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Must see movies? No. Must flee movies

The current issue of our Weekend section includes a roundup of movies to thrill moviegoers in 2011 — an assortment of sequels, cartoons and superhero mythology that may even excite a grouchy film critic. But grouchy is as grouchy does, so excuse me for griping about a handful of upcoming movies better watched on someone else's cable TV system, so you don't have to pay there, either. These flicks can make an offer to work as Mel Gibson's press agent sound tantalizing.

1. Rise of the Apes (June 24)

The shellacking received by Tim Burton's Planet of the Apes reboot didn't faze James Franco, who occasionally enjoys bringing bad ideas to life. He's starring in what is billed as a prequel but doesn't match the origins of simian dominance set forth by Roddy McDowall and Kim Hunter in the third Apes movie 40 years ago. Franco plays a genetic engineer in present-day San Francisco whose experiments cause a chimpanzee (Andy "Gollum" Serkis in CGI disguise) to become a Mensa candidate. What, no futuristic landscapes, allegorical hindsight or gorilla warriors on horseback? Franco may wish he remained stuck in that 127 Hours canyon.

2. Zookeeper (July 8)

Looks like Paul Blart: Mall Cop got a new job to bumble his way through. Kevin James parlayed the puzzling success of that movie into Zookeeper, in which animals speak with voices sounding suspiciously like Sylvester Stallone, Cher and anyone else who thought they signed on to a Madagascar 'toon.

3. Jack and Jill (Nov. 11)

Dressing in drag to play his twin sister proves Adam Sandler has officially given up on what was a promising side gig as a dramatic actor. After offending the gay community and intelligence in general with I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry, Sandler will likely insult women, with stereotypical mannerisms and a whiny falsetto. "Jill" comes to visit "Jack" (also Sandler) for Thanksgiving and refuses to leave. I'll have an easier time of doing that.

4. New Year's Eve (Dec. 9)

Before he retires or dies, director Garry Marshall, 76, apparently plans to spoil as many holidays as possible. Valentine's Day was bad enough to make me skip buying cards and flowers. Now I'll save money on champagne and party hats. Stop him before he makes Christmas Day, causing another recession. New Year's Eve crams Oscar winners (Robert De Niro, Halle Berry, Hilary Swank), TV refugees (Lea Michele, Glee; Sofia Vergara, Modern Family) and career-stunted dreamboats (Frankie Muniz, Ashton Kutcher, Zac Efron) into another frothy rumination on how people fall in love. New Year's Eve will be history before 2012 arrives.

5. The sequels we were promised weren't coming

Did you honestly believe that declarative "The" in the title of the fifth Final Destination flick, or feel relieved that Spy Kids 3-D added the subtitle: Game Over? Suckers.

Must see movies? No. Must flee movies 01/09/11 [Last modified: Monday, January 10, 2011 10:02am]
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