So, Robert Pattinson turns into Hal Holbrook, but before he does, Reese Witherspoon must choose between him and a ringmaster/animal trainer played by Christoph Waltz and, I guess, an elephant. Since, as per Brad Brevet, Waltz is a nasty paranoid schizophrenic here, I guess I’d have to recommend the elephant.
But, seriously, even though the dialogue in this trailer sounds pretty trite, this might turn out to be a pretty cool old-fashioned romantic melodrama. I don’t know anything about the novel this is based on by Sara Gruen, but scripter Richard LaGravenese has written some superb screenplays, particularly his own hugely underrated “Living Out Loud,” which he directed, and “The Fisher King” with Terry Gilliam. The director is Francis Lawrence of “I Am Legend.”
Yes, it’s a real mishmash this weekend at the box office and I’ve got less time than usual — but let’s just see how it goes.
Anyhow, the clear winner over the next few days will almost certainly be yet another version of Charles Dicken’s constantly remade and revisited holiday perennial, this time from Disney, “A Christmas Carol.” Jim Carrey stars as Scrooge, who won’t hurt at the box office and Robert Zemeckis, in his “Polar Express” mode, is at the helm. Personally, while I found the earlier motion-capture movie a fun visceral thrill ride in Imax 3-D, despite a story that was the very definition of treacle, I personally find this style of animation extremely ugly; it’s as if it’s always stuck in the armpit of the Uncanny Valley. Moreover critics, including our own David Medsker, complain that Zemeckis gets carried away with the effects and makes things a bit too visceral and scary for the film’s own good. Still, if it worked even for Mr. Magoo, there’s no reason to think it won’t work well enough for some fiscal redemption. THR‘s Carl DiOrio, whose nearly as jolly as an way-too-early St. Nick, is guessing it’ll grab about $40 million in premature yuletide cheer. A split decision by critics is, I suppose, neither here nor there.
After that, we have four films that will be duking it out with two extant strong releases, Michael Jackson’s ghostly final bow, “This Is It,” which may benefit from better than expected word of mouth and, of course, the horrifyingly profitable “Paranormal Activity.” Intriguingly, all these new major releases have a slightly spooky and/or “paranormal” spin and trying to guess which will do best is probably about as wise as playing with a Ouija board at a demon-infested San Diego townhome.