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Hello, everyone.

As stated last Thursday, the MovieDruid is coming a few days early this week?  Why, you ask?  Quite simply because Hollywood traditionally releases its films on Wednesday rather than Friday during Thanksgiving week.  And, here we are just a few days before turkey day!

Unfortunately, the Weinstein Company, in their eternal wisdom (note my extreme sarcasm) has decided to change the already delayed release of the adaptation of Cormac McCarty’s Pulititzer-Prize winning novel “The Road” a limited release rather than a wide release at the last minute.  This was the film I intended to make the holiday Pick of the Week, so if you are in one of the 31 markets listed here check it out.

Otherwise, without further ado, I give you this year’s Thanksgiving week releases…

Old Dogs

Trailer

Synopsis: Two best friends — one unlucky-in-love divorcee and the other a fun-loving bachelor — have their lives turned upside down when they’re unexpectedly charged with the care of seven-year-old twins while on the verge of the biggest business deal of their lives. The not-so-kid-savvy bachelors stumble in their efforts to take care of the twins, leading to one debacle after another, and perhaps to a new-found understanding of what’s really important in life.

MovieDruid’s Comments: Family friendly comedy is almost a necessity on Thanksgiving weekend.  Unfortunately, in most cases it is more of a necessary evil.  It is amazing to me that Hollywood can continue to see family films with a bit of intelligence succeed, but continue to produce films which resort to ridiculous humor of the lowest common denominator in their family fare.  Disney is the worst offender in this, in my opinion, and the real problem is they wave cash in front of A-list talent like John Travolta and Robin Williams and drag them down with them.

Ninja Assassin

Trailer

Synopsis: Raizo is one of the deadliest assassins in the world. Taken from the streets as a child, he was transformed into a trained killer by the Ozunu Clan, a secret society whose very existence is considered a myth. But haunted by the merciless execution of his friend by the Clan, Raizo breaks free from them and vanishes. Now, he waits, preparing to exact his revenge. In Berlin, Europol agent Mika Coretti has stumbled upon a money trail linking several political murders to an underground network of untraceable assassins from the Far East. Defying the orders of her superior, Ryan Maslow, Mika digs into top secret agency files to learn the truth behind the murders. Her investigation makes her a target, and the Ozunu Clan sends a team of killers, led by the lethal Takeshi, to silence her forever. Raizo saves Mika from her attackers, but he knows that the Clan will not rest until they are both eliminated. Now, entangled in a deadly game of cat and mouse through the streets of Europe, Raizo and Mika must trust one another if they hope to survive and finally bring down the elusive Ozunu Clan.

MovieDruid’s Comments: This film is definitely not for everyone.  But, for anyone who enjoys the old-school kung fu films and the more recent martial arts heavy films like “The Matrix” or “Unleashed” this seems to be a faithful melding of the two.  The film has definite roots in the old kung fu films of the 70’s, but has all of the modern special effects technology available to enhance it and give it the modern sheen that will draw in a new legion of fans.  If action films, particularly the martial arts of films, are your thing, then “Ninja Assassin” looks like a stunning new entry in the genre. 

“The Fantastic Mr. Fox” – MovieDruid Pick of the Week

Trailer

Synopsis: Mr. and Mrs. Fox live an idyllic home life with their son Ash and visiting young nephew Kristopherson. But after 12 years, the bucolic existence proves too much for Mr Fox’s wild animal instincts. Soon he slips back into his old ways as a sneaky chicken thief and in doing so, endangers not only his beloved family, but the whole animal community. Trapped underground and with not enough food to go around, the animals band together to fight against the evil Farmers — Boggis, Bunce and Bean — who are determined to capture the audacious, fantastic Mr. Fox at any cost.

MovieDruid’s Comments: Roald Dahl is best known for his novel Charlie & the Chocolate Factory, in no small part because of the turns of Gene Wilder (and later Johnny Depp) as the eccentric Willy Wonka.  However, he also wrote many other children’s books, many of them actually more entertaining.  Occasionally, a new one makes it to the screen, and thankfully we now have “The Fantastic Mr. Fox” as one of those.  This time, like “James and the Giant Peach” the studio has elected stop-motion animation, a good choice for Roald Dahl.  But, in this case the animation is stylized in a way that has a uniqueness to the look that should make for some interesting visuals.  Director Wes Anderson (“The Royal Tannenbaums” & “Rushmore”) seems to have a good grasp of the medium he is working with, and so we put our trust in his vision.  To help him, though, he has assembled a slate of voice talent that is second to none including George Clooney (“Syriana” & “Ocean’s Eleven”), Meryl Streep (“Julie & Julia” & “The Devil Wears Prada”), Bill Murray (“Ghostbusters” & “Stripes”), and Jason Schwartzman (“Funny People” & “Bewitched”).  Overall, they appear to have assembled the a very talent group to create a film that should be a charming holiday treat for the family.

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