Nicole Kidman and Dianne Wiest in Rabbit Hole

Except for the limited open of Nicole Kidman’s Rabbit Hole (**** 1/2), which is excellent, it’s a pretty tepid weekend for movies. Luckily for most of you, Black Swan (****) is making a major expansion from around 90 screens to over 950. Also of note, Mark Wahlberg and Christian Bale are going wide in The Fighter (** 1/2). Whether I like it or not, it’s a part of the awards conversation so you’re going to want to see it if you want to be in the know.

If you don’t see anything you like among the new releases, there are plenty of holdovers worth tracking down so check out LiC’s Now Playing page complete with links to trailers, showtimes and reviews.

  • Rabbit Hole (**** 1/2). The story of two parents (Nicole Kidman and Aaron Eckhart) coping with the death of their 4-year-old son could potentially be crushing, depressing melodrama but John Cameron Mitchell’s adaptation of the Pulitzer Prize-winning play Rabbit Hole is handled with a truth and sensitivity that will be familiar to anyone who has suffered a great loss. On top of that, director Mitchell wisely emphasizes a certain irreverence to the handling of grief, almost a gallows humor at times, that humanizes the characters and eases the pall of despair that would otherwise threaten to suffocate the entire film. Kidman and Eckhart are terrific as the flawed couple who are nevertheless relatable and sympathetic. Dianne Wiest as always is wonderful as Kidman’s mother. Rabbit Hole is the rare drama that satisfies without exploiting the trauma at its core. It’s also one of my favorite movies of 2010.  (Review) (Limited)
  • Casino Jack (**). The late George Hickenlooper’s story of super-lobbyist Jack Abramoff starring Kevin Spacey comes on like a breezy satire but it lacks either subtlety or humor. Spacey gives an energetic performance, but he’s playing Spacey and not Abramoff. Lacking in entertainment value, you’d hope at least that it was illuminating, but you’re better off watching Alex Gibney’s documentary Casino Jack and the United States of Money (***). (Review) (NY, LA)

  • TRON: Legacy. I hadn’t spent a single minute of the 25+ years since the original TRON stiffed at the box office in 1982 wishing that they’d make a sequel. When it was announced to the surprise of just about everyone, I instantly recalled the soundtrack and the hours lost playing the assorted video games on Intellivision and it seemed like an ok idea. The trailers looked flashy and Jeff Bridges was in it so why not? Well, I’m back to not thinking about it very much again. This time Jeff Bridges’ son (Garrett Hedlund) goes inside the computer to find his long-missing father. (Wide)
  • How Do You Know. I don’t know. I just know. Maybe it’s the tasteful-but-flaccid heads-in-boxes poster or the classy-but-laugh-free trailer featuring the earnestly-upbeat-but-forgettable love song. Maybe it’s because a romantic comedy without a lot of special effects or globetrotting locations shouldn’t cost $120 million. Maybe it’s because I haven’t really liked a James L. Brooks movie in over 20 years. I don’t know, but I know I don’t need to see this one. Likable Reese Witherspoon and likable Paul Rudd likably find each other at the lowest moments of their likable lives. Owen Wilson and Jack Nicholson co-star. (Wide)
  • Yogi Bear. Warning: Family movies can be dangerous. To avoid danger of suffocation or choking, keep this movie away from anyone whose brain has finished forming. (Wide)
  • Alien Girl. This Russian gangster pic set in the Czech Republic and the Ukraine in the 1990s tells the story of a woman who is kidnapped because her gangster brother is about to cut a deal with the police. (NY, LA)
  • And Soon the Darkness. This remake of the 1970 British thriller substitutes Argentina for Paris, but the story of two pretty girls traveling abroad who run into a serial killer remains the same. Amber Heard, Odette Yustman and Karl Urban star.

7 Responses to “Weekend Forecast: Rabbit Hole goes limited, Black Swan goes wide”

  1. With Takemitsu now completed (the only other composer even featured in a retrospective at the Film Forum in their history was Ennio Morricone in 2007) I will focus this coming week on some catch up work.

    I have a Saturday night screening all set up at the Landmark of RABBIT HOLE, the film your praise so effusively here. I must say your four-and-a-half-star review is the prime motivating factor here.

    I also will be seeing THE FIGHTER later today with my brood, and do have tentative plans to see BLACK SWAN a second time, and I do need to see INSIDE JOB as well.

    The Film Forum is now featuring a one-week run of a restored print of Bertolucci’s THE CONFORMIST.

  2. Rabbit Hole might not grab you in the same way it did me, but I don’t think you’ll dislike it. Look forward to hearing what you thought either way.

    Interesting that you’re going to take another bite out of Black Swan. I’m surprised!

  3. Watching Tron tomorrow xD I had avoided most cliips or trailers, but they were playing on CNN last night – young Jeff Bridges looks TERRIBLE! If you’re gonna choose someone to smooth skin over to make them look young, don’t pick such wrinkly actors xD it even looked weird on Patrick Stewart, and his skin is so tight. LOL

    But I’m st ill watching it. xD

    Everyone’s watched Black Swan but us xD Anyone knows why it is so difficult to sell a film starring Natalie Portman? We need better distributor CEOs that pick the films.

  4. Maybe they figure Black Swan won’t play well overseas? Or maybe they’re waiting for some Oscar attention before rolling it out? Who knows?

    Ugh, Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellan looked horrible. I’ve only seen the quick clip of Bridges in the trailer, but I’ve heard it’s really bad.

  5. Craig, I won’t have peace with myself unless I give it another go-round and very soon at that. I have seen the writing on the wall, and I want to make sure my reaction wasn’t tempered by mood, oversight or misconception. Your own praise has for one figured into this decision.

    That said I’m sure Darren Aronofsky won’t lose sleep wondering if “Sam Juliano” will reassess his film! Ha!

  6. It’s true a lot of folks think highly of it, but even its biggest fans have to be able to see how split the reaction is and how some might find it unappealing.

    It would not surprise me if you held your opinion, though it would be nice if you warmed up to it.

    Let me know how it goes.

  7. That said I’m sure Darren Aronofsky won’t lose sleep wondering if “Sam Juliano” will reassess his film!

    I read on another blog — mind you, it’s as yet unconfirmed — that Mr. Aronofsky has ordered a screener to the Juliano home by courier.

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