Arthur Christmas (PG)
The people who brought us Wallace & Gromit created this clever animated Christmas tale about Santa’s klutzy youngest son who at the last minute discovers an undelivered bicycle and takes matters into his own hands. All sorts of good surprises. We also learn how millions of elves and hi-tech equipment make it possible for Santa to deliver everything in one night.
Happy Feet Two (PG)
Back to Antarctic, although not as entertaining a trip as the first time around in 2006. All the penguins are still singing and dancing, except for Erik, Mumble’s misfit son. A pair of krill — lowest rung of the underwater food chain (Matt Damon and Brad Pitt) — add a needed touch.
The Ides of March (R)
The manipulations and scandals of politics. Ryan Gosling is the press secretary to Ohio Governor Mike Morris (George Clooney), who promises a yes-we-can kind of government. Marisa Tomei, as a New York Times reporter, Philip Seymour Hoffman as the governor’s campaign manager, and Evan Rachel Wood and the sexy office intern. Vote yes.
The ambitious and brutal King Hyperion (Mickey Rourke) sends his army rampaging across Greece so he can replace the Gods of Olympus. A stonemason, Theseus (Henry Cavill), with the help of the oracle Phaedra (Freida Pinto), is the key to halting the destruction.
In the Oakland Athletics 2002 season, after 11 losses, general manager Billy Beane (Brad Pitt) uses a cost-benefit analysis of players formulated by young Yale grad, Peter Brand (Jonah Hill), for recruiting. Philip Seymour Hoffman as team manager, Art Howe. Homerun.
The Muppets (PG)
There’s a lot going on as Walter and his friends Gary (Jason Segel) and Mary (Amy Adams) discover oilman Tex Richman’s (Chris Cooper) plan to destroy the Muppet Theater so he can drill there. Time for Kermit to find and reunite The Muppets to save the theater by staging The Greatest Muppet Telethon Ever. Miss Piggy is a plus-size fashion editor at Vogue Paris, Animal is in a Santa Barbara clinic for anger management, and Gonzo is in plumbing.
Puss in Boots (PG)
Dreamworks produced this animated adventure of the notorious Puss ‘n’ Boots, a loveable outlaw who becomes a hero trying to save the town with help from Humpty Dumpty and Kitty Softpaws.
The Rum Diary (R)
From gonzo journalist Hunter S. Thompson’s 1998 autobiographical book. Reed (Johnny Depp) writes for a paper in San Juan, Puerto Rico in 1960, and defying his boss (Richard Jenkins), produces critical portraits of American colonialists. Teamed with PR man (Aaron Eckhart), and his girlfriend (Amber Heard), Reed, in a drunken haze, goes from one wild scheme to another. Should be more fun.
Tower Heist (PG-13)
This tepid comedy caper has Ben Stiller as Josh, the born-to-serve manager of a swanky NYC apartment complex plotting to steal from penthouse dweller Arthur Shaw (Alan Alda) — a Madoff-like character who robbed pension funds. His cohorts include brother-in-law Charlie (Casey Affleck), a down-and-out and limp Wall Streeter (Matthew Broderick), a feisty maid (Gabourey Sidibe), and clumsy sidekick (Michael Peñ;a). But it’s Eddie Murphy as a street-smart crook who winds up stealing the show.
The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 1 (PG-13)
Bella (Kristen Stewart) and Edward (Robert Pattinson) finally marry, but after Bella gets pregnant she grows increasingly frail and dangerously weak. Feeling protective, Jacob (Taylor Lautner) and his werewolf tribe grapple over what to do. Meanwhile, oh-so-pale Bella is wasting away, sad and red-eyed.