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ADMIT ONE – Movie Previews for the Weekend of Dec 23rd, 2011

Posted on December 21, 2011 AT 08:00am

No surprise once again to see Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows take the number one spot with nearly $40 million and Alvin and the Chipmunks to slip in at number two. Surprisingly though, Mission: Impossible: Ghost Protocol in a very limited release of only about 400 theatres was strong enough to take the number three spot. It should be interesting to see what happens this holiday weekend as most movies are being released on Wednesday (hence the early previews) and if that headstart hurts Mission: Impossible this weekend or if its just a strong sign of things to come.

1) The Adventures of Tintin – Based on the Belgian graphic novels, The Adventures of Tintin sees Tintin and his good friend Captain Haddock in search for a sunken ship once commanded by Haddock’s ancestor. But they aren’t alone on their quest.

Okay, so I admit I wasn’t as familiar with this comic book at first and originally thought “Why are they making a movie about that bad TV show with the dog (I was clearly thinking of Rin Tin-Tin.)?” Featuring the voice talents of Daniel Craig and Simon Pegg, this animated movie has to potential to not only be a classic though, but to jumpstart a new successful franchise for Producer Peter Jackson and Director Steven Spielberg as there are many more adventures for Tintin to be had beyond this one. Likened by many to a cross between Pirates of the Caribbean and Indiana Jones, there is definitely more of a feel to the latter in this and maybe even a splash of Sherlock Holmes. Those are some pretty strong movies to be likened to and considering there are so few action-oriented films geared more towards children nowadays, this is a strong frontrunner to come away with the holiday weekend box office as it has a strong appeal to both kids and adults and we all know how strong a family film can do at the box office.

2) The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo – An investigative journalist is aided by a young computer hacker after they are contracted to put their unique investitgative skills to the test in the hopes of tracking down a serial killer. 

Daniel Craig will be competing with himself a bit as the only movie that I think will give Tintin a run for its money is this one. Based on the first of an extremely popular trilogy of books from the past ten years, which means there will indeed be sequels, this movie isn’t exactly your warm cup of holiday cheer. Along with the legendary Christopher Plummer and a breakout role for young Rooney Mara as the girl, better known up to this point likely for being a possible heir to both the Pittsburgh Steelers and New York Giants football franchises (the Mara’s, which is father’s side of the family, have owned the Giants since their inception, as have the Rooneys, for whom she is named for and is her mother’s side of the family, have owned the Steelers), tremendous acting from all those involved along with one of the great thriller plots we’ve seen in a long time make this a spectacular watch if you can get away from the family long enough. Not to mention the score was done by Oscar winner and former Nine Inch Nails founder Trent Reznor, which only adds to the atmosphere of the film.

3) We Bought A Zoo – Based on a true story, a young family moves to the countryside in Southern California after the loss of their wife/mother. There, they renovate and re-open a struggling zoo and through the animals grow closer as a family.

Starring Matt Damon and Scarlett Johansson, here is your required holiday feel good film. Definitely suitable for the whole family, it has a Dr. Doolittle vibe going for it with a lot of light-hearted and heart-warming moments that are more akin to the holiday spirit. With such stiff competition out there though and this definitely having more of a generic feel to it, it could very easily get lost in the cracks, although, again, never fully underestimate the power of a movie geared towards families and children in particular. And kids love animals. It should be interesting to see where it ends up, and I could see it maybe even cracking the top five if enough people go to see two movies maybe this weekend, but otherwise I’m thinking this one is a lost cause that might find a decent second life with families on DVD/Blu-Ray or via Netflix.

4) The Darkest Hour – An alien invasion begins in Moscow as they attack through the power supply and people must rise up and figure out a way to repel this invading force.

A sci-fi horror movie most likely isn’t what most people will want to see this holiday weekend and that in turn has led to only about two-thirds of the theaters in the country carrying it when you have such other good and great movies coming out. What’s most interesting about this movie is there isn’t a lot of gore as the invading force prefers to disintegrate its victims instead. This provides the chance for a lot of spectacular special effects dealing with the lights of these invisible creatures and the disintegration process, but if it wasn’t for that, this would have B-movie potential at best. Full of a cast of nobodies, expect overacting galore, the black guy to die first, and lots of other predictable horror stereotypes as this movie has ‘pass’ written all over it.

5) War Horse – A young man enlists into the cavalry during World War I when his beloved horse is commandeered by the military.

A story and about a boy…and his horse? Really? I might grab this on DVD once it hits the bargain bin, which is what it is destined for, just because there is going to be some spectacular jokes throughout this movie. If the boy says he loves the horse, I may just lose my mind. Another case of someone competing against himself, in this case Director Steven Spielberg, you have to ask yourself what would drive him to make a movie like this. It might have some appeal to kids, but you’ve already got your heartwarming animal movie and your kid oriented action movie out there. If this cracks the top five, I will be flabbergasted. No matter what though, I know I can’t wait for the inevitable sequel “Glue Factory”.

6) Mission: Impossible: Ghost Protocol – After a bombing in the Kremlin, framed to look like IMF had something to do with it, Ethan Hunt and his new team must go rogue in order to clear their names.

Not quite fair that this movie had a limited release already, I still expect it will do decently well over the holiday weekend if the limited release was any sign of things to come. Tom Cruise may be crazy outside of the movies, but when he gets on screen with a role he throws himself into, like this one, you have to give the guys his props. Throw in a great supporting cast like Jeremy Renner, Simon Pegg, and even bit roles from Ving Rhames and Tom Wilkinson and this movie has a chance to come away as the straight up action winner of the weekend. Tons of over-the-top stunts and some cool gadgets that reminded me almost of Iron Man and if you love the sensational on the screen, then this is your clear pick for the weekend.

Ray Carsillo, Reviews & Previews Editor
Ray Carsillo has extensive roots in geek culture, as he’s written about video games, comics, and movies for such outlets as Newsday.com, ESPNNewYork.com, Classic Game Room on YouTube, Collider.com, and Comicvine.com before finally settling into EGM as reviews & previews editor. His main goal in life? To become king of all geek media, of course! Follow Ray’s exploits on Twitter: @RayCarsillo. Meet the rest of the crew.

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