What’s Hot at the Movies This Week 12/11/08

| December 11, 2008

The top five movies at the box office are the same ones that were in the top five last week. In fact, the first three spots are the same, with the films in the fourth and fifth spots simply switching places. This isn’t necessarily fault with the films that made their debut last week however. The one that’s receiving the most amount of hype, Frost/Nixon, only opened in limited theaters last week, and will expand to more this week, and even more on Christmas. Cadillac Records was only showing in 686 theaters as is stuck down in ninth place, while Punisher: War Zone ranks one spot higher and showed in 2500 theaters. Nobel Son didn’t even make the top twelve. Here’s a reminder of the films that are holding tightly to those top spots.
1. Four Christmases. It’s not surprising that this film is still at the number one spot with stars Reese Witherspoon and Vince Vaughn. Their performances along with a storyline we can all relate to makes it a winning film. With additional performances by Robert Duvall, Sissy Spacek, Mary Steenburgen, and Jon Voigt, this romantic comedy reminds us about the hassles of family during the holidays. A young couple so hates having to visit their four families during the holidays, and really don’t want to share that part of their lives, meaning their kooky relatives, with each other, they go on exotic vacations every Christmas, telling their families they’re doing charity work in third world countries. Check out my review here.
2. Twilight. It’s the young people of the world keeping this movie at number two. Two weeks ago it was at number one, then fell to Four Christmases. I don’t even think my daughter knows what it’s about. She just wants to see it because everyone else is talking about it. It’s a vampire romance of sorts. A young girl that doesn’t fit in moves to a new high school, finding a new boyfriend. He’s a vampire, but knows a little something about not fitting in as he and his family don’t follow the normal vampire rites. He believes he has found the woman he has waited many years for. Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson star as the young couple. You can read Rick Villalobos’ review of this blockbuster here.
4. Australia. This is one of those films that was either going to be really successful or die an early death. It seems to be taking the former path, as it moves up a spot in just its second week out, only behind an animated dog, vampires, and a movie soon to be a holiday classic. Nicole Kidman and Hugh Jackman star in what is described as a “sweeping epic” about the homeland of both Kidman and Jackman. Chidden comes to Australia to convince her husband to come back to England, but he dies before she arrives, and she ends up staying to continue his work. Read Jason Coffman’s take here.
5. Quantum of Solace. The latest in a long line of James Bond films has been in the top five for four weeks now. It didn’t have much competition in the beginning, but does now, and it’s still hanging in there, but barely, falling a spot this week. Bond, played again by Daniel Craig, has been betrayed by a woman, Vesper, but we know he’ll find another woman. After all, he’s Bond, James Bond. Yet he can’t give Vesper up this easy and while searching to find out what went wrong, he finds she was being blackmailed by a very powerful and dangerous organization. Read Del Harvey’s review to find out why he was just a little disappointed.
Opening this weekend:
The Day the Earth Stood Still. Being called a contemporary reinvention of the original 1951 clasic, it features a story about an alien arriving here on earth, setting up an upheaveal throughout the world. With everyone trying to figure out why the alien is here, a woman and her stepson are the ones that begin to piece it all together. We have some big name starring in this one with Keanu Reeves, Jennifer Connelly, Kathy Bates, Jaden Smith (as in Will’s son), Jon Hamm, and Kyle Chandler. Read Paul Fischer’s interview with Jon Hamm.

Delgo. This fantasy sci-fi animated film has some of the weirdest-looking characters I’ve ever seen. They’re like alien-dragon-looking things, and fairies that aren’t even pretty. A teenage boy falls in love with the princess of an opposing race, making it somewhat of a Romeo and Juliet type of story, an odd-looking Romeo and Juliet. There’s an impressive list of character voices with Freddie Prinze, Jr., Jennifer Love Hewitt, Val Kilmer, Chris Kattan, Michael Clarke Duncan, Eric Idle, Malcolm McDowell, Kelly Ripa, Lou Gossett, Jr., Anne Bancroft, Burt Reynolds, and Sally Kellerman,

Doubt. John Patrick Shanley adapts his own Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award-winning play into this film starring Meryl Streep, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Amy Adams, and Viola Davis. Streep plays the nun/principal of a 1964 school, and Hoffman plays a priest who challenges her tradition of fear and discipline. This all happens to come on the heels of the first black student being admitted to the school. Adams plays a young teacher who shares her belief with the principal that the priest is spending way too much time with the new student, causing unfounded upheaval to extricate the priest from the school. Read Jon Bastian’s review.

Gran Torino. Clint Eastward stars (his first since Million Dollar Baby) and directs as well in this movie about an aging Korean War veteran, retired and widowed, being forced to confront his prejudices. He’s held on to these prejudices for so long, yet he doesn’t have a choice but to change in the face of the current times as may of these people he despises have now become his neighbors.

Nothing Like the Holidays. When the Rodriguez clan comes together for the Christmas holiday and to celebrate the youngest brother returning safely from the war, the matriarch of the family uses the opportunity to announce to the adult children she is divorcing their father. Her children all seem to have their own thing going on, as one of the sons reunites with a past love, a daughter hasn’t been able to find success with her acting career, and another son brings home his wife, an executive with success on her mind, instead of raising a family. Starring John Leguizamo, Debra Messing, Freddy Rodgriguez, and Alfred Molina.

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