Weekend Movies: Ladies First

Because Thanksgiving shelled out so many big movies, only two weak features open in wide release today. One is a sugary sweet, faith-based Christmas picture. The other is a PG-13 horror flick. Fortunately, Fox Searchlight is also kicking off the platform release of the highly-buzzed Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis bio-pic. Most of us have to wait a few more weeks for it to expand, but at least it’s on the horizon.

In the meantime, the widest release of the weekend is ‘Incarnate‘. Opening on 1,737 screens, the horror movie takes a unique approach to the demonic possession formula. When a young boy is taken over by a demon, his mother (Carice van Houten of ‘Game of Thrones’) hires a New Age, tech-based exorcist (Aaron Eckhart) to save her child. Instead of using religious rites or divine powers, he uses ‘Inception’- and ‘Matrix’-esque technology to hack into the world of the overpowered mind, kick out the tyranny and free the trapped soul. Considering that it was directed by the man who gave us ‘San Andreas’, the cast and concept make this sound like a terrible flop. However, the trailers look pretty awesome. Produced by Jason Blum on an undisclosed micro-budget, ‘Incarnate’ shouldn’t have to make much at the box office to be a success.

The second wide release comes to us from faith-based distributor Freestyle Releasing. Playing on 600 screens, ‘Believe‘ tells a Christmas tale of Hallmark Channel proportions. In a struggling small town, an equally struggling business owner has to choose whether he should throw his company’s profits into the yearly town Christmas festival or keep it as his own earnings. When he chooses to keep it for himself, the townsfolk get up in arms. If anyone can sway him to change his mind, it’ll be the faithful boy who’s praying for a miracle.

With Natalie Portman and her supporting cast earning Oscar buzz for their performances, ‘Jackie‘ is the big hopeful for the week. Instead of painting the former First Lady in a flawless and holy light, this bio-pic tells the harrowing story following the assassination of her husband, as she tried to cope with moving along. This formerly blacklisted screenplay tells a pretty somber story that allows the actors to shine. While the bulk of it may not be all that riveting, the strength of the final 20 minutes leaves a highly positive resonating feeling. Certain to warrant Oscar nominations, it’s definitely worth checking out.

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