By Bill Wine
KYW Newsradio 1060
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — With Oscars season underway, our attention will be focused on 2013’s best movies during the next two months (see related story), as the splashy, high-profile summer movie season beckons from afar.
But meanwhile, a lineup of new movies is ready for takeoff, with hopes of motivating us to venture out in the challenging winter weather in the direction of the nearest multiplex.
Look for these two-dozen mainstream titles to open -– in pretty much this order — on theatre screens during the first couple of months of 2014…
Meryl Streep and Julia Roberts play mother and daughter in the ensemble comedy-drama based on the award-winning play by Tracy Letts about a dysfunctional family in Oklahoma in August: Osage County.
Joaquin Phoenix plays an introvert who falls in love with his computer’s operating system, which (as opposed to who) is voiced by Scarlett Johansson, in director Spike Jonze’s science fiction romance, Her.
Mark Wahlberg plays the title character in the war drama based on the nonfiction book of the same name about the Navy SEALS mission, Operation Red Wings, during the war in Afghanistan in Lone Survivor.
Kellan Lutz stars for director Renny Harlin in the title role in the origin story of the titular mythical Greek hero who is exiled and must fight to return to his rightful kingdom in the action drama, The Legend of Hercules.
Will Arnett, Brendan Fraser, Liam Neeson, and Katherine Heigl lead the voice cast in the animated comedy about New York City squirrels trying to survive a New York City winter in The Nut Job.
Chris Pine takes over the lead role of the covert CIA analyst created by author Tom Clancy who tries to foil a Russian plot in the Kenneth Branagh-directed action thriller, Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit.
Motormouth security guard Kevin Hart and tough cop Ice Cube team up as brothers-in-law-to-be on a 24-hour patrol of Atlanta in the Tim Story-directed action comedy, Ride Along.
Action star Jean-Claude Van Damme co-stars with Orlando Jones in a thriller from director Peter Hyams about sworn enemies who must work together to escape a ruthless dug cartel in Enemies Closer.
Aaron Eckhart portrays the title creature, a monster named Adam, who is caught in the ongoing dispute between warring immortal clans in the action fantasy based on a graphic novel in I, Frankenstein.
Vanessa Hudgens plays a homeless teen who looks up her Wall Street broker father and ends up in a shelter for pregnant teenagers in the inspirational survival drama, Gimme Shelter.
Zac Efron, Miles Teller, and Michael B. Jordan play close friends who make a pact in an R-rated romantic comedy (originally titled “Are We Officially Dating?”), That Awkward Moment.
Jason Reitman directs Kate Winslet as a single mom and Josh Brolin as an escaped convict whom she takes in her home over a holiday weekend in the romantic drama, Labor Day.
Simon Pegg stars as a paranoid children’s author who has what the title describes as he becomes a crime novelist and must research the lives of Victorian serial killers in the nightmarish comedy, A Fantastic Fear of Everything.
Director George Clooney, Matt Damon, Bill Murray, and Cate Blanchett are part of the ensemble cast of this biographical action dramedy about a World War II platoon trying to recover art stolen by the Nazis in The Monuments Men.
Jean-Claude Van Damme (yep, him again) tries his hand at comedy as an ex-Marine who becomes a teambuilding coach and leads an office retreat on a tropical island in Welcome to the Jungle.
Based on the familiar line of construction toys, this computer-animated adventure comedy features Chris Pratt, Will Arnett, Elizabeth Banks, Morgan Freeman, and Will Ferrell giving voice to The Lego Movie.
The lives of a group of single unemployed guys who have converted a warehouse into what appears to be living quarters in the “Arts District” of downtown Los Angeles is the premise of the contemporary comedy, Cavemen.
Detroit in 2028 is the setting and a part-man, part-robot police officer played by Joel Kinnaman the protagonist originally played by Peter Weller in the science fiction crime thriller remake, Robocop.
Colin Farrell, Russell Crowe, Jennifer Connelly, and Will Smith co-star in the supernatural reincarnation drama set in 1916 and present-day Manhattan about a burglar who falls for an heiress in Winter’s Tale.
Gabriella Wilde and Alex Pettyfer co-star as lovers whose affair is challenged by parents who want to keep them apart in the remake of the 1981 romantic drama of the same name, Endless Love.
A teenager uses a pieced-together time machine to experience time travel, but doesn’t understanding the ramifications of his actions, in the found-footage science fiction adventure, Welcome to Yesterday.
Kit Harrington, Kiefer Sutherland, and Emily Browning star in the historical drama about a slave turned gladiator set in 79 AD, when Mount Vesuvius was erupting, in the historical disaster drama, Pompeii.
Kevin Costner and Amber Heard play father and daughter in a suspense thriller about a dying Secret Service agent on his final assignment trying to reconnect with his estranged child in 3 Days to Kill.
And Liam Neeson and Julianne Moore co-star in the suspense action thriller set aboard an international flight from New York to London during which a framed federal air marshal must stop a texting terrorist in Non-Stop.
See you at the movies!