Grit Blogs > The Open Book

Quiet Month at the Cineplex

By Jean Teller, Sr. Assoc. Editor

Tags: movies, The Box, Disneys A Christmas Carol, The Fourth Kind, The Men Who Stare at Goats, Precious, 2012, Pirate Radio, The Messenger, The Blind Side, Planet 51, The Twilight Saga: New Moon, Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans, Old Dogs, The Princess and the Frog, The Road, Me and Orson Welles,

Jean TellerWhile not quite as quiet as October was, November promises to be easy on my pocketbook when it comes to movies. I see five or six that might draw me away from my books. So without further ado, here we go. Again, I’m listing a number that sound interesting; well, interesting for some people, anyway.

The Box : Starring Cameron Diaz, James Marsden and Frank Langella, The Box looks more than a little creepy. And what is with all the scary movies these days? Anyway, this one has Diaz and Marsden as an unhappy couple who are faced with a dilemma: open the box and gain a million bucks while killing someone they don’t know. What to do? Rated PG-13, The Box opens November 6.

The Box stars Cameron Diaz, James Marsden and Frank Langella.

Disney’s A Christmas Carol: In the animated style of Polar Express and Beowulf (and adapted for the screen and directed by Robert Zemeckis), this retelling of Charles Dickens’ classic features the voice talents of Jim Carrey (as just about everyone), Gary Oldman, Colin Firth, Cary Elwes, Bob Hoskins and Robin Wright Penn. Rated PG, Disney’s A Christmas Carol opens November 6. 

Disney's A Christmas Carol stars the voice talents of Jim Carrey, among others.

The Fourth Kind: While I love supernatural tales, I may have to wait for The Fourth Kind to come out on DVD. That way I can stop it if I get too scared; I don’t particularly like screaming or jumping out of my seat when I’m in a crowded movie theater. This supposedly-based-on-a-true-story movie stars Milla Jovovich as a psychologist in Nome, Alaska, who treats traumatized patients only to discover they’ve all had close encounters of the fourth kind (abduction). Rated PG-13, The Fourth Kind opens November 6.

The Men Who Stare at Goats: Starring George Clooney, Ewan McGregor, Jeff Bridges and Kevin Spacey, this movie looks like it might be fun. McGregor is Bob Wilton, a reporter who chances upon the story of a U.S. military program that uses ESP during missions. Clooney is Lyn Cassaday, who claims to be a former member of the First Earth Battalion and a man who can kill with his mind. Rated R, The Men Who Stare at Goats opens in limited release November 6. 

The Men Who Stare at Goats stars George Clooney.

Precious opens in limited release November 6.

Precious: With Oprah Winfrey and Tyler Perry combining efforts to promote this film, along with numerous awards, Precious looks to be on the fast track to success. It’s the heart-wrenching tale of a Harlem teen – abused, overweight, illiterate and pregnant – who learns her life can go in a different direction when she enrolls in an alternative school, Precious will undoubtedly be difficult to watch. I hear, though, that the performances are outstanding, the story grabs your attention, and you’ll continue to think about this movie long after the final credits. Rated R, Precious opens November 6 in limited release.  

2012, directed by Roland Emmerich, stars John Cusak.

2012: Don’t let the hype overwhelm you. This is an end-of-the-world view from Roland Emmerich, who has given us such films as Independence Day, 10,000 B.C. and The Day After Tomorrow. John Cusak leads the cast of survivors, and we’ll see a tsunami throwing a battle cruiser into the White House. Rated PG-13, 2012 opens November 13. 

Pirate Radio: Released in April in the United Kingdom as The Boat That Rocked, Pirate Radio tells the tale of how England attempted to outlaw rock ‘n’ roll in the 1960s, only to be thwarted by ingenious disc jockeys spreading the word via a floating radio station. Expect a fun time with Philip Seymour Hoffman, Bill Nighy, Rhys Ifans, Emma Thompson and Kenneth Branagh. Rated R, Pirate Radio opens November 13.

The Messenger: With the war in Iraq as the backdrop, The Messenger follows a U.S. soldier, who on his return home becomes involved with the widow of a fallen comrade. Reviews say it’s a powerful story, and, while it’s slow paced, the performances from Ben Foster and Woody Harrelson are exceptional. The move also stars Samantha Morton, Steve Buscemi, Eamonn Walker and Jena Malone. Rated R, The Messenger opens November 13.

The Blind Side: Michael Oher is a rookie with the Baltimore Ravens. The Blind Side tells his story, from his broken-home roots to his life with the Touhys, a well-to-do white family. Starring Quinton Aaron, Sandra Bullock, Tim McGraw and Kathy Bates, The Blind Side looks promising as an inspirational tale, and it may just require a box of tissues. Also, let’s hope this is better than some of Bullock’s latest work. Rated PG-13, The Blind Side opens November 20.

Planet 51: This movie has been on my radar for a while. An animated view of aliens, Planet 51 looks hilarious, with an underlying important message. What happens when a planet’s inhabitants are faced with a visitor from outer space? And what happens when that visitor is from Earth and the inhabitants are the green beings of Planet 51? Lots of laughs, in my opinion. Voices provided by Dwayne Johnson, Jessica Biel, Justin Long, Gary Oldman, Seann William Scott and John Cleese. Rated PG, Planet 51 opens November 20.

Planet 51, an animated tale of life on another planet, looks like fun!

The Twilight Saga: New Moon: A confession is in order: I read the first book and saw the first movie, and I’m now working on New Moon the book. Yes, I adore tales of the supernatural, but …. I’m a bit ambivalent on this series. I’m also a bit leery of movies with two titles. Robert Pattinson, Kristen Stewart and Taylor Lautner reprise their roles as Edward, Bella and Jacob, as the saga continues. Rated PG-13, New Moon opens November 20. 

The Twilight Saga continues with New Moon.

Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans: Again with the extra title. This is a retelling/reimagining of the original 1992 Bad Lieutenant starred Harvey Keitel. The movie follows Nicolas Cage as a detective who is more interested in drugs and placing bets than the case of five dead immigrants. Not yet rated, Bad Lieutenant also stars Eva Mendes, Val Kilmer, Shawn Hatosy, Xzibit and Jennifer Coolidge and opens November 20. 

Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans stars Nicolas Cage and Eva Mendes.

Old Dogs: Robin Williams and John Travolta (who reunites with his Wild Hogs director Walt Becker) star as friends and business partners forced to take some time off when 7-year-old twins appear on the scene. While it might be a bit over-the-top with the humor, Old Dogs looks like it’s full of laughs. And Seth Green may just steal the film from Williams and Travolta. Also starring Matt Dillon and Justin Long, Old Dogs is rated PG and opens November 25. 

The Princess and the Frog offers a slightly different twist to the classic Frog Prince fairy tale.The Princess and the Frog: A different twist on the traditional Frog Prince fairy tale, this animated Disney flick takes place during the Jazz Age in New Orleans’ French Quarter. Voices provided by Anika Noni Rose (as Princess Tiana), John Goodman, Keith David, Terrence Howard, Angela Bassett, Oprah Winfrey and Jim Cummings. Not yet rated, The Princess and the Frog opens in limited release November 25 and in wide release December 11. 

The Road: Based on the Pulitzer Prize winning novel by Cormac McCarthy, The Road follows a father and son as they travel across the country after an unknown disaster has left the world in ruins. Lots of buzz around this one, although it’s release date has changed several times. Viggo Mortensen stars as the father and Kodi Smit-McPhee as the son. Charlize Theron, Garret Dillahunt, Robert Duvall and Guy Pearce also star. Rated R, The Road opens November 25.

Me and Orson Welles: Taking a piece of history and adding an unknown character or two to the mix makes for some interesting storytelling, as far as I’m concerned. Richard Samuels is a teen intent on making it big on Broadway. A chance meeting with Orson Welles as the director prepares his 1937 Broadway adaptation of Julius Caesar leads to a role for Richard, as well as a mess of complications. Zac Efron stars as Richard, Christian McKay as Welles, and Claire Danes as aspiring actress Sonja. Rated PG-13, Me and Orson Welles opens November 25. 

I have on my radar The Men Who Stare at Goats, Pirate Radio, The Blind Side, Planet 51 and The Road. Whatta think? Anything that I absolutely need to catch at the local cineplex?

See ya at the movies!

jean teller
11/5/2009 12:12:12 PM

Cindy, if you go to see The Box, let us know what you think, pretty please?! I like the three main actors - just not sure I can handle a scary movie. Have I mentioned that I'm a wimp when it comes to scary?! :) I haven't seen much Twilight Zone (either incarnation), again with the wimpiness. Dave, I agree. Not much at the theaters in recent memory. I used to go to three or four movies a weekend; nowadays it's maybe two a month. I think (although I can't be certain) that I'm becoming more discerning with my choices. Of course, it could simply be that Hollywood is producing more crap. LOL I enjoyed Defying Gravity too. Too bad ABC yanked it. I remember reading something that indicated the network would air the remaining episodes, but I'm not holding my breath. That one may be one I buy on DVD - just to see what's behind the door! Love FlashForward. I'm behind a couple of eps tho - Thursday nights are tough for me - seven hours of TV on one night! And I enjoy Stargate Universe too - not sure how they're going to sustain it for a long run tho. I may have to do another TV post soon! Vicki, I'm with you on both The Road and Precious. I sometimes wish my nieces and nephews were closer so I have an excuse to go to the movies aimed at the younger set. Although with Planet 51, I'll go to the theater no matter what! :)

10/31/2009 10:54:28 PM

Jean, The Road looks to be a good one-but I saw a preview of Precious and it just looks too hard to watch in a movie theater. The kids movies looks good too -can't wait till the grandson gets big enough to take him. vickie

nebraska dave
10/29/2009 9:12:00 PM

Jean, I don't know. None of those really sound all that thrilling to me. I think I'll just stay home this month and watch syfy on TV. What ever happened to the days when in the movies good guys were the cops and bad guys were the crooks. I found a couple new shows on the ABC network of all places. I hardly ever watch the ABC network. They have a show called Defying Gravity that's about a mission to Mars or so it starts out but becomes something quite different. Then there's FlashForward where all the people in the world blacked out for 2 minutes and 17 seconds at the same time. During this time they all had a glimpse of what they would be doing exactly six months into the future. And then of course there's the new Stargate Universe. Their always right on the edge of death type experiences. How long the directors can keep that up I don't know but so far I like it. Thank you so much for the reviews. Keep up the good work.

cindy murphy
10/29/2009 7:01:31 PM

Oh! Oh, oh, oh! I can't wait to see The Box. I remember watching a Twilight Zone episode called "Button, Button" (not the old black and white Twilight Zone, but when in came back on television, in the 80's, I think). I'm not sure if "The Box" is based on this episode, or on the short story that "Button, Button" was based on. I read once that the author of "Button, Button" hated the way the Twilight Zone episode was resolved; his ending was much different. It'll be interesting to see which ending The Box follows, or if it's completely different all together. And shhhh...I'm not telling how either "Button, Button" versions end.

jean teller
10/29/2009 4:50:53 PM

KC, I may add a number of these to my Netflix Q too. Not sure I'll be able to handle Precious, tho it does sound interesting. And Men Who Stare at Goats may be too over-the-top even for me. :) Pirate Radio, tho, is definitely on my to-see list.

kc compton_2
10/29/2009 4:44:12 PM

Oh, and "Pirate Radio." That looks like a lot of fun.

kc compton_2
10/29/2009 4:37:10 PM

An amazingly few of those are calling my name--really surprising to any who know what a movie hound I am. The only one that might actually draw me to a theater is "Precious." Although "Men Who Stare at Goats" also looks fun. Most of these will wait for Netflix, or nothing at all. Looking forward to hearing your review. :=] --KC