The Oscar season begins in earnest this weekend. But will the moviegoers bite?


THE MEN WHO STARE AT GOATS
The Story: George Clooney and Jeff Bridges star. Based on the true story of a US Army psychic ops unit.
The Pitch: Dr. Strangelove meets Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas
Who It's For: Comedy with a social message type people.
Cause for Hope: Clooney and Bridges are seldom unfun to watch. Interesting, obscure story.
Cause for Concern: Comedy looks very heavy on the broad and zany.
Defamer Enthusio-Meter: 6


PRECIOUS
The Story: An abused, overweight illiterate Harlem teen dreams of stardom.
The Pitch: The Color Purple meets Welcome to the Dollhours
Who It's For: Anyone who wants their head bashed in by unrelenting horrifying tale of impoverished desperation.
Cause for Hope: Early Oscar front-runner drew ecstatic raves on the festival trail.
Cause for Concern: Endorsement of Executive Producer Oprah does not bode well for any hopes of subtlety.
Defamer Enthusio-Meter:8

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A CHRISTMAS CAROL
The Story: Jim Carrey is Ebenezer Scrooge in the animated 3D retelling of the Dickens classic.
The Pitch: Shrek meets Pride and Prejudice
Who It's For: Families, or those families who can afford to take the whole family out and pay the premium 3D ticket prices.
Cause for Hope: Computer animation looks undeniably cool.
Cause for Concern: These CGI-fests have a habit of celebrating the technology over the story that grows very old 40 minutes in.
Defamer Enthusio-Meter: 5


THE FOURTH KIND
The Story: A town with an extraordinary number of alien abduction reports is investigated.
The Pitch: The X-Files meets Paranormal Activity
Who It's For: Extremely committed nerds.
Cause for Hope: I could see a movie about alien abduction read the phone book.
Cause for Concern: The scares seem to come from people sitting up in bed and screaming.
Defamer Enthusio-Meter: 3


THE BOX
The Story: A couple finds themselves with an ethical dilemma when a box arrives telling them if they push its button, they will get one million dollars, but a stranger will die.
The Pitch: Momento meets 88 Minutes
Who It's For: Edgy people.
Cause for Hope: The director of Donnie Darko still has a tiny bit left in his much diminished good will fund.
Cause for Concern: Looks very very much. As in taking itself much too seriously.
Defamer Enthusio-Meter: 5