‘Law Abiding Citizen’ Duels With ‘Where The Wild Things Are’ And ‘The Stepfather’ In This Week’s Box Office Poll

After last Friday’s “cheese stands alone” release of “Couples Retreat,” we’re back this Friday with a range of options for moviegoers of all shapes and sizes. The big one of course is director Spike Jonze’ adaptation of “Where the Wild Things Are.” I can’t really say that it’s a kids movie, but anyone who holds their childhood memories of the book close will feel some strong nostalgia for Jonze’ interpretation. It’s weird and beautiful and oddly aimless; this is as perfect a pairing of director and source as there’s ever been.

Next up is director F. Gary Gray’s thriller “Law Abiding Citizen,” starring Gerard Butler and Jamie Foxx. Butler plays a family man whose life is torn away from him after his wife and kids are murdered. Ten years after the tragic incident, the widow seeks revenge on the assistant district attorney (Foxx) who allowed the killers to go free. All from the confines of a jail cell. Did I mention that Butler’s character is an inventor by trade?

The final brand-new wide release for the week is “The Stepfather.” I think Fandango’s content descriptors do a good job of revealing what you can expect here: “intense sequences of violence, disturbing images, mature thematic material and brief sensuality.” Brief sensuality, so don’t go getting any funny ideas. The movie stars Penn Badgley as a young man returning home from military school. He soon meets the new man in his mother’s life and trust issues flare up. Based on the content descriptors above, those issues are probably merited. So long at the Stepfather doesn’t turn out to be a Russian prostitute, this could be a fun one.

The two big limited release options for the week offer some exciting prospects, and for totally different reasons. My pick, an absolute must-see for people who like to laugh, is “Black Dynamite.” A played-somewhat-straight send-up of the blaxploitation genre (see also: “Shaft,” “Dolemite”), the movie stars Michael Jai White as the titular badass mofo, out for revenge after “The Man” kills his brother. Just go and check out the trailer, see if you can resist.

The other high-profile limited release this week is the ensemble effort, “New York, I Love You,” a sort of spiritual sequel to the 2006 short film anthology, “Paris je t’aime.” The setup is similar in “New York,” though the location has obviously changed. What you get are a series of short films, many of them by noted directors and featured star talents: Shia LaBeouf, Bradley Cooper, Natalie Portman and countless others.