‘Arthur Christmas,’ PG. Pleasant animated film with old fashioned spirit. When Santa Claus’ operation becomes a corporate style monolith, and individuals who fall through the cracks are an acceptable part of the cost of business, an old fashioned hero emerges: Arthur (voiced by James McAvoy), the clumsy, bumbling younger son in the Claus clan. Three star rating.
‘Hugo,’ PG. An unusual family film from director Martin Scorsese, who uses 3-D brilliantly to tell the story of early movies. Asa Butterfield stars as Hugo Cabret, a wide-eyed orphan who becomes one of the geniuses of silent movies. Knowledge of film history isn’t necessary to enjoy the film; a sense of wonder, however , is . Three Star Rating.
‘Like Crazy,’ PG-13. Young people in love (Anton Yelchin and Felicity Jones) are forced into a long-term, long-distance relationship. The story is nothing new, but the cast creates empathy, and we’re swept up into the characters’ lives. Director Drake Doremus encouraged his stars to improvise their dialogue, and they create wistful, convincingly erratic individuals. Three Star Rating.
‘The Muppets,’ PG. A very welcome return fro Kermit the Frog, Miss Piggy and the rest of Jim Henson’s creations after a 12 year big screen absence. The songs are campy but catchy, the humor corny but clever, the cast – both human and Muppet – one of the most lovable gangs you’ll ever spend time with at the pictures. (Another lovable gang, the ‘Toy Story’ playthings, star in a short animated charmer that precedes ‘The Muppets.’ ) Jason Segel and Amy Adams star; Segel and director Nicholas Stoller co-wrote the script. Three Star Rating.
‘My Week with Marilyn,’ R. Michelle Williams is an excellent Marilyn Monroe, even though the script allows her only to be either sexy or insecure. Even less developed is the character of Colin Clark (Eddie Redmayne), the young, star struck and personality free assistant at the center of the story. Simon Curtis directs. Two Star Rating.