Weekend Movie Forecast: <em>This Is It</em> Vs. <em>Boondock Saints II</em>

<p>It was bound to happen: the posthumous money machine from the House of Jackson is upon us. <em>This Is It</em> takes us from April to June 2009, as Jackson prepared for his final concerts at London's O2 Arena. However, what seems to be a blatant attempt to make money of the artist's death (apparently he has made <a href="">$72MM since his death</a>) turns out to be getting great reviews across the board. Elysa Gardner of <em><a href="">USA Today</a></em> believes, "If <em>This Is It</em> doesn't miraculously restore the middle-aged Jackson to his past glory, it at least offers glimpses of his bygone greatness, and poignant suggestions of what might have been." Why do we get the feeling that this is just the beginning?</p>

<p>Ryan Reynolds on a rocket horse. That image pretty much sums up <em>Gentlemen Broncos</em>, the story of a small town boy who's sci-fi manuscript gets ripped off by a famous fantasy writer, which is then adapted into an awful movie. The plot seems to jump around a lot, with the only redeeming element being Jemaine Clement's (from <em>Flight of the Conchords</em>) eccentric author persona. Still, that doesn't do much, and while the too-awkward-to-handle formula may have worked for this team in <em>Napoleon Dynamite</em>, Frank Scheck of <a href="">Hollywood Reporter</a> says this time they have <strong>"little to offer besides unrelenting strangeness."</strong></p>

<p>After years of dwindling anticipation, the sequel to visceral gunfest<em> Boondock Saints </em>continues the saga of the McManus brothers. Hiding in Ireland with their father (played by Billy Connoley), the brothers must return to Boston to avenge the death of an innocent priest. But, as Keith Uhlich of <a href="">TONY</a> points out, the film is all flash without much substance: "Only Billy Connolly, as the boys’ way-of-the-gun pa, brings a smidgen of sobering gravitas to the proceedings, though he can hardly counter the pounding hangover brought on by all the mock-virtuous butchery." Only this time, that butchery is with crazy sidekick Romeo, instead of crazy sidekick Rocco. Oh, how the times change.</p>

<p>This portrait of the life of Valery Gergiev, virtuoso conductor, is a rare look at what it actually takes to be a conductor. Much more than a flamboyant timekeeper, the films tells Gergiev's story, from his birth in Russia to his current success, and shows the talent, training, and demanding schedule required of a conductor, and how Gergiev balances his life and his passion. David Denby of the <a href="">New Yorker</a> claims, "The movie, though conventional in form, brings us close to an elemental ferocity just barely held in check." </p>

<em>Skin</em> is the awfully true story of Sandra Laing, a black girl born to white parents (unaware of their black ancestry) in 1950s South Africa. At the age of ten she is sent to boarding school, and confronted with the country's legalized racism, is reclassified as black and expelled. Through her family's fight for acceptance, Laing learns she may never be accepted by either community. And though the apartheid story has been told before (even recently with <em>District 9</em>), "writer-director Fabian's heartfelt attentions occasionally flirt with melodrama, but those honest, unaffected portrayals--especially Okonedo's thoroughly believable two-decade age span--ultimately keep the picture on the right emotional track," according to Michael Rechtshaffen of <a href=";rid=11746">Hollywood Reporter</a>.

<em>Storm</em> is the story of one woman's search for justice in the Bosnian-Muslim conflict, and her realization that it may never come. Essentially a movie-length courtroom drama, Hannah Maynard is a prosecutor for the Hague who loses her top witness to suicide. But the politics fall flat in the dialogue, as Nicolas Rapold of the <a href="">Village Voice</a> points out: "for something staked on being "dialogue-driven" (until the witness intimidation, walking out of meetings is the movie's violence), the writing by director Hans-Christian Schmid (Requiem) and Bernd Lange is more stilted and righteous than even the U.N. environs, with its humanity-embracing procedural-speak, calls for." Ouch.

<em>Labor Day</em> is a documentary directed by two-time Oscar Nominee, Glenn Silber, that follows the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) during the 2008 Presidential campaign. Despite it's lofty intentions and subject matter, its getting panned pretty hard by everyone. Vadim Rizov of the Village Voice <a href="">says</a>, "I'd call Glenn Silber's Labor Day a well-intentioned but dull, video-ugly documentary if it weren't partly financed by its subject, the Service Employees International Union (SEIU); that just makes it a crappy infomercial."

<p>This weekend at midnight, in honor of Halloween, <a href="">the Film Forum</a> is screening a double feature of <em>Theater of Blood </em>and <em>Scream of Fear.</em></p>

<p>When will these poor co-eds learn that you should never spend the night in a creepy house with people you don't know? In the most predictable horror set-up imaginable, <em>The House of the Devil</em>'s Samantha Hughes accepts a paid offer to stay overnight in a Victorian mansion with a strange old couple during a lunar eclipse. And surprise, she has to fight for her life! Taking place in the 80s, the film serves as more of an homage to the campy horror flicks of the time, and is quite successful in amping up the ridiculousness. Lisa Schwarzbaum of <a href=",,20315858,00.html">Entertainment Weekly</a> says "There's wit but never a wink in this smartly shot production, which pays homage to the 1980s without fetishizing the era." </p>

<p>Everyday this weekend at 3:30 and 8:45 the IFC center <a href="">is showing</a> a double bill of Rolling Stones-related features, 1969's tour feature <em>Get Yer Ya-Ya's Out</em> and Godard's 1968 <em>Sympathy for the Devil. </em></p>

<p>This weekend at midnight the <a href="">Sunshine screens</a> the 1987 <em>Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors.</em></p>

<em>How to Seduce Difficult Women</em>, by first-time director and Grace Kelly's former hairdresser Richard Temtchine, tells the story of a Frenchman who writes a book on seducing American women, and then teaches 10 men his art. The movie "is woefully incompetent and ugly, throwing out multiple threads without resolution, randomly interspersed with man-in-Union-Square documentary commentary of the Mars/Venus kind," according to Vadim Rizov of the <a href="">Village Voice</a>.