Saturday, December 22, 2012

New In Theaters - December 21, 2012

Starring: Paul Rudd, Leslie Mann, Megan Fox, John Lithgow,
Iris Apatow, Maude Apatow, Melissa McCarthy,
Robert Smigel, Charlene Yi & Albert Brooks
Directed by Judd Apatow for distribution by Universal

The Plot: Picking up five years after the events of “Knocked Up,” the “sort-of” sequel focuses on how Pete and Debbie (from the first film) are dealing with turning 40.

The Final Word: The idea for a “sort-of” sequel was actually not a bad idea. “Knocked Up” was a surprise summer hit and helped launch the film career of co-star Katherine Heigl (before her “Grey’s Anatomy” exit promptly derailed it not long after).  “This Is 40” may not pull the same opening weekend numbers as its predecessor, but that’s okay. Apatow has never been obsessed about making blockbusters; he’s more content to just put out a quality film and one that causes a conversation.

Starring: Barbra Streisand, Seth Rogen, Kathy Najimy,
Colin Hanks & Adam Scott
Directed by Anne Fletcher for distribution by Paramount

The Plot: A inventor heads out a cross-country sales trip along with his mother.

The Final Word: Looking past all the “car trip” puns, the overall feel is that the movie had potential but ultimately stalled out. Normally there are only a handful of films out this time to appeal to the typical Streisand audience, but with Billy Crystal and Bette Midler’s (equally panned) “Parental Guidance” and Oscar pics “Silver Linings Playbook” and “Les Miserables” also in theaters, poor reviews will probably have an impact on “Trip’s” bottom line.
Starring: John Goodman, Billy Crystal, Mary Gibbs, Steve Buscemi, 
James Coburn,Jennifer Tilly, Bob Peterson, John Ratzenberger,
 Frank Oz & Bonnie Hunt
Directed by Pete Docter, Lee Unkrich, David Silverman for distribution by Disney

The Plot: A little girl causes havoc in a city inhabited by monsters.

The Final Word: “Monsters, Inc.” is another of Pixar’s gems from the past that Disney has repurposed in 3D to earn a little extra money at the holiday box office. It also reminds audiences its sequel “Monsters University” is due out next year.

Starring: Tom Cruise, Rosamund Pike, David Oyelowo, Richard Jenkins,
Alexia Fast, Robert Duvall, Jai Courtney & Werner Herzog
Directed by Christopher McQuarrie for distribution by Paramount

The Plot: A military investigator becomes entangled in a high stakes murder plot and is forced to find the truth while evading capture.

The Final Word: Tom Cruise succeed last year in a big way at the December box office with “Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol” and seems set to double-down on that success. While Cruise is a different version of the title character than the one made famous in the Lee Child novels, audiences shouldn’t have a problem envisioning him as Reacher given his success with action films.