Which variety of claustrophobic terror do you prefer: being trapped in a college dorm room with a psycho roomie, or being trapped in a flooding, unexplored cave? Those are your wide-release movie choices this weekend.
'The Roommate' (PG-13)
Starring: Leighton Meester, Minka Kelly, Cam Gigandet, Alyson Michalka, Danneel Harris
Directed by: Christian E. Christiansen
What's It About? To college student Kelly, freshman Meester seems like the perfect dormmate, until she turns all stalker-y and obsessive. And you thought midterms were scary.
Why Should You See It? Because you're a gal who's not into football and this is Super Bowl weekend? Because you want to see 'Gossip Girl' princess Meester unleash the crazy? Because everyone in college has had at least one roommate who was nutso?
You Might Like It If You Like: 'Gossip Girl,' 'Obsessed,' 'Swimfan'
Worst Movie Roommates: 10 Characters We'd Never Want to Live With
Watch a Scene From the Movie and Mr. Moviefone's Six Second Review
Starring: Richard Roxburgh, Rhys Wakefield, Ioan Gruffudd, Alice Parkinson, Daniel Wyllie
Directed by: Alister Grierson
What's It About? In this adventure chiller, loosely based on a true story, a cave-in traps a team of undersea spelunkers in an unexplored cavern. With supplies dwindling and water rising, the only way out may be further into the uncharted tunnels.
Why Should You See It? If there's one filmmaker who knows both underwater thrills and state of the art 3-D spectacle, it's the guy who produced this movie. His name is James Cameron.
You Might Like It If You Like: 'The Abyss,' 'The Descent,' '127 Hours'
Watch the Trailer for 'Sanctum'
'The Other Woman,' which will be Natalie Portman's third movie in current release, is a drama in which she's a regretful homewrecker whose marriage to a man (Scott Cohen) she seduced away from his wife (Lisa Kudrow) doesn't turn out like she planned. Showtimes & Tickets | Watch the Trailer
'Waiting for Forever' is a romantic drama about a juggler ('Pirate Radio's' Tom Sturridge) who's never gotten a real job because he's still pining for his childhood sweetheart (Rachel Bilson). Showtimes & Tickets | Watch the Trailer
•'The Mechanic' -- Look at all the guns in the poster. As if there's a weapon out there that's more lethal than Jason Statham's scowl. Showtimes & Tickets | Watch the Trailer
•'The Rite' -- If you see just one movie this year with a demonically possessed donkey ... Showtimes & Tickets | Watch the Trailer
•'127 Hours' -- Right now, multitasker James Franco is probably defending his doctoral dissertation at Yale, rehearsing for the Oscars and curing cancer. The least you could do is go see his movie, now that it's enjoying a wide release in the wake of its nomination for a Best Picture Oscar. Showtimes & Tickets | Watch the Trailer
New on DVD: The 2008 Swedish vampire drama 'Let the Right One In' has such a devoted cult following that, when the American remake was announced, many fans' fangs were bared. Fortunately, 'Let Me In' didn't turn out to be the travesty fans feared. In fact, this English-language version of the somber, dreamy tale, about a bullied schoolboy ('The Road's' Kodi Smit-McPhee) who befriends a bloodsucking little girl (Chloe "Hit-Girl" Moretz), is a pretty faithful tribute to the original. Which begs the question of why bother remaking it when the original is still fresh in fans' memories. If subtitles aren't your thing, however, you should check this version out. Buy or rent the DVD | More new DVD releases
Movie Homework: If 'The Roommate's' premise sounds familiar, that's because it's a pretty direct rewrite of 1992's 'Single White Female,' only with the characters made younger (and the sex and violence made tamer, in order to get a PG-13 rating). In fact, 'The Roommate' seems to owe a debt to a lot of thrillers from 20 years ago, a whole subgenre that you could call the "... From Hell" movies. In this case, Bridget Fonda learns too late that Jennifer Jason Leigh is the Roommate From Hell, bent on swiping her hairdo, her clothes and her man. It's one of the more grimly effective entries in the genre, thanks largely to the talents of the actresses and director Barbet Schroeder. Check it out and see if you think 'The Roommate's' junior varsity players Leighton Meester and Minka Kelly measure up. Buy or rent the DVD
On Our Netflix Queue: Look at the two movies that are frontrunners for Best Picture Oscars this year: There's 'The Social Network,' a movie that takes place largely in the conference room of a law office, and 'The King's Speech,' set in a speech therapist's drab office. What happened to the larger-than-life epics that used to dominate the Academy Awards? Pondering that question inspired us to revisit 1975's 'The Man Who Would Be King,' John Huston's rousing adventure, starring Sean Connery and Michael Caine as Victorian-era con men whose biggest scheme, setting themselves up as rulers in a remote part of Afghanistan, is so successful that they start to believe their own hype. For all their hubris and folly, their aspirations have a grandeur that's perversely admirable. So does Huston's filmmaking, which earned the picture four Oscar nominations. Except for James Cameron, which of today's directors dare to dream as big? Buy or rent the DVD.
On TV: It's probably pretty futile to run anything other than a test pattern opposite the Super Bowl, but some channels are offering chick flicks in the hope that there are viewers who will want a testosterone-free alternative to the big game. Best bet is probably 'The Holiday' (TBS, Sunday, 5:15PM), in which Londoner Kate Winslet and Angeleno Cameron Diaz swap houses over Christmas vacation and meet charming new boyfriends. Diaz gets the better end of the deal (her new man is Jude Law, while Winslet settles for Jack Black), but both get to ooh and aah at each other's exquisite taste in household furnishings. In other words, like most of director Nancy Meyers' movies, this one is really more about shopping than about sex. (So is TBS' follow-up, 'Pretty Woman.') Check your local listings
•Follow Gary Susman on Twitter @garysusman.