Five Winter Films Actually Worth Seeing

January and February are usually pretty bland months as far as movie releases are concerned. Sure there are still films coming out every week, but are they worth your time? And, more importantly, are they worth spending money to see in a theater? Or might they be better left to Netflix or Redbox a few months down the road? These are important questions when it feels like you need to take out a second mortgage on your house just to go to the movies these days. So here is a list of films that, judging by their trailers, just might be worth your hard-earned time and money.

The Place Beyond the Pines (R)
Luke is a motorcycle stunt driver in a traveling circus. While performing in a town in New York, he looks up an old love interest, only to discover that he has a son. Luke is overcome with a desire to provide for his son, but doesn’t have the means to do so. In desperation, he begins robbing banks. Luke uses his riding skills to evade police, but eventually they find out who is behind the robberies and come looking for him. Avery, one of Luke’s pursuing officers, is an ambitious honest cop set on going against the flow of the police corruption he is surrounded by. With Avery being a new father himself, we see clear comparison between these two men and how their choices will impact their lives as well as their sons. Catch this film in theaters March 20.

Oz the Great and Powerful (PG)
Oscar is a small-time stage magician, who dreams of a grand life beyond his small Kansas town. One day, while flying in a hot air balloon, Oscar is caught up in a tornado and inexplicably finds himself in the Land of Oz. Once there, he thinks that his dreams have come true; fame, wealth and public adoration are his, as people believe he is the great wizard they have been waiting for. However, when he is pulled into the problems facing the people of Oz, Oscar must gather his wits and use all of his skill to become the Wizard of Oz. This looks like a great one to bring the kids to; it hits theaters March 8.

Snitch (PG-13)
In this film, Dwyane “The Rock” Johnson plays a dad that is just trying to help his son. When his son is set up to deliver a package that turns out to contain drugs, he is arrested and faces 10 years in prison. The DEA offers him a deal if he becomes an informant but, fearing for his life, he refuses. Desperate to save his son from this fate, Johnson offers to work for the DEA, infiltrating and informing on local drug cartels, fully knowing that if he is found out, he will be killed. This one looks like a real no-nonsense action flick full of explosions, car chases and a hero fighting for the people he loves. Snitch hits theatres February 22.

Safe Haven (PG-13)
Katie is a woman running from her past, and she runs all the way to a small town in North Carolina looking for a fresh start. She meets some of the locals, who are kind and welcoming, but keeps her distance, never wanting to get too close to anyone. Despite her best efforts to isolate herself, Katie ends up forming relationships with her neighbor, Jo, and a widowed shop owner with two children named Alex. Over time, Katie begins to let her guard down and lets people in, but everything comes crashing down when her past finally catches up with her. Based on a Nicholas Sparks novel, you can expect this to be a tearjerker, but with a well-written story and characters you’ll actually care about. Safe Haven comes out February 14.

Jack the Giant Slayer (TBD)
It’s a new take on the classic children’s story, as envisioned and brought to life by director Brian Singer (The Usual Suspects, Valkyrie, Superman Returns). Jack is given magic beans that sprout a massive green stalk that reaches all the way up into the clouds and into the land of the giants. During a harsh storm, a stranger visits Jack in the night; he recognizes her as the princess of his homeland. While she is in his house, the beans do their work and begin to grow, launching Jack’s house up to the sky, with the princess still in it. Jack must join with the bravest warriors in the land to climb the beanstalk, fight the giants, and rescue the princess. Jack the Giant Slayer will be released on March 1.

Rick blogs regularly at Culturemakerblog.com and tweets at @letsmakeadeal26.

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