The Great Now Playing Caper

By: Jeff Ford
By: Jeff Ford


HAPPY THANKSGIVING EVERYBODY!!!  I love this holiday.  It is a day to enjoy being a glutton of my three favorite ‘f’ words: family, food and football.  While I’ll be busy on Thursday, chowing down on a turkey leg while watching the Detroit Lions hopefully not delivering a turkey of their own to the Packers, I know many others will be planning on taking in a movie at the local theater.  On Wednesday, three new family affairs will be making their bid for your holiday dollar.  Why waste the time in the setup!  Let’s get right to it.


It’s the 1930’s and Hugo (Asa Butterfield, “The Wolfman”) is an orphan who has taken up residence in the walls of a train station.  He becomes wrapped up in a mystery that revolves around his late father and an automaton.  Christopher Lee (“The Stupids”), Chloë Grace Moretz (“The Eye”) and Sir Ben Kingsley (“Bloodrayne”) are just a few of the many denizens Hugo runs into before the mystery is solved.

This film is a major departure for director Martin Scorsese (The “Bad” music video).  Not only does it represent his first trip to more kid friendly fare, but it is also his first time shooting in 3D. From what I have gathered, it is also a very good move.  “Hugo” is receiving great reviews and there is some talk it could get some Oscar buzz.  I may check it out when it gets into the second run theaters, or sooner if circumstances allow me.  I’ll rate my interest in this as 3 crazed Nicolas Cage ambulance drivers out of 5.  “Hugo” is rated PG for mild thematic material, some action/peril and smoking.


While I may have been happy about the previous film, this one I am ecstatic.  I’ve always loved the Muppets.  Their movies and television shows have been a staple of my childhood and I for one am glad that they are receiving a revival.  Jason Segel (“Can’t Hardly Wait”) wrote and starred in this production.  It concerns a greedy oil tycoon (Chris Cooper, “Thousands Pieces of Gold”) who wants to demolish the old Muppet Theater.  With the help of Amy Adams (“Psycho Beach Party”), Jason Segel must reunite the Muppets and do everything they can to save the show.

Last week, I mentioned a film with one of the best marketing campaigns I’ve seen.  This film is it.  When the “Green With Envy” trailer was released, it started a whole chain of parody trailers that had me laughing hysterically.  It created a buzz around the movie that I don’t think would have existed to the extent that it does right now.  With each parody, it showcased to me that the filmmakers knew exactly who their audience was and, also by allowing the Muppets to showcase what they do best, make us laugh.  My interest in this is at the highest it can reach.  Hopefully, the final movie can sustain it because right now, I’m giving it 5 Baseball Diamonds out of 5.  “The Muppets” is rated PG for mild rude humor.


With all the hype surrounding the previous two films, this one was left behind.  The studio chose a very poor weekend to release it as it will inevitably be left behind, picking up the scraps.  It’s unfortunate as well as I am a big fan of the animation studio responsible.  Aardman Animations is the genius behind the “Wallace and Gromit” series and “Chicken Run”, personal favorites of mine.  However, while those previous Claymation features have done well, their adventure into CGI animation has not.  This is a CGI movie.

Arthur (James McAvoy, “The Pool”) is the youngest son of Santa Claus (James Broadbent, “Vroom”).  When a nice little girl is left off of Santa’s list, it is up to Arthur to come to the rescue.   This British affair does not seem to be up to the quality of Aardman’s previous work.  The trailer left me a little cold and not interested.  I’m rating this as 2 Creature Comforts out of 5, with it getting 1 rating higher based on the Aardman name alone.  They’ve yet to disappoint me so I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt.  “Arthur Christmas” is rated PG for some mild rude humor.

That does it for this week.  Tune in next time when I’ll try to figure out what actually is coming out here.  I have no idea.  Until then, don’t let the tryptophan knock you out.  There is football to be watched.

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