Friday movie roundup – Nov. 6

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It’s a busy and strange week at the movies, with every new release being somehow weird or unusual. They don’t all succeed, but at least they’re trying something a little different.

The best thing you’ll see is “Precious” (review at Cinematical) which has been garnering Oscar buzz since it premiered at Sundance in January. Based on Sapphire’s novel “Push” (the title was changed to avoid confusion with the other 2009 film called “Push”), it’s a harrowing but ultimately hopeful story about an obese, illiterate Harlem teenager who is pregnant for the second time by her own father. Hilarity ensues.

No, there’s no hilarity. But there are some terrific performances and a genuinely touching and uplifting story. Right now it’s only playing in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, and Atlanta, but it will expand over the next several weeks.

In wide release, your best bet is “The Men Who Stare at Goats,” a funny but insubstantial film, based on a true story, about the U.S. Army’s attempts to harness psychic powers to create super-soldiers. Ewan McGregor, George Clooney, Jeff Bridges, and Kevin Spacey star. I suppose you COULD go wrong with a cast like that, but you’d have to try pretty hard.

Then there’s “The Fourth Kind” (review at Film.com), which claims to be 100 percent true (yeah, right), complete with actual videotape footage shown alongside the reenactments. It’s about alien abductions in Alaska. Milla Jovovich plays a psychologist, and she’s much hotter than the “real” psychologist she’s playing, who looks thin and pale and isn’t real.

For some reason, someone made a joyless 3-D cartoon out of “A Christmas Carol” (review at Cinematical).

“The Box,” based on a “Twilight Zone” story, wasn’t screened until last night, which usually happens because they don’t want reviews appearing first thing Friday morning along with the reviews of other films. I’ll go ahead and oblige them. Review to come.

In limited release are a couple of horrific films: “Antichrist,” which is an art-house version of “Saw,” basically; and “The House of the Devil” (review at Cinematical), a slow-moving but ultimately very satisfying and creepy 1980s-style flick about a babysitter in a spooky house.

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