Hello my Christmas Elves, are you all snug as a bug in a rug with your star-print knit booties and oversized red LOS ANGELES sweatshirt and zebra pajama pants? The most festive of all holiday outfits? JUST ME THEN?! Well, I hope you have all been enjoying cookies and cider and whatever are your most cherished holiday traditions. Like going to the movies? Seriously, Hollywood is banking on some people being really bored with their families this week because the glut of prestige movies opening this week is kind of insane. Let’s go open our presents!
Fine, it’s already been in theaters since Tuesday (a totally random day!) so this is old news, but technically it fits, so deal with it. You think I like when the release schedule gets all wiggy around this time of year? No rhyme or reason at all. Yes, it’s the highly anticipated “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo!” What’d you all think? How was Rooney Mara? Daniel Craig? Is it another David Fincher home run? Our review says it’s “beautifully-executed, well-acted and well-told,” but, “it isn’t particularly emotionally engaging.” Kind of typical Fincher, right? Rotten Tomatoes: 85% Metacritic: 71
Moving on to this past Wednesday: We finally got the “Adventures of Tintin” stateside! Overachiever Steven Spielberg directs this first installment, already a hit overseas, with the mo-capped performances of Jamie Bell as the titular ginger reporter and mo-cap king Andy Serkis as Captain Haddock. Our review says, “As a technical achievement, ‘The Adventures of Tintin’ is hands-down impressive, using performance capture and animation to create a world of seemingly limitless possibility through which the camera swings with dizzying freedom. As a piece of art or lasting entertainment, it’s disappointingly hollow, all spectacle and no joy.” What did you think? RT: 75% MC: 67%
If Glenn Close in drag is more your thing (and whose isn’t it?), “Albert Nobbs” also hit theaters on Wednesday. The cross dressing drama is a project that has been shepherded from stage to screen by Close and the film adaptation is directed by Rodrigo García. Mia Wasikowska and Aaron Johnson co-star as co-workers of Nobbs and Janet McTeer steals the show as a fellow woman masquerading as a man. Our review says the film “gets all dressed up but has nowhere to go,” and “delivers a cross-dressing drama that plays it disappointingly straight.” RT: 43% MC: 47
And in case you didn’t make it out to the IMAX bow last week, “Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol” went wide, fyi.
You might be saying, but we’ve seen all these films, what’s in theaters today? Well this Friday does not disappoint, as we have the new Cameron Crowe jam, “We Bought a Zoo” with charmer Matt Damon (he’s really getting better with age, what a Redford), Scarlett Johansson, and some adorable moppets as his kids. Um, spoiler alert, they buy a zoo. Heartwarming ensues! Our review says, “it is undeniably a feel-good crowd-pleaser that will likely find holiday-ready audiences laughing and weeping in all the intended places. The cynical-hearted will sneer at Crowe’s latest endeavor, and periodically, you’d be hard-pressed to fault them, but ‘We Bought A Zoo’ does feel-good well, and like a deeply-felt cry that feels well-earned, it feels rather satisfying.” This may be your best bet for the entire family to enjoy if you all get cabin fever. RT: 58% MC: 57
Not into having your heart warmed? Angelina Jolie‘s directorial debut, “In The Land of Blood and Honey,” opens today. The film follows an unlikely love story during the Bosnian War. Our review says Jolie “tells a compelling, tragic story, framed inside of an unlikely romance, and pulls it off without pulling any punches,” and that it’s “an assured screen debut from a woman who clearly has more than just on-screen talents.” Starring Zana Marjanovic, Goran Kostic and Rade Serbedzija. RT: 50% MC: 56
Wim Wenders brings his latest film to theaters today with “Pina” a 3D doc about modern dance choreographer Pina Bauch. Our review says “The dances themselves are wondrous and beautiful, although at some point, if you don’t have an extensive understanding of impressionistic dance, they fail to make an impact.” RT: 93% MC: 75
And on Sunday, Christmas Day, you can unwrap Spielberg‘s “War Horse,” starring Jeremy Irvine as the young master of the horse in question, who sells him off to Tom Hiddleston to head to the front lines in WWI. Can you guess where this might be going? If you’ve ever seen an animal movie, a simultaneously heartbreaking and -warming journey home is the only option here. Our review says the film “doesn’t tarnish Spielberg’s reputation as a virtuoso purveyor of four-square mainstream entertainment, attended to with an artist’s eye — it’s handsome, old-fashioned in appreciable ways, and executed with stunning technical acumen. But the final disappointment isn’t that he failed to provide a better film – it’s that if you’re making a film that feels like a surefire award-winner, then at the very least it needs to feel like it’s worthy of those awards. RT: 77% MC: 73
Also opening on Sunday, “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close,” the 9/11 drama based on Jonathan Safran Foer‘s book, starring Tom Hanks and Sandra Bullock and directed by Stephen Daldry. Our review says though the film “flirts with darkness, the end result is bloodless, drained of all insight beyond the boy’s own coming-to-terms.” RT: 49% MC: 40
Happy Holidays to you all and happy movie-going!