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Hello again, everyone!

It is I, your friendly neighborhood MovieDruid, returned to give hid wholly unprofessional, and somewhat uppity, opinions on this week’s national releases.  It’s an interesting week as we move toward the teeth of the holiday release season.  The studios are beginning to pull out a few of their big guns.

Before we take a peek, a quick programming note.  As is traditional, Hollywood doing its Thanksgiving week releases on Wednesday rather than Friday.  As such, my few loyal readers should look for the next addition of the MovieDruid on Tuesday, November 24 rather than Thursday, November 26.

That being said, on with the show….

“The Twilight Saga: New Moon”

Trailer

Synopsis: Following Bella’s ill-fated 18th birthday party, Edward Cullen and his family abandon the town of Forks, Washington, in an effort to protect her from the dangers inherent in their world. As the heartbroken Bella sleepwalks through her senior year of high school, numb and alone, she discovers Edward’s image comes to her whenever she puts herself in jeopardy. Her desire to be with him at any cost leads her to take greater and greater risks. With the help of her childhood friend Jacob Black, Bella refurbishes an old motorbike to carry her on her adventures. Bella’s frozen heart is gradually thawed by her budding relationship with Jacob, a member of the mysterious Quileute tribe, who has a supernatural secret of his own. When a chance encounter brings Bella face to face with a former nemesis, only the intervention of a pack of supernaturally large wolves saves her from a grisly fate, and the encounter makes it frighteningly clear that Bella is still in grave danger. In a race against the clock, Bella learns the secret of the Quileutes and Edward’s true motivation for leaving her. She also faces the prospect of a potentially deadly reunion with her beloved that is a far cry from the one she’d hoped for.

MovieDruid: I do not get the appeal of these movies.  They have taken all of the danger and mystery around vampire mythology and yanked out its fangs.  Then they made them sparkle.  What the hell is that?  Vampires do not sparkle.  If they did, Van Helsing, Blade, and Buffy would have a much easier job.  These films may be great for adolescent girls (and don’t call me sexist, I worked at Waldenbooks and saw who was buying these novels), but for most of the rest of us not so much.  I just don’t understand the appeal of turning vampires and werewolves into an after school special.

“Planet 51”

Trailer

Synopsis: Planet 51 is a galactic-sized animated alien adventure comedy revolving around American astronaut Captain Charles “Chuck” Baker, who lands on Planet 51 thinking he’s the first person to step foot on it. To his surprise, he finds that this planet is inhabited by little green people who are happily living in a white picket fence world reminiscent of a cheerfully innocent 1950s America, and whose only fear is that it will be overrun by alien invaders…like Chuck! With the help of his robot companion “Rover” and his new friend Lem, Chuck must navigate his way through the dazzling, but bewildering, landscape of Planet 51 in order to escape becoming a permanent part of the Planet 51 Alien Invaders Space Museum.

MovieDruid’s Comments: The family friendly fare always kicks in again around this time of year.  Usually it is a bit more holiday themed than this one, though.  This one just doesn’t look like it has all that much promise to me.  The director, Jorge Blanco, is directing for the first time.  The cast, while including talent like Dwayne Johnson (“Race to Witch Mountain” & “The Scorpion King”) & Jessica Biel (“The Illusionist” & “Stealth”) doesn’t really have any veteran voice actors, which is something of a worry.  To be quite honest, if you’re looking for family friendly cinema I would personally look at “A Christmas Carol” from earlier in the month or next week’s “The Fantastic Mr. Fox.” rather than here.

“The Blind Side” – MovieDruid Pick of the Week

Trailer

Synopsis: Teenager Michael Oher is surviving on his own, virtually homeless, when he is spotted on the street by Leigh Anne Tuohy. Learning that the young man is one of her daughter’s classmates, Leigh Anne insists that Michael — wearing shorts and a t-shirt in the dead of winter — come out of the cold. Without a moment’s hesitation, she invites him to stay at the Tuohy home for the night. What starts out as a gesture of kindness turns into something more as Michael becomes part of the Tuohy family despite the differences in their backgrounds. Living in his new environment, the teen faces a completely different set of challenges to overcome. And, as the family helps Michael fulfill his potential, both on and off the football field, Michael’s presence in the Tuohys’ lives leads them to some insightful self-discoveries of their own.

MovieDruid’s Comments: This is the kind of film I love to see come out around the holidays.  A film that tells an uplifting story that makes us remember that there is good in this world after all.  And it seems to have all the pieces to get it right.  The director, John Lee Hancock, has shown a gift in previous efforts such as “The Rookie’ and “The Alamo” for telling a story with dramatic effect without overdoing it.  And, he has been gifted with a talented cast that includes Sandra Bullock (“28 Days” & Speed”) and country star Tim McGraw who proved he could act as well in “Friday Night Lights” and “Flicka.”  There is even a little Oscar buzz surrounding Bullock’s performance as a long shot nomination for Best Actress.  All in all, this one just seems to have all the pieces you need for a solid holiday film.

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