Rocky Balboa: Rock-Y! Rock-Y! Sylvester Stallone returns as the Italian Stallion, and if you thought he was too old to fight, my friends, you are mistaken. The man's in decent shape for 60 years old, even if the sight of all those veins popping off his chest gave me nightmares for a week. While there isn't much to the storyline -- Rocky comes out of retirement to fight the current heavyweight champ -- it's got the usual thrilling climactic bout, and it's nice to see Burt Young as Paulie again, though Talia Shire's Adrian has fallen victim to the cancer known as Asking for Too Much Money. In terms of franchise, 'Rocky Balboa' is better than 'Rocky V,' but not as good as I-IV. Prediction? The old boy's got some life in him yet.
Night at the Museum: Ben Stiller plays a security guard working the graveyard shift at the natural history museum. He's new on the job, you see, so when the exhibits come to life, he's not sure whether it's just a joke they play on all the newbies -- like, that enraged Roman gladiator coming for his head is actually just Joe, the janitor. Anyway, 'Museum' has a ton of things going for it: It's the only comedy opening wide this weekend, it's the only family movie opening wide this week, and it'll be showing on a whopping 3,685 screens. And, of course, it stars Stiller and perennial yukkster Robin Williams (as Teddy Roosevelt, natch). Christmas falls on a Monday, too late to make the weekend box office returns, but families with kids are going to have a whole lot of time on their hands this weekend. Nothing says Christmas weekend like a dinosaur on the loose.
We Are Marshall: I'm a sucker for sports movies. They don't even have to be any good for me to buy every emotional hook, line and sinker. So it works out nicely that 'We Are Marshall' is actually a pretty good sports movie, and the fact that it's based on a true story makes it even more resonant. Matthew McConaughey is his charismatic self as Jack Lengyel, who coaches the Marshall football team after its players and coaches are killed in a plane crash, and Matthew Fox, fresh off his 'Lost' success (though he'll always be Charlie from 'Party of Five' to me) is an assistant coach who sticks around, despite his grief, to help. Remember last week, when 'Pursuit of Happyness' got the top spot and I said people like to cry around Christmas? Let's keep that in mind. Of course, everyone in the mood for a good sob might head to 'Happyness' instead. So much crying, so little time.
The Good Shepherd: Not to be confused with 'The Good German' -- that one's about Nazis, this one's about the CIA -- the 'Good Shepherd' stars Matt Damon and Angelina Jolie, as a CIA founder and his wife, and was helmed by Robert De Niro in only his second directorial effort. It's a serious adult film somewhat along the lines of 'The Departed' (which also, coincidentally enough, stars Damon and Alec Baldwin), albeit not quite as bloody or intense; and reviews have mostly been decent, with some Oscar talk for the film and its actors. It may be a little heavy for this holiday weekend, though, and at 2 hours and 40 minutes, you'd have to have a LOT more Angelina Jolie in there to get big crowds to come out for it.
That's all I've got for you today, my peeps. I was going to move the prediction deadline up to Saturday at noon, but since I'm posting this so late, we'll stick with Saturday at midnight -- but do stick to it, or I'll have to sic a T-Rex skeleton on you. And another tip: If you're an alumnus from our old blog platform, please be sure to post as your old screen name, so that we know who you are. Makes the math much easier.
And with that, I wish you all a merry Christmas, happy Chanukah, cool Kwanzaa, festive Festivus and all those other great holidays. Don't eat too much. Oh, go ahead and eat too much.
1. Night at the Museum
2. Rocky Balboa
3. The Pursuit of Happyness
5. We Are Marshall
POST: What's your weekend top five prediction?
POST: What do you think of these movies?
Night at the Museum: Showtimes, tix & more | Exclusive clips | Photos
Rocky Balboa: Showtimes, tix & more | Exclusive clip | Photos
We Are Marshall: Showtimes, tix & more | McConaughey & Fox Unscripted | Photos
The Good Shepherd: Showtimes, tix & more | Exclusive clip | Photos