— “The Book of Eli” (rated R), a post-apocalyptic thriller starring Denzel Washington.
— “The Horse Boy” (not rated), a documentary feature about the parents of an autistic boy. With English subtitles.
— “The Lovely Bones” (rated PG-13), Peter Jackson’s adaptation of the well-regarded, best-selling Alice Sebold novel.
— “A Single Man” (rated R), a gay-themed drama starring Colin Firth as a professor in mourning.
— “The Spy Next Door” (rated PG), an action-comedy starring Jackie Chan as a retired spy.
Poster art courtesy DreamWorks/Paramount
Both “The Lovely Bones” and “A Single Man” already opened in major markets, but are arriving this weekend.
Unfortunately, each is disappointing, and for similar reasons. The films seem more interested in visuals and imagery than in telling compelling stories. Saoirse Ronan and Stanley Tucci are good in “Lovely Bones,” but it’s too aloof and detached. Likewise for “Single Man,” which only has Firth’s performance in its favor.
Poster art courtesy Warner Bros.
Of course, the rest of the week is not that much better. The idiotic “Spy” makes Chan play second fiddle to bratty youngsters, while “Book of Eli” lacks needed humor and warmth, and falls apart in the second half.
The week’s best film is “The Horse Boy.” While the post-credits sequence is a shameless advertisement for a foundation established by the film’s subjects, the story itself is an interesting one — a couple went to Tibet for an orthodox treatment of their son’s condition.
Which, if any, of these movies fit into your weekend viewing plans?