Trailer Park: “Precious,” “The Box,” “A Christmas Carol,” “Men Who Stare At Goats”

Thank goodness it’s Friday, because this daylight savings thing has totally killed any motivation to leave the house after 5pm. This will have to change, though, because new movies open this weekend and there are some good ones. If you’re in the mood to be an emotional mess, go see “Precious.” If you have ever wondered if you could take another person’s life in your hands, “The Box” is the movie for you. If you’re not a fan of goats but enjoy handsome men, “Men Staring at Goats” should work. And if you need a hand getting in the holiday spirit, go see “A Christmas Carol.” Your viewing choice is of course up to your discretion, but go see “Precious.” Oprah says so, too.

The Movie:Precious
The Trailer: Claireece Precious Jones (Gabourey Sidibe) escapes into a fantasy land of boas and stardom when her tragic existence gets too rough. Living in Harlem with her abusive mother (Mo’Nique) and twice pregnant by her drug-addicted father, Precious is depressed and hopeless when her school puts her in a class for problem students. Her teachers and welfare agent (Mariah Carey sans glitz) start to figure out why there’s a mess of pain behind her always squinting eyes and help her get the courage to make a new path for herself.
The Hitch: There’s already Oscar talk over Mo’Nique’s first dramatic performance (not to mention Best Picture Oscar buzz), the critics are giving it the highest marks, and we’ve been counting down the days until the release for months. Just go already! Bring a hanky.

The Movie: “The Box”
The Trailer: A struggling schoolteacher (Cameron Diaz) and NASA researcher husband (James Marsden) find their family financially screwed when a box lands on their porch containing a glass-covered button. Then a man who’s missing half his face (Frank Langella) shows up and tells them that if they push the button, someone in the world they don’t know will die but they’ll receive a million dollars (which was a lot in 1976).
The Hitch: Remember how confused you were at the end of your first viewing of”Donnie Darko”? Well, writer/director Richard Kelly seems to be sticking to that theme, but this time the story is inspired by a short story by “Twilight Zone” writer Richard Matheson, so it’s already set in the surreal and spans even wider.

The Movie: “A Christmas Carol”
The Trailer: Jim Carrey stars as Ebenezer Scrooge, the curmudgeon old man who hates friendship. And Christmas. And sharing money. But this time, it’s in Disney 3-D which means it’s terrifying on a whole ‘nother level. You know the story—ghosts of Christmas past, present, and future visit Scrooge, make him realize he’s living a wasted life, and he becomes a joyful character at the end.
The Hitch: There are few phrases so satisfying to say as “bah humbug,” but this movie looks pretty cool. Unlike the “dead eyes” of “The Polar Express,” this movie used more sophisticated technology that can capture retina movement which will be helpful to fully appreciate the eight characters played by Jim Carrey. Director Robert Zemeckis has done some impressive movies (the “Back to the Future” series and “Forrest Gump,” for starters) and even though the technology terrifies me, it should be totally breath-taking in an IMAX.

The Movie: “The Men Who Stare at Goats”
The Trailer: Based on Jon Ronson’s 2005 best-seller, this movie tells the story of a U.S. military unit that tried to find ways to use telepathy as a weapon and have been called back to help with Iraq. George Clooney is on a mission to find the founding father (Jeff Bridges) of the phsychic unit and a reporter (Ewan McGregor) comes along for the ride, which includes some goat staring and fighting against a renegade psychic (Kevin Spacey).
The Hitch: I always want movies with hot men to succeed, especially when they also happen to be talented actors like Clooney, McGregor, Bridges, and Spacey. But I can’t even get past Ewan McGregor’s awkward American accent, let alone the outlandish premise. At the vary least, it looks funny, despite what critics have said—which is not good, for the record. I’m still not sure how making goats fall over will be beneficial in war times, but hopefully they’ll clear that up?