It’s the weekend before Thanksgiving, so as you’re preparing for the feast and practicing your competitive-eating game face, don’t forget that you need breaks for good behavior. Plus, if you eat a giant tub of popcorn, you might manage to stretch your belly as if you were consuming popping peanuts, which will allow you to hold more food than the portions you were planning on holding in your cheeks like a hamster. This week, get some humanity with “The Blind Side,” learn that we’re all aliens to someone in “Planet 51,” get your teen wolf heartthrob quota met with “The Twilight Saga: New Moon,” and learn about Latin love with “Broken Embraces.”
The Movie: “The Blind Side”
The Trailer: Based on Michael Lewis’ best-selling nonfiction book, The Tuohys, a prosperous Memphis family helmed by a sassy do-gooder (Sandra Bullock) and her passive husband (Tim McGraw) charitably take in a homeless teenager named Michael Oher (Quinton Aaron) on Thanksgiving Eve when they find him wandering the streets with no destination in mind. The couple sees goodness in Oher and takes him in for keeps, helping him to improve his grades and to try out for football, which proves the perfect outlet for his massive frame.
The Hitch: The movie has already sparked rumors that Bullock’s performance is Oscar-worthy and, hopefully, a feel-good movie will spark some good-will towards fellow men that the recent horror and post-apocalyptic fare has been lacking. It will also be a good heart-warming Thanksgiving-time film to remind us that we’re lucky for every little gift we’ve been given.
The Movie: “Planet 51″
The Trailer: An astronaut (Dwayne Johnson) lands on a new planet and just as he’s pushing the American flag into the soil, he looks up and realizes he’s surrounded by an alien world not unlike earth but swarming with green people who are terrified of him. The big joke is that the aliens are normal, and it’s the astronaut who is really an alien. As one alien (Justin Long) tries to hide the not-so-inconspicuous man, the other aliens live in fear and angrily try to capture him.
The Hitch: It seems like a new animated movie comes out every weekend, but I’m glad that this one at least has a built-in punchline and has hopefully helped defuse some of the fear generated from “District 9″-type aliens, which were kind but misunderstood. And it’s important to remember our boundaries as humans and Americans. Perhaps “Planet 51″ is a lesson about stereotypes and perception, because as much as a lot of Americans think they’re from the best place on earth, when you land in a new county/planet, you’re just a stinky foreigner to the natives.
The Movie: “The Twilight Saga: New Moon”
The Trailer: After Bella (Kristen Stewart) gets a paper cut at her 18th birthday celebration, the Cullen family is torn apart battling for her blood, or in Edward’s (Robert Pattinson) case, the desire to keep her blood intact. Edward leaves Bella in Forks, Washington, knowing that it’s too dangerous for them to see each other and that if Bella were to become a vampire, it would ruin her soul. In his absence, Bella becomes an adrenaline junkie; motorcycling sans helmet and nearly killing herself cliff-diving. Fortunately, her childhood friend Jacob (Taylor Lautner) gets a haircut and is there to save her. Meanwhile, Edward hears Bella might be dead and goes to Italy to ask the Volturi vampire royalty to let him die and Bella goes to stop him. Cue the vampire battles.
The Hitch: Now that the Harry Potter fanatics have died down and the Twihards (do I really have to call them that?) are ruling the box office, it’s important to either order tickets in advance or take your place in the ranks of people who just don’t get what the fuss is about. Of course, if you’re not into the vampires, broody teenage love, and dramatic things happening in the rain, at least in this round there is man candy!
The Movie: “Broken Embraces”
The Trailer: A Spanish film noir about aspiring actress Lena (Penélope Cruz) who grows close to a blind filmmaker named Mateo (Lluís Homar), whom she totally worships and once loved her in return — which is not dissimilar to the actress’s real-life bond with writer/director Pedro Almodóvar. Exploring the genre of film-making itself, the movie centers around Lena as a muse; she was the mistress of a possessive tycoon who forced his son to spy on her by documenting the filmmaker and actress’s growing mutual admiration.
The Hitch: After winning a slew of awards at festivals, this Spanish-subtitled film has been released so we can once again be reminded of how much prettier Penelope Cruz is than everyone else. But the most interesting plot point in this movie might be how her relationship to the director mirrors the one portrayed on film. The actress says of her director, ”When I met Pedro, I was even more obsessed with him than Lena is with Mateo.” Sounds like the tension might be worth the price of admission.