Thanksgiving Weekend Movies: Family Flicks and Oscar Hopefuls

I always cherish Thanksgiving week for ringing in the amazing end-of-year movie season. We not only get an onslaught of awards contenders, but also a slew of family films and blockbusters. And it all starts now.

Although ‘Breaking Dawn’ is expected to clean up again this weekend, three other major productions opened on Wednesday that are predicted to pull in a collective $62 million over their first five days.

The biggest of those three is the new resurrected Muppets movie. Written by Jason Segel (who also stars in the film) and Nicholas Stoller (the director of Segel’s ‘Forgetting Sarah Marshall’), you can expect consistent laughs from ‘The Muppets‘. If the ‘Green with Envy’ and ‘Piggy with a Froggy Tattoo’ trailers didn’t make you laugh, then you must not have a sense of humor. The movie itself lies within that same playful state, constantly breaking down the fourth wall as the Muppets must reunite and put on a telethon to raise enough money to save Muppet Studios.

The second of the three family flicks opening this week is Aardman Animation’s ‘Arthur Christmas‘. It’s the story of Santa’s youngest clutzy son, who sets off to save Christmas for a little British girl when her present accidentally gets left behind in the sleigh. Unlike the earlier Aardman releases such as ‘Wallace and Gromit’ or ‘Chicken Run’, ‘Arthur Christmas’ is expected to be widely received domestically.

The third of the big family releases this week is ‘Hugo‘, Martin Scorsese’s family film based on the part-novel/part-picture-book ‘The Invention of Hugo Cabret’. This marks Scorsese’s first use of 3D, which is actually quite astonishing. The magical film conveys a story filled with film appreciation and a message about the preservation, protection and restoration of classic movies. While ‘Hugo’ may not entertain children under 10, it will touch each film lover and possibly inspire the young minds of tomorrow.

Cannes award-winning ‘The Artist‘ finally opens this week, but only on four screens across the United States. Much like ‘Hugo’, ‘The Artist’ appears to be a love letter to classic films – specifically, the black & white silent films of the 1920s. The Weinstein Company is expected to expand the movie’s release throughout December.

David Cronenberg’s ‘ A Dangerous Method‘ also opens domestically on just four screens. Starring Viggo Mortensen, Michael Fassbender and Keira Knightley, the film delves into the creation of psychoanalysis and the philosophical feud between Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung’s opposing ideas on the subject. With a cast and crew as talented as this, ‘A Dangerous Method’ cannot expand quickly enough for me.

The widest of the limited releases is ‘My Week with Marilyn‘, a bio-pic about Marilyn Monroe from the perspective of a third assistant director who became romantically involved with her on the set of ‘The Prince and the Showgirl’. This movie has been getting Oscar buzz for the performances by Michelle Williams and Kenneth Branagh. On 244 screens, there’s a chance it may at a small theater near you.

After a fantastic limited opening last week, Alexander Payne’s ‘The Descendants’ is expanding to a smaller wide release this week. It’s definitely one film you don’t want to miss.

1 comment

  1. EM

    Thanks for explaining about The Artist’s currently very limited release; now I feel less insulted by its non-appearance in my town. I’ll be looking for it next month.

    Reviews are making me more curious about Hugo, The Muppets, and Arthur Christmas, all of which I had previously dismissed. I won’t be going to any of them this weekend, however. Indeed, I may wait for video in two cases. It sounds like I should see Hugo in a theater, though; I don’t have 3DTV, and this sounds like something to see in 3D.

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