Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Thanksgiving Movie Glut

Fans of sparkly vampires and George Clooney had a field day this past weekend book-ending the top ten box office chart with boffo numbers. But for me, I'm all about this upcoming Thanksgiving weekend where there are no less than seven films being released that I'm interested in watching. I'm pretty sure that's a personal record, but I'd have to do way more research than I have time for to actually confirm that. Still, being interested in seven films coming out at the same time is quite insane, but that's what it has come down to this year.

Of course, it's not that surprising I suppose since studios do love to take advantage of the holiday to not only release their family films, but also those Oscar hopefuls they still have in the pipeline. And those two categories pretty much sum up the seven films I'm dying to see.

The Family Films

At the moment of writing this entry, The Muppets, Arthur Christmas, and Hugo are averaging a 95.6% rating on Rotten Tomatoes and while all three will probably hurt one another this weekend by cannibalizing the audience, all three should play well and long during the upcoming holiday season. Certainly The Muppets will be the highest-grossing new film this week by virtue of the ridiculously massive ad campaign and exposure it has had for the past few months. From their parody posters and commercials to adorable interviews to even an Oscar-hosting viral campaign, it's been a Muppets world and we've all just been living in it. It's also the film with the broadest demographic appealing not only to kids who wants to see Kermit and company, but to older folks as well who'd see the film for nostalgia sake.

That is not to say that Arthur Christmas and Hugo don't have broad appeal or have had substantial marketing campaigns as well. The first is targeting families with younger kids, and I've seen this film advertised in movie theaters since May and not just in front of kiddie films. Plus families will eat this up and as the only overt Christmas flick of the bunch, it should do great through the yuletide season. I'm much more curious how Hugo will fare. It's definitely a family film, but it is also randomly directed by Martin Scorsese. Film buffs, Oscar lovers, and Scorsese enthusiasts are all madly in love with this film already from the looks of recent reactions to some of its early screenings. The question is will the general audience find it and love it as well? Some are even saying it might be an Oscar favorite. Speaking of...

The Oscar Films

While those three films will probably duke it out in the box office alongside those sparkly vampires and shirtless werewolves, these next few films are targeting a more niche audience. Like the family films above, they are all highly rated by critics (so far) and also have big Oscar hopes. My most anticipated film in the bunch is My Week with Marilyn with Michelle Williams playing the iconic blonde bombshell. The stupendous cast and the frothy trailer makes me happy and she's getting real heat for her third Best Actress nomination.

Then there's the Cannes-winning film The Artist which is literally winning audiences (awards) everywhere it plays. Its lead Jean Dujardin is almost a lock for a Best Actor nomination, and the film itself looks to dominate awards season en route to a likely Best Picture nomination. Not too shabby for a black-and-white, silent, French film huh? The other two films are A Dangerous Method and Rampart. The first film teams this year's breakthrough actor Michael Fassbender with Viggo Mortensen and Keira Knightley in a story about Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung. The latter stars Woody Harrelson as a dirty cop. All of the actors I just mentioned are getting varying amounts of Oscar buzz.

Jean, Michael, and Woody

So the question is, which films will I actually end up seeing this weekend? The safest bet will be The Muppets (all my friends want to see it) and My Week with Marilyn (I really want to see it). If I can't fit in another film this busy weekend, I'll try my best to catch up on The Artist and Hugo as soon as I am able. I'll probably wait to see the rest when they come out on DVD or if they are still around, during the doldrums that is January. How about you?

All films are coming out tomorrow, Nov. 23, except for The Artist which comes out on Friday, Nov. 25. However, all of the specialty films (The Artist, My Week with Marilyn, Rampart, and A Dangerous Method) will only be in very limited theaters.

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