The Haunting in Connecticut
directed by Peter Cornwell

The Haunting in Connecticut is director Peter Cornwell’s jump to full features after a couple shorts and a TV series. This horror flick stars Virginia Madsen, Martin Donovan (The Sentinel) and Elias Koteas (The Curious Case of Benjamin Button). The movie is based on a real-life haunting (in Connecticut) that takes place when a family moves into a new house because of their son’s need to receive cancer treatment at a nearby hospital. Soon the family begins to experience horrifying supernatural events and learns that the house has a secret violent past which could prove to be harmful to all of them. The Lutz family then decides enough is enough after the house drives George Lutz insane and he attempts to murder them. They then flee from the premises, narrowly escaping the terror of the haunted Long Island house and promising never to return to Amityville again… Wait, I’m sorry, that may be the wrong haunting. I suppose you’ll just have to see it for yourself to find out how this Connecticut haunting ends.

Monsters vs. Aliens
directed by Rob Letterman and Conrad Vernon

Directors Letterman (Shark Tale) and Vernon (Shrek 2) are both hoping to bring Dreamworks back to the top with this animated film after recent years of Pixar dominance. Both directors had their films nominated for 2004 Oscars, but were beat out by Pixar’s The Incredibles. This animated flick looks extremely promising, featuring an all-star cast and incredible 3-D effects. The movie stars the voice talents of Reese Witherspoon, Rainn Wilson, Paul Rudd, Seth Rogen, Keifer Sutherland and Will Arnett in what looks to be an animated masterpiece with content for all ages. Monsters vs. Aliens also boasts a veteran writing team, including Jonathan Aibel, who co-wrote the Oscar-nominated Kung Fu Panda. The movie will mark the first time that a computer animated film will be produced in 3-D rather than converted to 3-D format during post-production.

directed by Greg Mottola

Mottola’s follow-up to his outrageously hilarious 2007 comedy Superbad, Adventureland looks as though it will not disappoint. The film stars a nice mix of comedic talent promising newcomers; Jesse Eisenberg (The Squid and the Whale), Kristen Stewart (Twilight) and comedic masterminds such as Ryan Reynolds and “SNL” stars Bill Hader and Kristen Wiig. Adventureland tells Mottola’s semi-autobiographical tale of a recent college grad who takes a job at an amusement park after an unsuccessful job search and is surprised to find that it may just be the best thing that could have happened. Mottola set himself very high standards with Superbad, but, with this cast and storyline, Adventureland may just be able to meet—or even exceed—expectations.      

The Education of Charlie Banks
directed by Fred Durst

This indie was originally released at the 2007 Tribeca Film Festival where it won the “Made in New York” Narrative Award. Director Fred Durst’s (yes, Fred Durst who once “did it all for the nookie” with rap-metal band Limp Bizkit) debut film features an impressive lineup of young talent. New York City’s own Jesse Eisenberg (busy weekend for him) stars, along with other up-and-comers Jason Ritter (W.), Eva Amurri (New York, I Love You), Chris Marquette (Fanboys) and Sebastian Stan (Rachel Getting Married). The movie, set in New York in the 1970s and ’80s, tells the coming-of-age story of Charlie Banks (Eisenberg), following him through high school in the city and college at a fictional upstate New York university as he is forced to deal with growing up and possible life-shaping decisions. Surprising as it may be, Durst’s directorial debut looks to be quite impressive, and is definitely worth seeing.

12 Rounds
directed by Renny Harlin

In this sure to be action-packed thriller, former WWE Wrestler John Cena stars as a detective who must complete 12 challenging tasks in order to rescue his kidnapped girlfriend. This premise sounds far superior to Cena’s 2006 flop The Marine, where he played a discharged marine who chased criminals through the wilderness in order to rescue his kidnapped wife. The movie is directed by Reny Harlin, who brought us such classics as Deep Blue Sea and The Covenant, and also stars Ashley Scott (The Kingdom) as the damsel in distress and Aiden Gillen as the criminal mastermind. If you like the sound of this movie, you’re sure to enjoy Cena’s next thriller where he plays a fireman who must chase a group of crazed pyromaniacs through a series of burning buildings in order to rescue his kidnapped fiancee.