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Weekend Movies: Home and Away

After a three-week cinematic drought, this weekend finally delivers some new movies (well, at least one) that just might be worth watching. The promising second Stephen King adaptation of the year is finally here, as is a romantic dramedy from Nancy Meyers’ daughter and a new September 11 drama starring Charlie Sheen.

The biggest of the week’s newcomers is ‘It‘, an R-rated horror film hitting more than 4,000 screens. There’s so much hype going into this remake that it’s expected to crush September box office records with a $60+ million debut. The nostalgia factor isn’t the only draw, though. From the director of ‘Mama‘ – who certainly knows how to make a scary movie look good even if the story stinks – and co-written by Cary Fukunaga (of the first season of ‘True Detective‘), ‘It’ has a filmmaking combo that makes it better than the original. Unlike the TV-friendly adaptation with Tim Curry, this version portrays the terrifying horror of King’s novel in the R-rated glory that it deserves. Telling only the teenagers’ part of the story, it deceptively feels like it borrows from classic nostalgia-heavy kids’ movies (such as ‘Super 8‘), when in reality the movies that it feels like wouldn’t exist without ‘It’. Although the picture runs about 20 minutes too long, it’s still a fun and creepy horror flick that’s worlds better than any of the recent releases we’ve seen.

Reese Witherspoon doesn’t appear in many movies these days, but it’s typically nice when she does. This weekend brings her back to the big screen in ‘Home Again‘, the writing/directing debut of Nancy Meyers’ daughter Hallie Meyers-Shyer. In the rom-com, Witherspoon plays a single mother who gets into an awkward predicament when she hooks up with a college-age hunk in a moment of mid-life crisis weakness. Lake Bell and Michael Sheen co-star in this picture that’s oozing bad word of mouth and wasn’t screened for press in most regions.

If you’re going to make a September 11 drama, due to the gravity of the content alone, you better not waste your time on anything other than proven and capable actors. For some reason, the makers of the new film ‘9/11‘ weren’t thinking along those lines. Based on a stage play, adapted by a writer of the ‘Anger Management’ TV series, and directed by a guy who made some terrible movies, ‘9/11’ tells the story of five strangers trapped in a World Trade Center elevator following the plane crashes. The C-list cast includes Charlie Sheen, Whoopi Goldberg, Gina Gershon and Luis Guzmán. It’s playing on 400 screens.

In limited release is the sci-fi murder mystery ‘Rememory‘. Following the invention of a device that extracts and plays back memories, the machine is used to uncover its creator’s murderer. The PG-13 picture stars Peter Dinklage, Julia Ormond and the late great Anton Yelchin. Even if it ends up feeling like a Syfy original, it might be worth seeing just for the opportunity to see Yelchin one last time.

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