Is The Dark Knight Rises the Greatest Blockbuster Ever?

Grab some popcorn and check out the movies you should see (or avoid) this weekend.

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Tagline: Democracy with a smile.

You have to admire Stephen Gyllenhaal’s Grassroots for having the cojones to come out in the same week as TDKR. But when you consider that the writer/director is the father of Maggie and Jake Gyllenhaal, why should he fear pitting his movie against the biggest blockbuster of the year?

We’re back in 2001, before Christopher Nolan was getting to grips with Batman, in this movie based on Seattle’s city council elections. Grant Cogswell (Joel David Moore) is the guy who took on, and nearly defeated, Richard McIver (Cedric the Entertainer). And what’s most surprising about Cogswell’s surge is that his day job finds him as a somewhat crazy music critic who can be spotted around the city dressed as a polar bear.

The reviews have been mixed. “Oddly, Grassroots feels contemporary,” concludes the New York Times. “Although it only glosses the mechanics of local politics, it exudes an endearingly scruffy charm.” The Village Voice is less convinced: “Grassroots disingenuously has it both ways, reducing politics first to a David-versus-Goliath adventure, and then to an everyone-is-cool bowl of mush.” And Time Out New York takes a similar view, concluding that “this is one film as misguided as the business-as-usual subject it aims to critique.”

MORE: TIME’s Top 10 Movies of 2011

NewsFeed’s Flicks Pick: There’s a reason for such slim pickings this week, as barely anyone wants to take on The Dark Knight Rises, which makes our decision about as simple as it gets.

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