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Weekend Movies: Awards Season Is Upon Us!

With only two weekends left before the end of the year and, more importantly, the end of awards eligibility, a tidal wave of great movies are opening this week. Ready to run through this weekend’s huge list?

Three big titles and one indie film hit screens on Wednesday. Surprisingly, the widest of these was the 3D re-release of Pixar’s ‘Monsters, Inc. (in 3D)‘ on 2,618 screens. Right behind it was the Seth Rogen / Barbara Streisand (supposed) comedy ‘The Guilt Trip‘, in which a manipulative mother guilts her son into taking her on a road trip. PG-13 shenanigans ensue.

Sony also released its big guns on Wednesday with the L.A. / NY limited opening on Katheryn Bieglow’s highly anticipated and secretive Osama bin Laden project, ‘Zero Dark Thirty‘ – which just-so-happened to win Best Picture at the Utah Film Critics Association’s (UFCA) annual voting party last night. (Both HDD writer Aaron Peck and I participate in these awards.) If you’re in L.A. or New York, see this film immediately. If not, you’ill have to wait until January.

The little indie title that opened on Wednesday was Sony Pictures Classics’ domestic release of the beautiful French drama ‘Amour‘, which was the runner-up for the UFCA’s Best Non-English Feature award. An older couple hits rocky ground when the wife becomes ill and partially paralyzed. We see the effects that the illness has on both, when her body and his mental health begin to deteriorate. The film is equally beautiful and sad, portraying the deepest level of love.

The widest of this week’s releases opens today. The worlds of ’80s Tom Cruise and current Tom Cruise collide in ‘Jack Reacher‘, a well-rounded rogue military / detective drama. Expect thrilling intensity, fun action and sarcastic humor.

Also opening on Friday is Judd Apatow’s overly indulgent (what else would you expect from the pompous, one-trick pony?) sequel / spin-off to ‘Knocked Up‘, called ‘This is 40‘. I am petitioning that the title of this directionless waste of time be changed to ‘This is 134 … Minutes of Your Life That You Will Never Get Back’. Get ready to see Apatow give his whiny, unlikable wife and annoying, can’t-act, one-note daughters way too much screen time. He also tries to trick the world into thinking that he’s cool and with-the-times, constantly acting like he’s the first guy to discover old shit like ‘Lost‘ (which ended in 2010) and Ryan Adams (who has been around for over a decade now). As always, Apatow has failed to let someone properly edit his movie. It’s long, repetitive (often rehashing the same jokes over and over again) and set in a reality far far away.

An act from the Vegas strip makes its way to the big screen with ‘Cirque du Soleil: Worlds Away‘. The trailer for this acrobatic fantasy couldn’t possibly look any more artsy-fartsy and pretentious.

Two indie awards hopefuls also open today. Summit (Lionsgate) has ‘The Impossible‘, a halfway impressive and halfway contrived “true” tale of a family separated by the 2004 tsunami that killed hundreds of thousands of people in Thailand. The film stars Naomi Watts and Ewan McGregor.

Homewrecker Kristen Stewart offers handies, three-ways and a good amount of nudity in the big screen adaptation of Jack Kerouac’s ‘On the Road‘. Sorry, Stewart, it looks like you wasted your First Time Nudity Card for nothing, because there’s no buzz here.

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