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What's New in Theaters This Weekend: January 11, 2013

From left: Jessica Chastain, Edgar Ramirez, Sarah Hyland, Ryan Gosling, Donna Gosling. (Photos by: Bauer Griffin | Pacific Coast News)After collecting five Oscar nominations, Zero Dark Thirty expands wide Friday and will look to capitalize on its stellar critical reception. Our box office expert, Jeff Bock, expects it to win the weekend. "Kathryn Bigelow's follow-up to The Hurt Locker has a bazooka of buzz behind it and is locked into, not only the cultural zeitgeist of the day, but it's one of those films that, like Lincoln, is almost your duty as an American to seek out." Zero Dark's main competition should come from the star-packed Gangster Squad which Bock expects to "capture at least $20 million in its debut."

Zero Dark Thirty
Directed by Kathryn Bigelow
Starring: Jessica Chastain, Joel Edgerton, Chris Pratt, Edgar Ramirez, James Gandolfini, Mark Strong, Jason Clarke, Jennifer Ehle, Kyle Chandler

The best-reviewed American film of the year, Zero Dark Thirty is Oscar-winner Kathryn Bigelow's thriller about the United States' 10-year manhunt to find Osama bin Laden, culminating in the terrorist's death in Abbottabad, Pakistan. Expect it to live up to the hype. Bigelow is no joke as an action director and the script, by Mark Boal, boasts the kind of black-ops authenticity that made The Hurt Locker the Best Picture Oscar winner in 2009.
Full Review
See it? Yes.
Box office projection: $24M

Gangster Squad
Directed by Ruben Fleischer
Starring: Sean Penn, Ryan Gosling, Josh Brolin, Emma Stone, Giovanni Ribisi, Robert Patrick, Mireille Enos, Nick Nolte, Anthony Mackie, Michael Pena

In 1949, two police sergeants team up to form a rogue task force in an effort to take down L.A. mob kingpin Mickey Cohen. One only needs to watch the trailer to see Gangster Squad is all flash and no substance. This movie has been done a million times and a million times better. It's a shame to waste such a great cast. I'll admit Sean Penn does make a great mobster, but that's not going to be enough to carry the movie.
See it? No.
Box office projection: $20M

A Haunted House
Directed by Marlon Wayans
Starring: Marlon Wayans, Essence Atkins, Marlel Forte, David Koechner

Marlon Wayans' spoof on horror movies arrives just in time for... MLK Day? A Haunted House gets a January release date months ahead of Scary Movie 5's debut in April. Seems like October would be the appropriate month for both these movies, but it matters more for real horror than horror spoofs I suppose. The trailer for the lazily-titled A Haunted House is actually pretty funny, but I'm guessing it contains all the best jokes. There certainly won't be any shortage.
See it? No.
Box office projection: $15M

Quartet [Limited]
Directed by Dustin Hoffman
Starring: Maggie Smith, Michael Gambon, Billy Connolly, Tom Courtenay

Maggie Smith is excellent here as a former Opera queen whose mere presence disrupts a home for retired singers before an annual concert. Quartet is the directorial debut of Dustin Hoffman and a bit of a surprising one considering the mostly-British cast. Expect wry wit and amazing accents. Seeing Smith, Gambon, and Connolly onscreen together should be fun.
See it? Yes.

Struck by Lightning [Limited]
Directed by Brian Dannelly
Starring: Chris Colfer, Rebel Wilson, Christina Hendricks, Dermot Mulroney, Sarah Hyland

Written by and starring Glee star Chris Colfer, Struck by Lightning boasts the worst movie poster of the year so far, but don't judge the film by its cover. The story idea is a good one: After an overachieving high schooler is struck and killed by lightning, he remembers how he blackmailed his peers into helping him with his magazine. Okay, so it's not The Manchurian Candidate, but maybe the presence of Rebel Wilson will help.
See it? No.

Fairhaven [Limited]
Directed by Tom O'Brien
Starring: Chris Messina, Rich Sommer, Tom O'Brien, Sarah Paulson

This movie won Best Feature at the New Hampshire Film Festival and it's a New England-based indie so I'm down. I'm also down with Chris Messina, who has the lead here as a womanizing, selfish dude back in his hometown for his father's funeral. Messina has a likability that can't be taught, and he's been great in everything since he made a name for himself in the final season of Six Feet Under.
See it? Yes.

The Baytown Outlaws [Limited]
Directed by Barry Battles
Starring: Billy Bob Thornton, Eva Longoria

This is a weird one. Longoria hires a team of marauding brothers to kidnap her son from her ex-hubby, played by Billy Bob. The entire thing is one giant excuse to blow stuff up and get Longoria in skimpy clothes. Brainless.
See it? No.

The Tower [Limited]
Directed by Ji-hoon Kim
Starring: Sang-kyung Kim, Sul Kyung-gu, Ye-jin Son, Mina Cho

Due to its huge success back home in South Korea, this disaster thriller gets a limited run in the states. It's got a Die Hard vibe as a fire breaks out in a luxorious condominium on Christmas Eve. The effects are impressive as is the massive amount of extras fleeing the towering inferno. Looks like a nail-biter.
See it? Yes.

$ellebrity [Limited]
Directed by Kevin Mazur

This one's right up Zimbio's alley. What Rosanna Arquette calls "the disease of our culture" is the subject of rock photographer Kevin Mazur's documentary. Interviews with celebrities, photographers, and publishers make up this look at the culture of modern celebrity, the paparazzi, and what feeds it all.
See it? Yes.

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