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Weekend Movies: Holiday Blowout, Part 1

With less than a week to go until Christmas Day, a slew of new films get thrown in our faces. Pace yourselves. This weekend brings us two wide releases, three expansions and two Oscar-contenders – and it’s not slowing down. Christmas Day will give us five more wide releases (that we’ll cover next week).

This week’s widest debut already hit screens on Wednesday. The long-awaited and highly promoted sequel ‘Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues‘ opened on 3,507 screens. Now nine years down the road, America’s favorite news team has reassembled to take their unethical and inappropriate shenanigans into the 24-hours news world of the ’80s. While an actual plot, like the original ‘Anchorman‘ had, is missing here, the chemistry and camaraderie of the characters is even stronger than before. This unrestrained comedy knows that it has to aim even higher to please fans, and that’s exactly what it will do.

The six-screen release of Spike Jonze’s sulky indie drama ‘Her‘ also opened on Wednesday. Joaquin Phoenix stars as a recently dumped dude in the disconnected future. Depressed and down, he connects with the first thing that gets him – his new artificially-intelligent computer and mobile operating software (OS). Voiced by Scarlett Johansson, he quickly falls in love with his device, which falls in love with him in return. Aiming for awards, ‘Her’ will expand over the next several weeks.

Opening on more than 3,200 screens today is Fox’s animated family flick ‘Walking with Dinosaurs‘. In glorious 3D CG, it may sound enticing to experience Earth back when dinos roamed, but beware that the leading carnivores and herbivores are voiced by actors despite their mouths never moving. Think ‘Homeward Bound’. Doesn’t sound so enticing now, does it?

Another indie Oscar hopeful hitting screens today is ‘The Past‘. The Oscar-nominated writer and director of ‘A Separation‘ tackles another tough scenario. An Iranian man returns to Paris to visit the children of his estranged wife, only to get sucked into the same self-inflicted drama that ran him off four years ago. Like ‘A Separation’, the story is interesting and ultimately unpredictable. The performances by lead actors Ali Mosaffa and Bérénice Bejo (‘The Artist‘) carry the film along.

Expanding to more than 2,000 screens each are Disney’s ‘Saving Mr. Banks‘ and David O. Russell’s ‘American Hustle‘ – while the Coen brothers’ folk drama ‘Inside Llewyn Davis‘ expands to 148 screens.

1 comment

  1. Sorry Josh, but the kid in me says Walking With Dinosaurs will be a must buy when it hits Blu. I think it will make a decent amount of $$. Yeah it’s lame that the dinos are voiced without moving mouths.

    Not caring for Anchorman 2 or Mr. Banks.

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