Friday, December 4, 2009

Adult family dramas take center stage with 'Brothers,' 'Everybody's Fine'

By Sarah Sluis

Despite all the new offerings this weekend, New Moon and The Blind Side are expected to hold the top spots. But that doesn't mean the rest of the films won't fight for their spots as we head into the competitive holiday season.

Brothers natalie portman Brothers (2,088 theatres), a love triangle with a wartime focus, is poised to capture a younger version of The Blind Side's audience. It's showing strong interest among young females under 25 that idolize stars Natalie Portman, Jake Gyllenhaal and Tobey Maguire. The war angle may help draw in their male companions, just as The Blind Side shared its tale of compassion with a male-friendly sports angle.

Everybody's Fine (2,133 theatres) is a quiet Everybodys fine barrymore de niro film that needs to make some noise. However, with its distributor, Miramax, crumbling back into Disney, and a Robert DeNiro considerably calmer than his gruff Meet the Parents persona, this movie is Most Likely to Get Lost in a Crowd. Still, this movie presents its offerings quite well, despite being "dramatically a bit thin," according to Executive Editor Kevin Lally.

Up in the Air won Best Picture from the National Board of Review yesterday, an auspicious way to start its run in ten theatres. George Clooney plays a jet-setting corporate downsizer (he fires other people's employees for a living) but Up in the air clooney somehow director Jason Reitman manages to make this plotline fit into our current recession economy. Not since Jerry Maguire waved to his ex while on a moving walkway has the mix of blas glamour and isolation in airport travel been captured so well.

Rounding out the week's releases are the standard action and horror offerings. Armored (1,915 theatres) is about the ultimate inside job: the drivers of armored trucks helping themselves to the stacks of money in cargo. Transylmania (1,005 theatres) is a horror spoof that should appeal to a younger crowd. Unlike the more gruesome Hostel, this movie is about a group of students spending a semester abroad who discover their university is infested with vampires.

On Monday, we'll check back to see if Up in the Air's box office is as winning as its Best Picture award, if Everybody's Fine was able to raise itself above a whisper, and if Brothers can stand up to The Blind Side.

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