From vampires and killer hostels to freaky grandmas and Steven Spielberg, there is something for everyone opening in theaters this weekend. But most notably -- it's the return of Hollywood's classic horror genre.
Arguably the most-anticipated release is director Eli Roth's slasher flick 'Hostel.' Advance buzz has been off the hook for this gut-cringing and eye-scrunching film about two American college buddies who get more than they bargained for while backpacking in Eastern Europe. They check into a cheap hostel looking for sex and drugs and soon discover a horrific scene of violence and gore reminiscent of the grisly horror films of the early '70s.
'Hostel' is reportedly so scary that some people ran out of an advance screening in horror. That reaction could be expected considering Oscar-winner Quentin Tarantino is one of the film's executive producers. If movie-goers flock to 'Hostel' like they did Tarantino's 'Pulp Fiction,' success is guaranteed.
Jay Hernandez ('Friday Night Lights') and Derek Richardson ('Reeker') co-star in the R-rated film which opens in wide release today.
Horror fanatics looking for more blood and guts might also want to check out the gory vampire flick 'BloodRayne.' However, be forewarned: The reviews have not been great. Kristanna Loken ('Mortal Kombat: Conquest') stars as a half-human vampire bent on avenging the rape of her mother. Oscar-winner Sir Ben Kingsley ('Gandhi'), Meatloaf ('Fight Club') and Michelle Rodriguez (TV's 'Lost') co-star in this R-rated film. But, apparently, even their acting chops couldn't save this bloody mess.
One online reviewer summed up 'BloodRayne' as "bloody horrible." Another wrote, "if you want to shell out $10 to see a $25 million dollar student film, this is the time to do it."
We'll have to wait and see which horror film slashes its way to the top of the box office chart.
The weekend competition also includes director Steven Spielberg's latest historical drama 'Munich.' Set in the tragic aftermath of the 1972 Munich Olympics, a secret agent (Eric Bana) is sent to track down the Palestinian terrorists who assassinated 11 Israeli athletes.
Critics are hailing the R-rated thriller as one of the year's best. 'Munich' has already nabbed two Golden Globe award nominations. Oscar-winner Geoffrey Rush ('Shine') and Daniel Craig ('The Jacket') co-star.
For comedy fans who are just looking to sit back and laugh out loud, 'Grandma's Boy' is just what the laugh doctor ordered. Hollywood's new golden girls Doris Roberts ('Everybody Loves Raymond'), Shirley Jones ('The Partridge Family') and Shirley Knight ('Dutchman') co-star as three grannies who have an accidental run-in with some special green 'tea.' Hilarity ensues as the golden trio gets jiggy with a group of young freaks. With Adam Sandler ('The Water Boy') on board as executive producer, you know it has to be funny. This raunchy comedy is rated R.
Oscar buzz continues to swirl around the gay cowboy drama 'Brokeback Mountain.' Director Ang Lee's ode to male bonding has lassoed a truckload of awards and nominations so far, but many moviegoers have not been able to see it. It has played in fewer than 500 theaters. That is, until now. The R-rated film expands to more cities worldwide today.
Also opening to wider audiences is the buddy action comedy 'The Matador.' The R-rated film stars Pierce Brosnan ('Die Another Day') as a lonely hitman who strikes up an unexpected friendship with a traveling salesman (Greg Kinnear) at a Mexico City bar. Brosnan is getting good reviews for this comedic turn away from his James Bond character.
With the Golden Globes just around the corner, now's the time to catch one of the other critical favorites still in theaters. Worth a second (or third) look this weekend: 'King Kong,' 'The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe,' 'Memoirs of a Geisha,' 'The Producers,' 'Capote,' 'The Squid and The Whale,' 'Transamerica,' and 'Good Night, and Good Luck.'