Playing for Keeps (PG-13)
Starring Gerard Butler, Jessica Biel, Dennis Quaid
Written by Robbie Fox
Directed by Gabriele Muccino
For some reason, the first weekend of December tends to be when studios clear out their leftovers. This is Fox’s chance to dump this romantic comedy featuring Gerard Butler (who keeps getting cast in these movies despite being ill-suited for them) as a single dad who starts coaching his son’s soccer team, then finds himself the object of desire of the soccer moms while he tries to patch things up with his ex-wife.
Lay the Favorite (R)
Starring Bruce Willis, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Rebecca Hall
Written for the screen by D.V. DeVincentis
Directed by Stephen Frears
You know a movie has to be bad when it’s opening at the dollar theater. This is even more disappointing considering the writer and director are responsible for one of my all-time favorite movies High Fidelity. Looks like you can lay this Vegas-set romantic comedy in the garbage.
PLAYING AT CINEMARK PLANO AND CINEMARK LEWISVILLE (Discount Theaters)
The only other movies opening this week are documentaries, so let’s briefly look at each one.
The Flat (NR)
Directed by Arnon Goldfinger
This doc follows the director cleaning out the home of his grandparents, who left Germany during WWII. He might not like what he finds.
PLAYING EXCLUSIVELY AT THE MAGNOLIA
Chasing Ice (PG-13)
Directed by Jeff Orlowski
The Academy recently shortlisted this as one of 15 docs that could be nominated for Best Documentary Feature. It’s about NatGeo photo James Balog’s attempts to chronicle the world’s rapidly shrinking glaciers.
PLAYING EXCLUSIVELY AT CINEMARK WEST PLANO
Brooklyn Castle (PG)
Directed by Katie Dellamaggiore
More in the vein of Mad Hot Ballroom (meaning it’s likely to hold your interest) comes this family-friendly doc about a champion chess team from a struggling Brooklyn middle school. PLAYING EXCLUSIVELY AT CINEMARK WEST PLANO
This year’s 3-D re-release kept the debate raging: What’s the best Pixar movie? I think seeing it in 3-D and now on Blu-ray for the first time tilts the favor to this ocean-bound fish tale. It features two of the best voice performances of all time and a script that hits exactly the right balance between laughs and heart. Plus, it’s one of the most gorgeous things your eyes will ever behold. I don’t want to throw around the word perfect, but this movie’s pretty close.
To rent (click the link to watch on Netflix):
• Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry (97%)
• Alps (75%)
• Beasts of the Southern Wild* (86%)
• Butter (35%)
• The Dark Knight Rises* (87%)
• Hope Springs (73%)
• Last Ounce of Courage (0%)
• The Odd Life of Timothy Green (39%)
• Silent Night (57%)
• Thunderstruck (20%)
• VHS (51%)
• Wild Horse, Wild Ride (93%)
Music: Blur: Parklive
TV: Angry Boys (Complete Series), Eastbound & Down (Season 3), The Game (Season 5), My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic (Season 1), The Simpsons (Season 15)*, Titanic: Blood & Steel, World Without End
Blu-ray: Blue Angel, Catch Me if You Can*, Comic Book Confidential, eXistenZ*, Santa Claus Conquers the Martians, Suddenly
Criterion: Purple Noon, Brazil [Blu-ray]
(Release dates and locations subject to change.)