New Year’s eve -(Capitol/SilverCity/Uni 4/Westshore). 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. Just a few of the stars include Michelle Pfeiffer, Zak Efron, Halle Berry, Robert De Niro, Jessica Biel, and Seth Meyers.
the guard -(Caprice) The great Brendan Gleeson (In Bruges) stars in a comedic crime-thriller about an outspoken Irish cop who gets teamed with an uptight FBI agent to track down an international drug-smuggling ring. With Don Cheadle and Mark Strong. Starts Fri.
the sitter -(SilverCity/Westshore) Twisted and peevish 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. Starts Fri.
★★½ arthur christmas -(Capitol/SilverCity/Westshore) 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 -(Odeon/SilverCity/Westshore) 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/Westshore) 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.
★★½ immortals -(Capitol/SilverCity/Westshore) 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 -(Capitol/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.
★★★★ margin call -(Uni 4) This compelling financial thriller portrays the meltdown of an investment bank during the early stages of the global economic crisis in 2008. A smart script and strong performances by the likes of Kevin Spacey, Jeremy Irons and Stanley Tucci make this one a must-see. See review.
★★½ melancholia -(Odeon) Kirsten Dunst won top acting honours at Cannes for her portrayal of a deeply depressed bride confronting global apocalypse, in yet another beautiful and enigmatic art film from controversial Danish director Lars von Trier (Dancer In The Dark, Dogville).
★★★ the muppets -(Capitol/SilverCity/Uni 4/Westshore) 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 -(Odeon) 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.
★★★½ Puss in boots -(Capitol/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.
★★½ the skin i live in -(Odeon) Antonio Banderas plays a mad plastic surgeon with a very naughty secret locked away in his house, in a loopily watchable but grotesque and very silly melodrama that was written and director by Spanish Oscar winner Pedro Almodóvar.
★★ the three musketeers -(Caprice) The classic Alexandre Dumas tale of swashbuckling à la Français is here turned into a giant fromage-fest of overblown special effects and a preposterous plot. Mon Dieu!
★★ 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 -(Capitol/SilverCity/Uni 4/Westshore) 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).
★★ a very harold & kumar christmas -(SilverCity) That pair of stoner ne’er do wells is back for more shenanigans — and just in time to get freaky for the holidays. Sure, the stoned-baby jokes are transgressive enough for a giggle, but you’d have to be really baked on B.C. bud to find this particularly funny.
★★★ the way -(Odeon) Emilio Estevez directs Martin Sheen (a.k.a. dear old dad) in an engaging examination of spirituality as an unlikely group of people befriend each other while walking a centuries-old pilgrim route in northern Spain.
like crazy -(Capitol)
★★ in time -(Caprice)
★★½ the rum diary -(Caprice)
mr. popper’s penguins -(Caprice)
dolphin tale -(Caprice)
beavers -(10am, Fri. & Sun.-Thurs.; noon, Fri. & Sun. & Tues.-Thurs.; 2:00 & 5:00 daily) 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 -(1:00, 4:00) 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 puss in boots -(Fri.-Sat., 8:00; Sun. & Thurs., 6:00; Tues.-Wed., 7:00) hubble -(10am, Fri. only)
★★½ polar express -(Fri.-Sat., 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?
the wildest dream: conquest of everest -(jSat. & Mon, 11am; Sun. & 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 ★★★½ The Concert. This delightful film is a wry comedy-drama about an out-of-favour Russian conductor who somehow gets an orchestra together and heads off to Paris to hijack a gig meant for the Bolshoi Theatre Orchestra. 6:30pm MONDAY in the 1900-block Fort. By donation. 595-FLIC. moviemonday.ca.
reefer madness -The Superior Café “cult classics” film series continues with this wonderfully silly cautionary tale about what the demon dope can do to the innocent. Screening starts at 8 pm. For dinner reservations call 250-380-9515. TUESDAY, 8 pm, 106 Superior St.
monty python and the holy grail -Grab a lovely bunch of coconuts and join the Python crazies for some classic comedy courtesy of the “Quote-Along” series put on by the Victoria Film Festival. SATURDAY, 8 pm, at the Vic Theatre, 808 Douglas St.
awareness film night -Screening Schooling the World: The White Man’s Last Burden. This provocative documentary (featuring B.C. anthropologist Wade Davis) shows what happens when a traditional culture’s way of learning is replaced by Western curriculum — thus creating expectations that often can’t be met. WEDNESDAY, DEC. 14, 7 pm, Edward Milne Community School Theatre, 6218 Sooke Rd.
faust -The Metropolitan Opera series continues with Gounod’s beloved version of this harrowing tale about selling your soul. Jonas Kaufman leads a great cast. SATURDAY, 10 am, at the Odeon, SilverCity and Westshore.
Cinecenta at UVic screens its films in the Student Union Building. Info: 721-8365. cinecenta.com.
★★★ the mission -(Wed., Dec. 7: 7:00, 9:25) This Cannes prize winner from way back in 1986 is a visually stunning depiction of the culture clash in 1750s South America between a remote Indian tribe and Spanish and Portuguese invaders. Starring Jeremy Irons and a miscast Robert De Niro.
★★★★ casablanca -(Thurs., Dec. 8: 7:00, 9:10) All hail this revered romantic melodrama, set amidst spy intrigue in Morocco during World War II, with classic performances by Bogart and Bergman.
★★★ contagion -(Fri., Dec. 9: 3:00, 7:00, 9:10 & Sat., Dec. 10: 3:20, 7:00, 9:10) Matt Damon and Kate Winslet star in an edgy bio-thriller about a bird flu pandemic that is trashing the planet (and killing off some fine actors along the way). Despite being directed by Steven Soderbergh, this is surprisingly flat, diffuse and uninvolving.
dolphin tale -(Sat.-Sun., Dec. 10-11: 1:00 matinee) This true-life story focuses on the friendship between a boy and a dolphin who was given a prosthetic tail. Starring Morgan Freeman and Ashley Judd.
higher ground -(Sun., Dec. 11: 3:20, 7:00 & Mon., Dec. 12: 7:00 only) Actress-turned-director Vera Farmiga (Up In The Air) explores the world of an evangelical Christian community via an adaptation of a memoir by Carolyn Briggs.
el bulli – cooking in progress -(Tues.-Thurs., Dec. 13-15: 7:00, 9:10) Foodies will likely flock to see this amazing documentary about one of the world’s most legendary restaurants, a pioneer in “molecular gastronomy” and other postmodern pretensions (albeit very tasty ones!).
“Puss In Boots” (G) at 7:00 pm (Fri, Sat, Sun, Tue, Wed, Thur)
“Tower Heist” (PG) at 8:40 pm (Fri, Sat, Sun, Tue, Wed, Thur)
“Puss In Boots” (G) 3:30 pm (Sat, Sun)