A Preview of December’s New Releases


Max Stahlstaff writer

December 7

“Playing for Keeps”
Rated: PG-13
Runtime: 106 min.
Genre: Romantic Comedy
Director: Gabriele Muccino
Starring: Gerard Butler
The Premise: A retired soccer player tries to get his life back on track by coaching his son’s soccer team, but he has trouble resisting flirting with the other players’ mothers. As the season progresses, he grows closer to both his son and his ex-wife, who is engaged to another man.
Student’s Opinion: “It sounds like a typical stupid romantic comedy.” –Autusa Amiri, junior

December 14

“The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” (2-D, 3-D, IMAX 3-D)
Rated: Rating Pending
Runtime: 160 min.
Genre: Fantasy/Adventure
Director: Peter Jackson
Starring: Martin Freeman, Ian McKellen and Richard Armitage
The Premise: A prequel to the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy, “The Hobbit” follows Bilbo Baggins, the adoptive father of Frodo Baggins. A group of 13 dwarves, led by Thorin Oakenshield, and the wizard Gandalf the Grey approach Bilbo in his home and convince him to adventure with them to reclaim the dwarf kingdom of Erebor from the dragon Smaug.
Student’s Opinion: “The Hobbit should be a pretty high quality flick considering the years of work done by Peter Jackson. It will be interesting to see what this new trilogy brings in each of the three parts.” –Mehrzad Farnoosh, junior

December 19

“The Guilt Trip”
Rated: PG-13
Runtime: 95 min.
Genre: Comedy
Director: Anne Fletcher
Starring: Seth Rogen, Barbra Streisand, and Adam Scott
The Premise: Andy Brewster, an inventor, goes on a cross-country trip with his mother, Joyce, as he attempts to sell his new product and find his lost love. The majority of the movie details Andy and Joyce’s escapades on the road.
Student’s Opinion: “I think that the movie will be funny for middle aged women and mediocre for teenagers. You should never take a nagging mom on a trip. Ever.” — Maverick Bani, junior
“Monsters, Inc. 3-D”
Rated: G
Runtime: 92 min.
Genre: Animation, Comedy, Adventure
Directors: Pete Docter, David Silverman and Lee Unkrich
Starring: Billy Crystal, John Goodman and Mary Gibbs
The Premise: It’s the same as the 2001 movie, but now it’s 3-D. The two-year-old girl Boo accidentally enters the city of Monstropolis, a city inhabited only by monsters. Two not-so-scary monsters, Mike and Sulley, take it upon themselves to get her back home safely.
Student’s Opinion: “I remember seeing it when I was little, and seeing all the trailers recently made me remember how good of a movie it actually was, even for older kids. With the prequel Monsters University coming out in June, I think I’m going to have to see this to refresh my memory, as long as the 3-D tickets aren’t too expensive.” –Arya Boudaie, senior

December 21

“Cirque du Soleil: Worlds Away” (2-D, 3-D)
Rated: No rating
Runtime: 91 min.
Genre: Fantasy
Director: Andrew Adamson
Starring: Erica Linz, Dallas Barnett and Lutz Halbhubner
The Premise: Two young adults travel through various worlds inhabited by Cirque du Soleil performances. “Cirque du Soleil: Worlds Away” combines seven different Cirque du Soleil acts featured throughout the movie.
Student’s Opinion: “‘Cirque du Soleil: Worlds Away’ looks intense, and the preview is almost vague which leaves you wanting more. You can really see the hard work that was put into this movie, and it reaches out to your creative side really well.” –Jasmine Gass, junior
“Jack Reacher”
Rated: PG-13
Runtime: 130 min.
Genre: Action, Crime, Drama
Director: Christopher McQuarrie
Starring: Tom Cruise, Rosamund Pike and Richard Jenkins
The Premise: James Barr, a former army sharpshooter, snipes five civilians and is arrested for murder. It seems all but certain that he will be found guilty, as the police have accumulated a mountain of evidence against him. Barr, claiming he’s innocent, requests the services of Jack Reacher. Reacher arrives at the town and further investigates the case. But, to everyone’s surprise, Reacher wants the man in jail. However, as Reacher digs deeper, he finds there is more to the case than he had anticipated.
Student’s Opinion: “Jack Reacher has a great plot and it looks like it will have some comedy in it, too” –Eitan Slavick, sophomore
“This Is 40”
Rated: R
Runtime: 134 min.
Genre: Comedy
Director: Judd Apatow
Starring: Paul Rudd, Leslie Mann and Jason Segel
The Premise: A “sort-of sequel” to of “Knocked Up,” “This Is 40” centers on Debbie and Pete’s marriage and their financial troubles resulting from problems at Pete’s new record label. Much of the movie deals with Debbie’s distress upon turning 40.
Student’s Opinion: “’Knocked Up’ had that perfect balance of comedy and drama. I hope this one is similar. I’m looking forward to seeing this.” –Nathan Shaw, junior

December 25

“Django Unchained”
Rated: Rating Pending
Runtime: 141 min.
Genre: Drama, Western
Director: Quentin Tarantino
Starring: Jamie Foxx, Don Johnson and Leonardo DiCaprio
The Premise: In the pre-Civil War Deep South, Dr. King Schultz, a German bounty hunter masquerading as a dentist, buys Django freedom from slavery in return for his help hunting down the Brittle Brothers gang. Django, now liberated, attempts to free his wife, Broomhilda, from her bondage to the plantation owner Calvin Candie.
Student’s Opinion: “I’m a big Jamie Foxx fan, and it’s cool to see him in a historical fiction movie that seems pretty interesting and adventurous.” –Adam Rosenberg-Wolf, sophomore
“Les Miserables”
Rated: PG-13
Runtime: Unknown
Genre: Drama, Musical, Romance
Director: Tom Hooper
Starring: Hugh Jackman, Russell Crowe and Anne Hathaway
The Premise: Based on the musical of the same name, “Les Miserables” follows Jean Valjean, who has been paroled after a prison sentence for stealing bread. Valjean breaks his parole and spends two decades fleeing from Inspector Javert, who is obsessed with capturing Valjean. The story culminates in the 1832 June rebellion in France.
Student’s Opinion: “I’m very excited to see the reenactment of “Les Miserables” in theaters. The cast is amazing, with Crowe, Jackman and Hathaway. I’m curious to see how having the advantages of editing and taking and retaking scenes will affect the ability of the actors to show us what’s going on.” — Justin Kim, junior
“Parental Guidance”
Rated: PG
Runtime: Unknown
Genre: Comedy
Director: Andy Fickman
Starring: Billy Crystal, Bette Midler and Marisa Tomei
The Premise: Grandparents Artie and Diane agree to babysit their three grandchildren while the kids’ parents are away for work. Artie and Diane have trouble implementing the 21st century parenting techniques the children are accustomed to and revert to old-fashioned parenting.
Student’s Opinion: “It looks all right. It has a pretty interesting concept, focusing on a grandfather who doesn’t like his grandkids. It could be a pretty nice movie for the holiday season.” –Laurie Wang, junior