Major movies out on Christmas Day 2011

The Takeaway

Once the presents are open and the meal is done, many Christian families will hit the movie theaters.

For those who don’t celebrate Christmas, Chinese food and a film are a timeless tradition on this day when most businesses in the United States are closed.

There’s a full crop of films out this past week and a few more debut today. Albert Nobbs, out last week, stars a woman, played by Glenn Close, who poses as a man in 1800s Ireland to get work. Kristen Meinzer, Takeaway culture producer, said it’s a bit of an independent film. It’s out in limited release.

“Close is spectacular in this. She actually played the same role off Broadway in the 80s. She’s reprising this role, she’s very invested in it,” Meinzer said. “She helped co-write the script.”

Meinzer said the entire cast of the film is spectacular.

Other big movies out last week included the Adventures of Tintin, a motion capture film directed by Steven Spielberg.

Rafer Guzman, Newsday movie critic, said Spielberg chose to use motion capture in order to be faithful to Hergé’s original artwork. Hergé was the author of the original Tintin books. Motion capture is the same technique used in Polar Express and Avatar, where the animated characters look like actual humans, but aren’t.

“Motion capture has a mixed track record,” Guzman said. “To me, I would have much rather seen real actors, real sets. Spielberg is very faithful to the Tintin books…It looks beautiful. I would have much rather seen real sand in the desert. A real pirate ship.”

Meinzer also panned the motion capture choice, saying she would have rather seen it all done in old school animation.

“It looks creepy,” Guzman said.

“The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” is the other major release from last week out in movie theaters now. It’s an American adaptation of the Swedish novel that’s sold more than 50 million copies.

Meinzer pointed out, though, that this movie’s already been done in Sweden, only now it’s a lot more polished and with a great cast.

“I had the same problems with this one as I had with the first. Gratuitous violence was unnecessary. Sometimes the story seemed that it didn’t know where it was going,” she said.

Guzman agreed. This film couldn’t quite marry the old school detective work and goth-punk stylings, he said.

Other movies out last week were We Bought a Zoo, starring Matt Damon, which launched Friday. And today, The Darkest Hour, a sci-fi thriller, and War Horse, were released to select theaters.

War Horse follows a horse pressed into military service for the British as he moved through World War I. He touches the lives of the British soldiers, the Germans and even a farmer who encounters him.

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