1. Walking with Dinosaurs (Fox, 3,231 Theaters, 87 Minutes, Rated PG-13): By now you should have seen the TV ads for this films. You know the ones. They go: A film so realistic, you’ll think your were there. Or something like that.
Then immediately afterwards the dinosaurs start talking.
I’m not a science genius or anything, but I don’t think the dinosaurs were able to talk, let alone speak English. Let alone get in adventures and comment on each others farts. There goes your realism.
So, what you end up with is a more accurately animated, more crude The Land Before Time. And if that’s the case, just rent The Land Before Time.
2. American Hustle (Opening Wide, Sony/Columbia, 2,507 Theaters, 138 Minutes, Rated R): Okay, I’m going to say this right off the bat. This movie is about Rocket Raccoon teaming up with Batman, Lois Lane and Mystique to take down corrupt politician, Hawkeye.
There. Got that out of my system. What this film really is David O. Russell uniting his cast from The Fighter (minus Melissa Leo and Mark Wahlberg) with his cast from Silver Linings Playbook, adding Jeremy Renner, putting them in awful clothes and even worse hair styles and having then tackle the ABSCAM scandal of the 1970s.
That’s enough to have the critics go ga-ga over this film. It’s got a whopping 94% fresh over at Rotten Tomatoes. This isn’t surprising, as the last few Russell movies when over well.
Personally, I can’t understand it. The Fighter, which I liked, was essentially Rocky with sibling rivalry thrown in. Silver Linings Playbook, which I didn’t like as much, was basically a goofy romantic comedy with a serious overtone dealing with mental heath issues. Don’t get me wrong, the films were good, the cast was Oscar caliber, but the films themselves and Russell’s directing was rather pedestrian.
Anyway, it appears I’m in the minority. I’m probably also in the minority in thinking that Christian Bale’s acting leans more towards hammy scene chewing than stunning character creation here.
3. Saving Mr. Banks (Opening Wide, Disney, 2,111 Theaters, 125 Minutes, Rated PG-13): A story about Walt Disney’s struggles to get Mary Poppins on the big screen, put out by Disney. I’m sure this will be fair and balanced.
Disney is very protective of its icons, and there’s no bigger icon that Walt himself. So it would be interesting to see how he’s going to be portrayed here.
However, he is played by Tom Hanks, so, even if it is not accurate, it will be interesting. And he’s playing off of Emma Thompson as P.T. Travers, which should make for some cinematic sparks.
New Releases: December 20, 2013 http://t.co/CVSou6EIKN