New Releases: November 21

1. Rise Of The Guardians (Paramount/Dreamworks, 3,653 screen, 97 Minutes, Rated PG): So Santa Clause, the Easter Bunny, Jack Frost, the Tooth Fairy and the Sandman all team-up to stop an evil spirit from attack Earth. It certainly does sound like Rise Of The Guardians is a holidays version of The Expendables, but for kids. And I would say that there is nothing wrong with that.

And for the all-star character lineup, Dreamworks Animation has brought on board some all-star voice talent including Chris Pine, Alec Baldwin, Hugh Jackman, Isla Fisher and Jude Law.

OK, Santa’s elves in the trailer below look more than a bit like an attempt to recreate the vibe of the minions from Despicable Me, but beyond that this looks like a rather fun family film that won’t be torture for the adults.

Life Of Pi (Twentieth Century Fox, 2,902 screens, 126 Minutes, Rated PG): Yann Martel’s novel of a teen shipwrecked with a Bengal tiger when his family was transporting their zoo from India to Canada was thought to be unfilmable, but that was before the advent of computer generated visual effects.

Now the last time that director Ang Lee worked with a completely CG character was Hulk, which did contain some interesting visuals but was found lacking in other areas.

However, despite the fact that the tiger was realized completely through visual effects, this definitely looks to be a different type of film and already has been getting some positive buzz. And that’s good news for Lee, whose last fim was the 2009 dud Taking Woodstock.

3. Red Dawn (Film District, 2,679 screens, 114 Minutes, Rated PG-13): When the first Red Dawn was released in 1984, the Cold War was still in effect and there were very real fears among some that the Soviet Union could indeed attempt an invasion of the United States. These days, the geo-political landscape has drastically changed and the best the producers of this remake seem to be able to summon up for a villain is North Korea, a country which Dudley Moore could have been referring to in Arthur when he said “Rhode Island could kick the hell out of them in a war.”

But one thing that the original and the remake do have in common is a cast of rising young stars. The original featured Patrick Swayze, Charlie Sheen, Lea Thomas and Jennifer Grey while this new version has Chris Hemsworth, Adrianne Palicki, Josh Hutcherson and Josh Peck, some of whom (Hemsworth) are already much bigger names now than when they filmed thanks to the final product sitting on a shelf for a while while MGM went through their financial problems.

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About Rich Drees 7205 Articles
A film fan since he first saw that Rebel Blockade Runner fleeing the massive Imperial Star Destroyer at the tender age of 8 and a veteran freelance journalist with twenty-five years experience writing about film and pop culture. He is a member of the Philadelphia Film Critics Circle.
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