Review: Films to see over break

Anne Buie

Editor’s Note: The following reflects the opinions of the author

This holiday season, there are a lot of movies coming out, and with a college budget, you simply cannot see them all. Here are some early impressions of a few to help you decide what to watch:

“The Hobbit”
Dec 14, 2012

This film is the first of a new trilogy of “Lord of the Rings” movies, starring Martin Freeman as the eponymous hobbit, Bilbo Baggins. The movie details the first part of his journey with the wizard Gandalf and a group of dwarves to go slay the dragon Smaug. Even if you weren’t already geeking out as much as I am, director Peter Jackson and screenplay co-writer Guillermo del Toro’s reputations alone should be enough to make you expect great things from this movie.

The verdict: SEE IT

“This is 40”
Dec 21, 2012

The self-described “sort-of sequel” to 2007’s “Knocked Up” stars Paul Rudd and Leslie Mann in their previous roles as the parents of two kids, but without the larger cast of Katherine Heigl, Seth Rogen and his bizarre friends, it’s unclear how well these side characters will stand on their own. The film, which stars Mann and her husband Director Judd Apatow’s children, is sure to be funny, but may not be cohesive or really even have a point for existing. Hopefully it proves those sentiments false.

The verdict: RENT IT

“Jack Reacher”
Dec 21, 2012

Once again, Tom Cruise plays Tom Cruise, although for some reason everyone in the trailer keeps calling him Jack Reacher, which I’m pretty sure is not even a real last name. Though there were a few funny moments in the trailer, it looked exactly like every renegade cop/vigilante movie ever combined with Tom Cruise-level special effects and set pieces. I’m sure there’s a story in there somewhere, but I’m just as sure that it’s entirely a vehicle for Tom Cruise to blow up cars, punch people and take off his shirt.

The verdict: SKIP IT

“Les Miserables”
Dec 25, 2012

The story of bread thief Jean Valjean and his quest for redemption looks incredibly well-done and features an incredible ensemble cast, including Hugh Jackman, Anne Hathaway and Russell Crowe. By the trailer alone, it’s clear that this movie is a shoe-in for at least a few Oscar nominations, and the natural way the songs have been incorporated into the movie – the actors actually sing during the filming, as opposed to recording it months before – should lead to one of the most affective musicals of the decade.

The verdict: SEE IT

“Django Unchained”
Dec 25, 2012

Every time Quentin Tarantino gets into a new genre, he completely deconstructs it and turns it into something brutal, bloody and above all, epic. With “Django Unchained,” he’s trying his hand at the spaghetti Western, and his usual all-star cast is there in spades, with Jamie Foxx, Leonardo DiCaprio and Christoph Waltz. I’m especially interested to see Leonardo DiCaprio’s performance, who was originally considered for the part of the self-proclaimed “Jew Hunter” Hans Landa in Tarantino’s last release, “Inglourious Basterds.” If you see any film this December, it had better be this latest Tarantino film.

The verdict: SEE IT

Story: R. SCOTT MORRIS, A&E Editor