What’s Hot at the Movies This Week 12/4/08

| December 5, 2008

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! And by that I don’t mean the snow outside my window or the shopping I have to do, I mean there are enough good movies out there I can’t even see all the ones I want to. With this top five, we have something for everyone with a holiday movie, vampire movie, animated dog movie, a Bond movie, and a “sweeping epic.”
Here are the rankings for last weekend:
1. Four Christmases. It’s not surprising that this film quickly caputred 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.
2. Twilight. It’s the young people of the world keeping this movie at the top of the charts. Last week it was at number one, one this week it fell just one spot 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. Quantum of Solace. The latest in a long line of James Bond films has been in the top five for three weeks now. It didn’t have much competition in the beginning, but does now, and it’s still hanging in there. 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.
5. 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 lands in the top five in its first week out, only behind James Bond, 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.
Opening this weekend:
Cadillac Records. This is the story of rock ‘n roll. Based on the true story of Chess Records, it tells how rock ‘n roll was born on the South Side of Chicago in 1947, and follows artists on the rise such as Muddy Waters, Little Walter, Chuck Berry, and Etta James. The head of Chess Records treats his musicians very well, buying them Cadillacs for their first hit record, but there is often conflict among the musicians. Stars Adrien Brody, BeyoncĂ© Knowles, Cedric the Entertainer, and Mos Def.

Frost/Nixon. While this is only opening in limited areas this weekend, it will open more widely next weekend, and even more on Christmas Day. Ron Howard directions this film that’s adapted from the successful screenplay about Richard Nixon and David Frost in their history interview from 1977. Frank Langella and Michael Sheen recreate their roles from the stage version, and Kevin Bacon, Oliver Platt, and Sam Rockwell star as well.

Nobel Son. This comedic thriller about a dysfunctional father and son stars Alan Rickman, Bryan Greenberg, Shawn Hatosy, Mary Steenburgen, Bill Pullman, Eliza Dushku, and Danny DeVito. As the son is working to finish his Ph.D. thesis, his father wins the Nobel Prize for Chemistry. Yet the father didn’t always lead a clean life, and his son is kidnapped and held for ransom. However, dear old Dad doesn’t want to pay up. I don’t expect to see this one in the top five next week.

Punisher: War Zone. Ray Stevenson, Dominic West, Doug Hutchinson, Colin Salmon, Wayne Knight, Dash Mihok, and Julie Benz star in this action thriller about a man with a mission to bring down organized crime all on his own. He sets out to stop a mob boss, but only ends up disfiguring him. The mob boss is now out for revenge, taking on the moniker Jigsaw. Somehow I don’t see this one in the top five next week either.

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