Winter Movie Guide – Christmas Special

War Horse

Based on the novel by Michael Morpurgo

Screenplay by Lee Hall and Richard Curtis

Directed by Steven Speilberg

Starring Jeremy Irvine, Emily Watson, & David Thewlis

“Young Albert enlists to service in WWI after his beloved horse, Joey, is sold to the cavalry. Albert’s hopeful journey takes him out of England and across Europe as the war rages on.”

Speilberg brings the Oscar bait hard with this one, a boy, his horse, and of course the best cinematography the market can provide, because this is, after all, the living master.  It’s interesting this film will go against The Adventures of Tintin, even though both have slightly different audiences, there will still be some crossover there.  War Horse will get the nominations, but I think Tintin will surprise some people with the nominations it gets.

On to the movie itself, it looks like pretty standard Speilberg fare, which of course isn’t a bad thing at all.  If anything it looks a little bland, but I’m sure there is enough to sustain a good story, and at the very least, the photography, design, and direction will be top notch.

If you’re still curious, see what Jeremy thought right here.

Trailer:

Rated PG-13.

The Darkest Hour

Screenplay by John Spaihts

Directed by Chris Gorak

Starring Emile Hirsch, Olivia Thirlby, & Max Minghella

“In Moscow, five young people lead the charge against an alien race who have attacked Earth via our power supply.”

I remember hearing about this film quite a while ago, but I didn’t know it actually got made until I saw a trailer a few weeks back.  Emile Hirsch leads the young cast of characters trapped in Moscow, trying to escape from an alien invasion in the form of energy balls.  In 3D.  What is there to lose?

Your attention span, according to many reviews, which say the film is a listless F/X show with sub-par CGI.  The trailers remind me of both Alien Vs Predator: Requiem and Skyline, the F/X-heavy, but story-light films from the Strause brothers, but this one can’t be blamed on them.  Director Chris Gorak only has Right At Your Door, the interesting infection thriller from a few years ago, under his directorial belt, and this seems like a step back for him, something that was greenlit early last year along with a lot of other alien invasion thrillers with weak scripts.

See what Jeremy thought, in 3D (not really in 3D).

Trailer:

Rated PG-13.

Extremly Loud & Incredibly Close

Based on the novel by Jonothan Safran Foer

Screenplay by Eric Roth

Directed by Stephen Daldry

Starring Tom Hanks, Thomas Horn, & Sandra Bullock

“A nine-year-old amateur inventor, Francophile, and pacifist searches New York City for the lock that matches a mysterious key left behind by his father, who died in the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001.”

As big an Oscar bait film if I’ve ever seen one, and knowing the sentimentality of the Academy, I’m sure it will make its way in there somehow.  With the withdrawal of troops from overseas effectively ending the war in Iraq, it feels like a chapter has ended for Americans, a long chapter that began on September 11th, 2001.

At this point, films with plots based on the events of that day feel dated, like Vietnam War films.  So much has been said in the past few years about the subject that anything at this point is about the post-9/11 effects on Americans, and even this late in the game, that has become passe as a subject as well.  To me it looks like a bland film, and I find both of the main actors pretty bland as well,  but I suppose families, sappy people, and old people will go to see it, and I’m sure the Academy might get a bit of an erection for it.  We’ll see.

Trailer:

Rated PG-13.

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