1. Tangled (Disney, 3,603 Theaters, 100 Minutes, Rated PG): Ah, Thanksgiving! The time of year where we reunite with our families, immediately get sick of them and then go out and see a movie. Four are opening today, and they cover just about every member of the family.
There is a lot about this one that makes me skittish. First, it’s a non-Pixar CGI Disney film, which is always a dicey proposition. And while it is what Disney usually does best, a fairy tale adaptation (in this case, it’s Rapunzel), they are giving it a quirky, wacky comedic twist on it. And while the original story was aimed more at girls, the film seems aimed more at boys. There might be a little bait and switch going on there.
That being said, it still looks good enough for the young (and young at heart) to go see. I laughed out loud once or twice during some of the ads, so, that’s a plus.
2. Burlesque (Sony/ Screen Gems, 3,037 Theaters, 100 Minutes, Rated PG-13): Hey, moms! If you can trust your kids to go into Tangled by themselves, and you go to a showing of this film going up at the same time, you’ll leave the theater the same time they do.
But, would you really want to see it? On one hand, it looks like Oscar bait. Well, it looks like Chicago, but that film did win an Oscar. And it has an intriguing cast–Christina Aguilera making her film debut, Cher making her return to film, solid supporting actors like Stanley Tucci, Alan Cumming, Peter Gallagher, Kristen Bell and Dianna Argon.
But the plot is so old that it can remember a time before we had Social Security, televisions in every home and a second World War. A small town girl comes to the big city in hopes of becoming a star. She gets a job at a theater that is down on its luck and barely hanging on. Through pluck and determination, the farm girl gets to perform at the theater and, gosh darn it, isn’t she a hit! But does she have what it takes to save the theater! Ooh, I hope so!
Whenever a film, especially a romance, is listed as a comedy and a drama, it usually never is really good at either or both at the same time. And this films is listed as a comedy and a drama.
Brokeback Mountain co-stars Anne Hathaway and Jake Gyllenhaal reunite in this film. Hathaway plays a free spirit that will never be tamed. Gyllenhaal plays charming rogue who is more than a match for her. They’re in love, but will it last?
Sounds good if it was just a romantic comedy. But since drug abuse plays a role in the film, and Gyllenhaal plays a pharmaceutical rep, I can imagine where the drama comes in. And that’s a bit off putting.
4. Faster (CBS Films, 2,454 Theaters, 98 Minutes, Rated R): And then there’s this one. No fairy tale romances, no singing, no dramedy, just somebody killing a ;lot of people as fast as he can, the way the best revenge flicks work out.
Dwayne Johnson leaves the world of the kiddie flicks behind to return to the action genre he started out in. He plays an escaped ex-con who is tracking down the people responsible for killing his brother. He, in turn, is tracked down by a pair of cops and a pair of assassins.
See? That’s pretty much all you need for an action/revenge film. This one might not get great reviews from critics, heck, it might not be good at all, but it’s bound to be entertaining.
Tangled might have a chance in the already crowded Best Animated film category.
Burlesque does seem like Oscar bait, but is it really? Cher already has an award but could get a nod no matter how hackneyed the plot is.
Love and Other Drugs might seem like a long shot for any kind of nomination, but it is directed by Edward Zwick. Zwick has an Oscar as a producer for Shakespeare in Love), but as a director, he is good at getting his actors nods/awards (Leonardo DiCaprio, Ken Wantenabe, Denzel Washington). Hathaway and Gyllenhaal both have nominations in the past. So them getting acting nods is not entirely unheard of.
It’s pretty safe to say the chances of Faster getting any Oscar nominations are pretty slim. Well, outside of the technical awards, that is.
A film in limited release that could get some attention from the Academy is The King’s Speech (Opening Friday, 4 Theaters, The Weinstein Company, 118 Minutes, Rated R). It’s based on a true story (of the man who helped England’s King George the IV ascend to the throne), it’s the story of a man overcoming an affliction (granted, it’s stuttering, but still), it’s leads have had nods in the past and one victory to their credit (Colin Firth, Helena Bonham Carter, Geoffrey Rush), and it’s British.