This week *At the Movies*, Rolling Stone movie critic Peter Travers is pleased to announce that despite January's reputation as the studios' bad film dumping ground, there's actually — gasp — a pair of good movies entering multiplexes this first weekend of the new decade. The first one is Daybreakers, an unconventional vampire film starring Ethan Hawke and Willem Dafoe, who recently joined Travers for an episode of *Off the Cuff* (come back Friday to check it out!).
In Daybreakers, the year is 2019 and vampires have wiped all but five percent of humans off the face of the Earth. The problem? Not enough blood to go around. Hawke places a scientist working on a blood substitute who also has an ulterior motive: to instead turn the vampires back into humans using his formula. Dafoe is the vampire who helps him along the way and his partner in ass-kicking when the villainous vampires come looking for a fight. The script is funny, the film balls out bloody, and it's a welcome departure from all the chick flick vampire films like New Moon that have crowded the genre.
Also out this week is Youth in Revolt, a R-rated comedy based on C.D. Payne's book and starring twee actor Michael Cera.
Love him or hate him, this is Cera in his best cinematic role as a 16-year-old virgin named Nick Twisp who's surrounded by so much sexual temptation that he creates a French New Wave alter ego named Francois to attract the object of his desire. Adding laughs as Twisp's father and step-father are Steve Buscemi and Zach Galifianakis, plus the direction of Chuck & Buck helmer Miguel Arteta.
Just because there are two good films hitting theaters this weekend doesn't mean there aren't any bad ones, and for the lame ducks Travers introduces a new feature to *At the Movies*: Peter Get Out of Jail Free card. In year's past, Travers would sometimes throw a film in the Scum Bucket based on trailer alone, then see the film just to confirm how worthy of Scum Bucketry it really was. Not in 2010; this time, Travers is giving himself five cards to avoid seeing films he knows will be bad. He's using his first one this weekend on the Amy Adams rom-com Leap Year.