Weekend Openings: (12/19-12/21)

Having emerged as somewhat of the frontrunner in the awards race in recent weeks, Zero Dark Thirty opens to special limited engagements this week before nationwide release in January.  It’s a pretty strong week in terms of variety, with Judd Apatow’s latest, This Is 40, foreign drama powerhouse, Amour,and Walter Salles’ adaptation of On the Road.  Add a natural disaster survival drama, a case of double-dipping with a popular animated feature, and Tom Cruise reaching for justice for a well-stocked long weekend of cinematic entertainment.

Zero Dark Thirty
Language: English
Rating: R
Genre: Action/Drama/History
Director: Kathryn Bigelow
Starring: Jessica Chastain, Joel Edgerton, Jason Clarke

“The greatest manhunt in history” follows the decade-long efforts to find Osama bin Laden, spanning from the September 11 attacks to his death at the hands of Navy S.E.A.L. Team 6 in May 2011.  See Clayton and Joey’s early reviews.

Language: French
Rating: PG-13
Genre: Drama/Romance
Director: Michael Haneke
Starring: Jean-Louis Trintignant, Emmanuelle Riva, Isabelle Huppert

Elderly couple Georges and Anne have their comfortable, retired life and love tested after Anne suffers a debilitating attack.  Clayton and John H. Foote both spoke highly of the film, while Joseph was a bit underwhelmed.

Monster’s, Inc. 3D
Language: English
Rating: G
Genre: Animation/Adventure/Comedy
Director: Peter Docter, Lee Unkrich, David Silverman
Starring: Billy Crystal, John Goodman, Steve Buscemi

Top scaring duo Sulley and Mike return to the big screen, amplified in 3D, as they scramble across Monstropolis trying to conceal Boo, the stowaway child to whom they’ve developed an attachment.

The Guilt Trip
Language: English
Rating: PG-13
Genre: Comedy
Director: Anne Fletcher
Starring: Seth Rogen, Barbra Streisand, Kathy Najimy

As inventor Andy sets off for a road trip, he ends up with an unexpected companion–his mother.

This Is 40
Language: English
Rating: R
Genre: Comedy
Director: Judd Appatow
Starring: Paul Rudd, Leslie Mann, Jason Segel

This “sort-of sequel to Knocked-Up” follows Pete and Debbie’s family through the process of growing up.  Clayton calls it Apatow’s most mature film to date.

On the Road
Language: English
Rating: R
Genre: Adventure/Drama
Director: Walter Salles
Starring: Garrett Hedlund, Kristen Stewart, Sam Riley

Jack Kerouac’s beat generation literary staple comes to life as Sal Paradise falls under the spell of compellingly volatile Dean Moriarty in their cross-country escapades.  See Joey’s take on the adaptation.

The Impossible
Language: English
Rating: PG-13
Genre: Action/Drama/Thriller
Director: Juan Antonio Bayona
Starring: Naomi Watts, Ewan McGregor, Tom Holland

One family’s account of their horrifying and miraculous experiences in one of the worst natural disasters in modern history tests their fortitude and humanity.  Clayton is among those who was overwhelmed by the gutting torrent of emotion.

Jack Reacher
Language: English
Rating: PG-13
Genre: Action/Crime/Drama
Director: Christopher McQuarrie
Starring: Tom Cruise, Rosamund Pike, Richard Jenkins

Tom Cruise is Jack Reacher, a homicide investigator tracking the military sniper who’s taken down five random victims.

Language: German
Rating: PG-13
Genre: Drama
Director: Christian Petzold
Starring: Nina Hoss, Ronald Zehrfeld, Rainer Bock

Barbara, a reserved doctor who’s been banished to a small clinic in rural East Germany for her desire to relocate to the West, forms unexpected attachments to a colleague and patient.  It screened at AFI Fest last month, where I got an early look.

What will you be seeing this weekend?

What do you think?

Written by Nicole Melkonian

The first rule of film criticism is: you most definitely DO talk about film. An unassuming gladiator in the arena, this Space Monkey asks the important questions: Are you not entertained? Who's Zed? Are you an achiever? Initially well-versed in English literature, Nicole picked up movie quotes as a second tongue to marry together her deep-rooted appreciation for language and film. When not tallying Brad Pitt's countless and marvelously resonant instances of on-screen eating, your very own Remy is experimenting with exciting new recipes from Gusteau's cookbook. And when I have some more spare time? What am I doing? I'm quietly judging film. A disagreement, you say? Well, that's just, like, your opinion, man.

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