There's only one even moderately wide release this week, the action flick 'The Warrior's Way,' but the real action is at the arthouse, where several much-buzzed-about Oscar hopefuls (Natalie Portman! Jim Carrey! Ryan Gosling!) will jockey for your attention.
New and Noteworthy: 'The Warrior's Way'
Starring: Jang Dong-gun, Geoffrey Rush, Kate Bosworth, Danny Huston, Tony Cox
Directed by: Sngmoo Lee
What's It About? In this hybrid Western/martial arts fantasy, Korean actor Jang plays an assassin hiding out in a small town in the Badlands after he refuses an assignment to kill an infant girl.
Why Should You See It? Genre blends can be fun and unpredictable. First-time director Lee gets support from a group of strong vets, including Oscar-winner Rush and frequent movie heavy Huston. The visuals look striking. And it's the only new wide release of the week, not to mention the only new action pic.
You Might Like It If You Like: The old 'Kung Fu' series, 'Shanghai Noon,' 'Ninja Assassin'
•Showtimes & Tickets
•Trailers & Clips
In Limited Release
'Black Swan' is earning tons of buzz for Darren Aronofsky's hallucinatory direction, for Natalie Portman's ultra-intense performance as an unraveling ballerina, and for her steamy tryst with rival dancer Mila Kunis.
Showtimes & Tickets | Independent Spirit Award Nominations | Natalie Portman's Evolution | Exclusive Clip
'I Love You Phillip Morris' is an outrageous comedy/drama that's sparking Oscar talk for Jim Carrey for his cagey performance as a real-life con artist and prison-break expert who falls in love with a sweet-natured fellow jailbird (Ewan McGregor).
Showtimes & Tickets | CInematical Review
'All Good Things' is also based on a true-crime story, and it's prompting Oscar murmurs for both Ryan Gosling (as a New York real estate scion with some bleak secrets) and Kirsten Dunst (as his wife, who grows fearful as her husband's dark side emerges).
Showtimes & Tickets | Exclusive Clip | Exclusive Stills
'Night Catches Us' is a dark-horse awards contender, a drama about forbidden romance and Black Panther politics in 1970s Philadelphia, featuring Kerry Washington and Anthony Mackie ('The Hurt Locker').
Showtimes & Tickets
Still in Theaters, Still Awesome
•'Tangled' - Disney's 3-D Rapunzel toon is a crowd-pleaser that seems to enchant boys and girls of all ages and hair lengths. | Showtimes & Tickets
•;Love and Other Drugs' - If newly crowned Oscars co-host Anne Hathaway walks away from her gig with a trophy, this will be why. | Showtimes & Tickets
•'The King's Speech' - If Colin Firth (and not Hathaway's co-host, James Franco), walks away with a trophy, this will be why. | Showtimes & Tickets
Staying In This Weekend?
New on DVD This Week: Even if you're not a Twihard, 'The Twilight Saga: Eclipse' is surely the best of the series so far, what with all the raging teen hormones, some heart-racing action sequences involving marauding vampires and feral werewolves, and that steamy love triangle involving Kristen Stewart, Rob Pattinson and Taylor Lautner's abs. DVD Available on Sat., Dec. 6. | More new DVD releases | What I Think I Know About 'Twilight': The Making of a Twi-Hard ...? | Chat With a 'Twilight' Virgin As She Watches 'Eclipse' For the First Time
Movie Homework: 'Black Swan' is earning comparisons to such classic ballet movies as 'The Red Shoes' and 'The Turning Point,' but it really owes more to a couple of classic 1960s dramas of psychological breakdown. One is 'Repulsion' (Buy or rent the DVD), Roman Polanski's thriller about a young woman (Catherine Deneuve) driven to extremes by her repressed sexuality and the isolating walls of her apartment. The other is 'Persona' (Buy or rent the DVD), Ingmar Bergman's landmark drama about two women who find their personalities melding. Both are good preparation for watching the intense, surreal, nightmarish journey of 'Black Swan's' high-strung Natalie Portman as she competes and merges with licentious Mila Kunis.
On My Netflix Queue: Hanukkah starts this week, so celebrate the Festival of Lights with a viewing of 'The Hebrew Hammer,' the blaxploitation-style spoof about a Jewish hero (Adam Goldberg) who must save Hanukkah from the schemes of Kris Kringle's evil son (Andy Dick). Hilarious whether you're a latke-eater or not. Buy or rent the DVD
•Follow Gary Susman on Twitter @garysusman.