Weekend Openings (August 26-28)

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The summer draws to a close, but before we wave goodbye to the sunny season, there are a few more new releases left:

God, I love posting pictures of her... First up in wide release, the gorgeous Zoe Saldana stars in the revenge thriller Colombiana.  Witnessing her parents’ murder as a child, Cataleya Restrepo grows up to be a Hot Skinny Damaged Chick Who Kicks Ass, working as an assassin to find those responsible for killing them.  Just about every critic out there says the film’s plot is as stupid as it sounds, with many claiming its preposterous story and sequences make it destined for camp classic status.  Whether or not that’s a good thing depends on which review you read, but Saldana’s charisma and physically dexterous performance is being praised as a crowd-pleaser.  Female-led actioners have experienced mixed results at the box office, but this film could turn Saldana into a star the way Tomb Raider did for Angelina Jolie.  I expect a modest $6-11 million opening before finding new life on DVD and Blu-Ray.

Guillermo del Toro is not directing Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark, a horror remake of the 1973 ABC made-for-TV movie.  While he’s carved out quite a niche in the supernatural spookfest department, critics aren’t going for this one like they did with The Orphanage and Pan’s Labyrinth.  Troy Nixey’s (the real director) command of atmosphere is widely-praised, but its clichés and shallowness are not.  Horror junkies who found Final Destination 5 too campy may find something more foreboding to their liking.  Then again, the buzz hasn’t really picked up for this, so I’m thinking maybe an $8-13 million take is what we’re looking at.

Elizabeth Banks, Zooey Deschanel, and Emily Mortimer must deal with Paul Rudd as Our Idiot Brother.  Not a comedy classic according to most critics, but well-acted all around and very much lauded for its genuine sweetness following a tidal wave of mean-spirited comedies this summer.  August comedies have been disappointing left and right, from The Change-Up to 30 Minutes or Less.  It’s possible that audiences are just waiting for something to come along that doesn’t look anti-competent, or maybe they’re just burned out on the genre.  Methinks $7-12 million will be its opening gross.

Farmiga: brilliant actress AND director?In limited release, Graham Greene’s crime novel Brighton Rock is readapted by Rowan Joffe.  Sam Riley stars as “Pinkie,” a ruthlessly determined criminal attempting to seduce a waitress who discovers evidence linking him to murder.  Reviews have been mixed to negative on this one.  The main flaw that appears to be agreed upon is that it’s soulless, ultimately making no good case for its own existence.

Vera Farmiga makes her directorial debut with Higher Ground.  She headlines the critically acclaimed drama as a woman who throws a tight-knit religious community into chaos when she begins to question her faith.  It appears that the consistently fascinating actress can garner as much acclaim behind the camera as well, as critics are calling her handling of faith and religious culture intelligent, fair-minded and beautifully filmed.  A Best Original Screenplay nomination is certainly in the realm of possibility if it becomes an arthouse success the way past sensitive dramas like Another Year and The Messenger did.

In the end, it looks like another #1 weekend for The Help.  Tell us what you plan to see right here on The Awards Circuit!