Friday, November 23 2012, 10:45 AM MST
Recommended Movies: Thanksgiving Releases
Recommended films showing in Salt Lake City for the week of November 21 – November 29, 2012
1. Lincoln (PG-13)
2. Argo (R)
3. Skyfall (PG-13)
4. Silver Linings Playbook (R)
5. Life of Pi (PG)
1. Frankenweenie (PG)
2. Life of Pi (PG)
3. Rise of the Guardians (PG)
4. Wreck-It Ralph (PG)
5. ParaNorman (PG)
1. The Master (R)
2. The Perks of Being a Wallflower (PG-13)
3. Smashed (R)
4. A Late Quartet (R)
5. The Sessions (R)
Silver Linings Playbook
4 out of 5 Stars
Director • David O. Russell
Starring • Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence and Robert De Niro
Rated • R
Recommended to • Those looking for a romantic comedy with indie drama appeal.
Pat (Bradley Cooper) returns to live at his parents’ home from a court mandated stay at a mental institution hopeful that he’ll be able to resume the life he had before. Life begins to look promising when Pat meets Tiffany (Jennifer Lawrence), a young woman with her own psychological issues, who is willing to help him reconnect with his ex-wife if he agrees to dance with her in a ballroom dance competition.
With “Silver Linings Playbook” Director/writer David O. Russell (“The Fighter,” “Three Kings”) has crafted a smart and unique romantic comedy that will appeal to fans of the genre as well as those looking for a film with more substance. The character arcs of Pat and Tiffany is a joy to watch as both offer awkward initial impressions only to win you over by the end of the film. Cooper and Lawrence are fantastic, Robert De Niro (as Pat’s father) reminds us that he’s still charming and capable actor and even Chris Tucker (as one of Pat’s not-nearly-sane friends) feels perfectly cast. Oscar nominations? You can count on it.
Life of Pi
4 out of 5 Stars
Director • Ang Lee
Starring • Suraj Sharma, Irrfan Khan and Adil Hussain
Rated • PG
Recommended to • Those looking for a visually exquisite film that lays it on a bit thick in order to make sure the audience understands its message.
When a massive storm sinks the boat that Pi Patel and his family are traveling on Pi finds himself adrift in a lifeboat with a zebra, a hyena, an orangutan and a Bengal tiger named Richard Parker.
“Life of Pi” is a self-aware religious allegory. It’s also one of the most beautiful and imaginative films that you’ll ever see. The allegory is bookended by Pi, now a middle-aged man, telling his story to a skeptical writer. This allows Pi (or Yann Martel, the novel’s author, or David Magee who wrote the screenplay) to comment directly on the overly-imaginative telling of the story. For me this running commentary weakens the film, particularly at the end of the movie when everything is spelled out. However, it could be argued that the film’s “PG” rating and its hope to reach a wide audience that includes children makes the over explanation necessary. I’m not convinced by the argument. However, I am convinced that “Life of Pi” is the sort of film that needs to be seen, particularly in a theater. Even if you find the story to be a bit too preachy you’ll be won over by the cinematic experience.
Rise of the Guardians
3.5 out of 5
Director • Peter Ramsey
Starring • Hugh Jackman, Alec Baldwin and Isla Fisher
Rated • PG
Recommended to • Those looking for an adventurous animated film with a dash of holiday spirit.
Jack Frost can’t remember who he was before the moon transformed him into the prince of cold mischief. When Pitch, the evil spirit of nightmares, threatens to steel hope away from the world Jack is asked to join the Immortal Guardians, an elite group that features Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy, assigned to protect the imaginative aspect of all of Earth’s children. Through his new calling Jack discovers his sense of purpose.
The adaptation of William Joyce’s “The Guardians of Childhood” book series comes via DreamWorks with director Peter Ramsey (who also directed the fantastic TV special “Monster vs Aliens: Mutant Pumpkins from Outer Space”) and writer David Lindsay-Abaire (“Rabbit Hole,” “Oz: The Great and Powerful”) handling the transition from page to screen. The results are pleasing, if not entirely new. The story is fairly predictable, but the animation is beautiful, the action frenetic and the voice acting is superb. If DreamWorks intends on turning this into a franchise I won’t be complaining.
4 out of 5
Director • James Ponsoldt
Starring • Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Aaron Paula and Octavia Spencer
Rated • R
Recommended to • Those looking for a sobering film about alcohol dependency and the rough road out of addiction.
Kate (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) and Charlie (Aaron Paul) are married couple of alcoholics who struggle to remain in love when Kate decides to go sober.
Nearly a year after debuting at the Sundance Film Festival James Ponsoldt’s critically lauded “Smashed” arrives in local theaters. The film features a particularly strong performance from Winstead, who until this point has only starred in major studio films with much large budgets. “Smashed” isn’t quite the emotional tour de force that “Blue Valentine” was, but it does hold its own.
3 out of 5
Director • Dan Bradley
Starring • Chris Hemsworth, Isabel Lucas and Josh Hutcherson
Rated • PG-13
Recommended to • Those in search of a fairly mindless action film inspired by the 80s’ fan favorite.
A group of teenagers, led by Jed Eckert (Chris Hemsworth), defend their hometown from an invading army of North Korean soldiers.
Sometimes remaking a film makes little to no sense. 1984’s “Red Dawn” was a Cold War themed movie that presented the “Russian threat” in a way young people could connect with. No matter how you spin it the tension between the United States and North Korea hardly carries the same sort of thematic weight. It’s like remaking “Rocky IV” without Drago. It robs the film of any subtext and simply turns it into an entertaining, but culturally insignificant action film. The cast is fine, the action is good and if you’re paying matinee prices it’s worth your while.
(Copyright 2012 Sinclair Broadcasting Group.)