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Holiday Weekend Movie Forecast: <em>Burlesque</em> Vs.<em> Tangled</em>

<em>Burlesque</em> stars Christina Aguilera stars as a small-town girl from Iowa who quits her thankless job as a waitress and heads to a LA, where she gets a job as a cocktail waitress at the "majestic" burlesque lounge. You'll never guess what happens next! But <a href="http://www.avclub.com/articles/burlesque,48190/">The Onion's Nathin Rabin says</a> you shouldn't let the movie's predictability stop you from savoring it. "<em>Burlesque</em> is a terrible film that will delight nearly everyone who sees it, whether they’re 12-year-old Christina Aguilera fans or bad-movie buffs angling for a guilty pleasure," writes Rabin. "<em>Burlesque </em>delivers exactly what it promises, and then some: It’s a glittering neon valentine to divadom so exquisitely, unapologetically gay that Alan Cumming’s homage to Joel Grey in Cabaret actually constitutes one of its butcher elements."


<p>Anne Hathaway and Jake Gyllenhaal star in <em>Love and Other Drugs</em>, about "an alluring free spirit" (Hathaway) who "won't let anyone or anything tie her down." But she meets her match in Jamie (Gyllenhaal), whose "relentless and nearly infallible charm serve him well with the ladies and in the cutthroat world of pharmaceutical sales." Along the way to their discovery of the ultimate "drug" (hint: Huey Lewis sang the praises of its power) there's apparently a lot of naked Hathaway and Gyllenhaal. Still not dissuaded? Let Eric Hynes at the Village Voice bring the hammer down.</p><p></p>"From a jaunty Spin Doctors-scored opening to a teary, Regina Spektor-cued finale, <em>Love &amp; Other Drugs</em> will switch to any style, station, or frequency to keep you entertained. Or at least not bored. (Maybe awake?) The most egregious four-quadrant pander-party of the year, Ed Zwick’s latest middlebrow atrocity has been so carefully market-tested—crudeness counteracts romance, slapstick leavens disease-of-the-week melodrama—that <strong>it needn’t even be seen, just administered directly into the bloody mainstream."</strong>


<p>Disney may have another future Broadway musical on its hands with its Rapunzel update, <em>Tangled</em>. Rapunzel, voiced by Mandy Moore, has been snatched away as an infant from her royal parents and kept in a tower for years by Mother Gothel (Broadway veteran Donna Murphy). However, she gets a taste of freedom when she, yes, lets her hair down to thief-on-the-run Flynn Rider (Chuck's Zachary Levi) who becomes her guide to the outside. </p><p>The <a href="http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/news/la-et-et-tangled-20101124,0,3295301.story">LA Times' Kenneth Turan writes</a>, "Busy as it is, 'Tangled' also finds time to include enough action and adventure sequences, including wild chases, hairbreadth escapes and an enormous flood, to allow even the fussiest small boys to feel it's worth their time. It takes a bit of doing, but when 'Tangled's' core sweetness asserts itself and the film dares to wear its heart on its sleeve in a climactic scene featuring 46,000 paper lanterns, it's been worth the wait." He adds, "As envisioned by Disney hair technicians Xinmin Zhao and Kelly Ward (who devoted 10 years of her life and a PhD thesis to pondering how to computer animate hair), [Rapunzel's] mane is quite the force of nature, 70 feet long and capable of many things, including tying people up and batting them down."</p>



<p>Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson stars in <em>Faster</em>, which has him playing a man bent on avenging his brother's death. Billy Bob Thornton <strike>collects a paycheck</strike> plays a drug-addicted cop and that's about it. The San Francisco Chronicle's Mick LaSalle <a href="http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2010/11/23/MV3H1GGAVQ.DTL">gives career advice</a>, "The Rock didn't start calling himself by his actual name, Dwayne Johnson, so he could make garbage like 'Faster.' This film is a comedown and indicates something is going very wrong in either Johnson's opportunities or his choices. In either case, he'd be better off cutting his overhead, taking a one-bedroom apartment somewhere and waiting for a director to take him seriously before allowing himself ever again to get treated like an ambulatory hunk of meat, as he is in this movie."</p>


<p>The Czech film <em>Kawasaki's Roses</em> looks at the parallel deceits of an adulterous documentary filmmaker and his father-in-law, a psychiatrist being lauded for his dissent during the Communist regime. The <a href="http://www.villagevoice.com/2010-11-24/film/betrayals-of-the-heart-and-everything-else-in-kawasaki-s-rose/">Village Voice's Nick Schager calls it " a film that recognizes life as a tumultuous mess of both noble and base intensions and actions, as well as one that understands the thorny tragedies such chaos often leaves in its wake." </a></p>


<p><em>Nutcracker 3D</em> is not a filmed version of a Balanchine version of the ballet. Elle Fanning plays Mary and goes down the Christmas rabbit hole with Uncle Albert (as in Einstein). Entertainment Weekly's Lisa Schwarzbaum <a href="http://www.ew.com/ew/article/0,,20444630,00.html">thinks there's an unintended audience for the film</a>, "We're in the darkest Terry Gilliam-ish territory here, spiked with imagery from Holocaust nightmares and drug trips. Attention, university film clubs: Here's your cult-ready midnight-movie programming... Added camp: A goth/Hitler-like Rat King with mother issues (John Turturro) sings an anthem to evil that will scare cultists as well as kids silly."</p>



<p>The <a href="http://reruntheater.com/">reRun Gastropub Theater</a> is showing <em>Open Five</em>, Kentucker Audley's film about the lives of four young people (rocker, blogger, actress, indie filmmaker). The <a href="http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/movies/2010/10/open-five.html">New Yorker's Richard Brody thinks</a> it's a progression of the mumblecore aesthetic, "“Open Five” is a loamy, bittersweet ramble through the emotional and practical tangles of its young artists’ lives, as well as through the inner and outer life of Memphis itself, with its vigorous musical scene and its gospel churches and Graceland itself. It’s only sixty-three minutes long, and it could well have been longer, since its characters have plenty to say about their lives and their dreams; as it is, the film is cut to the contours of their actions and decisions."</p>


<p>New York City's favorite red tailed hawk <a href="http://gothamist.com/tags/palemale">Pale Male</a> gets his own documentary in <em>The Legend of Pale Male</em>. The NY Times' <a href="http://movies.nytimes.com/2010/11/24/movies/24legend.html?ref=movies">Jeannette Catsoulis says</a> it's a "sugary, aggressively anthropomorphized story of one avian interloper and a whole bunch of human obsessives," but Variety's Ronnie Schieb admires the photography, "Lilien's camera captures the majestic bird circling Central Park, dramatically swooping down and grabbing a hapless squirrel or driving off flocks of territorial crows, cheered on by growing ranks of admirers."</p>


<em>Undertow</em>, written and directed by Javier Fuentes-León, takes place in a Peruvian fishing village, with father-to-be Miguel struggling with his true feelings—he's having an affair with man. The Guardian's <a href="http://www.guardian.co.uk/film/2010/aug/05/undertow-review">Steve Rose writes</a>, "Brokeback Mountain meets Ghost gets you halfway there, but this is a measured, delicate film, set in a vividly evoked landscape. The conclusion might be too lachrymose and melodramatic for most tastes, but if you only see one gay Peruvian fisherman ghost story this year …"


<p>The blighted Queens neighborhood WIllet's Point gets a narrative film with the same name in a drama about a couple with personal and financial problems amid the blue-collar backdrop. The Village Voice's<a href="http://www.villagevoice.com/2010-11-24/film/willets-point-queens-has-issues/"> Michelle Orange says</a> of <em>Willet's Point</em>, "First-time writer/director T.J. Collins strains to strike a balance between issue film and character piece, mistaking slacky interludes for style... Eventually, Collins veers into PSA territory, and, instead of ending, the film simply trails off."</p>


<p>Japanese director Yasujiro Ozu's <em>Tokyo Story</em> is considered one of the greatest films ever made, and you can see it at the <a href="http://www.ifccenter.com/films/tokyo-story/">IFC Center starting tomorrow</a>. The film follows an elderly couple who leave their village to visit their children and grandchildren in Tokyo, and the visit doesn't go well. Then they return and death arrives. <a href="http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20031109/REVIEWS08/311090301/1023">Roger Ebert wrote</a>, "'Tokyo Story' (1953) lacks sentimental triggers and contrived emotion; it looks away from moments a lesser movie would have exploited. It doesn't want to force our emotions, but to share its understanding. It does this so well that I am near tears in the last 30 minutes. It ennobles the cinema. It says, yes, a movie can help us make small steps against our imperfections."</p>


<p>This weekend, the Museum of Modern Art begins a <a href="http://www.moma.org/visit/calendar/films/1084">retrospective of actress Lillian Gish</a>, whose films included D.W. Griffith's <em>Orphans of the Storm</em> (1922) and the dark masterpiece <em>The Night of the Hunter</em> (1955). Pauline Kael wrote of Gish's performance in the 1926 adaptation of <em>The Scarlet Letter</em> (MoMA will be screening Gish's personal print), "Her Hester Prynne is one of the beautifully sustained performances in screen history—mercurial, delicate, passionate."</p>