Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
Review: ‘Mission: Impossible — Rogue Nation’ Starring Tom Cruise, Rebecca Ferguson, Jeremy Renner & More Review: ‘Mission: Impossible — Rogue Nation’ Starring Tom Cruise, Rebecca Ferguson, Jeremy Renner & More Relativity Puts 'Jane Got A Gun' And More Up For Sale As They Fight Off Bankruptcy Relativity Puts 'Jane Got A Gun' And More Up For Sale As They Fight Off Bankruptcy Zack Snyder Says Batman Has A "Crisis Of Conscience" In 'Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice' Plus New Pics Zack Snyder Says Batman Has A "Crisis Of Conscience" In 'Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice' Plus New Pics Venice 2015 Line-Up: 'Equals' With Kristen Stewart, 'Beasts Of No Nation,' 'The Danish Girl,' More Venice 2015 Line-Up: 'Equals' With Kristen Stewart, 'Beasts Of No Nation,' 'The Danish Girl,' More Watch: 4-Minute Tribute To Lars von Trier's Masterful Film Work Watch: 4-Minute Tribute To Lars von Trier's Masterful Film Work New 'Deadpool' Images, Ryan Reynolds Distances Himself From 'X-Men: Origins' New 'Deadpool' Images, Ryan Reynolds Distances Himself From 'X-Men: Origins' TIFF Images: Emma Watson In 'Colonia,' Brie Larson In 'Room,' Charlie Kaufman's 'Anomalisa' And More TIFF Images: Emma Watson In 'Colonia,' Brie Larson In 'Room,' Charlie Kaufman's 'Anomalisa' And More Richard Linklater Frontrunner To Direct 'The Rosie Project' Starring Jennifer Lawrence Richard Linklater Frontrunner To Direct 'The Rosie Project' Starring Jennifer Lawrence Watch: Blu-Ray Trailer For 'Avengers: Age Of Ultron' Plus 11 New Clips From The Film Watch: Blu-Ray Trailer For 'Avengers: Age Of Ultron' Plus 11 New Clips From The Film The 10 Best And 5 Worst Tom Cruise Performances The 10 Best And 5 Worst Tom Cruise Performances Watch: New Trailer For 'Mad Max: Fury Road' Blu-ray Release Explores Who Killed The World Watch: New Trailer For 'Mad Max: Fury Road' Blu-ray Release Explores Who Killed The World Just For Laughs: 'The Big Lebowski' Live Read With Michael Fassbender & Jennifer Lawrence Just For Laughs: 'The Big Lebowski' Live Read With Michael Fassbender & Jennifer Lawrence Union Rep Says Safety Was A Concern On 'The Revenant' Shoot Union Rep Says Safety Was A Concern On 'The Revenant' Shoot All The Songs In 'Paper Towns' Including Bon Iver, Wilco, Vampire Weekend, Bob Dylan, And More All The Songs In 'Paper Towns' Including Bon Iver, Wilco, Vampire Weekend, Bob Dylan, And More "A Living Hell": 'The Revenant' Is Reportedly $35 Million Over Budget, A Producer Exited The Movie, And More "A Living Hell": 'The Revenant' Is Reportedly $35 Million Over Budget, A Producer Exited The Movie, And More The 20 Best Documentaries Of 2015 So Far The 20 Best Documentaries Of 2015 So Far The 25 Best Animated Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 25 Best Animated Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 50 Best Films Of The Decade So Far The 50 Best Films Of The Decade So Far The 25 Best Horror Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 25 Best Horror Films Of The 21st Century So Far "It Was A Clusterfuck From Day One": 5 Things About Neill Blomkamp's Failed 'Halo' Movie "It Was A Clusterfuck From Day One": 5 Things About Neill Blomkamp's Failed 'Halo' Movie

In Theaters: 'Little Fockers,' 'True Grit,' 'Gulliver's Travels'

Photo of Kevin Jagernauth By Kevin Jagernauth | The Playlist December 24, 2010 at 3:01AM

There are plenty of options for those of you seeking refuge in a dark movie theater from family fights, creepy uncles and the increasingly annoying and endless loop of Christmas carols in every mall across America. But a word of advice? If it has a big budget, stay the hell away. A number of options are hitting multiplexes this week, a couple boasting A-list names as mistletoe to get into your wallet, but they probably aren't worth your time. Ben Stiller and Robert De Niro return for "Little Fockers" which, if the trailers have been anything to go by, is a penis-stabbing comedy of some kind. Meanwhile, Jack Black gets supersized in "Gulliver's Travels" and comes out of it all wet. Much more promising, Paramount serves the Coen Brothers' oater "True Grit," while over at the arthouse, Sofia Coppola goes "Somewhere" while animation fans get a nice stocking stuffer with Sylvain Chomet's "The Illusionist."
2


There are plenty of options for those of you seeking refuge in a dark movie theater from family fights, creepy uncles and the increasingly annoying and endless loop of Christmas carols in every mall across America. But a word of advice? If it has a big budget, stay the hell away. A number of options are hitting multiplexes this week, a couple boasting A-list names as mistletoe to get into your wallet, but they probably aren't worth your time. Ben Stiller and Robert De Niro return for "Little Fockers" which, if the trailers have been anything to go by, is a penis-stabbing comedy of some kind. Meanwhile, Jack Black gets supersized in "Gulliver's Travels" and comes out of it all wet. Much more promising, Paramount serves the Coen Brothers' oater "True Grit," while over at the arthouse, Sofia Coppola goes "Somewhere" while animation fans get a nice stocking stuffer with Sylvain Chomet's "The Illusionist."

"Little Fockers" is the oh-so hilarious name of the this third installment of the wheezing comedy franchise, but it might just be what you mutter under your breath at the movie executives who allowed this thing to get made. Not much has changed as Greg Focker (Stiller) stills seeks the approval of Jack Byrne (De Niro) with results that include appendage-severing, mega-boners and Jessica Alba. Oh yeah, Dustin Hoffman shows up to earn a Christmas bonus. We said the film was "as pleasant as enduring a rum-and-whiskey-fueled shouting match over the merits of the healthcare bill," so you've been amply warned. RT: 10% MC: 27


More stars -- including Jack Black, Jason Segel and Emily Blunt -- show up for the 3D family adventure "Gulliver's Travels" but they pretty much look bored to death. Much like the audience of kids we saw this with. The film takes a halfway decent idea of having the spazzy Jack Black land on Lilliput and then quickly resorts to piss jokes and "Star Wars" references. And that 3D? One of the worst conversion jobs of the year that adds absolutely nothing to the tedious happenings of the film. RT: 23% MC: 27

While studios keep grinding their pictures through the 3D machine to amp up thrillers, real filmmakers like the Coens realize that if the story is solid and the cast is great, half of your work is done for you. Sibling directing duo return with wickedly entertaining "True Grit" which comes with our highest recommendation for your dollars this weekend. Based on the Charles Portis novel that served as the basis for the John Wayne film, the Coens' approach focuses squarely on fourteen year old Mattie Ross who is played with peppery defiance by Hailee Steinfeld which, if there is any justice, should earn the newcomer an easy Oscar nod. Jeff Bridges, Matt Damon, Josh Brolin and a great, unrecognizable Barry Pepper round out the cast and really, it doesn't get much better than this. RT: 96% MC: 80

But not all the critically acclaimed filmmakers are delivering slam dunks this week. Sofia Coppola's Venice-winning "Somewhere" is an ossified, shallow misfire. It turns out the woes of a Hollywood star languishing at the Chateau Marmont just isn't all that compelling but if anything, the film marks the arrival of Elle Fanning who is quickly catching up to her sister Dakota on the Hollywood ladder. RT: 77% MC: 68

However, if you're looking for a truly original escape, Sylvain Chomet's "The Illusionist" may just be what you're looking for. Based on a Jacques Tati script that was unmade, this whimsical film chronicles a magician trying to remain relevant during the rise of rock 'n roll. This pretty much silent, hand drawn animated picture will capture your heart and might be the perfect antidote to the season's in your face festivities. RT: 89% MC: 85

But if you're truly looking to keep your foreign film cred this week, you can seek out Bruno Dumont's religious drama "Hadewijch" but don't be shocked if grandma doesn't want to join you (or has no idea what you're talking about). RT: 71% MC: 84

And just a heads up: if some of the year's most acclaimed films haven't hit your town yet you might want to check your local listings. "Black Swan," "The King's Speech" and "Rabbit Hole" all expand this weekend.

This article is related to: Films, Somewhere, Animated Films, Gulliver's Travels, True Grit, Little Fockers, The Illusionist


The Playlist

The obsessives' guide to contemporary cinema via film discussion, news, reviews, features, nostalgia, movie music, soundtracks, DVDs and more.


E-Mail Updates