You can feast on an embarrassment of riches this holiday weekend. Many offerings are on the nostalgic side, from the delightful silent ode to film, "The Artist" to Martin Scorsese's 3-D cinematic adventure "Hugo." David Cronenberg's "A Dangerous Method" is wordily worthy, with the bonus of its easy-on-the-eyes trio: Keira Knightley, Michael Fassbender and Viggo Mortensen. Michelle Williams channels tragic magic in "My Week with Marilyn." Family-friendly entertainments "The Muppets" and "Arthur Christmas" are both earning raves. Odd man out is dark police drama "Rampart," but Woody Harrelson's performance is arguably the best of this entire holiday batch. Reviews, details and trailers below. Enjoy!
"A Dangerous Method," SPC, UK/GER/CAN/SWIT | Director: David Cronenberg; Cast: Viggo Mortensen, Keira Knightley, Michael Fassbender, Vincent Cassel, Sarah Gadon | B criticWIRE | 78% Tomatometer | Venice Premiere, Review | Kenneth Turan: "It's fascinating to see the exceptionally charismatic Fassbender squeeze himself into the role of the aristocratic, restrained Jung, and it's just as enjoyable to see Mortensen bring an unexpected virility to his sybaritic, cigar-chomping Freud."
"The Artist," Weinstein Co., FR | Director: Michel Hazanavicius; Cast: Jean Dujardin, Missi Pyle, James Cromwell, Berenice Bejo, John Goodman | B+ criticWIRE | TOH! interviews Dujardin, Bejo & Hazanavicius | 98% Tomatometer | Mary Corliss: "With supreme confidence and an informed, infectious fondness for his subject, writer-director Michel Hazanavicius manages to embrace contradictions and then resolve them with supreme comic grace."
"Rampart," Millenium, US | Director: Oren Moverman; Cast: Woody Harrelson, Sigourney Weaver, Robin Wright, Ned Beatty, Ben Foster | TOH! interviews Moverman | 77% Tomatometer | Manohla Dargis: "[It] tells a familiar story with such visual punch and hustling energy that it comes close to feeling like a new kind of movie, though it's more just a tough gloss on American crime stories past.
"My Week With Marilyn," Weinstein Co., US/UK | Director: Simon Curtis; Cast: Michelle Williams, Kenneth Branagh, Dominic Cooper, Dougray Scott, Emma Watson | B- criticWIRE | TOH! Review round-up | 86% Tomatometer | Roger Ebert: "What matters is the performance by Michelle Williams. She evokes so many Marilyns, public and private, real and make-believe. We didn't know Monroe, but we believe she must have been something like this."
"Hugo," Paramount, US | Director: Martin Scorcese; Cast: Ben Kingsley, Asa Butterfield, Chloe Moretz, Jude Law, Emily Mortimer, Christopher Lee | TOH! Review round-up | Thankful for Scorsese | 96% Tomatometer | Vulture: "this is one of those wonders of the world you need to see."
"The Muppets," Disney, US | Director: James Bobin; Cast: Amy Adams, Jason Segel, Chris Cooper, Kermit the Frog, Miss Piggy | InContention's Plea for The Muppets to host Oscars | 97% Tomatometer | NPR: "Segel and his team are not Jim Henson — but they've done justice to the lovers and the dreamers."
"Arthur Christmas," Columbia, UK/US | Director: Barry Cook, Sarah Smith; Cast: James McAvoy, Hugh Laurie, Bill Nighy, Jim Broadbent, Imelda Staunton | Bill Desowitz Gets a First Look, Interviews Smith | 93% Tomatometer | Washington Post: "Unexpectedly fresh, despite the familiar-sounding premise."