It might be just days before Thanksgiving (and, btw, when did that happen?), but if you head to a movie theater this weekend, don’t be surprised if it feels a little bit like summertime. The box office is littered with big-ticket effects films (the second weekend of 2012), the return of a beloved franchise (New Moon) and even a Sandra Bullock movie. You’ve heard of Christmas in July? Well consider this Independence Day in November. As we do every Friday, here’s a handy guide to the new releases.
The Twilight Saga: New Moon
What’s the story: What’s the sound of one million girls screaming? Allow us to introduce you to New Moon. (Excuse us, The Twilight Saga: New Moon; get a more clunky title.) The sequel to runaway hit Twilight includes more heartbreak (Edward dumps Bella!), more werewolves (Team Jacob!) and more length (this thing clocks in at an arduous-sounding 130 minutes). The guaranteed smash has some people predicting Iron Man-type box office, but that hasn’t stopped the critics from piling on. While the Observer‘s Sara Vilkomerson found much to love despite acknowledging many flaws, the rest of the critical community seems to be making up for the fact that they gave Twilight decent reviews. That said, we doubt anyone planning to see New Moon really cares what Roger Ebert or Jeffrey Wells think.
Who should see it: Sookie Stackhouse.
The Blind Side
What’s the story: While the girls will be crying over New Moon (oh those Romeo & Juliet references!), expect the boys to shed a tear or three at showings of The Blind Side. Full disclosure: we haven’t seen the John Lee Hancock adaptation of Michael Lewis’ best selling book, but considering the trailer makes us weep every single time we watch it, we’ll be sure to bring some extra Kleenex to the theater. Sandra Bullock and her ridiculous Southern accent star as Linda Touhy, the real life heroine who took an underprivileged teenager named Michael Oher into her home and helped turn him into a star football player. (Spoiler alert? Oher now plays for the Baltimore Ravens). Critics are surprisingly happy with this effort and it just looks like the type of feel-good flick that could play well into the Christmas season. Between this and The Proposal, it’s safe to say Sandra Bullock has returned. (Don’t worry Sandy: we forgot All About Steve, too.)
Who should see it: Baltimore Ravens QB Joe Flacco.
What’s the story: We like to consider ourselves on the front line of cultural minutiae, but even we haven’t heard of Planet 51. And that it’s opening on over 3,000 theaters is all the more disconcerting. The animated affair from Sony (on a roll after Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs) features the voices of Dwayne Johnson, Jessica Biel, Gary Oldman and Justin Long and a premise as old as The Twilight Zone: an astronaut lands on a planet inhabited by little green men and women, making him the alien. Ha! Our sides. If you have to choose between taking your kids to see this over the weekend or watching Up for the fifth time in a week, do yourself a favor and put the DVD in for another spin.
Who should see it: E.T.
Also opening this weekend: Nicolas Cage goes batshit crazy in Werner Herzog’s off-the-rails remake, Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans; Pedro Almodovar and his muse, Penelope Cruz, endure some Broken Embraces; and John Woo heads to Red Cliff.