What’s Hot at the Movies This Week 12/18/08

| December 19, 2008

The top five list from the past few weeks is still resmbling the list we’ve had for the past couple of weeks, minus 007 and plus a classic. This week we’ll have father taking on son as Will and Jaden Smith will battle it out in The Day the Earth Stood Still and Seven Pounds. Watching Jaden, it’s obvious he gets his easy personality from his dad. I’m interested to see who will have the top spot next week.
1. The Day the Earth Stood Still. I’m a little surprised this remake of the 1951 classic made it to number one so quickly. However, having seen Jaden Smith on Ellen recently, that kid is so incredibly charming, maybe he’s carrying the whole movie. An alien arrives here on earth, setting up an upheaval 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, Jon Hamm, and Kyle Chandler. Read Paul Fischer’s interview with Jon Hamm.
2. Four Christmases. Still on the charts after three weeks, this must be the holiday movie this season, especially since Nothing Like the Holidays didn’t capture a top spot this week. Reese Witherspoon and Vince Vaughn’s performances, along with a storyline we can all relate to, makes this 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.
3. Twilight. It’s the young people of the world keeping this movie in the top five, although it’s falling one spot every week.. 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.
5. Australia. This was either going to be one of those films that was going to be really successful or die an early death. It’s apparently taking the former path as it stays in the top five in its third week out. Nicole Kidman and Hugh Jackman star in what is described as a “sweeping epic” about the homeland of both Kidman and Jackman. Kidman 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.
Opening this weekend:
Seven Pounds. It looks like it will be father battling son this week at the box office as Will Smith stars in this film against his son Jaden starring in The Day the Earth Stood Still. It was two years ago they starred in Pursuit of Happyness together. The elder Smith stars in this one as an IRS agent working on redemption who must change the lives of seven strangers. Until the end, we reportedly never find out if he’s really evil or really good. It also stars Rosario Dawson, Michael Ealy, Barry Pepper, and Woody Harrelson.

The Tale of Despereaux. It seems like this misses the boat somewhat, as 2007 was the year of the cute mouse movies. It’ll be interesting to see if it overtakes the top five and knocks Bolt out, especially since this is a movie about a mouse who is weak and small with oversized ears, yet refuses to live small, believing he was destined for something really big. He’s banished from his home for not living in the small world that was intended for him, and embarks on a mission, along with a rat, to save a princess. Starring the voice talents of Matthew Broderick, Dustin Hoffman, Kevin Kline, Frank Langella, Christopher Lloyd, William H. Macy, Stanley Tucci, Tracey Ullman, Emma Watson, and Sigourney Weaver.

Yes Man. Jim Carrey stars as a guy who is instructed by a self help program to say yes to everything. As hoped for and promised, this technique begins to change his life in all the important ways, but soon it seems it may be too much of a good thing. Will it be one of Carrey’s flops or successes? Yes Man also stars Zooey Deschanel, Bradley Cooper, Rhys Darby, John Michael Higgins, Danny Masterson, and Terence Stamp.

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