Winter Movie Guide: December 2011 – Week Three

Alvin and the Chipmunks:  Chipwrecked

Written by Glenn Berger & Jonathan Aibel

Directed by Mike Mitchell

Starring Jason Lee, Justin Long, & Matthew Grey Gubler

“Playing around while aboard a cruise ship, the Chipmunks and Chipettes accidentally go overboard and end up marooned in a tropical paradise. They discover their new turf is not as deserted as it seems.”

What better way to rile the kids up than with small talking animals?  No way, and the studios have learned this, now on their second sequel to a character that is older than probably everyone involved with the film’s production.

No matter, they’ve managed to make two live action Alvin flicks so far, and it’s worked out quite well until now.  No matter how many fans sigh audibly, Jason Lee enjoys making films his kids can watch, and David Cross is an old school sell out like he said he never would be.  Of course, parents are inclined to sit up and pay more attention, having remembered loving the character themselves as a child, so there’s an instant draw.

Anyone who has seen even a piece of the two previous films knows they are what they are:  pure kids entertainment.  Anyone walking in with expectations of anything else is just plain ignorant.  Chipwrecked is sure to sweep the hearts and minds of children, and the wallets of parents, at least for a few weeks as we lead into Christmas vacation for both parties.  Expect this to make bank.

Rated PG.

Trailer, if you aren’t sure yet:

Sherlock Holmes:  A Game of Shadows

Written by Kieran & Michele Mulroney

Directed by Guy Ritchie

Starring Robert Downey Jr, Jude Law, & Noomi Rapace

“Sherlock Holmes and his sidekick Dr. Watson join forces to outwit and bring down their fiercest adversary, Professor Moriarty.”

Having given up on his own ideas (which did seem to be running thin) Guy Ritchie has decided to become a prolific studio director, and he returns for his second major studio film starring Robert Downey Jr., officially the Sherlock Holmes franchise.

The first film did extremely well on its budget, and with all the right elements (action, adventure, romance, big stars) the studio decided to roll the dice again.  Really, it’s not much of a roll at all, Robert Downey Jr. is by now a bonafide global movie star, his drawing power created this franchise in the first place.

Since Ritchie does seem to be regaining his head about him, he’s got a stellar cast to do his bidding, and we get the face off between Holmes and his arch-enemy Moriarty that fans of the character relish.  I’m curious to see what direction the end of the film goes, as anyone familiar with Holmes knows all too well what their final stand off ends like.

Here’s the trailer for bad guessers:

Rated PG-13.

LIMITED RELEASE

Carnage

Based on the play God of Carnage by Yasmina Reza

Written by Yasmina Reza & Roman Polanski

Directed by Roman Polanski

Starring Christoph Waltz, Jodie Foster, Kate Winslett, & John C. Reilly

“Tells the story of two sets of parents who decide to have a cordial meeting after their sons are involved in a schoolyard brawl.”

The films of Roman Polanski, although often polarizing, are momentous when they do come.  Despite his legal troubles and personal lifestyle, for the most part he’s respected as one of the better filmmakers working today.  With his latest film Carnage, he shows why simply in style and execution.

Carnage is the story of two sets of parents meeting to discuss the problem that erupted between their two children.  The entire film concerns just these four actors, making a Lars Von Trier styled experiment in the form of filmmaking.  Setting the entire thing in the living room of Reilly and Foster’s couple adds to the mania.  What is supposed to be a cordial meeting between grown-ups devolves into a mess of whining, fighting, and general pettiness, and of course, the forming of alliances across the two couples.  With Polanski at the helm, it’s sure to be stylish, darkly humored, and well-acted.  I’m looking forward to this one.

Here’s the trailer:

Rated R.

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