Cinematic Holidaze

A&E helps you figure out which winter flicks are worth sneaking candy into.

Sarah Harper

 

Holiday movies are about to pile up âÄî you know, like snow at the bottom of your driveway.

A&E shoveled through the slush to determine what should be on your personal pile this winter.

Movies about heroic boys to take the little ones in your life to

âÄúArthur ChristmasâÄù

Nov. 23

Animated

Director: Sarah Smith

Voice actors: James McAvoy, Hugh Laurie

What is it about?

ItâÄôs about a Santa youâÄôve never met âÄî rather, a Santa system youâÄôve never imagined, one in which the Claus family controls a new-fangled, high-tech gift dispensary that doesnâÄôt involve rusty bells or reindeer. That is, until a child is skipped over on Christmas and the loveably lanky Arthur has to save Christmas the old-fashioned way. On Prancer!

Why should you bother?

It joins the crowd of films that try to explain how Santa gets to every house in just one night. Make âÄúArthurâÄù part of a triple feature with âÄúMiracle on 34th StreetâÄú and âÄúPolar ExpressâÄú and get the handkerchiefs ready.

 

âÄúHugoâÄù

Nov. 23

Director: Martin Scorcese

Actors: Sacha Baron Cohen, Emily Mortimer, Ben Kingsley

What is it about?

The cranks and gears of the plot spin around Hugo Cabret, an orphan living in a train station in 1930s Paris. Hugo gets caught in the machinery of a mystery involving his dead father.

Why should you bother?

ItâÄôs based on a novel by Brian Selznick, who obviously knows the magic ingredients: orphans and the idea of living in places other than houses. Martin Scorcese threw in the cinematic kickers, Jude Law and Borat. Good one, Marty.

 

âÄúThe Adventures of TintinâÄú

Dec. 21

Animated

Director: Steven Spielberg

Voice actors: Daniel Craig, Jamie Bell, Andy Serkis.

What is it about?

Tintin, a character from a Belgian comic book, goes on a treasure hunt with his insult-stuffed best friend Captain Haddock.

Why should you bother?

Little ones will get a kick out of the jaunty and sweet main character. And itâÄôs worth it to expose them to a movie whose 3-D effects arenâÄôt as callously slapped on as other flicks. Steven Spielberg and producer Peter Jackson prove weâÄôve come a long way since âÄúThe Adventures of Sharkboy and Lavagirl.âÄù

 

Movies about chicks to see with mamas, baby mamas and the like

âÄúMy Week with MarilynâÄù

Nov. 23

Director: Simon Curtis

Actors: Michelle Williams, Eddie Redmayne, Julia Ormond

What is it about?

ItâÄôs about the original blonde bombshellâÄôs escape from Hollywood and her subsequent affair with Englishman Colin Clark.

Why should you bother?

Because you know HollywoodâÄôs Marilyn, but EnglandâÄôs Marilyn is a different animal, and this filmâÄôs fashionable cinematography and attention to detail will bring that to light.

 

âÄúThe Girl with the Dragon TattooâÄù

Dec. 21

Director: David Fincher

Actors: Daniel Craig, Rooney Mara, Stellan Skarsgard

What is it about?

This dramatic thriller is about a journalist out to solve the mystery of a woman whoâÄôs been missing for 40 years. He enlists the help of Lisbeth Salander, a rebellious computer hacker.

Why should you bother?

This is based on the bestselling Swedish novel by Stieg Larsson âÄî a Swedish version of the film was made in 2009. That someone is making a second version in English, whichspeaks to the universally enthralling nature of the story.

 

Dark movies about âÄúdamagedâÄù people to see matinee-style

âÄúSleeping BeautyâÄú

Dec. 2

Director: Julia Leigh

Actors: Emily Browning, Rachael Blake, Ewen Leslie

What is it about?

Imagine an old man paying to be alone in a chamber with a waifish hottie. HeâÄôs paid for the ability to do whatever he wants to her body, short of actual s-e-x. This movie is about Lucy, a college student, who lands herself a bizarre gig as the âÄúsleeping beauty.âÄù

Why should you bother?

The high-end prostitute archetype guarantees hearty doses of glamour and erotic creepiness. But see it in the light of day because you will be spared no mercy when it comes to full-frontal, aging man nudity.

 

âÄúWe Need to Talk about KevinâÄù

Jan. 27

Director: Lynne Ramsay

Actors: Tilda Swinton, John C. Reilly, Ezra Miller

What is it about?

A teenage boy goes on a killing spree at his high school. His mom deals with it in this movie, based on the 2003 novel by Lionel Shriver.

Why should you bother?

YouâÄôll have to wait until after the break, but you should spend your school-free weeks getting mentally prepped for what might just be the most talked about, most highly praised movie of the winter, if not the whole year. Perhaps the realest actors in Hollywood today âÄî Tilda Swinton and John C. Reilly âÄî play a couple whose dynamics will have you freaking out. DonâÄôt even get me started on the chilling gaze of their âÄúsweet little boy.âÄù

 

Movies to skip âÄì donâÄôt even bother

âÄúAlvin and the Chipmunks: Chip-wreckedâÄù

Dec. 16

Director: Mike Mitchell

Actors: Anna Faris (voice), Justin Long (voice), Jason Lee

What is it about?

EveryoneâÄôs favorite rodents go on a cruise and get ship-wrecked in the tropics.

Why should you not bother?

ItâÄôs easy to say, without being accused of being a haterade sipper, that Alvin and the Chipmunks hit their peak when they sang their Christmas song. TheyâÄôve departed way too far from their hula-hoop dreams. In âÄúChip-wrecked,âÄù their 3D selves indulge in cheap pop references, with a Lady Gaga cover and âÄúI whip my tail back and forth.âÄù It looks fun, but why would you waste your money on it when there are so many other good kids movies coming out this winter.

 

âÄúNew YearâÄôs EveâÄù

Dec. 9

Director: Garry Marshall

Actors: Robert De Niro, Sofia Vergara, Katherine Heigl

What is it about?

ItâÄôs just like Garry MarshallâÄôs other holiday-centric movie, âÄúValentineâÄôs DayâÄùâÄî a slew of characters get all tangled up in each otherâÄôs lives over the course of one day.

Why should you not bother?

Star-studded casts donâÄôt always deliver, especially when the script theyâÄôve got to work with is overrun with cinematic cliché. Marshall has cast a galaxy of stars, including everyone from class-acts like Robert De Niro, Sarah Jessica Parker, Halle Berry and Hillary Swank to fresher faces like Zac Efron and Lea Michele of âÄúGlee.âÄù

But Marshall has bled sentimental sap all over this one âÄî subplots involve Lea Michele and Ashton Kutcher stuck in an elevator, Josh Duhamel searching for love, a list of resolutions to be finished by midnight âĦ The cherry on top is a gruff Robert De Niro spitting out the eye-roll-inspiring line, âÄúNothing beats New York on New YearâÄôs Eve.âÄù