The weekend warriors for December 21, 2012 includes The Guilt Trip, Jack Reacher, and This is 40 as well as a few good limited releases. Box Office Battlefield is a recurring rundown of all the movie releases for the weekend. Every week, movie studios select candidates to enter the glorious battlefield for your hard earned dollars, but not everyone can afford to see each one. Box Office Battlefield is here to help you decide which movie(s) will take priority over the others.
Last weekend saw The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey break December box office numbers while Skyfall fell to Lincoln and Rise of the Guardians. All’s fair in love and war and weekend movie ticket sales.
Can a Jewish mother and son upstage our friends from The Shire? Will Mr. Scientology be able to make another comeback? Can a Judd Apatow spin-off sequel truly be as charming as its predecessor? Or will a bunch of indie movies take over the weekend? This is the Box Office Battlefield:
The Guilt Trip [Releases 12/19] (Rated PG-13) – Directed by Anne Fletcher. Starring Barbra Streisand, Seth Rogen, Julene Renee-Preciado, and Zabryna Guevara
Synopsis: As inventor Andy Brewster is about to embark on the road trip of a lifetime, a quick stop at his mom’s house turns into an unexpected cross-country voyage with her along for the ride.
If you’ve seen the trailer for The Guilt Trip you practically know where this movie is going. A lot of the shtick becomes repetitive, but there is a good heart behind this film. It’s like A Goofy Movie meets Tommy Boy. Barbra Streisand and Seth Rogen are pretty adorable together, nailing the mother-son relationship pretty well. MATINEE IT WITH YOUR MOM!
This Is 40 (Rated R) – Directed by Judd Apatow. Starring Paul Rudd, Leslie Mann, Maude Apatow, and Iris Apatow
Synopsis: A look at the lives of Pete and Debbie a few years after the events of Knocked Up.
I’m optimistically cautious about this movie. On one hand, all of the characters were enjoyable and fun in Knocked Up, but on the other hand, can they support their own movie? There are not too many favorable reviews for this film, but I think the actors can hold their own and create something special for us. The trailer makes it out to be cute. Judd Apatow hasn’t led anyone too astray, unless Funny People wasn’t for you. There will be some heart to this movie. SEE IT!
Jack Reacher (Rated PG-13) – Directed by Christopher McQuarrie. Starring Tom Cruise, Rosamund Pike, Richard Jenkins, and Werner Herzog
Synopsis: A homicide investigator digs deeper into a case involving a trained military sniper who shot five random victims.
I have nothing against Tom Cruise, I find him rather enjoyable in films like Tropic Thunder or Jerry McGuire. Cruise delivers clever lines of dialogue well, but his mojo is blindsided by horrific antagonists. There’s no distinct motives and nothing is ever explained. It’s a movie that tries to be smart with very dim characters. Plus it’s overly long. REDBOX IT!
Monsters, Inc. [3D re-release] (Rated G) – Directed by Pete Docter, David Silverman, and Lee Unkrich. Starring Billy Crystal, John Goodman, Mary Gibbs, and Steve Buscemi
Synopsis: Monsters generate their city’s power by scaring children, but they are terribly afraid themselves of being contaminated by children, so when one enters Monstropolis, top scarer Sulley finds his world disrupted.
Without a doubt, Monster’s, Inc. is a fantastic story, but re-releasing it in 3D seems pointless. Nothing within the story or the visuals could be improved by adding 3D. Mostly our heroes are stuck in Monsters, Inc. and increasing visual depth to hallways isn’t a good reason to add 3D. The only benefit to this new format, which I stated when the trailer came out, would be the door chase theme. SKIP IT! SEE IT IN 2D IF YOUR THEATER PROVIDES IT!
Zero Dark Thirty [12/19 – Limited Release LA/NYC] (Rated R) – Directed by Kathryn Bigelow. Starring Jessica Chastain, Joel Edgerton, Chris Pratt, and Mark Strong
Synopsis: A chronicle of the decade-long hunt for al-Qaeda terrorist leader Osama bin Laden after the September 2001 attacks, and his death at the hands of the Navy S.E.A.L. Team 6 in May, 2011.
This has been a film many movie season awards followers have been paying close attention to. It is the first movie to come from Oscar winning director Kathryn Bigelow since The Hurt Locker. I’ve heard that the last 30 minutes of this movie is the most tense sequence you could find in a movie this entire year. SEE IT!
Also releasing this weekend is Amour, a big foreign flick that has been nominated for Best Foreign Film in the Golden Globes. There’s also a strange Cirque du Soleil movie debuting this weekend if that catches your fancy and can’t find the time to take a trip to Vegas. The Impossible is another film that I’ve heard good things about, especially for Naomi Watts’ performance which has earned her some awards recognition this year, including the SAG Awards and Critics’ Choice.
Movie synopses courtesy of IMDb.com
Box Office Battlefield is an ongoing column providing analysis of whether you should see, rent, or pass on movies that are about to release. All of my opinions are based on what I have or have not seen from previews, various marketing materials, or have heard via word of mouth.