Theatrical Releases This Week
Director: Sarah Smith and Barry Cook
The 3D, CG-animated family comedy Arthur Christmas, an Aardman production for Sony Pictures Animation, at last reveals the incredible, never-before seen answer to every child’s question: ‘So how does Santa deliver all those presents in one night?’ The answer: Santa’s exhilarating, ultra-high-tech operation hidden beneath the North Pole. But at the heart of the film is a story with the ingredients of a Christmas classic – a family in a state of comic dysfunction and an unlikely hero, Arthur, with an urgent mission that must be completed before Christmas morning dawns. (Synopsis by Sony Pictures)
The latest offering from the “Wallace and Gromit” studio is full of frantic holiday cheer. A strong showing to launch the holiday season for the younger viewers.
Director: James Bobin
On vacation in Los Angeles, Walter, the world’s biggest Muppet fan, and his friends Gary (Jason Segel) and Mary (Amy Adams) from Smalltown, USA, discover the nefarious plan of oilman Tex Richman (Chris Cooper) to raze the Muppet Theater and drill for the oil recently discovered beneath the Muppets’ former stomping grounds. To stage The Greatest Muppet Telethon Ever and raise the $10 million needed to save the theater, Walter, Mary and Gary help Kermit reunite the Muppets, who have all gone their separate ways: Fozzie now performs with a Reno casino tribute band called the Moopets, Miss Piggy is a plus-size fashion editor at Vogue Paris, Animal is in a Santa Barbara clinic for anger management, and Gonzo is a high-powered plumbing magnate. (Synopsis by Walt Disney)
A film earning universal praise for giving its fans exactly what they want. Good to see the gang back on the screen after all this time, and guaranteed to capture the nostalgia market.
Director: Martin Scorsese
Throughout his extraordinary career, Academy Award-wining director Martin Scorsese has brought his unique vision and dazzling gifts to life in a series of unforgettable films. This holiday season the legendary storyteller invites you to join him on a thrilling journey to a magical world with his first-ever 3-D film, based on Brian Selznick’s award-winning, imaginative New York Times best-seller, “The Invention of Hugo Cabret.” Hugo is the astonishing adventure of a wily and resourceful boy whose quest to unlock a secret left to him by his father will transform Hugo and all those around him, and reveal a safe and loving place he can call home. (Synopsis by Paramont)
Another strong choice this week. The only complaint is that the use of 3D is mostly wasted. With the pedigree of Scorsese, it is hard to go wrong. A nice compliment to “Arthur Christmas” for the older kid set.
Director: Alexander Payne
From Alexander Payne, the creator of the Oscar-winning Sideways, set in Hawaii, The Descendants is a sometimes humorous, sometimes tragic journey for Matt King (George Clooney) an indifferent husband and father of two girls, who is forced to re-examine his past and embrace his future when his wife suffers a boating accident off of Waikiki. The event leads to a rapprochement with his young daughters while Matt wrestles with a decision to sell the family’s land handed down from Hawaiian royalty and missionaries. (Synopsis by Fox Searchlight)
Check out my review on The Dagger later this week.
DVD Releases This Week
Director: J.J. Abrams
In the summer of 1979, a group of friends in a small Ohio town witness a catastrophic train crash while making a super 8 movie and soon suspect that it was not an accident.
Shortly after, unusual disappearances and inexplicable events begin to take place in town, and the local Deputy tries to uncover the truth – something more terrifying than any of them could have imagined. (Synopsis by the Official Site)
Conan the Barbarian
Director: Marcus Nispel
A quest that begins as a personal vendetta for the fierce Cimmerian warrior soon turns into an epic battle against hulking rivals, horrific monsters, and impossible odds, as Conan (Jason Momoa) realizes he is the only hope of saving the great nations of Hyboria from an encroaching reign of supernatural evil. (Synopsis by the Lionsgate)
A terrible homage to a film that wasn’t great to begin with. Skip this and spend some money at the theater this weekend.