Friday’s Flicks

Tis the season. Another varied selection of strong films hits theaters this week. In fact, I don’t recall another occurrence this year in which we’ve had three A- or better reviews open on the same weekend.

Then there’s Santa Clause 3, the latest attempt to revive Tim Allen’s career/desire to put copious amounts of money into his already robust wallet (he just got married again), and Renaissance, an intriguing take on animated futurist noir.

As usual, studios have saved the best for last — a fall season in which filmgoers are apparently ready for more nuanced fare and a period in which studios believe their prestige films will remain fresh in Academy voters’ minds come Oscar season.

Opening films (click on grade to read review):

Borat: A-

Flushed Away: A

The Queen: A

Renaissance: B+

Santa Clause 3: D-

Flick of the Week: Borat

My picks have generally been close calls in recent weeks. Grade-wise, this week is no different.

That said, I haven’t seen Flushed Away and I didn’t like The Queen or Renaissance as much as those who reviewed them (though both are definitely worthy of your time).

That, of course, leaves Borat, a ribald, corrosively funny film that says more about the “U, S and A” than one would expect. (Read Steven Rosen’s feature here.) I saw it again last night, and again the audience was left howling in the wake of Sacha Baron Cohen immense comedic gifts.

Speaking of Oscar season, if Cohen’s performance isn’t among the best of the year, then someone needs to recalibrate the criteria. Of course, I rarely agree with the Academy’s sections anyway, so his undoubted slight will come as no surprise.

— Jason Gargano

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