1. A Christmas Carol (Disney, 3,683 Theaters, 96 Minutes, Rated PG): One has to ask, do we really need another A Christmas Carol adaptation? Even one done in that spooky motion capture animation that Robert Zemeckis has fallen in love with over the past few years?
The story, in case you don’t know, is about an old curmudgeon named Ebenezer Scrooge who doesn’t know the meaning of Christmas. He is visited by three ghosts who show him the error of his ways.
Jim Carrey is doing some heavy lifting in this one. He not only portrays Scrooge at all ages of his life, but he also plays the three ghosts. The rest of the cast, and there are a few roles left over, are filled with some very fine actors such as Gary Oldman, Colin Firth and Bob Hoskins.
Of course, great cast aside, you’d have to deal with that animation technique which, quite frankly, scares me. I’m not sure why it does, but it does. Also, while I know department stores have had their Christmas decorations out for weeks now, isn’t it a wee bit too for a Christmas movie? Films have a shorter shelf life than wrapping paper.
2. The Box (Warner Brothers, 2,635 Theaters, 115 minutes, Rated PG-13): Yes, this is a concept that the producers hope will raise a lot of questions with the audience. It raises a lot of questions with me, but not the kind the producers will like.
A couple gets a box with what looks like one of those “Easy” buttons they sell at Staples. A mysterious stranger arrives and says that if they push the button, they’ll get $1 million. But, and here’s the catch, someone they don’t know somewhere in the world will die.
If this sounds like a cheesy Twilight Zone remake, it is. Not the classic Rod Serling version, but the less classic 1980s version. So you know what you’re getting.
What they want you to ask yourself is, “would I do it?” They want you to undergo the same sort of moral turmoil that the character’s in the film face.
My questions are, can this story get any more convoluted? Would you really believe a man who only has half a face who comes to your door from out of nowhere, no matter what he said? And what’s the deal with the taked on “your wife is going to die and you’re going to kill her” part? That was not in the original story and doesn’t seem to be an addition that would improve this film.
3. The Fourth Kind (Universal, 2,529 Theaters, 98 Minutes, Rated PG-13): Finally! A sequel to the classic Close Encounters of the Third Kind! The one film to revitalize Richard Dreyfuss’ career!
This time the aliens are back and they’re pissed! Do Do Do Do Doooo yourself, losers! There…wait…this is not a sequel? It’s about alien abductions? In Alaska?
Oh. Well. Nevermind!
Is it just me, or do the ads for this movie seem very similar to the ads for Paranormal Activity? Now, the films are coming out too close together for this not to be a coincidence, but still. I wonder how many people who made Paranormal Activity a number one film will do the same for this one.
4. The Men Who Stare At Goats (Overture Films, 2,443 Theaters, 93 Minutes, Rated R): If I had to go see only on film this week, I’d pick this one. It looks great.
First off, the cast is terrific. The four actors in the poster to the right are some of my favorites of all time. To see George Clooney, Jeff Bridges, Kevin Spacey, and Ewan McGregor work together should be great. And there are a lot of great actors in the supporting cast too.
Also, the story seems too goofy to be believed. It deal with a top secret government project where soldiers with superpowers were trained to be weapons of mass destruction. Clooney plays on of these weapons, whose power seems to be being able to kill goats by staring at them. I don’t know much more than that, but that is far and away enough.