PERRY'S LATEST MADEA FILM TOPS BOX OFFICE

All by itself, Tyler Perry's I Can Do Bad All by Myself, did well at the box office over the weekend. Nothing else did. Perry's film took in an estimated $24 million. It did well despite the fact that a DVD based on Perry's stage version has been available for some time. Its nearest competitor was Focus Features' animated movie 9, with $10.9 million. Since its opening on Wednesday (9/9/09), the movie, which cost a reported $25 million to produce, has earned $15.3 million. Two other new films flopped. Summit Entertainment's Sorority Row took in just $5.3 million, while Warner Bros./Dark Castle's Whiteout washed out with just $5.1 million. Meanwhile, Quentin Tarantino's Inglourious Basterds continued its impressive run as it placed third with $6.5 million and crossed the $100-million mark. It has grossed $104.3 million through its fourth weekend. Fox's All About Steve dropped 48 percent in its second weekend to $5.8 million, placing fourth, while Warner Bros.' The Final Destination placed fifth in its third weekend with $5.5 million.

The top ten films for the weekend, according to studio estimates compiled by Media by Numbers:

1. Tyler Perry's I Can Do Bad All By Myself, $24.03 million; 2. 9, $10.9 million; 3. Inglourious Basterds, $6.5 million; 4. All About Steve, $5.8 million; 5. The Final Destination, $5.5 million; 6. Sorority Row, $5.3 million; 7. Whiteout, $5.1 million; 8. District 9, $3.6 million; 9. Julie & Julia, $3.3 million; 10. Gamer, $3.15 million.

MOVIE REVIEWS: I CAN DO BAD ALL BY MYSELF

Tyler Perry's I Can Do Bad All by Myself, like other Tyler Perry movies, was not screened for critics in advance. Their reviews, which appeared over the weekend, weren't as bad as the studio must have expected them to be, however. Neil Genzlinger in the New York Times commented that Perry's Madea character, who returns in All by Myself, "doesn't help the cause of eliminating black stereotypes but, doggone it, can be hilarious." Stephen Cole in the Toronto Globe and Mailsuggested that someone ought to write a doctoral thesis on why black comics like Flip Wilson, Eddie Murphy, Martin Lawrence, and Perry cross-dress and play "sassy, truth-telling grandmothers." Perry, at least, he remarked, "displays a touching sympathy for lost souls and a gift for dispensing healing laughter." And Robert Abele in the Los Angeles Times said that Perry's latest Madea film "glides a little more easily from broad laughs ... to teary anguish and finally sweeping uplift." But Stephen Farber in the Hollywood Reporter damned the film as "an unholy mess" while nevertheless describing it as "alternately stupefying and entertaining."

MOVIE REVIEWS: SORORITY ROW

Sorority Row, another film that was not screened for critics in advance, wound up with the sort of reviews that justified the decision. The Los Angeles Times called up retired second-string critic Kevin Thomas to sit through a showing of the movie. His conclusion: "Sorority Row unleashes an avalanche of kinetically staged chaos but the effect is a glum turnoff." But Roger Moore in the Orlando Sentinel gave the film a left-handed compliment. "It's all cheese," he wrote, "but at least this cheese, for the most part, doesn't stink."

ISRAELI FILM WINS TOP PRIZE AT VENICE

Israeli director Samuel Maoz's autobiographical war film Lebanon won the top Golden Lion Award at the Venice Film Festival on Saturday. The film, shot entirely from inside an Israeli tank and set during the war with Lebanon in 1982, was based on Maoz's own experiences. Coming in second was the Iranian film, Women Without Men, directed by Shirin Neshat, which was set during the 1953 U.S.-backed coup that reinstalled the shah as head of state. Colin Firth was named best actor for his performance as a gay professor mourning the death of his lover, in A Single Man, a film directed by fashion designer Tom Ford. And Russian actress Ksenia Rappaport won the best actress award for La Doppia Ora.

Cinemark Movie Club