Picks of the Week for November 6, 2009:
1) Precious (18 theatres)
Directed By: Lee Daniels
I had thought by this point almost all critics had seen the film and loved it, but apparently I was wrong. A new crop of negative reviews came out this week. However, even a few Scrooges in the bunch can’t slow down the Awards train that Precious (or to use its full title: Precious: Based on the Novel PUSH by Sapphire) is on. For one of the only times in history, this movie took home the top prize at the Sundance and Toronto Film Festivals.
Here is what Owen Gleiberman of Entertainment Weekly has to say:
Yet there’s nothing passive about the way the director, Lee Daniels, working from a script by Geoffrey Fletcher, plunges us into the nightmare that is Precious’ daily, hidden existence. Sometimes, a movie has to take you down â€” and I mean down, really far â€” to lift you up. Precious is that kind of movie. Daniels, a former producer whose credits include Monster’s Ball, ushers us into the dingy Harlem flat where Precious lives, and there, amid the dank light and moldy yellow-flower wallpaper, we see the forces that have made her who she is.
2) The Men Who Stare at Goats (2,443 theatres)
Directed By: Grant Heslov
It’s not scoring well with critics, but I still have high hopes for this film. My biggest hope is that it doesn’t try to be something it’s not and that it sticks to the goofy surreality that made the book so entertaining. When I read the book I had no idea what was real and what was not, and it sounds like the movie appropriately doesn’t answer any of those questions.
Here is what Damon Young of Empire has to say:
Despite its myriad minor pleasures, however, Heslovâ€™s film is the perfect showcase for the things Clooney does best. Arguably, this is his best comedy performance since O Brother, Where Art Thou?, and it certainly comes from the same stable. Like O Brotherâ€™s Everett McGill, Lyn Cassady is a bit of a Dapper Dan, frequently in a tight spot. But where McGill was a likable fool, Cassady is more complex; like a Woody Allen superhero, heâ€™s a mixture of the daft and the divine, and the fact that his psychic powers do often come to the fore gives this material a weird, old-fashioned Saturday Morning Serial flavour, and this is what the film relies on for the final act.
3) A Christmas Carol (3,683 theatres)
Directed By: Robert Zemeckis
I can’t make up my mind on how much I desire to see this film. Based on the trailers and the style of animation employed, I am not very much looking forward to A Christmas Carol. However, recent raves by two writers who I greatly respect – Kris Tapley of In Contention and Sasha Stone of Awards Daily – has got me re-thinking my interest. I do need something to jump start my Holiday spirit, after all.
Here is what Kris Tapley of In Contention has to say:
But the joy is the ride, and Zemeckis, ever the head-in-the-clouds showman, takes you on one as only he can do.Â From â€œRomancing the Stoneâ€ to â€œBack to the Future,â€ â€œWho Framed Roger Rabbit?â€ to even â€œForrest Gump,â€ Zemeckis has always played up a sense of epic adventure in his work.Â These works obviously donâ€™t carry the prestige of some efforts, but they certainly shouldnâ€™t be dismissed as frivolous entertainment either.And â€œA Christmas Carolâ€ fits in nicely with that oeuvre.Â Itâ€™s one of 2009â€™s wildest rides, and one of the most enjoyable times to be had in a cinema this year.
Skip These Movies:
1) The Box (2,635 theatres)
Directed By: Richard Kelly
2) The Fourth Kind (2,529 theatres)
Directed By: Olatunde Osunsamni
Box Office Predictions:
1) A Christmas Carol – $22 million
2) Michael Jackson’s This Is It – $17.5 million
3) The Men Who Stare at Goats – $16 million
4) Paranormal Activity – $14.5 million
5) The Box – $11 million
6) The Fourth Kind – $8 million
7) Law Abiding Citizen – $7.5 million
8) Where the Wild Things Are – $6 million
9) Couples Retreat – $4 million
10) Saw VI – $3.5 million
I have a feeling it is going to be a big weekend for the new releases. A Christmas Carol has the benefit of a recognizable title, appeal to audiences of all ages, and extra income because of the 3D ticket price. I have no doubt that film will come in at number one. This is the last weekend for the Michael Jackson concert film so that will also probably stay strong. I’m going out on a limb and guessing that The Box will narrowly beat The Fourth Kind. It’s possible that enough people will be fooled by The Fourth Kind‘s attempts to make itself look like Paranormal Activity.
What movie are you seeing this weekend?