Because you really don’t have to see New Moon for the fourth time in less than a week, Hollywood is pulling out all the trimmings this Thanksgiving. By which we mean yet another movie about the apocalypse (The Road) and one that could potentially cause it to happen (Old Dogs). As we do every Friday, here’s a handy guide to the new releases.
What’s the story: Abandon hope, all ye who enter here! John Travolta and Robin Williams star as a couple of bachelors forced to attempt child rearing in Old Dogs, which might earn the distinction of “worst movie of the year.” Critics don’t just hate Walt Becker’s latest (the man behind the reviled Wild Hogs) they’re out for blood. Entertainment Weekly’s Lisa Schwarzbaum calls the film “interminable;” Roger Ebert thinks it’s “stupefyingly dimwitted;” and, in one case… well, you should read what HitFix’s Drew McWeeney wrote about the film yourself. Though considering he titles his review, “Is it possible to hate a film more than Old Dogs?,” you probably have some idea about his thoughts. On the bright side, if you’re looking to punish your family after Thanksgiving dinner, you now have a suggestion.
Who should see it: Billy Crystal, who must be wondering why he’s not in this thing.
What’s the story: Since nothing says “Happy Thanksgiving” like cannibalism, John Hillcoat’s (The Proposition) long-delayed adaptation of The Road, Cormac McCarthy’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, finally hits theaters this weekend. Scheduled to come out last November and delayed because of poor buzz and the financial woes of The Weinstein Company, the biggest surprise about The Road just might be that it’s one of the best movies of the year. In his sparkling review, the notoriously picky Rex Reed calls it a “magnificent picture” and especially singles out Viggo Mortensen (“there seems to be no end to [his] talents”). Sounds good! And, don’t worry: if your mom complains about not wanting to see a movie about the end of the world on Thanksgiving, remind her that The Road was also an Oprah Book Club choice.
Who should see it: Roland Emmerich.
What’s the story: Are we the only ones who thought something as benign and derivative as Ninja Assassin had to be based on a comic book or video game? That it’s not is both comforting and scary; at least Hollywood is trying to create some original blockbusters, but this is what they come up with? Produced by the Wachowski Brothers (remember when that meant something?) and directed by their surrogate (James McTiegue, V for Vendetta), Ninja Assassin is one of those rare movies that tells you everything you need to know about its plot in the title. It’s probably a better time than Old Dogs, but that’s not saying much.
Who should see it: Neo.
The Princess and The Frog
What’s the story: Showing on only two theaters (the Ziegfeld in New York, Disney’s El Capitan Theater in Hollywood) and with ticket prices reaching $50 dollars, you’d probably be wise to wait for The Princess and The Frog‘s nationwide release on December 11. But for those of you who are just too excited to see the first traditionally animated Disney film since 2004 (and the first one centering on a princess in almost 15 years), you still might get your moneys worth. Early word on the racially harmonized musical cartoon—the Princess of the title is the first African American in Disney’s history—is that it’s outstanding; a worthy entry into both the classic animation wing of Disney and a clear competitor with Pixar’s Up for Best Animated Feature at the Oscars. Oh, and did we mention that Oprah voices one of the characters? Buy those advanced tickets now!
Who should see it: Sleeping Beauty
Also opening this weekend: Zac Efron acts in Me and Orson Welles; and everyone can find out about The Private Lives of Pippa Lee.