NEW IN THEATRES: Awards Season Heats Up

If you’re like me you are probably still using this week to catch up on the glut of great films that were released last weekend. A Serious Man, Capitalism: A Love Story, The Invention of Lying, Zombieland, and (depending on your tastes) Whip It. Luckily for you this week doesn’t give much to look forward to. The few wide releases don’t look very appealing and the few limited releases are so limited that you’ve got to be near the one or two theatres in the country that is playing them.

Picks of the Week for October 9, 2009:

paranormalactivity1) Paranormal Activity (159 theatres)

Directed By: Oren Peli

Rotten Tomatoes: 94% | Metacritic: 67

Those of you who had been waiting for this micro-budget horror/thriller to finally come to your city, you may be in luck. The movie is expanding to 159 theatres this weekend, which puts it in almost every U.S. major metropolitan area. It’s gotten great reviews largely because everybody loves an underdog.

View the Trailer | Official Website

Here’s what Chuck Wilson of L.A. Weekly has to say:

Grounded by strong performances by newcomers Featherston and Sloat, who pretty much have the movie to themselves, Paranormal Activity, which demands to be seen in a crowded theater, is refreshingly blood-free — the fact that its old-school scares caused seemingly jaded 20-somethings at a recent midnight screening to squirm in their seats suggests that there’s hope for the world after all.

aneducation2) An Education (4 theatres)

Directed By: Lone Scherfig

Rotten Tomatoes: 89% | Metacritic: 84

The Sundance and Toronto hit that has been almost universally acclaimed gets a very limited theatrical release this week. It’s a favorite to get nominated for Oscars in Best Picture, Actress, Supporting Actor, and Screenplay and it also will likely show up on a lot of end of the year top ten lists. If you’re lucky enough to by in NY or LA, try not to miss this coming-of-age drama.

View the Trailer | Official Website

Here’s what Joe Morgenstern of The Wall Street Journal has to say:

There are thrillers, and then there are thrillers. No shots are fired in “An Education,” and the closest thing to a car chase is a bit of brisk driving after the theft of an old map. Yet this tale of an English schoolgirl’s hard-won wisdom is thrilling all the same—for the radiance of Carey Mulligan’s Jenny, who’s wonderfully smart and perilously tender; for the grace of Lone Scherfig’s direction, and the brilliance of Nick Hornby’s screenplay, which took its inspiration, in the fullest sense of the word, from a short memoir by Lynn Barber.

bronson3) Bronson (1 theatre)

Directed By: Nicholas Winding Refn

Rotten Tomatoes: 76% | Metacritic: 71

Don’t expect anything in the way of Awards buzz from this Sundance hit, however that doesn’t mean it’s not a worthy pick for some weekend viewing. The film is based on a true story about a young man whose super star alter ego takes over while in solitary confinement. This is starting off in only one theatre in NYC, but keep an eye on it for when it expands in the coming weeks.

View the Trailer | Official Website

Here’s what Peter Travers from Rolling Stone has to say:

Danish director Nicolas Winding Refn, known for his Pusher trilogy, pushes hard at the boundaries of banal film biography. Bronson talks directly to the camera, wears menacing clown paint and does music-hall bits. He also makes life hell for guards who interfere with his vision of himself as an artist. So much for the global petition circulating to free Bronson. Whether or not you’d sign the petition, this movie and Hardy’s electrifying performance will knock you for a loop.

Skip These Movies This Movie:

1) Couples Retreat (3,000 theatres)

Directed By: Peter Billingsley

Rotten Tomatoes: 11% | Metacritic: 27

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