1. Almost Christmas (Universal, 2,376 Theaters, 112 Minutes, Rated PG-13 for suggestive material, drug content and language, Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer rating: 42% Fresh [26 Reviews]): One of the big complains is that store start selling Christmas products earlier and earlier each year. Now we can also complain about Christmas movies arriving earlier and earlier each year.
This is your typical “family getting back together for the holidays” film you see every so often, but with an African-American cast. There will be rivalries, colorful characters, and heart-tugging moments.
The trailer below had its share of humor in it, but is there a fresh enough take on the concept to make up for it arriving a full month and a half ahead of Christmas?
2. Arrival (Paramount, 2,317 Theaters, 116 minutes, Rated PG-13 for brief strong language, Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer rating: 96% Fresh [155 Reviews]): If the above movie has a very familiar plot, then this film is a veritable gumbo of other movies. Contact, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Independence Day, The Martian, you name it, you should be able to find it here.
But that doesn’t mean it is a bad movie. The reviews are extraordinary and many people have been chomping at the bit to see the film. So it may be similar to other movies, but it looks like it will be good all on its own.
Amy Adams plays a linguist called in to decipher the language of a bunch of aliens whose ship has landed on Earth. Time is of the essence, because the longer the ships are here, the more antsy humans are getting. To avoid war, Adams’ character has to figure out what the aliens want, or else there will be war.
3. Shut In (Eurocorp, 2,058 Theaters, 91 Minutes, Rated PG-13 for terror and some violence/bloody images, nudity, thematic elements and brief strong language, Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer rating: N/A [Only 1 negative review recorded at press time]): So, how do we know this will be a bad movie? Let me count the ways:
A) It is a PG-13 horror film (although, for that list of reasons, it’s probably a hard PG-13).
B) It was not screen for critics.
C) It was pushed back not once, not twice, but three times.
D) It is only 91 minutes long but has an incredibly convoluted plot (Naomi Watts plays a therapist who lost her husband in a car crash that crippled her son. She is struggling with taking care of her invalid son and totally stressed out about it. So, naturally, when an at risk kid crosses her path, she agrees to take him in and take care of him. Only he leaves the house during a blizzard and presumably dies in a snowstorm. All of this happens BEFORE the scares start.)
So, maybe you should shut this one out.