Film reviews: The rundown on holiday films worth your dough

  • 0 COMMENTS
Film reviews: The rundown on holiday films worth your dough

It’s December, and that means the awards-fodder movies are out. And guess what. Some of them are good! Here’s a list of five movies that range from near-great to head-scratching (but worth seeing) to one guilty pleasure.

The Book Thief

If Life is Beautiful is absolutely the wrong way to make a non-military World War II movie, The Book Thief is the right way. Ten-year-old Liesel (Sophie Nélisse) is taken from her mother and given to a childless couple, Hans and Rosa (Geoffrey Rush and Emily Watson). Liesel can’t read, but likes books, and Hans teaches her to read as a way to bond with her. Soon Liesel is saving books from Nazi burning rallies and hiding Jews in the basement. It’s better than it sounds, but don’t think about it too much.

Her

A man and his operating system fall in love. The long-forgotten Electric Dreams (1984) has a similar premise, but none of the wit or skill that goes into writer-director Spike Jonze’s latest. Joaquin Phoenix is Theodore (recovering nicely after his performance as Popeye the Sailor in The Master), a writer mourning his crumbled marriage. He buys an operating system with artificial intelligence, and before long he and Samantha the O.S. (Scarlett Johansson’s voice) are in love. If you’re looking for a movie that passes the Bechdel Test, you won’t find it here, but Her is a surprisingly sweet, melancholy, and touching meditation on how we manage relationships. (December 18)

American Hustle

Crime. The 1970s. The FBI. Con artists. Honestly, this movie sounds like my nightmare, but not because I don’t like those things in movies; I’ve just seen enough of each (crime, FBI, con artists). Plus, no one does the 1970s better than the 1970s, and this is 2013. But Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper are reunited with their Silver Linings Playbook director, and Christian Bale is here, too. You can bet it won’t be boring. (December 18)

Inside Llewyn Davis

The latest Coen Brothers confection is the aforementioned head-scratcher. It has the humor of No Country for Old Men but not the violence, and the mundane pacing of The Man Who Wasn’t There without the awfulness. Llewyn Davis (Oscar Isaac, who’s quite good) is a moody folk singer in early 1960s Greenwich Village, crashing on couches and trying to make it. An orange cat and a long ride to Chicago may hold the keys to his success, and he may literally be living in a loop, but decide for yourself. It’s certainly unique. Carey Mulligan, John Goodman, and Adam Driver have welcome supporting roles. (December 25)

Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues

Much like those pesky poltergeists, Ron Burgundy and his dumb pals are back. This time they take on cable news and racial diversity in the 1980s, and honestly, if the trailer contains the best jokes, we’re all in a lot of trouble. But everyone needs a Christmas Day movie after unwrapping the gifts and binging on eggnog, right? Right! And why not do it with the world’s creepiest mustache? (December 25)

Playing this week

12 Years a Slave
Regal Downtown Mall Cinema 6

All is Lost
Regal Downtown Mall Cinema 6

Bad Grandpa
Regal Stonefield 14 and IMAX

The Best Man Holiday
Regal Stonefield 14 and IMAX

Black Nativity
Regal Stonefield 14 and IMAX

The Book Thief
Regal Downtown Mall Cinema 6

Dallas Buyer’s Club
Regal Downtown Mall Cinema 6

Delivery Man
Regal Stonefield 14 and IMAX

Frozen 3D
Regal Stonefield 14 and IMAX

Gravity
Regal Stonefield 14 and IMAX

Homefront
Regal Stonefield 14 and IMAX

Kill Your Darlings
Regal Downtown Mall Cinema 6

Oldboy
Regal Stonefield 14 and IMAX

Philomena
Regal Downtown Mall Cinema 6

Thor: The Dark World
Regal Stonefield 14 and IMAX

Movie houses

Regal Downtown Mall Cinema 6
979-7669

Regal Stonefield 14 and IMAX
244-3213

Comment Policy