Seasonal Movie Preview: By Ben Boquist
The months of November and December are my favorites for movies. Not because that’s usually when the Oscar films are released, although that is nice, but because that’s when all the best family films come out.
I love family films because they’re fun. They appeal to everyone’s inner child. They’re usually epic in scale. They’re usually colorful and bright. Many of them are animated. And they all come from a life affirming, optimistic place.
Who could frown after seeing Happy Feet or be cynical after viewing Babe?
And in this time of economic uncertainty, what could be more welcome than a good, uplifting story?
And so I’ve compiled a list of family friendly films for you and yours to enjoy this Holiday season!
Puss in Boots 3D, Oct. 28th
Puss is easily my favorite character in the Shrek franchise. Voiced with slyness and charm by Antonio Banderas, the adorable cat who fences makes me laugh and say “aww” in equal measure. Say what you will about sequels, this one (which is actually a prequel) feels necessary. Puss is hilarious and deserves his own movie!
This action-packed spaghetti western has a style all it’s own. It follows Puss as he teams up with Humpty Dumpty and a feline femme fatale named Kitty. Featuring the voice talents of Zach Galifianakis and Salma Hayek, this prequel looks like comic gold!
Happy Feet 2 3D, Nov. 18th
This sequel sticks to the formula that made the original a success. The first film starred Mumble (Elijah Wood) the insecure penguin who couldn’t sing. The sequel follows Mumble’s young son, Erik, who is insecure about his dancing ability. Like Mumble, Erik will discover his talents and save the penguin nation from a natural disaster.
Boasting gorgeous animation, the voice talents of Pink and Robbin Williams and song and dance numbers, this is a guaranteed crowd pleaser.
Hugo 3D, Nov. 23rd
Martin Scorsese directs this lush vision of 1930s paris. Based on Brian Selznick’s best selling novel, “the Invention of Hugo Carbet” this film tells the story of Hugo (Asa Butterfield) an orphaned boy who lives in a train station. With the help of his friend Isabell (Chloe Grace Moretz) Hugo must escape from the villainous station inspector (Sacha Baron Cohen) and unlock a mystery left by his late father. While the trailer gives away precious little of the plot, the visuals and the assembled talent are reason enough to be excited!
(And, according to buzz, this film makes particularly good use of 3D)
The Muppets 3D, Nov. 23rd
I’ve been looking forward to this film for a long time. This feel good puppet musicals follows Muppet fans Walter, Gary (Jason Segel, who also penned the script) and Mary (Amy Adams) as they reunite the scattered muppets to save the muppet theater from from being destroyed by an odious oil tycoon. Fans of the muppets will know what to expect. Kermit will be self depreciating and wonderful, Piggy will be vain and self obsessed, and the rest will be just as quirky and endearing as we remember them.
I’ve been a fan of Segel’s ever since 2008’s hilarious ‘Forgetting Sarah Marshall”, which he also wrote and starred in. Segel’s power is that he is sincere and funny in equal measures. Because of this, the Muppet franchise is safe in his hands. Can’t wait!
Arthur Christmas 3D, Nov. 23rd
This CG Christmas romp is an underdog story about Santa Clause’s youngest son Arthur. The film tackles the difficult task of explaining how Santa Clause and company travel the world and deliver presents in a single night. The trailer cleverly depicts a dysfunctional Clause family, eccentric relatives and sibling rivalries. But like all Christmas movies, it promises to be a warm, feel good adventure. Boasting the voice talents of talented Brits, James McAvoy, Hugh Laurie, Jim Broadbent, Bill Nighy and Imelda Staunton, this colorful film is one to watch.
The Adventures of Tin Tin 3D, Dec. 21st
While American’s my not be as familiar with the popular comic, millions from Europe and around the world grew up reading Tin Tin comics. The comics follow a young reporter, his lovable dog snowy and their adventures as world travelers.
Filmmaking legend Steven Spielberg directs this exciting and gorgeous CG adventure about the quest for a mythic sunken ship. Using the 1930s original cartoons as a template, Spielberg gives this lush epic a golden nostalgic glow!
The Secret World of Arrietty, Feb. 17th
From Hayao Miyazaki and the talented team of Japanese animators who brought us Ponyo Princess Mononoake and Spirited Away, comes this stylish new adaptation of Mary Norton’s novel ‘the Borrowers.’
The Secret World of Arrietty tells of a family of tiny people (4 inches tall) who live by borrowing for us larger humans. When Arrietty (the daughter of the tiny couple) is discovered by a human boy, the two form a bond that neither set of parents understand. But unlike the fast paced 1997 live action version ‘The borrowers’ (which starred John Goodman and Jim Broadbent) Miyazaki’s version interprets the story through a slow, poetic lens.
And there you have it! Seven delightful reasons to head to the cineplex with your family.
They may not diminish the realities of a struggling economy, a stressful job, or any of the difficulties we face in our daily lives.
But they will make you smile and, hopefully, remind you that life isn’t about those things anyway.