Watching movies in January is a lot like dating on the rebound after a bad break-up; no one expects you to take anything seriously, and after the trauma you’ve just experienced, you can be excused for letting your standards down just a bit.

There’s one thing everyone can agree on about movies released during the first three months of the year — in spite of how much they cost to make, or how good they might actually be, these aren’t films anyone really expects to be in the running for the Oscars nine months hence.

This is the season of the middling horror franchise, the low-budget remake, the featherweight comedy and the disappointing marquee projects, finally taken off the shelves and allowed to expire in the theatres with a modicum of dignity.

The sterile and purgatorial waiting room before DVD release, in other words.

A brief sampling of the titles scheduled to hit the theatres after New Year’s Day will paint a picture for you: Midnight Movie, The Unborn, Race to Witch Mountain and Pink Panther 2. There are films with portentous colons in their titles: Butterfly Effect: Revelation; Clive Barker Presents: Hellraiser; Underworld 3: The Rise of the Lycans; and The Jonas Brothers: Burning Up.

There are not one but two 3-D titles to tempt you from your warm living rooms on snowy nights — My Bloody Valentine 3-D and Under the Sea 3-D — and a few chick flicks, such as the Renee Zellweger vehicle New In Town, along with Confessions of a Shopaholic and He’s Just Not That Into You.

By the time the much-anticipated Watchmen arrives in March, the movie landscape post-Oscars will look as barren as the Somme after a barrage, and Zack Snyder’s FX-laden comic-book epic will probably arrive like the mothership, bringing with it the first monster opening weekend of the year.

From the tip of winter’s chilly blade, it seems like an eternity away.

What’s to come

• Butterfly Effect: Revelation
• Notorious
• Mall Cop
• My Bloody Valentine 3-D
• Underworld 3: The Rise of the Lycans

• Under the Sea 3-D
• Friday the 13th
• Confessions of a Shopaholic
• The Pink Panther 2