Box Office

November 13, 2009

A Christmas Carol

* ( 1 STAR)

$30

million

$30 million

1 week

Rated : PG

Running time : 1:36

What it's about : Director Robert Zemeckis reimagines the Dickens classic as a 3-D action-thriller zooming through Victorian London.

Our take : By the time the film finishes piling its many shiny presents with their many bells and whistles under the tree, there's no room left for tears for Tiny Tim. Bah humbug, indeed.

Michael Jackson's This Is It

*** ( 3 STARS)

$13.1

million

$57 million

2 weeks

Rated : PG

Running time : 1:52

What it's about : Produced with the full, watchful approval of the Jackson estate, this flattering assemblage of concert rehearsal footage shows what the King of Pop was working on in the month preceding his death at age 50. .

Our take : It's worth seeing for the twisted pop king's riveting, idiosyncratic dance chops.

The Men Who Stare at Goats

*** ( 3 STARS)

$12.7

million

$12.7 million

1 week

Rated : R

Running time : 1:33

What it's about : In the midst of the Iraq War, a veteran of a U.S. military counterculture known as the New Earth Army (George Clooney, above) introduces a reporter (Ewan McGregor) to the exotic tactics of psychic spying and paranormal combat. .

Our take : It's a refreshingly unpredictable and fizzy comic fantasy that tickles the fancy even when it strains credibility.

The Fourth Kind

* ( 1 STAR)

$12.2

million

$12.2 million

1 week

Rated : R

Running time : 1:36

What it's about : A psychologist (Milla Jovovich, above) investigates an extraordinary number of disappearances around a small Alaska town.

Our take : Trying to freak out an audience with a new twist on UFO sightings is admirable, but after the umpteenth time the words "Actual Audio" appear onscreen, one's patience runs out.

Paranormal Activity

** 1/2 ( 2 1/2 STARS)

$8.2

million

$97.1 million

7 weeks

Rated : R

Running time : 1:39

What it's about : The boyfriend of a haunted college student runs his camera at night to find out what's going bump in their house.

Our take : It's a good stunt movie: The audience stays quiet and watchful to catch every flick of an odd breeze or toss of a sheet.

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