Of this holiday’s three big movie releases, there’s at least one to be thankful for.
The biggest release of the week belongs to Pixar’s other 2015 movie, ‘The Good Dinosaur‘. The story, which functions like a blend of ‘The Croods’, ‘The Lion King’ and ‘The Land Before Time’, plays out more like one of the recent so-so DreamWorks movies than a Pixar great. But hey, at least it’s better than ‘Cars’ or its sequel. When runt dinosaur Arlo gets carried away by a river, he finds himself alone and far from home. With the help of his new dog-like friend, the orphaned human boy Spot, they’ll make their way across the frontier. Peppered with sporadic moments of fantastically funny dialog, adults will be entertained part-time, but the kids will love it.
The next biggest release is the one that’s certain to entertain grown-up moviegoers. ‘Creed‘ boldly comes out of nowhere to perfectly function as the ‘Rocky’ movie for a new generation. Capturing the mood, tone, rich character development and likeability of the original ‘Rocky’, the spin-off introduces us to Apollo Creed’s illegitimate son (Michael B. Jordan). With fighting in his blood, he seeks the training of his late father’s best friend and opponent, Rocky Balboa (Sylvester Stallone), while attempting to kick off his career in the ring. ‘Fruitvale Station‘ director Ryan Coogler (who also co-wrote the screenplay) has done an amazing job reinvigorating the franchise.
After a several-year stint on television, director Paul McGuigan (‘Wicker Park’, ‘Lucky Number Slevin‘) is back at directing for the big screen with ‘Victor Frankenstein‘, the latest attempt to bring the mad scientist and their monstrous creation to life. James McAvoy stars as the young doctor and Daniel Radcliffe plays Igor. The film’s tone is said to be inconsistently all over the place, swinging from seriousness to over-the-top hammy cheesiness. On the bright side, it at least appears to be more entertaining than that ‘Dracula Untold‘ business.
In limited release is the Oscar hopeful ‘The Danish Girl‘. Director Tom Hooper (‘The Kings Speech‘, ‘Les Miserables‘) helms with Eddie Redmayne and Alicia Vikander starring. The timely picture tells the true story of the 1920s Danish couple that pioneered gender reassignment surgery. Said to be quite brilliant and filled with fantastic performances, Focus is expected to expand ‘The Danish Girl’ wide before too long.