Wednesday, November 30, 2011

MOVIE REVIEW: Take Shelter

Director: Jeff Nichols
Writer: Jeff Nichols


Michael Shannon ... Curtis
Jessica Chastain ... Samantha
Tova Stewart ... Hannah
Shea Whigham ... Dewart
Katy Mixon ... Nat
Natasha Randall ... Cammie
Ron Kennard ... Russell
Scott Knisley ... Lewis
Robert Longstreet ... Jim
Heather Caldwell ... Special Ed Teacher
Sheila Hullihen ... Woman in Road
John Kloock ... Man in Road
Marianna Alacchi ... Bargain Hunter
Jacque Jovic ... News Anchor
Bob Maines ... Walter Jacobs

So, what makes a really good thriller? In my opinion, the film's got to touch a nerve or two. In the case of Take Shelter, writer-director Jeff Nichols hits three big ones:

* Killer storms
* Ecological Disasters
* Inherited insanity

Curtis is a blue-collar construction worker who spends most of his days in a rural Ohio setting drilling holes. He's got a nice life, his lovely wife Samantha. The only hitch you see at first is his daughter, Hannah is in need of a cochlear transplant to help her hear.

MOVIE REVIEW: The Muppets (2011)

Director: James Bobin
Writers: Jim Henson (characters), Jason Segel


Jason Segel ... Gary
Amy Adams ... Mary
Chris Cooper ... Tex Richman
Rashida Jones ... Veronica Martin
Steve Whitmire ... Kermit / Beaker / Statler / Rizzo / Link Hogthrob / The Newsman (voice)
Eric Jacobson ... Miss Piggy / Fozzie Bear / Animal / Sam Eagle / Marvin Suggs (voice)
Dave Goelz ... Gonzo / Dr. Bunsen Honeydew / Zoot / Beauregard / Waldorf / Kermit Moopet (voice)
Bill Barretta ... Swedish Chef / Rowlf / Dr. Teeth / Pepe the Prawn / Bobo / Fozzie Moopet (voice)
David Rudman ... Scooter / Janice / Miss Poogy (voice)
Matt Vogel ... Sgt. Floyd Pepper / Camilla / Sweetums / 80's Robot / Lew Zealand / Uncle Deadly / Roowlf / Crazy Harry (voice)
Peter Linz ... Walter (voice)
Alan Arkin ... Tour Guide
Bill Cobbs ... Grandfather
Zach Galifianakis ... Hobo Joe

They're back! Twenty-one years after Jim Henson's death, I hadn't expected to see another Muppet movie, but I was there on opening day with my heart in my throat not quite sure what to expect.

Gary and Mary have been dating for ten years and it's time they celebrated their anniversary. Gary's delighted to make Mary's romantic dream of visiting Hollywood come true. There's just one small hitch: Gary can't leave his brother, Walter the Muppet fan (and puppet) behind.

MOVIE REVIEW: Arthur Christmas

Director: Sarah Smith
Writers: Peter Baynham (screenplay), Sarah Smith (screenplay)


James McAvoy ... Arthur (voice)
Hugh Laurie ... Steve (voice)
Bill Nighy ... Grandsanta (voice)
Jim Broadbent ... Santa (voice)
Imelda Staunton ... Mrs. Santa (voice)
Ashley Jensen ... Bryony (voice)
Marc Wootton ... Peter (voice)
Laura Linney ... North Pole Computer (voice)
Eva Longoria ... Chief De Silva (voice)
Ramona Marquez ... Gwen (voice)
Michael Palin ... Ernie Clicker (voice)
Sanjeev Bhaskar ... Lead Elf (voice)
Robbie Coltrane ... Lead Elf (voice)
Joan Cusack ... Lead Elf (voice)
Rhys Darby ... Lead Elf (voice)

Let's face it, the holidays are an easy target, particularly when we have slack years in film. Every year, film makers capitalize on the season and bring out a new Christmas film. Most, I don't go to see in the theater. Fewer still get added to my movie collection. Arthur Christmas is a notable exception. Frankly, I'd go back and see this film once more during the season just because the effects on the big screen are that exceptional.