Saturday, December 03, 2011

Movies: Belated Turkey Day Double Feature

Sorry for the late posts...hard to get things out in a Turkey Day coma...

There isn't much to do on Thanksgiving. You could watch football, you could watch the Macy's parade, you could watch your waistband expand from too much stuffing. My family? We usually watch some movies.

The Descendants

Like most studios, Fox releases its Oscar-bait films during the holiday season. In this case, it's an adaptation of a book written by Kaui Hart Hemmings:



George Clooney plays Matt King, a wealthy Hawaiian real-estate lawyer. King's ancestors were Hawaiian royalty, and he's the sole trustee of thousands of acres of prime Hawaiian land. When his wife falls into a coma after a boating accident, King's life gets turned upside-down as he struggles to take care of his two headstrong daughters.

"The Descendants" doesn't really give Clooney much to do (I mean, he's played lawyers before), but I really enjoyed the performances of the two young actresses playing his daughters, Shailene Woodley and Amara Miller. As my sister remarked, it's nice to know Woodley can do more than play a pregnant teenager.

Rating: 7/10

The Muppets

Pretty much everything Jim Henson's workshops touched turned to gold ("Fraggle Rock," "Sesame Street," "Labyrinth," "Dinosaurs"...), so it's a little hard to believe there hasn't been a full-fledged Muppets feature film since 1999. Jason Segel, Nicholas Stoller, and director James Bobin have "rebooted" the franchise with "The Muppets":



The plot's pretty basic: it's been years since "The Muppet Show," and the cast - Kermit, Miss Piggy, Fozzie, Gonzo, and all the rest - have been scattered to the four winds. When an evil oil baron plans to raze the Muppet theatre to drill, though, the gang gets back together to put on a show to save the place.

At times, "The Muppets" lays on the nostalgia a little thick - there are constant flashbacks to "The Muppet Show," plenty of in-jokes, and even coyly placed Muppets memorabilia. People also might be turned off by the woe-is-me attitude of the movie (we get that the Muppets aren't hip in the age of Kim Kardashian and "American Idol," can you quit reminding us?). Overall, though, I'd take any chance to see the Green One in action, so "The Muppets" gets...

Rating: 7/10

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