This Week’s Theatrical Releases.

1. Fred Claus (3, 603 Theaters, Rated PG): …or what if we wanted to see Elf, only different.

The similarities between the two movies go beyond just the Christmas theme. Instead of man-child Will Ferrell coming to the cold, hard New York City we have a bitter, sarcastic Vince Vaughn coming to the winter wonderland that is the North Pole. Instead of a strained father/son relationship we have a sibling rivalry.

Both feature the main characters trying to adjust to their new surroundings, both feature the main characters creating work stoppages with impromptu dance parties, and both feature the main character getting beaten up by someone smaller than them.

I mean, I liked Elf, but not so much that I want to see a mirror universe version of it. Has Hollywood run out of other movies to imitated that it got all the way down to Elf?

2. Lions for Lambs (2, 215 Theaters, Rated R): I’m sure when Robert Redford was putting this movie together, he never thought he’d lose the “having the most past Oscar nominees in the cast” race to a goofy Santa Claus movie released the same day.

Yes, as impossible as it is to be believed, Fred Claus has five Oscar nominees (Paul Giamatti, Miranda Richardson, Rachel Weisz, Kathy Bates and Kevin Spacey) to this movie’s three (Redford, Meryl Streep and Tom Cruise). This movie does has the lead on total number of nominations for its cast, as Streep’s 15 nods are more than the total for the other cast combined. If you count Redford’s honorary Oscar, then they are dead even in wins.

Why do I bring this up? Because this is another “For Your Consideration…” movie, a film which wears its want for an Oscar like an overcoat.

Of course, its hopes are handicapped by following the not-that-well received, similarly themed Rendition into theaters. And, based on the trailers, this movie seems the more preachier of the two. That might not bode well for the box office or the Oscars.

3. P2 (2,131 Theaters, Rated R): When I first saw the title for this film, I had a hard time figuring out what P2 meant. After seeing the trailer, we all found out that it stood for Parking Level 2 as designated on many elevators. But still, could they pick a better title?

You might think a stalker film set in a parking garage would be extremely silly but I don’t. I personally know someone who has a fear of enclosed parking areas. So much so that they try to park out in the open whenever possible.

And I’m sure they’re not the only one. Having that phobia would only add to the tension of the movie. And for this kind of film, they need all the tension they can get.

And the film is set on Christmas Eve. Together with Fred Claus, I guess this means the holiday movie season has finally begun. Talk about rushing the season!

Now, the predictions:
Last week, this is what I thought the box office would look like:

  1. Bee Movie
  2. American Gangster
  3. Saw IV
  4. Dan in Real Life
  5. 30 Days of Night

And this is how it turned out:

  1. American Gangster
  2. Bee Movie
  3. Saw IV
  4. Dan in Real Life
  5. The Game Plan

I do get a thrill that the over-advertised American Gangster beat out the grossly over-advertised Bee Movie for the top spot. Less thrilling is the fact that I went 2 for 5 last week, for a total after 13 weeks of 32 out of 65, and makes my average 49%.

Here’s my picks for this week:

  1. Fred Claus
  2. American Gangster
  3. Bee Movie
  4. P2
  5. Saw IV

What do you think?

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About William Gatevackes 1931 Articles
William is cursed with the shared love of comic books and of films. Luckily, this is a great time for him to be alive. His writing has been featured on Broken Frontier.com, PopMatters.com and in Comics Foundry magazine.

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