Well folks it's finally December. Which means... SANTA'S COMING! As we make like Buddy the elf and eat our way through the four main food groups - candy, candy canes, candy corns and syrup - we at entertainment.ie take a look at what's worth checking out in the picture house this month.
Top of the list is, of course, The Hobbit. We've warbled on for the last few weeks about our unyielding excitement so by now - if you've stayed tuned to this here movie section - you'll be familiar with the story. Bilbo Baggins is a hairy-footed hobbit who finds himself enlisted by a group of haphazard dwarves on a quest to reclaim their ancestral home (chockers full of treasure) which has recently been invaded by Benedict Cumberbatch's Smaug (big scary dragon) against the dwarves' wishes. Sir Ian McKellen's ledgebag Gandalf and Cate Blanchett and Hugo Weaving's ethereal elves also feature.
Seven Psychopaths. From the writer and director of In Bruge comes Seven Psychopaths, Martin McDonagh's latest black comedy collaboration with fellow Irishman, Colin Farrell. Farrell stars here as Marty, a screenwriter struggling to piece together a story about seven disctinct psychos, some of whom he's beginning to cross paths with in real life. Sam Rockwell stars as Marty's affable yet psychopathic bezzo, Billy, who kidnaps neighbourhood dogs for a living. After Billy and Hans (Christopher Walken) yoink Woody Harrelson's gangster's beloved Shih Tzu, Marty finds himself inadvertendly embroiled in the LA crime world. Soon, his script begins to write itself. Funny and odd.
Life Of Pi. From director Ang Lee (Brokeback Mountain, Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon) and based on one of the most loved books of the century so far, Life Of Pi guarantees to be unlike anything else you’ll see this year. Pi is the son of a famous Indian zookeeper, but during their crossing to Canada with their animals the ship they’re on sinks, leaving Pi alone on a life-raft with some interesting company; an orang-utan, a zebra, a spotted hyena and, most dangerously of all, a Bengal Tiger. So begins their story of survival in the vast Pacific Ocean, with the shipwreck and his new companions going to be the least of his worries once hunger and dehydration set in. Shot in proper 3D, expect this unique and beautiful movie to be mentioned a lot come Oscar season.
The Oranges. Another dysfunctional family comedy, The Oranges centres on the Walling and Ostroff clans whose friendship gets tested when Nina, the prodigal Ostroff daughter, returns home for the holidays after a five-year absence and, much to the despair of both families, winds up kissing and entering into a full blown affair with David, head of the Walling family. A fantastic cast and a movie that offers a fresh look at Hugh Laurie since House dominated his career and a promising Leighton Meester.
Celeste and Jesse Forever. Divorcing couple Celeste and Jesse try to maintain their friendship (eh, rule number one of a break up: friendship is impossible) while they both pursue other people. As per our esteemed reviewer Gav, "Hollywood's got a new found tendency to give romantic movies a smidge of realism and I quite like it. While Celeste & Jesse Forever might like to think of itself as more truthful than most, it's still an altogether cosier affair than such downers as Blue Valentine, Like Crazy and Take This Waltz. Despite its problems this rom-com deserves a nod for sticking to its guns."
Jack Reacher. Tom Cruise is back in action in his latest ass-kicking flick. Here he plays an ex-Army Police Major who gets tangled up in the plot of five innocent bystanders who are all shot dead by an expert sniper. When the local police believe they've caught the bad guy, Reacher arrives in town to see whether or not they've got the right guy, and that's when things take a turn for the complicated… Based on Lee Child's phenomenally popular series (this one in particular is based on One Shot, book 9 of 17), with a screenplay by the writer of The Usual Suspects and a killer cast including Rosamund Pike, Robert Duvall, Richard Jenkins and Werner Herzog, this could be that rare action film that has brains to go along with the booms. (Rory Cashin)
Pitch Perfect. Beca (Anna Kendrick), a freshman at Barden University, is cajoled into joining The Bellas, her school's all-girls singing group. Injecting some much needed energy into their repertoire, The Bellas take on their male rivals in a campus competition. One for the younger Glee-type fans among us. Though don't let the Glee nod put you off; if Kendrick's repotoire heretofore is anything to go by, this shouldn't disappoint.
Gremlins. Nothing new here, just a movie that, oddly enough, makes for perfect festive viewing. A boy inadvertantly breaks 3 important rules concerning his new pet - Gizmo - and unleashes a horde of malevolently mischievous monsters on a small town. The launching pad for Furbies, Gremlins is always worth multiple viewings. Showing at the Lighthouse Cinema over Christmas.
Tinker Bell. Keeping the kiddy-winkles happy, here Tinker Bell ventures into the mysterious Winter Woods and comes across Periwinkle. While they are there they discover a magical secret. Secret of the Wings features the voices of Mae Whitman, Lucy Liu, Kristin Chenoweth, Raven-Symoné, Jesse McCartney and Angela Bartys. Great voicing cast.
Parental Guidance. Hollywood stalwarts Bette Middler and Billy Crystal star here in Parental Guidance as a married couple called in by their daughter (Marisa Tomei) to help care for their three young grandkids. However, given that it's been quite a few decades since they've had to look after any tots, they're more than a bit out of practice, their methods now old fashioned. All kinds of chaos ensues when their old school ways come head to head with their daughter's strict new school rules and the kids' 21st century way of life - "we don't tell them 'no', we say 'maybe you should try this'" etc. To get things under control Artie and Diane are left with little choice but to experiment with some unexpected tactics, including a new parenting style for themselves. Sure to be jam packed with laugh out loud moments - including one in which Crystal gets a baseball bat square in his nads - Parental Guidance is set to be quite the Christmas cracker. You can catch it in Irish cinemas on St Stephen's Day.