Monday, December 25, 2006


I've seen quite a lot of movies this holiday season, so here are some brief reviews:

"Deck the Halls," directed by John Whitesell, starring Danny DeVito and Matthew Broderick, released Nov. 22- Not as horrendously bad as one might have guessed, this silly tale about a man who wants his house to be seen from space might be worth watching on video, if everything else is checked out. Still, it has its moments, thanks mostly to the always enjoyable Kristin Chenoweth.

"Unaccompanied Minors," directed by Paul Feig, starring Lewis Black and Wilmer Valderrama, released December 8- An amusing pre-teen movie about a group of unaccompanied minors snowed in at the airport on Christmas Eve. Although the ending is predictably sentimental, this feel good film has enough bite to make it one of the better Christmas movies of its genre (especially compared to last year's "Cheaper by the Dozen 2").

"The Holiday," directed by Nancy Meyers, starring Kate Winslet, Jack Black, Cameron Diaz, and Jude Law, released Dec. 8- Due to a shortage of romantic comedies this holiday season, this film will have to do. Cameron Diaz and Kate Winslet switch apartments for the holidays in attempts to escape the men in their lives. Diaz still can't act and Law fails to humanize his perfect man of a character, but Black is surprisingly charming and Winslet is a believable everywoman. Cameos abound in some pretty clever scenes about the film industry.

"Night at the Museum," directed by Shawn Levy, starring Ben Stiller, Dick Van Dyke, and Robin Williams, released Dec. 22- This original story about a museum that comes to life at night is a great family film because it teaches children (and adults) the importance of history and museums. Noteable performances among the able star-studded cast include the spunky Mickey Rooney, Ricky Gervais as a David Brent-esque (but kinder and G-rated) museum director, and Owen Wilson and Steve Coogan as two hilarious miniatures.

"Pursuit of Happyness," directed by Gabriele Muccino, starring Will Smith and Jaden Christopher Syre Smith, released Dec. 15- Although there is already Oscar talk for Will Smith in his turn as poverty-stricken Chris Gardner, his son Jaden Smith steals the show as his on-sceen son. His chubby cheeks and sweet smile are enough to cause any Grinch's heart to grow three sizes.

"Dreamgirls," directed by Bill Condon, starring Jamie Foxx, Beyonce Knowles, Eddie Murphey, and Jennifer Hudson, released Dec. 25- This musical extravaganza is not without its faults (most notably the sometimes confusingly placed musical numbers), but the performances make it the best holiday film that I've seen this year. The buzz about Hudson's unfortgettable turn as Effie was founded as she has a powerful voice and can act on top of it (unlike Knowles). But if anybody is going to get an Oscar for the film, I'd predict the already established Murphey who could have a future in musical theatre if his comedy career falls through.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Damn, Linda. That's a lot of movies. Here's my two cents...

The Holiday: Sucked. Waaaay too long; painfully so. Far too little Jack Black, far too much whimpering, snivelly Kate Winslet. I actually (surprisingly) much preferred the Diaz-Law storyline, because it managed to surprise me - though not with quality acting.

Dreamgirls: Eddie Murphy kicked some serious ass. Jamie Foxx, I discovered, I do not like at all. Beyonce was pretty much innocuous - didn't really make an impression one way or another, though I did appreciate that she toned down her vocal stylings appropriately according to her role. Jennifer Hudson was indeed excellent, although I admit I found her physical mannerisms in her "big moment" song to be distracting and unflattering. And the third Dreamette was also excellent. Overall it was a good time, but the second half draaaaaagged onnnnn and onnn. But it was a Christmas day movie well chosen!

That's all I've seen thus far...see you in NYC!