So, if you’re not a Twilight fan, odds are you spent last week looking for something to watch On Demand. And while Wednesday was a huge opening in theaters, including three huge Christmas movies and at least three Oscar contenders, there is something to be said for curling up on the couch with a turkey sandwich and watching a DVD. So here’s what’s out, and what’s coming out that ought to be worth two hours of your day.
Crazy, Stupid Love
Steve Carell has quite the knack for choosing comedies with a little meat on the bone. Here he plays a man whose wife (Julianne Moore) is leaving him. Meanwhile, a handsome player (Ryan Gosling) offers to makeover Carell’s droopy character in hopes of winning back his wife. The film also stars Emma Stone as Gosling’s love interest.
The Change Up
It’s Freaky Friday with two best guy friends. One man (Jason Bateman) is a committed family man with a beautiful wife (Leslie Mann) and twin babies. The other (Ryan Reynolds) is a confirmed bachelor with a different woman in his bed every night. Obviously this is not high art, but I laughed out loud more than once.
This is a touching story about a son (Ewan McGregor) struggling to overcome his fear of commitment, and a father (Christopher Plummer), realizing after 40 years of marriage, that he is gay.
I’m not really sure what went wrong here. Considering the stars, I think audiences expected higher production value or a sexier story, but whatever the reason, nobody saw this film. Tom Hanks plays an idealistic stock boy who gets laid off and goes back to community college in hopes of making himself more employable. Julia Roberts plays his cynical teacher. I thought I was going to hate this film, and I actually really liked it—so maybe it’s a question of expectations.
While Spielberg’s latest aliencontact movie is no E.T., it is still certainly worth seeing. Set in the late ’70s, a group of tweens are filming a movie with a super 8 projector. While taping, the kids witness a train derailment during which a mysterious creature escapes a damaged train car. That’s when the trouble starts.
Our Idiot Brother
Paul Rudd stars as a hapless stoner searching for a path in life. After getting out of jail following a possession conviction, Rudd’s character bounces between the homes of his neurotic sisters (Zooey Deschanel, Emily Mortimer and Elizabeth Banks). Eventually the girls realize that Ned’s approach to life may not be so misguided.
Friends with Benefits
Again nothing earth shattering here, but Mila Kunis and Justin Timberlake are captivating as two career-focused New Yorkers who decide to sleep together without commitment to avoid the mess of a relationship. Of course they are they only two who don’t realize they’re in love. (Dec. 2)
This film was something of a disappointment for audiences who saw it in the theater. The story of three Mussad agents’ heroic assassination of a notorious war criminal is called into question when the man suddenly surfaces 30 years later. The big problem is that the two men who play the young agents each look more like the other older character than the character they are playing, so audiences had trouble keeping everyone straight. Still this is an engaging spy thriller. (Dec.2)
The Hangover Part II
Someone took the expression Let’s not reinvent the wheel a little too seriously here. This is nearly a carbon copy of the 2009 original. This time the boys head to Thailand for Stu’s wedding. After they again are drugged, Phil, Stu, Allen and Doug wake up in a seedy Bangkok apartment and Stu’s future brother-in-law is missing. I must warn you though, I would only recommend this movie if you have an extremely high tolerance for raunch. (Dec.2)
While this is a distinctly “Hollywood” version of the book, the movie nevertheless is a touching tale of white families and their black help in the 1960s Mississippi. Emma Stone and Viola Davis lead an incredible cast. There are some Oscar nominations in their future. (Dec. 2)