The Lovely Bones
Plot: Centers on a young girl (Saoirse Ronan from Atonement) who has been murdered and watches over her family - and her killer - from heaven. She must weigh her desire for vengeance against her desire for her family to heal.
Pre-View Opinion: There's been a lot of talk about this film since sci-fi geek Peter Jackson is directing and the book itself is a bestseller. Not to mention, the odd casting of Mark Wahlberg in the role of grieving father. It seems ever since critics showered him with applause for his loose-tongue role in The Departed, other directors have gone the Scorsese route and taken a chance on a guy who rarely gets any respect for his acting skills. I guess as he's gotten older, he's less prone to signing up for whatever explosion-filled, 20-minute dialogue film they throw at him. So for those points alone, I was interested in seeing the trailer.
Post-View Opinion: Um, I didn't read the book, but my friends did and they see several discrepancies. For one thing, this is a dramatic thriller, and the book is just a sob-fest. It looks like moviegoers are going to get some closure at the end of this film, when Wahblerg hunts down his daughter's killer (Stanley Tucci) through the fields after his living daughter uncovers who murdered her sister. I admit, it makes the plot more interesting and less depressing, but it might piss purists off too much to garner any box office appreciation. Then again, it is Peter Jackson.
Release Date: December 11
The Boys are Back
Plot: A sports writer (Clive Owen) becomes a single parent in tragic circumstances, and has to figure out how to raise his youngest boy and the teenage son he once abandoned.
Pre-View Opinion: I'm accustomed to seeing Owen running from things and shooting at them (Sin City, Inside Man, Children of Men, and Shoot 'Em Up), so when I read he was playing a dad, I didn't really know what to think.
Post-View Opinion: It makes perfect sense that if a dad can't control a situation, he just gives up. But after Owen's character adopts the philosophy to "just say yes," you can't help but start to smile as you see him allow his son to canonball into the bathtub, death-grip the windshield wiper as he speeds down the road, and even drive the car while sitting in his lap. This a coming-of-age tale for three people, not just one. The dad has to learn how to rely on himself, while making amends with his rebellious son and not making the same mistakes with his youngest.
Release Date: September 25 (limited)