January was a dull month as far as entertainment goes, but this week roars back with the Grammy Awards, the return of "The Walking Dead," and an intriguing new movie, "Side Effects."
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LL Cool J returns to host the Grammy Awards for the second time.
FRIDAY: 'Side Effects' Medication is an undeniable part of our world now, but in the new movie "Side Effects," it may be more of a problem than a help. Rooney Mara plays a young woman dealing with an anxiety disorder who suddenly finds a dead body in her home. Did the side effects of her medication turn her into a murderer? (Opens Feb. 8.)
SUNDAY: Grammys Even if you hate awards shows, there's something appealing about the Grammys. Blended in with the typical speeches and other ceremonial bits, there's plenty of great music. This year's performers include Rihanna, Taylor Swift, Carrie Underwood, Elton John and fun. LL Cool J returns as host.
SUNDAY: 'Walking Dead' returns The zombies aren't the worst foes out there on "The Walking Dead." The Governor is one evil dude, as if you couldn't tell from the heads he keeps in jars or the gladiator fights he stages. As the show returns after an end-of-year break, Rick and crew and The Governor are about to throw down. (Feb. 10, 9 p.m., AMC.)
Let's face it: January and February are terrible months for new movies. You'd be better off using the upcoming month to catch up on those Oscar nominees you haven't seen that are still floating around theaters, or flop on the couch with a DVD of a film you missed last year.
But there's one bright spot about February, and it gleams as bright as sunlight off Bruce Willis' head.
BE MY 'DIE HARD' VALENTINE Need a Valentine's Day date plan? Take your sweetie to see "A Good Day to Die Hard," also known as "Die Hard 5," also known as the film that 98 percent of Rotten Tomatoes readers want to see. "A Good Day to Die Hard" is set in Russia, leading to the sly posters you may have seen announcing "YIPPEE KI-YAY MOTHER RUSSIA." John McClane, hero of the four previous "Die Hards" and of course played again by Willis, heads there to save his adult son (cute Aussie Jai Courtney). Dad McClane thinks his son's a screw-up, but apparently instead he's a CIA agent saving the world from nuclear destruction. You know, just like how your dad thought you dropped out of community college and ... well, you really did do that. "Die Hard" is a beloved franchise, and the preview is old-school all the way, from the line of exploding vehicles to the tanks smashing up streets to Willis and Courtney crashing in synchronicity through a giant glass window. (Opens Feb. 14.)
'SOUND' OF MUSIC The best documentaries take you into an engrossing and complicated world you never knew existed. Musician Dave Grohl turns film director for "Sound City," and delivers just such a world tour. Sound City is the Van Nuys, Calif., studio where Grohl and Nirvana recorded its famed album "Nevermind," and when it closed in 2011, Grohl felt so attached he reportedly bought the studio's mixing console. Tom Petty, Trent Reznor, Mick Fleetwood and others recorded there, and the studio fought the good fight against the encroach of technology for as long as it could. "I really feel like 'Sound City' is my life’s most important work," Grohl said in a letter to those who pre-ordered the film. (In theaters and on demand Feb. 1.)
WATCH OUT FOR 'SIDE EFFECTS' Rooney Mara stars in "Side Effects" as a woman who takes a new medication and suddenly finds herself caught up in a bloody murder. We've always thought that those lengthy, fast-spoken lists of warnings in pharmaceutical commercials were terrifying, and now we know why. (Do not taunt Happy Fun Ball!) Acclaimed director Stephen Soderbergh is calling this his final film before what's either a retirement or a sabbatical, and critics are calling it a trippy mind-trick of a movie. Channing Tatum, Jude Law and Catherine Zeta-Jones also star. (Opens Feb. 8.)
SAY YES TO 'NO' A Chilean film about an advertising campaign aimed at bringing down a dictator? Hey, why not? After all, Oscar-contender "Argo" is about a fake film aimed at rescuing Americans trapped in Iran. Mexican heartthrob Gael Garcia Bernal stars in "No" as an ad exec fighting to use an ad campaign to get voters to remove General Augusto Pinochet from power. Jon Hamm and his "Mad Men" got nothin' on this. (Opens Feb. 15.)