Winter Movie Guide: December 2011 – Week 2


The Sitter

Written by Brian Gatewood and Alessandro Tanaka

Directed by David Gordon Green

Starring Jonah Hill, Ari Graynor, & Sam Rockwell

“A comedy about a college student on suspension who is coaxed into babysitting the kids next door, though he is fully unprepared for the wild night ahead of him.”

The Sitter was one of the scripts that gained notoriety through its placement on the Black List that is compiled at the end of every year by agents and managers.  With my interest piqued, I read the script, only to be put to sleep.  It’s like every babysitting-gone-wrong movie before it (Don’t Tell Mom the Babysitter is Dead, Adventures in Babysitting, Uncle Buck), but with a kitchen-sink approach meant to grab whatever laughs it can.

The general idea recently has become that whatever dreck you put Jonah Hill in, he will make funny.  On that approach, the best they could do is give him an experienced director, and they’ve done that in David Gordon Green (Pineapple Express, Eastbound and Down).  However, I’m not sure that even he can save the lame script.  The trailers are nearly as groan inducing as the words on the page, and especially the kid parts feel more forced than the heavy-handed nature in which they were written.

My expectations aren’t high, but with little competition in the demographic, this one should easily be able to bring its budget back around and keep Green and Hill employed for the foreseeable future.  The Sitter opens wide this Friday from 20th Century Fox.

Rated R.

New Year’s Eve

Written by Katherine Fugate

Directed by Garry Marshal

Starring A Ridiculous Ensemble Cast with people you know, but then you hate them for doing this type of movie

“The lives of several couples and singles in New York intertwine over the course of New Year’s Eve.”

From the people who brought you Valentine’s Day, you know what this is.  A movie they shot tiny segments of at different times to accommodate all the many stars they got for this film, and so they don’t have to pay any of them for more than a few days.  A series of vignettes make up the film’s runtime, and unless you just love intertwining stories, this one is mostly going into chick flick territory.

Anyone walking into this will know exactly what it is, and if you don’t, well, you obviously didn’t pay attention to any of the advertising.  New Year’s Eve opens wide this Friday from New Line Cinema.

Rated PG-13.


“Soon after her divorce, a fiction writer returns to her home in small-town Minnesota, looking to rekindle a romance with her ex-boyfriend, who is now married with kids.”

Young Adult

Written by Diablo Cody

Directed by Jason Reitman

Starring Charlize Theron, Patton Oswalt, & Patrick Wilson

“Soon after her divorce, a fiction writer returns to her home in small-town Minnesota, looking to rekindle a romance with her ex-boyfriend, who is now married with kids.”

The combo of writer Diablo Cody (Juno, Jennifer’s Body) and director Jason Reitman (Up in the Air, Thank You For Smoking) are back at it again, this time with the film Young Adult.  Charlize Theron plays a writer of young adult fiction who attempts to move back to her hometown and live in the past.  Jaded with her life, she doesn’t know where else to go but back to a place she remembers as good.

I was a fan of Juno, and despite its flaws, I even enjoyed Jennifer’s Body.  I think even Diablo Cody learned that Jason Reitman is the best person to bring her work to the screen, so that’s a good thing.  However, the subject matter here doesn’t seem as fun as their past works, but at the same time I don’t know if the darker elements are explored enough in the film to matter.

Check out Jeremy’s review right here.

Rated R.

We Need To Talk About Kevin

Based on the novel by Lionel Shriver

Written by Lynne Ramsay & Rory Kinnear

Directed by Lynne Ramsay

Starring Tilda Swinton, John C. Reilly, & Ezra Miller

“The mother of a teenage boy who went on a high-school killing spree tries to deal with her grief – and feelings of responsibility for her child’s actions.”

Much-talked about after Cannes, We Need to Talk About Kevin is supposed to be a dark, intense film.  At the same time, people see John C. Reilly and they think it’s going to be a comedic film.  The title doesn’t help with that either, but from what I’ve heard, there isn’t much funny about We Need to Talk About Kevin, but it did garner good reviews all around, and was quickly snatched up for distribution.

So far, this one will only be playing arthouse theaters and the chains that cater to the limited releases, but look for high per-screen averages to expand it beyond the few cities it opens in on Friday from Oscilloscope Pictures.

Rated R.  


Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy

Based on the book by John Le Carre

Written by Peter Straughan & Bridget O’Connor

Directed by Tomas Alfredson

Starring Colin Firth, Tom Hardy, & Gary Oldman

“In the bleak days of the Cold War, espionage veteran George Smiley is forced from semi-retirement to uncover a Soviet agent within MI6’s echelons.”

In yet another star-making role for the young Tom Hardy, we have the adaptation of the popular book by John Le Carre, from Swedish filmmaker Tomas Alfredson (Let the Right One In), a man who knows what makes a successful adaptation of a book.  Joined by a stellar cast all around (Oldman, Firth, and Hinds) this cold-war spy thriller has had some problems in the marketing.

That’s why it will be in limited release just in time for awards season, although early word on the project says the parts don’t equal an impressive sum.  Which is too bad, but this film still holds enough interest that I’ll be checking it out as soon as I get the opportunity, if it expands beyond the four screens it hits this weekend, which I think it will on Oldman’s name alone.

Releases Friday from Focus Features.

Rated R.


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