There's one can't-miss film hitting theaters this weekend, and Rolling Stone's Peter Travers can't stop gushing about Precious in this week's At the Movies. Film-festival darling Precious is a near perfect film, with only its clunky subtitle Based on the Novel 'Push' by Sapphire among its flaws. If you can look past that, you'll find a moving film that "lifts you up in ways you don't see coming," Travers said in his three-and-a-half star review. The film is about a 353-pound, HIV-infected, illiterate 16-year-old girl named Precious who cares for her two babies (both fathered by her dad) and lives with her abusive mother.
It sounds harrowing, but Travers insists the film is hopeful, and all but guaranteed Oscar nods for Best Picture and Best Supporting Actress for Mo'Nique's portrayal of the evil mother. The film also boasts two "amazing" performances by a pair of musicians: Mariah Carey completely makes up for Glitter by playing a social worker and Lenny Kravitz plays Nurse John, both of whom come to Precious' aid. Director Lee Daniels started a production company just to take risks and make movies like this, and with Precious, Travers says Daniels has hit the jackpot.
Also out this week is The Men Who Stare at Goats, starring George Clooney and Jeff Bridges in bizarre-Lebowski mode as a team of government agents trained as "psychic warriors." This is supposedly based on a true story. If you're looking to see a fun film, Stare at Goats is the movie for you, as Clooney delivers one of his most hilarious and goofball performances yet, as do Ewan McGregor and Kevin Spacey.
So what should you avoid? Disney's A Christmas Carol. That's right, Disney has assumed authorship of A Christmas Carol, just try and stop 'em, Dickens! Like The Polar Express and Beowulf before it, this film once again explores director Robert Zemeckis' love of CGI, so while the film itself is technically amazing, it again features characters with those dead, animated eyes. In this case, it's a fantastic Jim Carrey performance as Scrooge and the three Ghosts of Christmas Past that suffer from the film's lack of live action. The classic story is also reduced to just chase scenes at points, resulting in a wild sled ride with no humanity or emotion.