The coming Friday is an odd one as far as the box office goes. In an unusual twist, only one new movie is officially opening wide this week: the Peter Billingsley-directed comedy “Couples Retreat,” starring an ensemble that includes Vince Vaughn, Jason Bateman, Malin Akerman, Kristen Bell, Jon Favreau, Kristin Davis, Faizon Love and plenty more. The story follows four couples who go off on a tropical vacation for fun, sun and couples therapy.
As far as brand new wide releases go, “Couples Retreat” is it. Those who don’t live in one of the major release markets may also see “More Than a Game,” “The Boys Are Back” and the unconventional ghost story “Paranormal Activity” arrive, as all three are opening wider. I caught “Paranormal” last week and very much enjoyed it; fans of “The Blair Witch Project” will definitely appreciate the gradual building of suspense and verite-style filmmaking.
Major market residents have much more to look forward, with a lot of limited releases — many of which are downright solid — coming on Friday. “Bronson” is my personal pick. Directed by Nicolas Winding Refn and starring Tom Hardy, the movie follows the life of UK criminal Charles Bronson, who has done time in more than 120 different rehabilitation facilities. There’s also “An Education,” a Sundance fave written by Nick Hornby that’s been getting a lot of Oscar buzz. Joining those two are “The Damned United,” “Good Hair,” “Free Style” and “From Mexico With Love.”