It's a slow one this week, folks. While we've had some interesting releases in the past month like David Fincher's "The Social Network," we're going to be in for a bit of a dry period for prestige pics until Halloween passes. With "Jackass 3D" trampling all over the competition last week, another low-budget sequel looks to clean up at the box-office. "Paranormal Activity 2" opens wide, quickly following up last year's shoestring sleeper original, which grossed nearly $200-million worldwide. Also going wide is "Hereafter," the Clint Eastwood-directed drama that opened in limited release last week. The art-house is also on the slow side this week, with Fredrick Wiseman's documentary "Boxing Gym" leading the small pack.
In Wide Release: Oren Peli's "Paranormal Activity" came out of nowhere last year to scare up some serious dough. While that film had a slow and mysterious rollout with midnight college screenings leading to strong word of mouth, "Paranormal Activity 2" is opening nationwide against little competition. The film is presented as "found footage," as a couple sets up video cameras around their home to capture the evil that haunts them. If you want some cheap thrills, we suppose you could do worse, but for those looking for something a little different than the formula spelled out in the first film will be disappointed. RT: 76% Metacritic: 60.
We covered "Hereafter" a couple weeks back when it got a limited release, but the film gets a nationwide expansion today. Matt Damon stars as a reluctant psychic who finds his life connected to two strangers in far-away countries. We first saw the film at the Toronto Film Festival, finding it intimate and interesting, but ultimately let down by a hackneyed script (check our NYFF review here). RT: 52% Metacritic: 56.
In Limited Release: "Boxing Gym," from observational documentarian Fredrick Wiseman, explores life at a training facility in Austin, TX. The film disregards conventional documentary devices like talking heads and narration to delve into the near hypnotic power of physical routine. We saw the doc in Toronto and found it efficiently engaging, but the familiar atmosphere of the gym stops the film from being truly insightful. RT: 93% Metacritic: 86.
Other films out in limited: The showbiz satire "Punching the Clown" from director Gregori Viens. RT: 86% Metacritic: 60. The drama "The Taqwacores" takes place against the backdrop of on Islamic punk rock scene in Buffalo, NY. RT: 20%. -- Hunter McClamrock