sixty-something action star Liam Neeson is back at it with ‘Taken 3‘. In the first movie, his daughter was taken. In the second movie, he and his wife were taken. This time around, no one is taken. Instead, ‘Taken 3’ lifts the plot of ‘The Fugitive’. Neeson is framed for his wife’s murder and must outrun the law, prove his innocence and take down those responsible for her death (presumably those damned Albanians again). Here’s to hoping this simpleton sequel isn’t as absurd and silly as the last one.
Only one other semi-notable release hits the big screen this week. Said to be in the running for a Foreign Language Film Oscar nomination, Germany’s ‘Beloved Sisters‘ makes its U.S. debut on just a few screens. From acclaimed director Dominik Graf, the period piece drama tells the story of two sisters who fall in love with the same man. The two initially decide to share their man, but that can only last for so long.
Meanwhile, two awards hopefuls expand from limited release. Paul Thomas Anderson’s ‘Inherent Vice‘, a wannabe ‘Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas’, moves up to 645 screens. Considering that its release so far is only running on about half the steam of Anderson’s last few films, it will be interesting to see how the movie performs in more theaters.
Paramount is taking a much braver approach with the Oscar threat ‘Selma‘. The Martin Luther King, Jr. bio-pic jumps up to more than 2,000 screens this weekend.