The Christmas Movies

Breaking Dawn

Well we are now in Christmas movie season. No I don’t mean those horrible cheap “feel good” seasonal movies all over Lifetime, ABC Family or the like that hearken back to the golden days of the 70’s. Rather I mean the big blockbusters targeting everyone. We’re already well into the season with the latest Twilight film being #1 for something like three weeks running. There’s Muppet fever and even Martin Scorsese is in the act.

What have you seen? What did you hate? What are you most looking forward to? After a fairly disappointing summer will the winter films do better?


I have to confess my wife loved Breaking Dawn. She thought it was the best of the series. However most people I’ve talked to thought it was the worst. I’m not a Twilight fan so I have no opinions. Plus I lucked out this year and my wife went to see it opening night as part of a girls night out evening. So I haven’t seen it. (I managed to avoid seeing the last one too)

The Muppets is something I’m intrigued by even if Frank Oz has lambasted it – primarily because of fart jokes and a rich Kermit the frog. However inexplicably my kids had puppets. They refuse to watch any of the muppet films or shows. So no luck on this one.

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy was a fantastic mini-series back in 1979 starting Alec Guiness. It’s based on a John le Carre novel about trying to find a mole in British intelligence. I suspect most of the current generation grew up after the cold war. So much of this will be a bit of a mystery. Say what you will of the cold war but it made for some great spy thrillers. Things really haven’t been the same for Hollywood since.

The new version apparently has a killer performance by Gary Oldman who inexplicably has never won an academy award. Personally I doubt they can recreate a film as good as the classic BBC miniseries which was made during the era in which it takes place. It’s a very subdued story so I’m curious about how the transition to a Hollywood movie works. I have to admit that while I’m suspicious about the remake I’m looking forward to seeing it.

Sherlock Holmes

Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows is a followup to Guy Ritchie’s popular reimaging of the Holmes mythos. I thought he did a great job myself sticking to the characters while emphasizing different attributes. Admittedly towards the end it became a bit overblown. (Although not as bad as the horrible Spielberg produced Young Sherlock Holmes from the 80’s) This sequel reportedly follows Holmes as he tracks Moriarty across Europe. We’ll see how it turns out. I’m hoping they try to stick to the stories somewhat. I have to admit this is the film I’m most looking forward to. Perhaps even more than the return of the excellent BBC series that puts Holmes in the modern world.

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. I have to admit I’ll probably not see this one although there is a lot of buzz. I’ve not read the books and somehow Fincher hasn’t interested me much of late.

Mission Impossible Ghost Protocol. I really don’t like Tom Cruise but this is the first live action film by Brian Bird who did The Incredibles. Arguably the best of all the Pixar films. Not to mention Iron Giant as well. The last MI film by J.J. Abrams was great – the best of the bunch. However few saw it due to a backlash against Cruise’s various antics. I really want this one to be good.

The Adventures of Tintin. I’ve been hearing lukewarm stuff about this one. Too much action and not enough character building. Still it’s done by Spielberg and Jackson and is doing big business in Europe. I loved the books as a kid. But I bet I end up seeing this one on DVD.

War Horse. This is reportedly Spielberg trying to recapture his anti-war vibe that he had so good in Saving Private Ryan and Schindler’s List. It’s not getting a lot of buzz and I have to admit I’m not excited. It’s based upon a Tony award winning play starting life sized puppets. However as intriguing as that sounds I suspect the movie will play it straight only with Spielberg doing his traditional “pull at the heart strings” direction.

The Iron Lady. It’s already controversial with some saying it’s a hit piece of Margaret Thatcher. However I’ll give Meryl Streep credit. She disappears into the role. Streep says it’s more sympathetic to Thatcher than is getting reported. On the other hand the director’s previous effort was Mamma Mia which doesn’t exactly inspire confidence.

Any I miss?  Thoughts?  I’ll probably be seeing most of my Christmas movies after Christmas day. (I’m just too busy before) But if I had to pick two to see it’ll probably be Sherlock Holmes and Mission Impossible.




13 thoughts on “The Christmas Movies

  1. My wife loves the Twilight books and movies and even she was rolling her eyes during this latest one. She hated it and says she might just skip the next one. I thought it was the worst movie I’ve seen this year.

    I’m most looking forward to the Thatcher movie because I love Streep and MI:4 because the trailer grabbed me and I love Brad Bird’s movies. We have some friends that have convinced us to make a night of it and see Sherlock Holmes the same night as MI:4. I didn’t really get into the first one, I thought it was too actiony, but they’re letting me pick where we eat for dinner, so it’s worth it.

    I’ll take the kids to the Muppets sometime this month, though I’m more excited to see it than they are, and I’ll end up seeing Dragon Tattoo by myself on dvd.

  2. The ending got to be a bit much in the Sherlock Holmes film. I loved it unreservedly up to the explosions in the slaughter house. It got to be a bit much from there on. And the weird wireless poison gas machine in the House of Commons was a bit much too. But I thought the acting and direction was great. And honestly you need the action to justify the budget for the bean counters. My favorite part was still the boxing match – which actually does line up with the Holmes canon.

  3. I saw Breaking Dawn with my daughter and the only thing I can say is that the way they made Kristen Stewart look during the pregnancy and birth was horrifying. I assume that was CGI or something but it looked like she was already dead. I also thought that there were a lot of plot issues that were not handled very well. My daughter liked it fine, which was the only thing that mattered to me, and she was able to explain the plot from her reading of the boooks, which helped a lot.

    I haven’t liked most of the Mission Impossible movies, but I did like the second one, so I’ll probably see this one. I also like the first Holmes movie, mostly because of the acting, si I’ll see that too. The Dragon Tatoo movie looks good to me and my wife loves Daniel Craig, so I’m sure I’ll see that. The others I probably won’t see.

    I’m curious as to why you already think Meryl Streep “disappears into the role” of Margaret Thatcher. She is certainly one of our greatest actresses, but have we gotten to the point where we say such things about her before we even see the movie?

  4. I want to see Scorcese’s Hugo. It’s been getting solid reviews.

    I am going to pass on The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. I read the book and I have to say it’s probably the most overrated thing I’ve ever read. Ever.

  5. I’m going to pass on Dragon Tatoo also. For one, as I said, Fincher just hasn’t grabbed me of late. I know he’s made movies that have done very well. But somehow Panic Room onward he lost it for me. Which is weird because I thought he was going to be a kind of Kubrickesque figure for a while. Panic Room seemed to be his way of reacting against the hype. While the other films were hardly bad films neither were any of them event films to me.

    Plus I heard the original Swedish film was pretty risqué and that this one probably is as well. I also heard from people who’ve read the books or seen the original movies that they are really overrated too.

    MCQ – that “disappear into the role” comes from people who’ve seen the movie. I can only comment on the clips I’ve seen but she does seem eerily like Thatcher. Unlike the clips I’ve seen of say Michelle Williams as Marilyn Monroe. She might be getting a lot of praise but she definitely doesn’t really seem like Monroe to my eyes. I can overlook that of course.

  6. The Dragon Tattoo books were over-rated, two of the three Swedish films are as well in my opinion.

    They aren’t as much risque as they are brutal. They’re not really sexy.

  7. None of those sound interesting to me at all. Except for the Muppets possibly. Nostalgia factor. Might bring back weird childhood memories I’d rather keep repressed though!

  8. I am much more excited about the prospect of three more episodes of Sherlock than I am about A Game of Shadows. Sherlock might have been then best thing I saw last year, though I’d have to think about that a bit.

  9. I really, really liked Sherlock but it still had some flaws. The episode with Moriarity was, I thought, the weakest by far. I was shocked they did so few episodes.

  10. I saw Hugo on Thanksgiving weekend with my son, who loved the book ([i]The Invention of Hugo Cabret[/i], a Caldecot award winning graphic novel that was written by a relative of Hollywood producer David O. Selznik). I liked it a lot. It’s a very well-made, big budget movie with good acting and writing throughout. It’s also kind of a love letter to cinema, so I expect it to do well come awards season. Unfortunately, it’s been a bomb at the box office.

    We also saw the Muppets, which I liked for different reasons. It was actively trying to make the Muppets hip and relevant again. I liked it despite the large amount of screen time given to Jason Segel.

    If Tintin is anything less than an unmitigated triumph, I’ll be disappointed. With this many smart people involved (Steven Spielberg, Peter Jackson, Edgar Wright, Stephen Moffat and Joe Cornish), it just can’t suck, can it? The only thing that gives me pause is that I have a general dislike for this type of animation. (I really hated The Polar Express and Beowulf.)

    Stephen Moffat’s television version of Sherlock is so much better than the Guy Ritchie movies it’s not even funny.

  11. Tintin has pretty good rankings on Rotten Tomatoes and Metacritic (83% positive reviews and an average grade of 75%, respectively). It was released first in Europe. As a life-long fan of Tintin, I’m looking forward to it, but I’m worried I’ll be disappointed.

    The version of “Girl With a Dragon Tattoo” that I saw was pretty decent (albeit dark and brutal). An overrated movie can still be good, and a crappy book can still be made into a good movie. I’ll probably wait a few years to see the new one, as I recently saw another version (assuming the reviews are good). For the same reason I’ll probably wait to see the original version of “The Killing,” despite the awesome reviews. That, and I’m not sure I could handle seeing that much of Scandinavia without getting heartsick about not living there.

  12. I like Tom Cruise. As an actor, anyway. I haven’t liked the MI movies much, though.

    I have quite a bit of sympathy for famous people. What happens to you when people tell you you’re all that your entire life. It’s got to be a very difficult head trip to deal with.

    I’m not a conservative, clearly, but I hate seeing Hollywood hatchet conservatives. The Thatcher movie would have to get really great reviews for me to see it. (Unexpectedly, I liked Oliver Stone’s take on Nixon. Guess that’s already been a lot of years ago. I couldn’t stomach ten minutes of W.)

  13. I cannot wait to see Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy but it has yet to open in my town and I can’t seem to find when it’s coming. I’m sure there’s a website that would tell me this, but I can’t figure out what it is.

    Anyway, I was in England in September when TTSS opened there and people were going crazy for it. I didn’t see it then because I was on vacation and I figured it was opening at the same time everywhere. Whoops.

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