Hope Springs

Welcome back to This Week In Discs! As always, if you see something you like, click on the image to buy it. Silent Night It’s Christmas time in a small town, but instead of holiday cheer the streets are filled with blood. A masked Santa Claus is roaming town, finding those who’ve been naughty and ending their lives in violent and often gory ways. Steven C. Miller‘s remake of the nasty 80s original keeps the violence and mayhem but adds both personality and humor with the result being a fun slasher that vastly improves on Silent Night, Deadly Night. Jaime King brings charm and some serious heroine chops to the proceedings, and she’s joined by Malcolm McDowell, Donal Logue and Ellen Wong. That’s right, the most underrated player in Scott Pilgrim finally got another job! Horror fans will be pleased with and surprised by this early Christmas present, so if you’ve missed its (very brief) theatrical window it’s definitely worth picking up on Blu-ray/DVD.[Extras: Behind the scenes, deleted scenes]

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Jeremy Renner in The Bourne Legacy

Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight Rises was king of the hill for three weeks, but this weekend found it at the bottom of an inescapable prison. By “inescapable prison,” I mean in 3rd place with another $19.5m and a cumulative $835m worldwide gross, so no one is eating soup and cabbage at Warners or anything. The Campaign – featuring Will Ferrell and Zach Galifianakis punching babies for votes – took 2nd with an opening draw of $27.4m domestic. The unsurprising winner, however, was The Bourne Legacy which scored $40.2m here in the States and a worldwide total of $48m. That’s a better opening than The Bourne Identity but it’s a bit behind the two other franchise entries. Again, not surprising. In slightly smaller releases, the Meryl Streep/Tommy Lee Jones marriage drama Hope Springs came in 4th place with 1,000 or so fewer theaters, taking $15.6m. Travis Pastrana’s stunt-fueled Nitro Circus: The Movie 3D took $1.1m from 800 theaters for a debut at 13th place, but in super limited releases, Julie Delpy’s follow-up 2 Days in New York brought in $27,000 on only 2 screens, beating the per screen average of every other movie this week. A close second on that front? The US release of Max and the Junkmen (Max et les Ferrailleurs) which earned $13,000 off just one screen at the Elinor Bunin Monroe Film Center, only 41 years after its original release abroad. [Box Office Mojo]

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It’s quite convenient that David Frankel’s Hope Springs kicked its original title – Great Hope Springs – because such a tiny edit saves the film from a rash of mocking spins on its name. Just Okay Hope Springs. Totally Adequate Hope Springs. Hey, Not So Bad Hope Springs. The film, which centers on the crumbling marriage of Kay (Meryl Streep) and Arnold (Tommy Lee Jones) and their apparent last ditch effort to save it by way of an intensive relationship workshop with therapist Dr. Feld (Steve Carell), is perfectly acceptable stuff, but it’s by no means “great” and it’s not nearly as frank, honest, and mature as it would like to be. Instead, it’s a gentle enough take on the romantic comedy for the older set that struggles to find its tone and aim, before settling into something that’s strangely pleasing and oddly compelling. Hope Springs is both a rare bird (how often do we see mature studio films that examine faltering marriages and place importance on the value of lovemaking?) and a strange duck (how many films about faltering marriages encourage a first act of chuckles and titters before dropping the emotional boom, and repeatedly?).

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