Aardman Animations, the company behind the much-loved Wallace & Gromit series trade clay for CGI in this holiday toon. Seems Santa Claus runs an efficient, high-tech operation these days, delivering toys to all the good girls and boys all over the world in record time. But when a tiny computer glitch leaves one poor little girl without a present, it's up to Santa's son Arthur to save the day. Among the great voice cast are James McAvoy, Hugh Laurie, Bill Nighy, Jim Broadbent, Imelda Staunton, Michael Palin, Robbie Coltrane and Eva Longoria. (Who let the American in there?) 97 minutes PG.
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Our main character, a supervillain-turned-foster-dad (voiced by Steve Carell), is considerably more toothless this time around, having given up his world-conquering ways. But the humor is infectious, and the story is sweet. Cartoons used to be about gags, not about plots, and this film really knows how to construct an old-school, animated gag. It lacks the edgy spark of the original, but the kids in the audience won't notice. 98 minutes PG.
Hoping we'll be even more impressed with him, actor Joseph Gordon-Levitt writes, directs and stars in this R-rated romantic comedy. Gordon-Levitt plays the titular New Jersey mook, a friendly, loyal churchgoing guido who just happens to be addicted to porn. This creates a somewhat unrealistic expectation when it comes to intimate relationships--particularly when the latest object of his affection is the sexy Scarlett Johansson. 90 minutes R.
Martin Scorsese produces, Luc Besson directs, Robert De Niro and Michelle Pfeiffer star. It's a hell of a match-up, but the stakes are fairly low in this Mafioso action comedy. De Niro plays the patriarch of a mob family that's relocated to rural France under the witness protection program. Old habits die hard, though, with plenty of opportunities for one and all--including daughter Dianna Agron ("Glee")--to crack skulls, firebomb buildings and fight off an army of wise guy hitmen. 111 minutes R.
This spook-filled sequel picks up exactly where 2010's Insidious left off--which if I remember correctly was deep inside some sort of fog-machine-filled theme park for ghosts. Turns out the Lambert family is no less haunted after their last exorcism/ghostbusting effort, so it's back to Poltergeist territory for another go-around. Director James Wan (Saw, Insidious, The Conjuring) still knows how to make with the scares, but this sort of old school haunted house stuff is getting a bit repetitive. 105 minutes PG-13.
An irresponsible playboy (Eugenio Derbez) must grow up quickly after a former lover gives him their daughter to raise. Yup, it's a cheap Mexican knock-off of Adam Sandler's Big Daddy. In English and Spanish with English subtitles. 115 minutes PG-13.
Alleged standup comedian and definite acquired taste Dane Cook voices the lead character in this imagination-free spin-off/knockoff of Pixar's Cars. It's a virtual carbon copy about a would-be racer who gets mentored by an elderly machine, only this time the oddly anthropomorphic characters have wings instead of tires. Pixar had nothing to do with this one, allowing parent corp. Disney to perform the sacrilege. 92 minutes PG.
Ron Howard directs this zippy, true-life sports tale of British bad boy James Hunt (Chris Hemsworth, hot off Thor) and intense Austrian Niki Lauda (Daniel Brühl from Inglourious Basterds). The obsessive Hunt/Lauda rivalry was the talk of mid-'70s Formula 1 racing. If you care at all about Formula 1 racing, this film might actually mean something to you. Howard does a great job of capturing the period detail and lenses the race sequences with nail-biting skill. But the plot doesn't really go much deeper than fast cars, hot women and the selfish jerks who love them. 123 minutes R.
A smalltime pot dealer (Jason Sudeikis from "SNL") gets talked into smuggling a giant load of weed back from Mexico. In order to cover his tracks, he hires a fake family including stripper "mom" Jennifer Aniston and runaway teen "daughter" Emma Roberts. Hijinks ensue. The supporting cast for this raunchy laugher includes comedy vets Ed Helms, Nick Offerman and Kathryn Hahn. 109 minutes R.