Keira Knightley and Michael Fassbender in David Cronenberg’s A Dangerous Method

The studios are rolling out most of their movies early this week to take advantage of the long Thanksgiving holiday and there’s a bounty of cinematic goodness to be found. All release dates are for Wednesday 11/23 except where noted.

  • A Dangerous Method (****). Adapted by Christopher Hampton (Atonement, Dangerous Liaisons) from his play The Talking Cure, A Dangerous Method is David Cronenberg’s look at Carl Jung, Jung’s mentor Sigmund Freud and Sabina Spielrein, the beautiful but troubled patient who comes between them. A placid period on the surface, Method is shot through with the kind of dark and kinky subtext fans have come to expect from Cronenberg and yet it also finds the director at his most polite. If you come for the kink, you’ll be mostly disappointed, but if you show up for a nuanced character study wrapped in a period piece, you’ll be satisfied. Michael Fassbender, Viggo Mortensen and Keira Knightley star. (Cronenberg interview) (NY, LA)
  • Hugo (****). It takes a long time to hit its stride and for a while I wasn’t sure it ever would, but Martin Scorsese’s adaption of Brian Selznick’s award-winning book finally hits home. It just might be the most moving film of Scorsese’s long career. It’s the story of an orphan (Asa Butterfield), a gruff old toy seller (Ben Kingsley who is terrific) and the mysterious broken down mechanical man who brings them together, but in the end it’s really about Martin Scorsese’s love affair with cinema. Either way, it’s 3D fun for the whole family. Chloe Grace Moretz and Sacha Baron Cohen co-star. (Review) (Wide)

  • The Artist (****). From Michel Hazanavicius, Jean Dujardin and Berenice Bejo, the French director and cast of the OSS 117 spy spoofs, comes this black and white silent throwback to a bygone era of cinema. Ever expressive Dujardin (his smile and eyebrows seem to be driven by completely different parts of his brain) plays a silent screen superstar coping with the introduction of the talkies who crosses paths with Bejo whose star is traveling in the opposite trajectory. The Artist may be little more than a nostalgia piece, but it’s a loving and beautifully rendered one with another winning performance from Dujardin. John Goodman, Penelope Ann Miller and James Cromwell costar. (NY, LA. Fri. 11/25)
  • Rampart. Woody Harrelson reunites with Oren Moverman, his director from The Messenger for this story of a crooked LAPD cop working the streets during LA’s Rampart scandal which begins a one-week NY/LA Oscar qualifying run today.  I’d love to be able to tell you about it, but they requested online reviews be held until the official January 27 release so I haven’t watched the screener yet. Word on the street is that, if nothing else, Woody is something to see.
  • My Week with Marilyn. Michelle Williams plays iconic film actress Marilyn Monroe over the period of one week when she was in England filming The Prince and the Showgirl with Laurence Olivier (Kenneth Branagh). Freshly minted husband Arthur Miller (Dougray Scott) had gone back to the States and a young assistant on the film (Eddie Redmayne) showed Marilyn around England away from the hot lights of stardom. Also with Julia Ormond (as Vivien Leigh), Dominic Cooper, Toby Jones, Emma Watson, Derek Jacobi and Judi Dench. (Interview with director Simon Curtis) (Limited)
  • The Muppets. It’s time to play the music. It’s time to light the lights. It’s time to meet the Muppets in the all new Muppet movie tonight. They better not have screwed this up. That’s all I’m gonna say. I trust that everyone’s hearts are in the right places and the marketing has been solid, but I’m still not convinced Jason Segel is the right guy for this. I’m watching you, Segel! Amy Adams co-stars with appearances by Amy Adams, Chris Cooper, Rashida Jones, Alan Arkin, Jack Black, Billy Crystal, Zach Galifianakis, Kathy Griffin, Ricky Gervais and Emily Blunt (Wide)
  • Arthur Christmas. The folks at Aardman (Wallace and Gromit) take on Christmas in 3D CG animation. It answers the question of how Santa manages to deliver all those presents in one night and why the North Pole doesn’t show up on Google Maps. Featuring the voice talents of James McAvoy, Jim Broadbent, Imelda Staunton, Bill Nighy, Hugh Laurie, Robbie Coltrane, Michael Palin, Laura Linney, Joan Cusack, Dominic West and Andy Serkis. (Wide)
  • The Legend of Pale Male. The true story of Pale Male, a redtail hawk in central park, the likes of which hadn’t been seen in the city in a hundred years.  (Limited. Thu. 11/24)
  • House of Pleasures. The official synopsis: “In this lush, atmospheric look at the final days of an elegant, turn-of-the-century brothel, we go inside the cloistered walls of L’Apollonide to meet the Madam (Noemie Lvovsky), her elite clientele, and some dozen ‘girls’ – veterans and newcomers, romantics and cynics, schemers and innocents. Upending the period drama with split screens, time shifts and a modern soundtrack, this is a provocative and beautiful film about the world’s oldest profession – and an exploration of how the past is remembered.” Bertrand Bonello directs. (Limited. Fri. 11/25)
  • Romantics Anonymous. And again with the official word: “Romantics Anonymous tells the story of Angélique (Isabelle Carré), a gifted chocolate-maker whose uncontrollable shyness prevents her from acknowledging her talents. Struggling chocolatier Jean-René (Benoît Poelvoorde), who also suffers from a similar case of awkward bashfulness that threatens to drown his company, hires Angelique as his new sales associate. Realizing she’s attracted to her boss, Angelique decides to anonymously develop a new line of chocolates to save the company. With the future of the business hanging in the balance, Angelique and Jean-Rene must overcome their limitations and confess their sweet affections for one another in this delectable comedy.” (NY. Fri. 11/25)

3 Responses to “A Thanksgiving cornucopia of movie options”

  1. Yes indeed. In terms of perspective quality and timing this is the key movie week of 2011, making this the Mother of all Weekend Forecasts here at LIC.

    I will be seeing HUGO tonight, and have THE ARTIST and MY WEEK WITH MARILYN (the latter a special request from Broadway Bob) lined up for Friday and Saturday. I simply must see A DANGEROUS METHOD too, so I am thinking maybe for Sunday.

    Another film that is gaining steam in my weekend resolve (again it was Broadway Bob who urged this) is one that somehow escaped your line-up here, though it probably only received the NYC opening. It is a Norwegian film, which opens at the Cinema Village called KING OF DEVIL’S ISLAND with Stellan Skarsgard. Sounds VERY interesting: 4:18:38 PM

  2. Yeah, sometimes the New York only films get left off my list and that’s one of them. Some of those don’t ever play outside of New York it seems.

    I’m looking forward to hearing your response to The Artist. Did you ever see the OSS 117 films? They’re silly, but Dujardin is fantastic in them as he is here.

  3. I wish I had seen even one, but sad to say I haven’t. Great to hear about Dujardin’s work. God, I’m bursting with excitement with HUGO, THE ARTIST and Cronenberg on the horizon!

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