Jason Segel, Amy Adams, Chris Cooper | PG |
"I'm gonna shoot straight," a TV exec (Rashida Jones) tells Kermit and pals. "You guys aren't famous anymore." How harsh, how true, how meta to acknowledge that in a movie called The Muppets. But then, this winning reboot bursts with quirkiness. Take Gary (Segel) and his brother Walter (voiced by Peter Linz). Gary is a nice man with a nice girlfriend, Mary (Adams). Walter is made of felt. Together they round up the estranged Muppets to save their theater from a tycoon (Cooper), often pausing for a song. (The brilliant rock ballad "Man or Muppet" is a high point.) With her musical-theater voice and quick wit, Adams edges Segel, who cowrote the script. But this is his passion project, and thank goodness. If it weren't for his affection, we'd still be without the Muppets, and for this die-hard fan, it had been way too long.
Ben Kingsley, Asa Butterfield, Chloë Grace Moretz | PG |
Hugo certainly looks like a Martin Scorsese film: gorgeous, with expertly choreographed shots and meticulous detail. Even the 3-D trickery lends itself to his eye, turning a Paris train station into a playground, albeit a perilous one. It's the children who seem out of place. Based on Brian Selznick's book The Invention of Hugo Cabret Hugo is Scorsese's bumpy first foray into kids' films. Orphan Hugo (Butterfield)lives in the train station's clock tower, starving, lonely and trying to repair his late father's (Jude Lawmechanical man. He's befriended by Isabelle (Moretz), the goddaughter of the station's toy peddler Georges Melies (Kingsley), who has a mysterious past. After a tedious first hour, Hugo morphs into a loving primer on film history and preservation that must absolutely thrill Scorsese's inner child. I question whether real 9-year-olds will be so enthralled.
James McAvoy, Bill Nighy, Hugh Laurie | PG |
Santa? You think that daft dude single-handedly delivers billions of presents in one night? No, it takes the military precision of his son Steve (Laurie) to make it happen ... until it doesn't. When one child's gift gets missed, Santa's kinder, klutzier son Arthur (McAvoy) takes off with Grandsanta (Nighy) to finish the job. Funny, warm and sometimes too clever by half (just try to keep up with that snappy British humor), Arthur Christmas is the latest from the folks behind Wallace & Gromit, who know well what kids like. The fun use of 3D and a deep bench of terrific actors should also charm adults.
HOW SHE STAYS YOUNG
I don't get wrinkles. That stuff they inject in people's lips to puff them up? That stuff comes from my people. Some people donate blood. My people donate dermal filler.
HER REAL AGE
Much younger than you think I am. The Muppet Show? I was too young to actually be in that. I was digitally inserted in that show years later.
DEALING WITH THE PAPARAZZI
I have a tray of cupcakes delivered that have Amy Adams's face on them that I throw at them if they get too close.
Coats are going to be very big this winter. Mark my words: Coats and hats and mittens will all be the must-haves. This winter you'll be seeing them everywhere!
HE'S ALREADY A WINNER
A top-grossing star in his native France, Dujardin, 39, won Best Actor at the Cannes Film Festival for his portrayal of a fading silent-film star in The Artist. "I was thrilled, proud and very scared," he says. "I didn't want to go to get the prize. It's not my job, and I'm also very shy."
HE KEEPS GOOD COMPANY
"I met George Clooney a couple of weeks ago," recalls Dujardin. "I told him that he's very handsome, and he said, 'I know.' Then he said, 'You too.' He's a nice guy: charming and intelligent. Disgusting, really."
HE KNOWS HIS LIMITS
Dujardin speaks little English and travels with a translator. Does that mean he won't make movies over here? "Silent American movies, absolutely," he says. "Otherwise we shall see."
DVDS FOR THE WHOLE FAMILY
1 SUPER 8
Topping off Thanksgiving with Toy Story 3 was fine last year, but older kids need edgier fare. Elle Fanning and a tween crew battling an alien are so cool I don't even have to mention director J.J. Abrams's sweet Spielbergian touches.
2 CRAZY, STUPID, LOVE.
Put the kids to bed after Super 8. This sexy romantic comedy is for the adults. Listen, it's fine if you-or your grandma-gasp out loud at how hot Ryan Gosling is when he does the Dirty Dancing lift with Emma Stone. I certainly did.
3 HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS-PART 2
Don't forget Black Friday! While everyone else is out hunting bargains, relax at home with this truly grand finale to a beloved series. Just look at how much Harry, Ron and Hermione have grown ... just like your kids! Oh dear, there's something in my eye.
IN A DANGEROUS METHOD, YOU PLAY A PATIENT OF PSYCHOANALYST CARL JUNG.
It's a dark subject matter, so you don't want to have to take it home with you. Fortunately [during filming] the World Cup was on, so we were all going to the pub afterward, drinking beer and watching soccer.
WHO HELD THEIR LIQUOR BEST: YOU, VIGGO MORTENSEN OR MICHAEL FASSBENDER?
Nobody can touch Michael. He's a superior drinker.
DID YOU TRY?
No! No. There's just no way. He's German-Irish! You've got to know when you're beaten.
HOW ELSE DO YOU UNWIND?
I'm good at baking. I love making carrot cake and banana bread. I made a great apple-walnut cake recently: The more ingredients, the better!
YOUR CHARACTER IS SERIOUSLY MANIC. CAN YOU RELATE?
I can be calm, but occasionally I'm the opposite. We're emotional creatures.