the adventures of tintin -(Odeon/SilverCity/Westshore) The prolific Steven Spielberg directs an adaptation of the revered — and quirkily engaging — adventure comics from the 1930s and ’40s. Starts Wed., Dec. 21.
the girl with the dragon tattoo -(Odeon/SilverCity/Westshore/Uni 4) The talented David Fincher directs the Hollywood version of the Swedish thriller about the goth-punk hacker on the trail of a serial killer of women. Starring Daniel Craig and Christopher Plummer. Starts Wed., Dec. 21.
★★★½ the artist -(Odeon) Dazzling lead performances highlight this delightful homage to silent movies. Although in some ways more a whimsy than a real film, it probably will have a date with Oscar. Opens Fri.
we bought a zoo -(Odeon/SilverCity/Westshore/Uni 4). Matt Damon plays a recent widower who takes his young family and decides to renovate and re-open a small zoo. Based on a true story. With Scarlett Johansson and Thomas Haden Church. Starts Fri.
★★★ war horse -(Odeon/SilverCity) Steven Spielberg directs an assured but safe and often corny cinematic adaptation of the acclaimed play that focuses on the travails of a cavalry horse caught up in the nightmare of World War I. Opens Dec. 25. See review.
the darkest hour -(Capitol/Westshore) And if all that Christmas cheer is just too darned cheery, check out this sci-horror flick about five young people in Moscow who are leading the charge against some slimy aliens that have decided to attack our planet. The nerve! Starts Dec. 25.
alvin & the the chipmunks: chip–wrecked -(SilverCity/Uni 4) Those helium-voiced rodents are back to bring their special brand of Christmas joy to children (if not their parents).
★★½ arthur christmas -(Caprice) Heavy is the hand directing this surprisingly charmless and misguided animated fable about an overly-high tech Santa’s Workshop and the chaos that results when one young girl’s present is overlooked on Christmas Eve. With the vocal talents of James McAvoy, Bill Nighy and Jim Broadbent.
★★★ the descendants -(Odeon) The newest film from Alexander Payne (About Schmidt, Sideways) stars George Clooney as a wealthy man who has to rebuild relationships with his daughters after his wife has a terrible accident. Although episodic and digressive, this is an affecting drama.
★★ happy feet two -(Caprice) Those dancing penguins are back, in a bombastic and poorly plotted sequel that will only appeal to those who enjoy being bludgeoned by cuteness. Featuring the vocal talents of Elijah Wood and Robin Williams.
★★★★ hugo -(Odeon/SilverCity) Although Martin Scorsese isn’t exactly known as a child-friendly filmmaker he has been getting well-deserved raves for this beguiling tale of a 1930s Paris orphan who lives in the walls of a train station and gets involved with a legendary filmmaker from the earliest days of cinema. The great cast includes Ben Kingsley, Sacha Baron Cohen and Christopher Lee. Note: leaves the Odeon on Saturday.
★★½ immortals -(Caprice) Although not one of the myths taught in school, this account of a mortal chosen by Zeus to defeat a ruthless king out to find a rare weapon and destroy all of Greece has visual dazzle and a moronic plot. And a villainous Mickey Rourke has lots of pretty scenery to chew.
jack and jill -(Caprice) For those few of you who just can’t get enough Adam Sandler, in this universally despised comedy he plays both a normal guy and also the guy’s identical twin sister — a passive-aggressive nightmare who is coming over for the holidays. Caveat emptor!
★★★★ j. edgar -(Caprice) Clint Eastwood directs Leonardo DiCaprio in a balanced and compelling portrait of the controversial head of the FBI whose many peccadilloes included lackmailing his political enemies . . . and dressing in women’s clothing.
mission: impossible – ghost protocol -(Capitol/SilverCity/Westshore) Tom Cruise is back for a fourth outing with this uneven but undeniably turbo-charged series featuring killer spies and amazing stunts. With Tom Wilkinson and Ving Rhames.
★★★ the muppets -(Capitol/Caprice) Miss Piggy, Kermit et al. make a perky return to the silver screen in a musical extravaganza chronicling efforts to save their beloved theatre from the schemes of a greedy oil baron. All the current Muppet mania seems a bit unmerited, but this is a cute exercise in happy-making nostalgia.
★★★½ my week with marilyn -(Capitol) The twice Oscar-nominated Michelle Williams does a great job playing über-sex symbol Marilyn Monroe in this fact-based memoir based on Monroe’s troubled film shoot of The Prince and the Showgirl in England in the 1950s. Kenneth Branagh costars in the role of Laurence Olivier. This engaging, note-perfect movie will delight film fans and entertain everyone. Moves here Fri.
★ New Year’s eve -(Capitol/SilverCity/Caprice). A variety of couples and singles cavort and stumble through New Year’s, in one of those over-stuffed feel-good flicks where storylines intertwine like garlands of good cheer. This appalling dreck is courtesy of Garry Marshall (Valentine’s Day), who keeps finding new ways to give schmaltz a bad name.
★★½ polar express -(Caprice) Although far from a train wreck, this animation extravaganza about a boy who no longer believes in Santa Claus is uneven.
★★★½ Puss in boots -(Caprice) The endearing feline furball from Shrek gets his own swashbuckling prequel, in a witty and entirely delightful piece of animation. Featuring the vocal talents of Antonio Banderas, Salma Hayek and Zach Galifianakis.
★★★ sherlock holmes: a game of shadows -(Capitol/SilverCity/Uni 4) Although the 2009 original didn’t appeal to Holmesian purists, Guy Ritchie’s irreverently revved-up version of the Victorian sleuth and his long-suffering sidekick certainly merited this entertaining sequel, a bromantic mash-up of Dickensian vibe and jokey modern violence. Starring Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law. See review.
★★ the sitter -(Capitol) Twisted funnyman Jonah Hill (Knocked Up) plays a slacker college student who gets drafted as a reluctant babysitter, then takes his three misbehaving charges for an unexpectedly wild night on the town. Only if you’re desperate. Note: moves here Fri.
★★ tower heist -(Caprice) When some hard-working folk are ripped off by a slick multi-millionaire’s Ponzi scheme, they join forces with a sneaky ex-con to help them steal their money back. This criminally insipid comedy stars Ben Stiller, Eddie Murphy and Alan Alda.
★★ the twilight saga: breaking dawn, part 1 -(Caprice) A wedding and a dangerous pregnancy provide some much-needed excitement for this increasingly vapid vampire soap opera that has bewitched tweens (and older viewers who should know better).
★★ young adult -(Odeon) Charlize Theron stars in a flat and unconvincing drama about a recently divorced, alcoholic writer who returns to her small town desperate to rekindle a romance with her high school sweetie (Patrick Wilson) — too bad he’s married and has kids. An unexpected flop from director Jason Reitman (Up in the Air) and writer Diablo Cody (Juno).
take shelter -(Caprice)
the guard -(Caprice)
note: imax is closed dec. 25
beavers -(Sat., Mon.-Thurs., 10am; Fri., Tues.-Thurs., noon; Fri.-Sat. & Mon.-Thurs., 2:00 & 5:00) According to the ads, this is “the best dam movie” you’ll ever see about that iconic Canadian animal with the beautiful buck teeth.
★★★★ born to be wild -(Tues.-Thurs., 11am; Fri.-Sat. & Mon.-Thurs., 3:00) Take a remarkable safari as this documentary takes you up close and personal with the people who nurture orphaned baby elephants and orangutans en route to re-releasing them into the wild. Narrated by Morgan Freeman. This is a great film!
★★½ polar express -(Fri., 11am, 6:00; Sat. & Mon., 6:00)Although far from a train wreck, this animation extravaganza about a boy who no longer believes in Santa Claus is uneven and so determined to be visually amazing that it stifles any imagination that viewers bring to the theatre. And what’s so great about photo-realist animation anyway?
★★★½ puss in boots -(Fri., Mon.- Wed., 8:00; Thurs., 6:00)
sea–rex -(Fri.-Sat. & Mon.-Thurs., 1:00, 4:00)
the wildest dream: conquest of everest -(Sat. & Mon, 11am; Tues.-Wed., 6:00; Thurs., 8 pm) This 90 minute biopic stars Ralph Fiennes in the story of the first man to attempt to summit Mount Everest and, 80 years later, the climber who found his frozen body.
Movie Monday – Screening The People vs. George Lucas. There is a huge following for this quirky and heartfelt documentary that takes a surprisingly hard look at the creator of Star Wars. 6:30pm MONDAY in the 1900-block Fort. By donation. 595-FLIC. moviemonday.ca.
some like it hot -The Superior Café “cult classics” film series continues with Billy Wilder’s sublime comedy that blends danger and romance with lots of gender-bending hi-jinks. Starring Marilyn Monroe, Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon. Screening starts at 8 pm. For dinner reservations call 250-380-9515. TUESDAY, 8 pm, 106 Superior St.
Cinecenta at UVic screens its films in the Student Union Building. Info: 721-8365. cinecenta.com.
★★★★★ it’s a wonderful life -(Wed.-Thurs., Dec. 21-22: 7:00 only). The real countdown to Christmas begins with Cinecenta’s annual screening of this revered Capra classic, where Jimmy Stewart’s Everyman embodies the true spirit of the season.
note: -Cinecenta is closed from Dec. 23 till Jan. 2.
The Roxy Theatre will be closed on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. The Roxy will be open on Boxing Day.
Movie Listings Dec. 23rd to 29th
“A Very Harold and Kumar Christmas” (18A) at 7:00 pm