Oscar season kicks off with a click of a mouse as David Fincher unveils his latest film "The Social Network" or as most know it "That Facebook Movie." It's a really strong film and is poised to do great business at the box office against a weak group of contenders this weekend. With reviews this strong, the picture could have a long shelf life as we rocket into awards season. Competition this week comes in the form of a couple of horror films. "Let Me In" is the English-language remake of 2008's swedish vampire movie "Let the Right One In." It should easily outdo the buzz-less Renee Zellweger-lead "Case 39" for your multiplex dollars. The art-house is a quiet spot this weekend as well, with a couple of interesting documentaries, "Freakonomics" and "Casino Jack and the United States of Money" looking like your best bets.
In Wide Release: One week after Oliver Stone's attempt to capture the zeitgeist with "Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps," another great filmmaker examines a different dimension of recent American history in "The Social Network." David Fincher's film is, of course, the long awaited Aaron Sorkin-scripted story of the founding of Facebook, centering around Mark Zuckerberg (played by Jesse Eisenberg) who ultimately got most of the credit as well as the cash---to the tune of 6.9 billion dollars. We reviewed the film back at the New York Film Festival, finding it to be thrilling, grand entertainment and a great addition to Fincher's filmography after the relative disappointment of 2008's "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button." RT: Metacritic: 97% Metacritic: 98.
"Let Me In" is the American adaptation of John Lindqvist's novel "Let The Right One In." The films tells the story of an outcast young boy (played by "The Road'" actor Kodi Smit-Mchee) who starts a friendship with a female vampire ("Kick Ass" actor Chloe Moretz) living in secrecy. Director Tomas Alfredson brought the book to the screen with his acclaimed and beloved 2008 Swedish-language versions and fans worldwide were miffed by Hollywood's intent on remaking the material. We reviewed the film when we saw it at Toronto last month and were pleasantly surprised by "Cloverfield" director Matt Reeves' film, which is just as powerful and moving as the original. RT: 82% Metacritic: 78.
The generic looking horror film "Case 39" opens today. Generic-looking isn't always a bad thing when it comes to box office for fright flicks, but considering this one stars Renee Zellweger, who hasn't had a hit in ages, we're surprised this release didn't go straight to DVD. The actress plays a social worker trying to help a 10-year-old girl escape from her evil parents. This one didn't screen early for critics, so consider yourselves warned. RT: 23% Metacritic: n/a.
In Limited Release: There are a couple of interesting releases this week on the documentary front. “Freakonomics" is the omnibus documentary adaptation of the bestselling book from economist Steven D. Levitt and author Stephen J. Dubner. Divided into four mini-stories, the film is directed by Morgan Spurlock ("Super Size Me"), Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady ("Jesus Camp"), Eugene Jarecki ("Why We Fight"), and Alex Gibney ("Taxi to the Dark Side"). We reviewed the film, finding it lacking cohesion and a bit too literal of an adaptation. RT: 52% Metacritic: 54. Gibney also directed this week's "Casino Jack and the United States of Money," a look into the Jack Abramoff scandal. Gibney is suited to the material, given his fantastic film "Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room" a few years back. RT: 89% Metacritic: 68.
Also in limited release, the horror film "Hatchet 2," the sequel to the adequate low-budget slasher flick "Hatchet." We saw the film and didn't find much of anything to like. Especially with "Let Me In" out this week, there's no reason to go out and see this one. RT: 32% Metacritic:49. Patrick Wilson stars in the comedy "Barry Munday," the tale of a man who wakes up to find he's missing his testicles while at the same time facing a paternity suit from a woman he can't remember sleeping with. The cast is strong with supporting players Judy Greer, Cybill Shepard and Chloe Sevigny, but the word hasn't been very strong so far. RT: 25% Metacritic: 29.