‘Harry Potter’ Goes IMAX And Apatow Gets ‘Funny’ In This Week’s Box Office Poll

There’s kind of a crazy number of releases dropping on our heads this week. Even if you put aside the 800 lb gorilla in the room — the arrival of “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince” on IMAX screens — there are still a great many options to choose from.

The biggest of them is probably Judd Apatow’s contribution to summer ’09, “Funny People.” A more serious comedy, “People” follows superstar comic George Simmons (Adam Sandler), who is afflicted with an incurable disease and has less than a year to live. He hires a young up-and-comer named Ira Wright (Seth Rogen) to be his personal assistance/protege, and the two form a close friendship. It’s good to see Apatow branching out a bit from the usual zany comedy. He has a light touch when he wants to; it shines through in “Knocked Up” and I’m excited to see how it plays in “Funny People.”

Also on the platter is this week’s helping of family-friendly CG animation (with Ashley Tisdale!!), “Aliens in the Attic.” To be fair, it’s live action SLASH computer animation. A family arrives at their Michigan vacation home (Michigan? really?) only to find that they’ve got some uninvited house guests in the form of little green men. As is often the case with uninvited extraterrestrials, only one of them is actually friendly to humans. Watch out for shenanigans, as they surely ensue.

If boy wizards, terminal comedians and CG aliens aren’t your thing, there’s always a new helping of gore-nography to get you through the weekend. “The Collector,” written and directed by Marcus Dunstan (writer of “Saw IV,” “Saw V”), turns a run-of-the-mill home break-in into a morality play of “Saw”-like proportions. A burglar learns that the home he’s targeted isn’t actually empty; rather, the family living there are captives of a sadistic sociopath with a love for lethal traps. What’s a luckless burglar to do?

As if all of this isn’t enough, there’s also a veritable smorgasbord of limited releases to choose from. I won’t run through them all, but I will take a moment to highlight two. First up is “Thirst,” from director Park Chan-wook (“Oldboy”). It’s a weird sort of dark rom-com about vampires; gruesome in parts, but equal parts amusing and touching as well. It’s not for everyone, but you Twilighters out there might want to give it a look.

I also want to mention “Adam,” and not just because it’s my name. I caught this one at Sundance in January. I’m not sure what’s changed between then and now, but the basic gist seems to have remained the same. The titular character (Hugh Dancy) is a young man with no family and pretty severe Asperger’s syndrome. “Socially awkward” isn’t even the half of it, but Adam attempts to overcome his shortcomings when he meets Beth (Rose Byrne). Another movie that isn’t for everyone, but it’s a fine alternative to tripe like “The Ugly Truth.”

Also in limited release this week are “The Cove,” “Flame & Citron,” “Lorna’s Silence” and “Note Quite Hollywood: The Wild, Untold Story of Ozploitation.” Which will you be in for?