In Theaters This Weekend: February 8, 2013

Just when you were starting to get comfortable with my brother's contributions to this post, I'm back to throw a wrench into things and keep you on your toes - but don't worry, hopefully he'll be back to this action next week.

As for new films hitting theaters this week, we're looking at a trio that might all have a little something to offer. Headlining the class is Steven Soderbergh's latest (and last?), "Side Effects", starring Channing Tatum, Rooney Mara, Jude Law, and Catherine Zeta-Jones. This was our most anticipated film for the month of February, which shows just how weak this month is. The film likely to take the top spot at the box office, however, is the Jason Bateman-Melissa McCarthy comedy, "Identity Thief". And r
ounding out the group is "A Glimpse Inside the Mind of Charles Swan III", opening in just a few theaters this weekend, and the re-release of the late Tony Scott's "Top Gun" in 3D.

Hit the jump for a full rundown on each title!

I'll start with "Side Effects", as it's the only one of the two wide release films that I have any interest in. The film is directed by Steven Soderbergh, who has stated that he's nearing retirement from directing. We know that he has the HBO TV-movie "Behind the Candelabra" releasing later this year, but it seems as if this could be his final big screen project. I tend to believe that it won't be, but we'll see. If you're a Steven Soderbergh fan though, this one might be worth checking out, just in case. The film stars Channing Tatum and Rooney Mara as a couple dealing with some new prescription drugs for anxiety that, naturally, cause some very unexpected side effects.

Reviews so far for the film have been very positive, with it currently sitting at an 82% on Rotten Tomatoes. Most state that this is an excellent thriller with perfect balance amongst its various tones.

I think I'm leaning towards checking this one out this weekend. It's been a few weeks since I've made my way to the theater and I think this might be the film to finally pull me back. It looks exciting and intriguing, and I generally like most of the filmmakers involves with this one. I think this will be an enjoyable time for all who do decide to venture out for it.

The other film opening in wide release this weekend is "Identity Thief". It's not hard to guess what this one is about just by title alone, but for those a bit slower than most (and to elaborate a bit), the film stars Jason Bateman as a put-together man who suddenly finds himself with maxed-out credit cards, unable to get financing for anything. It's discovered that his identity has been stolen by a women in Florida (Melissa McCarthy). The cops tell him they can't do anything for him, and the only way he'll find justice is by going down to Florida and bringing her back himself. That sets us up, the rest of the film consists of Bateman and McCarthy playing off of each other, succumbing to comedic scenario after comedic scenario.

I typically enjoy the work that both of these actors do, and do think they're both some of the funniest people working today, but this film feels very contrived to me. I don't think there's much of a spark from what I've seen in this one, and I can't help but think that both Bateman and McCarthy are phoning this one in a bit. Don't get me wrong, I expect there will be some laughs, but if we're setting the bar at a handful of generic jokes executed by quality actors, then we're not doing it right. And the critics appear to have similar feelings, as this one is already sitting at a measly 27%.

I think if you're really craving a comedy, heading to the theater for this one won't be the end of the world. Not at all. It will surely suffice in killing a couple of hours, and if that's all you're looking for, I say go for it. For the most part though, I expect this to be more of a future rental than anything.

I'll touch on "A Glimpse Inside the Mind of Charles Swan III", though it's only debuting in two theaters this weekend. The film stars Charlie Sheen as a graphic designer whose enviable life starts to spiral out of control when his girlfriend breaks up with him. The cast includes a variety of quality actors, including Bill Murray, Jason Schwartzman, and Aubrey Plaza. And with that supporting cast, it's not surprising that Roman Coppola, 
the Second Unit Director on two previous Wes Anderson films, "The Darjeeling Limited", and "The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou", takes the helm here. This will be Coppola's first solo feature film, however.

Overall, I don't expect much from this one, but I would be interested in checking it out at some point. If it happens to be opening in a theater near you, I definitely wouldn't say it's a must-see, but it might be worth your time.

Finally, for everyone out there who loves the Danger Zone, Tom Cruise is back in theaters (only 300 this weekend) for the 3D re-release of "Top Gun". This isn't exactly a key title I would have pinned to get a 3D re-release, but I'm sure most won't complain. If you've got the need for speed, this would probably be a fun flick to check out in 3D. I think I'd go if it were showing here - heck, listening to that song gets me so jacked up that I want to watch the film right now!

As for some box office numbers, it feels like "Identity Thief" will probably take the top spot, as that should be the most broadly appealing film out there. We've seen $19MM-$20MM in the top spot for the last few weeks, and that'll probably be about the same here. I wouldn't be surprised if this one scores a touch less, but something in that area seems expected. "Side Effects" should do all right as well, as this will be the first quality adult movie hitting theater in the past month or so. I don't expect huge numbers, but I think something in the $14MM-$16MM range seems likely. Tatum should give the film a nice boost in female attendance as well.

Holdovers should remain fairly consistent with what we've been seeing in previous weeks. Expect "Warm Bodies" to be in the top three, with something in the $10MM range. "Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters" should drop off considerably, allowing for the likes of "Silver Linings Playbook and/or "Zero Dark Thirty" to stick in the top five for at least one more week.

That's what we can look forward to this weekend. Which film(s) will you be checking out?