Weekend Box Office Options for October 31st: 'Zach and Miri,' 'Changeling,' 'RockNRolla,' More (Blog)

Category: RockNRolla News | Posted by: DaisyMay
Article Date: October 31, 2008 | Publication: The Playlist | Author: Seth Valentine
Publication/Article Link:The Playlist

Well, another week behind us and another weekend of film-going ahead. Though it seems unlikely that "High School Musical 3" will abdicate its top spot at the box for any of this week's challengers, there's a few new pictures out there that should definitely appeal to those of us who have already navigated the tricky waters of puberty. So, without further ado, this weekend's openings:

"Changeling," the newest effort from American cinema stalwart Clint Eastwood, opens in wide release this weekend. Critics remain split over its virtues as it currently sits at a lukewarm 53% on Rotten Tomatoes. Star Angelina Jolie has generated a small amount of Oscar buzz voltage, but we felt a little mixed about the whole thing. Regardless of your feelings on Eastwood and his latest Oscar-bait pic, this is a pleasant enough alternative to some of the schlock floating around out there.

"Zach and Miri Make a Porno" finally makes its way to theatres this weekend on the back of a whole heap of ratings "controversy." Helmed by longtime bozo Kevin Smith, this picture seems to eschew his normal tack (i.e. throwing a lot of big words at the page to give the illusion of realistic dialogue and hoping that the audience is confused/nervous enough to laugh) in favor of the Judd Apatow method (zany buddy comedies with equal amounts of heart). It's sophomoric, but it's sweet and innocuous enough not to completely hate on. Using Apatow staple players Seth Rogen, Elizabeth Banks and Craig Robinson, as well as Smith regular Jason Mewes, the movie chronicles the adventures of two longtime roommates as they venture into the world of pornographic filmmaking to help cover their rent. With a solid 64% on Rotten Tomatoes, this should do to tide over fans until Apatow and his followers crank out their next real film.

Guy Ritchie is back this weekend after his past film, Revolver, failed to even get U.S. distribution following the Swept Away disaster. His new picture, "RocknRolla," looks like a more typically Ritchie-an effort, with the story focusing on a Russian mobster and several members of the London underworld scrambling to get their hands on some dirty money. "RocknRolla" stars just about everybody on the planet, including Gerard Butler, Thandie Newton, Tom Wilkinson, Jeremy Piven, and Idris Elba of "The Wire" fame. The picture opens wide this weekend, though it has performed respectably in limited release thus far. Critics are fairly split between calling the film a return to form and a predictable crime drama, though it currently has a not at all discouraging 60% on RT. So, basically, if you liked "Snatch," you'll probably dig this one too.

For the four of you out there who have never seen "Rosemary's Baby," "The Exorcist" and/or "The Omen," this Halloween offers yet another chance to see one of the endless ripoffs of these that are churned out each year at this time. This year's contestant is called "The Haunting of Molly Hartley" and seems to be about a girl whose parents made some sort of ill-advised Satanic pact that causes the dark lord to get the teenager's soul upon her eighteenth birthday. Starring the generic Haley Bennett and Chace Crawford of "Gossip Girl," the movie looks pretty fucking abysmal. Also, the total lack of ratings on Rotten Tomatoes doesn't bode too well. Still, if you're in the market for a scare this weekend, "Molly Hartley" may be a better bet than the unnecessarily gory entry in the Saw series currently festering in theatres.

At the other pole of cinema, this weekend sees the limited opening of the hotly anticipated "Dear Zachary: A Letter to a Son About His Father." A smash hit at this year's Slamdance Festival, "Dear Zachary" is a wrenching emotional meditation on life, love and loss. Following the murder of his best friend Dr. Andrew Bagby, filmmaker Kurt Kuenne set out to make a testament to his departed comrade. Upon discovering that Bagby's murderer and former lover Shirley Turner was carrying the couple's unborn child Zach, Kuenne began to craft a film that would show the young boy the kind of man his father was. Confronting issues ranging from the flaws of the American justice system to mental illness and the bond between humans, "Dear Zachary" is a definite Oscar contender in the ever-engaging Documentary category. With a stunning 100% rating on Tomatoes, this is one not to miss.