1. The Boxtrolls (Focus Features, 3,464 Theaters, 97 Minutes, Rated PG for action, some peril and mild rude humor): In this day an age where computer animation is the rule and cel animation is quickly becoming archaic, it is good to see that there are people who still are interested in keeping stop-motion animation alive.
This film was done by the people who brought you Coraline and Paranorman and it adapts Alan Snow’s novel, Here Be Monsters. Its plot centers on an orphan boy named Eggs who is taken in by a subterranean race called the Boxtrolls. The Boxtrolls become Eggs’ family, and when an exterminator tries to eradicate the trolls, it is up to Eggs to save them.
The voice cast is top notch, not only with famous names (Ben Kingsley, Simon Pegg, Nick Frost) but also the biggest names in animation voices (Maurice LaMarche, Fred Tatasciore, Laraine Newman). It might be a good choice for older kids.
2. The Equalizer (Sony/Columbia, 3,236 Theaters, 131 Minutes, Rated R for strong bloody violence and language throughout, including some sexual references) : If you were familiar with the TV series this film is based on, you’d know the concept was one of the best things about the show. An ad was placed in the newspaper reading, “Odds against you? Need help? Call the Equalizer. 212 555 4200.” If you answered that ad, you got an ex-CIA agent named Robert McCall (played brilliantly by Edward Woodward) who would work on your case no matter what it would be–a kidnapping or a stalker threatening you, a blackmailer or extortionist.
The film does away with that concept. In this one, Denzel Washington plays McCall as a man with a mysterious past and a unique set of skills he uses to try to save a young girl he has come to know from Russian mobsters. Maybe if this film gets a sequel, this McCall will start placing ads.
The big selling point of this film is Washington reuniting with the man who got him the Best Actor Oscar, Training Day‘s Antoine Fuqua. However, reviews have not been kind. Regardless, Washington could make even the worse dreck watchable.