"It’s Thanksgiving. You’ve hooked up with the relatives, savored the great feast and enjoyed the tryptophan-induced nap. Now it’s time to organize a trip to the movies. Ah, but what to see?
Family trip with the kids
Disney’s Enchanted is the clear choice. The romantic comedy about an animated princess and prince transported to the live-action world is charming and easy to watch. As the princess, Amy Adams carries the film with a funny, bright-eyed performance. The best thing about the film is that the people in the live-action world are portrayed without cynicism.
Avoid Mr. Margorium’s Wonder Emporium, a too-mild fantasy with a slightly embarrassing performance by Dustin Hoffman in the title role. This one will have everyone except the 5-year-olds squirming, and I’m not positive about them.
Family trip without the kids
August Rush is a sentimental urban fantasy with lots of music about a kid seeking his long-lost parents through the magic of song. I haven’t seen it, but the romantics I know that attended the sneak previews thought it was wonderful. And don’t overlook This Christmas, one of those sprawling home-for-the-holidays movies. Yes, I know you’re already dealing with an influx of relatives, but watching movie families fuss and fret generally makes it easier to deal with the soap operas at home.
Adults looking for serious fare
Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead, Sidney Lumet’s non-linear exploration of a botched robbery involving two brothers, has been getting great reviews. While I appreciated the performances of lead actors Philip Seymour Hoffman and Ethan Hawke, I was never engaged by their characters and thought the whole thing played like one of those Quentin Tarantino knock-offs that came out after Reservoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction. I suggest you opt for No Country for Old Men, the Coen brothers’ powerful thriller/character study about a psycho-killer, a sheriff and a regular Joe who makes one very bad mistake. Javier Bardem, Tommy Lee Jones and Josh Brolin are aces in the lead roles, the Coens are in top form and the way they wrap up the film will give you something to talk about on the way home.
For event movie fans
The Mist is a scary enough adaptation of Stephen King’s novella about monsters in the fog. Unfortunately, it’s mean and the ending is so damn depressing that you’ll need to see Enchanted afterwards just to level out. Beowulf would be a solid action adventure flick, but the motion-capture animation employed by the director doesn’t cut the mustard. As a result, the characters’ faces aren’t expressive enough and the whole film plays like a puppet show with delusions of grandeur. If you must see it, however, see it in 3D on the giant screen at the IMAX downtown.
For the adventurous
You have much from which to choose. I’m Not There is a dreamlike documentary about Bob Dylan, with a number of actors playing different aspects of him, including the impressive Cate Blanchett. The surrealism may bother some in your group, but they probably won’t admit it. The King of Kong is an acclaimed documentary about the battle between Donkey Kong experts and Punk’s Not Dead offers mucho music, but don’t overlook Wristcutters: A Love Story, a black comedy about a special afterlife for those who died by suicide. Perfect fare for an edgy Thanksgiving.