Box Office

December 11, 2009

The Blind Side

*** ( 3 STARS)

$20

million

$128.8 million

3 weeks

Rated : PG-13

Running time : 2:08

What it's about : A well-to-do white family champions - and loves - an inarticulate black student at an evangelical school: Michael Oher (Quinton Aaron, above).

Our take : Without subtlety but with a lot of heart, the movie tells a real-life tall tale and fleshes out the inspiring idea that a young man from a destructive environment can bloom in a caring one.

The Twilight Saga: New Moon

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

$15.4

million

$255.3 million

3 weeks

Rated : PG-13

Running time : 2:10

What it's about : Bella (Kristen Stewart, above) is drawn into the world of werewolves after the departure of her vampire love.

Our take : Constrained by the plot of the novel, the film keeps the two lovers apart for quite a spell, robbing the project of the crazy-in-love energy that made "Twilight," the first entry in the series, such a guilty pleasure.

Brothers

*** ( 3 STARS)

$9.5

million

$9.5 million

1 week

Rated : R

Running time : 1:50

What it's about : A career-military wife (Natalie Portman) is caught between her feelings for her husband, presumed dead in Afghanistan, and his ex-con brother.

Our take : Tobey Maguire and Jake Gyllenhaal deliver personal bests in this absorbing home-front drama. Directed with punch and purpose by Jim Sheridan.

: A Christmas Carol

* ( 1 STAR)

$7.7

million

$115.2 million

4 weeks

Rated : PG

Running time : 1:36

What it's about : Director Robert Zemeckis re-imagines 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.

Old Dogs

* ( 1 STAR)

$6.8

million

$33.9 million

2 weeks

Rated : PG

Running time : 1:39

What it's about : John Travolta (above) and Robin Williams star as best pals baby-sitting a couple of preteens (the Williams character's progeny) for two weeks.

Our take : Strained doesn't begin to describe this groin-pull of a slapstick outing (with pathos).

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