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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Make it a happy flicksgiving

    There comes a point during every family get-together when friends and loved ones get irrevocably irritated with each other. Mom has instated a threat-level-orange quarantine on the kitchen as she bastes and seasons with military precision. Dad sips a cold one on the couch and, with increasing unease, abides grandpa’s hissing hearing aid. The kids won’t shut the hell up. Eyes shift and fists clench as the tension at home thickens like grandma’s special cranberry compote. But, finally, from the corner of the room one brave voice, choked with stuffing, breaks the silence with that inevitable question: “”Hey, who wants to go to the movies?””

    Yes, the movies! For more than a century, the plush seats of these sprawling, air-conditioned palaces have welcomed armies of world-weary Americans looking for an escape from this troubling world – from bad weather, boring times and even obnoxious family members. This Thanksgiving weekend, tranquility and comfort can be yours for the (increasingly exorbitant) price of a ticket-stub, but what movie, you may wonder, is worthy of your (or hopefully your parents’) hard-earned $10? Read on, and the Thanksgiving Movie Guide will help you decide which seat to put your butt in this holiday weekend.

    Movies for Mom and Dad

    If you experience the misfortune of attending a movie alone with your parents this weekend, know that hope is not lost: There are a handful of family-friendly films available for your viewing pleasure that will easily bridge the generation gap.

    “”Australia,”” the new genre-bender from show-stopping director Baz Luhrmann (“”Moulin Rouge””) is part Western, part war flick, part romance and entirely grandiose. A melodramatic romance between Lady Sarah Ashley, a prim socialite played by Nicole Kidman, and the Drover, a stereotypically rugged cowboy played by Hugh Jackman, develops on the hazardous landscape of the Australian outback. Romance is balanced with stampedes, explosions and stealth missions, appealing to men and women, teens and parents. Go early in the day and grab a hotdog: This bad boy is almost three hours long. (PG-13) -Brandon Specktor

    “”Milk”” is indie laureate Gus Van Sant’s chronicle of political personality Harvey Milk. Sean Penn plays the ebullient Milk, the first openly gay man elected into public office and an outspoken champion of human rights. The film takes a dramatic, though entertaining, look at the last eight years of Milk’s life, touching on the man’s various romances, heroic political accomplishments and sassiness. It’s a great choice for those parents who insist on films having social relevance. (PG-13)

    At the cheap theater: “”Burn After Reading”” (R)

    Movies for Dudes

    Ever-bald, ever-badass action-whore Jason Statham returns for “”Transporter 3,”” the breakneck sequel featuring everyone’s favorite chauffeur-mercenary. Most action movies these days are unquestionably similar, so what makes this one special? Well, the premise of the film is that Statham cannot exceed a distance of 75-feet from his car at any time or it will self-destruct. Expect constant over-the-top car-chases, impossible gunfights and disturbingly satisfying car-chase-gun-fights in this 90-minute action romp. A new director takes charge of this installment, but you should expect only the best from a dude named Olivier Megaton. Go with your brothers, but for the safety of those around you, please do not operate a motor vehicle until several hours after witnessing this movie. (PG-13)

    At the cheap theater: “”Max Payne”” (PG-13)

    Movies for Chicks

    They say the love between a 108-year-old vampire and a teenage girl is the purest love of all, which is why “”Twilight”” is the word on every tween’s lips right now. But this big-screen adaptation of Stephenie Meyer’s vampire romance is more than pubescent love fodder: It is a fine date movie and a decent fantasy story to boot.

    When 17-year-old Bella Swan is displaced from her Phoenix home into the rainy town of Forks, Wash., catching up on course work is the least of her problems; coping with her insatiable love for Edward Cullen, the brooding campus hottie and resident vampire, takes top priority. Fans of Meyer’s novels will quake with joy over the dreamy adaptation, and those who have not read the books – that is to say, those with male genitalia – will appreciate the occasional vampire brawl and wanton bloodshed. Great movie for a date or killing time with that awkward female cousin. (PG-13)

    At the cheap theater: “”Mamma Mia!”” (PG-13)

    Movies for All

    Friends and relatives of all ages will be pacified with any of these big-name flicks. If there’s absolutely no escape from the entirety of your family – or you sincerely enjoy spending time with them – check out one of the following.

    “”Quantum of Solace”” continues the James Bond legacy in the trend of breakneck thrillers like “”The Bourne Identity.”” Agent 007, reprised for the second time by British bad-boy Daniel Craig, hunts down members of the enigmatic Quantum, a global organization of evil who offed Bond’s girl Vesper in the finale of “”Casino Royale.”” “”Quantum”” satisfies all expectations you may have of a James Bond movie, but picks up the pace for our busy holiday lifestyles with over-caffeinated editing and the shortest run time of any film in the series. Watch the new Bond’s high-octane shenanigans with any companions of your choosing, but wait until after the turkey dinner so that the tryptophan can sink in and create the perfect mental balance. (PG-13)

    For something a little lighter, try “”Four Christmases.”” Stoic giant Vince Vaughn and dainty princess Reese Witherspoon play a couple forced, like so many of us, to spend the holidays with family. Divorce being what it is in this country, the two end up visiting four sets of relatives, learning the definition of misery – basically, a holiday version of “”Meet the Parents”” without Robert DeNiro or the art of Cat-Graffiti. Whether the formulaic family comedy brings you closer to your own relatives or repels you from them entirely, you’ll probably laugh along the way, if only because Vaughn is a full foot-and-a-half taller than his impish costar. See it early in the day so you can discuss Vaughn and Witherspoon’s deranged family antics over dinner instead of your own. (PG-13)

    Disney’s new animated film “”Bolt”” is an enjoyable bit of fluff. American White Shepherd pup Bolt plays a super-dog action hero on TV where his day is filled with adventure – until they yell cut. When TV’s No. 1 action hero dog is accidentally sent from Hollywood to the Big Apple, he comes to believe he really is a super hero. Hilarity ensues as he attempts to get home for an oh-so-heart-warming reunion with friends. “”Bolt”” has some very sharply-drawn supporting characters, solid narrative hooks and slickly constructed action field adventure sequences. All that allows for a vibrant, energetic and engaging feel-good movie that, as a Disney film must, is made to connect well with the young ones. No matter what your age may be, “”Bolt”” is a movie worth seeing. This could easily be the best non-Pixar computer animated film to date. (PG)

    At the cheap theater: “”The Dark Knight”” (PG-13)

    See you at the movies.

    – Ali Freedman contributed the review of “”Bolt”” to this piece.

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