Your 2011 Boxing Day Viewing Guide. By Simon Miraudo.
In case you couldn’t tell by the fact a bajillion movies are coming out this week, Boxing Day is kind of a big deal for Australian film-lovers. In fact, December 26th is the biggest day on the cinema-going calendar. What is it about that post-Christmas comedown that makes people want to flock to their local picture house? Is it merely to drown out the inane hum of all the visiting relatives? To provide a moment of relief after cooking for 36 hours straight? To escape into another world with fewer family feuds? Who knows – we’re not your therapist. What we do know is there are a bunch of flicks for you and your family to choose from this long weekend, and we’d like to help make that decision easier for you.
Of course, our first recommendation is you stay in and work your way through the Quickflix DVDs and Blu-rays you just received (what a Christmas gift!). Or perhaps you’d like to take advantage of the hundreds of films at your fingertips courtesy of Quickflix’s new streaming service?
And after that, you can choose from these movies, listed in alphabetical order. They all open on December 26, 2011.
Steven Spielberg returns to his Raiders roots with this adaptation of Hergé’s beloved comic book. Though it features stunning animation – as well as some of the year’s best action sequences – The Adventures of Tintin is practically drowning in exposition. That being said, it’s probably the best family fare showing. Read full review.
Glenn Close plays a 19th century Irish woman who poses as a man to gain employment, but yearns to take a wife and run free on the beach in a flowing sundress. Albert Nobbs side-steps the interesting sexual politics and simply settles for being a stock-standard period picture. Though Close and co-star Janet McTeer are getting all the accolades for playing the cross-dressing central characters, Australia’s own Mia Wasikowska steals the show as a feisty housekeeper. Read full review.
Mumble and co. return for George Miller‘s sequel to Happy Feet. Some critics believe the magic is gone in the second instalment (it has a disappointing 44% on Rotten Tomatoes). The movie has also been roundly dismissed by U.S. audiences. No doubt the makers hope Australian crowds flock to it as they did for the first. Unreviewed.
You don’t get named the 2nd worst film of 2011 without being a special kind of bad, and Phyllida Lloyd‘s wildly misjudged and ham-fisted Margaret Thatcher biopic is indeed a special kind of bad. Meryl Streep is fine in the lead role, but she’s basically doing the same shtick from Julie and Julia. We never thought we’d say it, but It’s Complicated was better. Read full review.
Probably the best film opening over the Christmas long weekend, but absolutely positively the least family friendly. Antonio Banderas stars as a deranged surgeon obsessed with creating a flame-retardant skin for his lover/prisoner in this stylish, sexy and seriously discombobulating melodrama from Pedro Almodovar. Perhaps one for the adult, art house-loving crowd? Read full review.
Another box office disappointment in the states, it’s unknown if Tower Heist’ s fortunes will change here in Oz. An impressive ensemble cast toplined by Ben Stiller and Eddie Murphy should make it something of a draw, and for what it’s worth, it’s received the best reviews of director Brett Ratner‘s career (a low bar, but still!). We daresay that has been forgotten following the, ahem, controversial melee that saw him (rightfully) resign as Oscar producer. You could have had it all, Brett! Unreviewed.
The second best Spielberg picture playing in cinemas. War Horse is an old fashioned battle flick based upon the book and play of the same name (although, sadly, puppet free). It’s got some spectacular action set pieces, and fine performances, but it’s pretty soggy. For sentimental viewers only. Read full review.
Cameron Crowe definitely has a style, and if you’re not in love with it by now, We Bought a Zoo won’t be the film to change your mind. However, if the festive season has you feeling particularly gooey, your guard might be down low enough to be charmed by this tale of a single dad (Matt Damon) who, well, buys a zoo for his young kids. It’s cute. Read full review.
Jokes aside, it would be remiss of me not to mention some of the best titles available to stream via Quickflix, for those of you who prefer to avoid the crowds over the Christmas break. First of all, there’s the holiday staple National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, which remains hilarious no matter how many times you’ve seen it. Comedies Best in Show, Ghostbusters and the sadly misunderstood The Cable Guy are perfect to revisit with a belly full of food (while timeless horror flicks The Exorcist and The Evil Dead will help you evacuate anything left in your stomach). Or, take advantage of the long weekend to catch up on some classics you may have never seen before: there’s the cinematic game-changer Bonnie and Clyde, shaggy-dog noir The Maltese Falcon, the unforgettable Casablanca, Warren Beatty’s sexually-charged political satire Shampoo, and Martin Scorsese’s first masterpiece, Mean Streets.
With that, the decision is now in your hands! Be sure to let us know what you’re planning on watching, and come back to share with us your thoughts after you’ve seen them!
Wishing all our readers a happy and safe holiday. See you on the other side!