This is what I’m talking about! This is the kind of weekend we deserve in December. Some buzzed-about prestige pieces, comedies for adults of the slapstick and dark variety, and one giant overstuffed blimp of star exploitation for people who don’t actually like movies. That’s right everyone, “New Year’s Eve” is in theaters, which means our dear managing editor can stop reporting on who has been cast in the film. Hopefully they didn’t add anyone else before the premiere. We’ve also got veritable mini mogul Jonah Hill‘s latest comedy — the “Adventures in Babysitting” for the R-rated set — “The Sitter,” every British guy ever in “Tinker Tailer Soldier Spy” (if Jim Broadbent doesn’t make a cameo, I’m burning this house down!), Jason Reitman‘s annual awards fodder 2011 entry, “Young Adult,” and several more selections for all your movie going needs.
So yeah, Garry Marshall called everyone in his rolodex to come stroll through the set of “New Year’s Eve” and say a couple of lines. If you think this type of thing consists of a movie, then you are reading the wrong site. Our review (God bless you, Kimber Myers) says we wish the “filmmakers” at least “pretended they were trying to entertain us while they rummage through our pockets for loose change,” and it “isn’t even the type of enjoyably bad film that’s made better by large quantities of friends or alcohol (or both).” A crime. Rotten Tomatoes: 5% Metacritic: 23
Jonah Hill is some kind of one man show. The comedy star is everywhere, and he’s producing most of his projects too. “Pineapple Express” and “Your Highness” auteur David Gordon Green directs “The Sitter,” his R-Rated babysitting comedy with Ari Graynor, Sam Rockwell, J.B. Smoove and wild thing Max Records. RT: 22% MC: 38
Tomas Alfredsson‘s adaptation of the John le Carre spy novel “Tinker Tailor Solder Spy” hits theaters today after much anticipation. The spy thriller is loaded with your favorite British actors, including Gary Oldman (in truly amazing glasses), last year’s Oscar winner Colin Firth, the ubiquitous Tom Hardy, weirdly hot Benedict Cumberbatch, Mark Strong, Toby Jones (is he in everything?), Ciarán Hinds, John Hurt, and more. Our review says the film is “incredibly rich and perfectly constructed,”and that “we can’t remember the last time that Oldman put in such strong work as he does here.” RT: 88% MC: 89
Charlize Theron plays ugly (on the inside) in the new film from Jason Reitman and writer Diablo Cody (the pair behind “Juno“) in “Young Adult.” Theron’s delusional young adult author returns home to “rescue” her high school boyfriend (Patrick Wilson) from his marriage and baby, and reconnects with another high school bud in arrested development, played by comedian Patton Oswalt. Our review says the film “doesn’t flinch from deep-seated scars and long-lasting regret, and it’s only funnier for exploiting and exploring the grand delusions of its utterly pathological, pretty-on-the-outside protagonist.” RT: 79% MC: 74
Ian Palmer‘s doc “Knuckle” follows a decades-long feud between Irish clans the McDonaghs and the Joyces, settled in backyard bare-knuckles boxing fights. The film utilizes footage from over 20 years of fights, and Palmer puts a wide scope and perspective on the intimate subject matter he is emotionally invested in. Our review says, “he’s crafted a film that, for lack of a better way to describe it, is a real knockout.” RT: 94% MC: 64
“Very Bad Things 2,” oh excuse me, “I Melt With You,” hits theaters today with lots of middle-aged white male ennui. Jeremy Piven, Thomas Jane, Rob Lowe and Christian McKay star as four friends who get together every year to kick it in a sweet vacay house and get wasted on pills. Director Mark Pellington throws every cinematic trick in the book at the drugged out sequences (ooohhh trippy), but our review says it’s “is an engaging primal scream, but it’s not a movie.” RT: 14% MC: 22
Writer/director Aaron Harvey loads up the ’90s crime movie clichés in “Catch .44” (get it get it get it?!?!) with Bruce Willis, Malin Akerman, Nikki Reed, Deborah Ann Woll, Shea Wigham and Forest Whitaker. Our review says the film “loads up a bunch of faded genre elements and pulls the trigger, only to find out the safety was still on” but that the soundtrack is pretty sweet.
Mia Hansen-Løve’s “Goodbye First Love” gives us a new take on the teenage romance story, focusing on the end of the relationship and fall out rather than the relationship itself. While it’s an interesting approach, our review says ultimately, the “director’s reflection on early amour and its long-lasting power is much too distant, taking out the enchantment without analyzing deep enough to make up for it.” RT: 50%
The phenomenal Brenda Blethyn stars in “London River” as a mother searching for her daughter in the wake of 2005’s terrorist attacks in London, co-starring the late Sotigui Kouyaté in his last performance as a father searching for his son. The film by Rachid Bouchareb foregrounds the emotional in his take on a terrorism film, and our review says, “it’s the complex emotional core of the film and Blethyn’s solid performance that make ‘London River’ worth dipping your toes into.”RT: 88% MC: 66