The Crazies
Directed by Breck Eisner

Based on an obscure George Romero movie from the 1970s, The Crazies takes place in a small Iowa town, where a mysterious toxin begins turning residents into homicidal psychopaths. It’s up to the town’s resourceful sheriff (Timothy Olyphant) to make sense of the madness and find a way for himself, his wife (Radha Mitchell) and several other unaffected townspeople to survive. Can director Eisner (Sahara) and co-writer Scott Kosar (who, with the recent remakes of The Texas Chain Saw Massacre and The Amityville Horror, has certainly had much experience modernizing 1970s horror flicks) bring something new to the homicidal psycho-zombie genre? If not, expect this one to be another forgettable winter offering. But don’t worry, Breck Eisner (son of billionaire Michael Eisner) won’t become penniless even if the movie bombs.

Cop Out
Directed by Kevin Smith

If early reviews are to be believed, the perceived downward spiral of Kevin Smith’s career (Jersey Girl, Zack and Miri Make a Porno) continues with this lame-looking buddy action-comedy that follows two mismatched cops (Bruce Willis and Tracy Morgan) as they get into assorted purportedly hilarious adventures. This is Smith’s first movie he hasn’t also written, and the results don’t look promising. Although the film stuck with an R rating, fans of Smith’s potty-mouthed humor should be cautious—the original title, before it was cleaned up, was A Couple of Dicks. Whether Smith can break out into studio-level box office business remains to be seen, but the cast (which also includes Jason Lee, Kevin Pollak, Adam Brody and Rashida Jones) is subtly strong, so maybe Jersey Girl disaster will be avoided.

The Yellow Handkerchief
Directed by Udayan Prasad

The always-interesting William Hurt stars in this sensitive drama as an ex-con who hitches a ride with two teenagers (Kristen Stewart and Eddie Redmayne) to re-connect with his estranged wife (Maria Bello). One can only assume a number of life lessons will be learned by the film’s end. With its fine cast, this small, intimate movie, which premiered at the 2008 Sundance Film Festival, will hopefully connect with both critics and audiences.

A Prophet
Directed by Jacques Audiard

This French import has been building massive buzz for months. It’s an epic mob drama that follows a young Arab man (Tahar Rahim) who, while serving time in a French prison, becomes a powerful mafia kingpin. A Prophet is nominated for Best Foreign Language Film at this year’s Oscars, and has already won the BAFTA award for Best Film Not in the English Language and a mess of other trophies. With all the award recognition, expect this hard-hitting movie to gain a lot of attention in the upcoming months.