A Viewer's Guide to Weekend Movies: Force-Feeding Your Holiday Hangover
The entertainment industry has made it virtually impossible for you not to retreat into the comfort of the movies this weekend.
The entertainment industry has made it virtually impossible for you not to retreat into the comfort of the movies this weekend. Whether it's the aggressive and sexy amorality of The Wolf of Wall Street or a night at home with ghosts and home invaders, you have plenty of options to while away the waning hours of 2013 with. We can help sort them out for you.
The traditional year-end blizzard of movie releases hit on Christmas Day, leaving movie theaters blanketed with the fresh powder of new options for your moviegoing pleasure. Now that you've got the family packed up and send back from whence they came, you're free to enjoy Martin Scorsese's The Wolf of Wall Street in peace. Just you and your closest cheering finance bros.
If you're looking for something … you know, else, you're kind of faced with a mixed bag. The Secret Life of Walter Mitty is admirably ambitious and has its heart in the right place, but it mostly mistakes doing cool-looking stuff for genuine profundity and is also positively groaning under the weight of excessive, distracting product-placement.
What else? If you're into action, there are a few options. Keanu Reeves takes his fascination with martial arts and Asian culture (see: The Matrix) (see also: Little Buddha) to the next level with 47 Ronin, co-starring the guy who played Emily Thorne's revenge sensei on Revenge. Those opting for more traditional fisticuffs could find themselves taking in Stallone and De Niro mustering up the strength to throw a singular punch in Grudge Match.
Then, of course, there's the Justin Bieber movie, which you should probably go see, as it could really use the money.
In Limited Release
The Weinstein Company's curious decision to exempt August: Osage County from the rush of Christmas Day releases—after months of misleading trailers designed to sell it as an outrageous family comedy—sees its payoff when it opens this weekend, in verrrry limited release. New Yorkers can see it at either the Lincoln Square or Union Square multiplexes, while Los Angeles residents can shlep to the AMC Century City 15 or The Landmark. Or they can find guild members who have screeners and watch it at their houses.
Director Ralph Fiennes's The Invisible Woman is only playing three theaters across the nation this weekend, so moviegoers looking for their fix if Charles Dickens biopics, Felicity Jones, or ideally both, should hope they live near New York's Angelika Film Center or Lincoln Plaza Cinemas (and seriously, GOOD LUCK at those two pits of despair), or L.A.'s Laemmle Royal.
Finally, Peter Berg's ode to soldiers, Lone Survivor, is playing in New York at Lincoln Square and in L.A. at the Regal LA LIVE Stadium 14.
Video on Demand
Kind of a wonderful grab-bag if you're looking to pay a bit for your at-home entertainment this week. Joseph Gordon-Levitt's directorial debut Don Jon (iTunes link) wasn't exactly a very good movie, but it has its moments—a fun Scarlett Johansson performance, aping her "marble columns" voice to perfection, plus a legitimately very good Julianne Moore turn that's getting lost in the year-end shuffle—and I wouldn't be un-interested in seeing how JGL follows this one up. He's occasionally up his own ass, but his brand of enthusiasm for making art is the kind of thing that could really spark if something truly interesting inspires him.
I wrote in our year-end roundups that Despicable Me 2 (iTunes link) was one of the year's highest-grossing movies despite no one you actually know having seen it. So you could change that. Be the social-media ambassador of a disrespected blockbuster! Or, you know, sit the kids down in front of it while you go out for dinner.
Finally, in a year that was somewhat light on mainstream horror fare, it's kind of a shame that both You're Next (iTunes link) and Insidious Chapter 2 (iTunes link) opened within three weeks of each other. Which wouldn't seem so weird if they both opened on or around Halloween, but of course they didn't. You can make your New Year's Eve the scariest night of the year by watching them back-to-back, though.
A mixed bag of Netflix offerings this weekend. Indie comedies The Lifeguard and C.O.G. got patchy support earlier this year, but if you're a big fan of Kristen Bell or Jonathan Groff, respectively, feel free. Speaking of Groff, if you're on a real kick for handsome, white, publicly out-of-the-closet leading men, there's always the fourth season of USA's White Collar.
Those in the mood for a TV series of a more classic design can opt for the very first season of The Dick Van Dyke Show. TV the way they used to make it! With ottomans!
Also, you might want to take your opportunity to watch one of these movies due to expire soon.
Movies on TV
HBO's Saturday night premiere movie is Warm Bodies, which actually turned out to be a pretty good movie, despite being the 1000th take on the zombie film (and 300th comedic "reimagining"). This is mostly thanks to the fine performances of underrated young actors Nicholas Hoult and Teresa Palmer. They're surprisingly sweet together, and he's believably awkward despite having played the world's most infuriatingly confident boy on Skins.