Which Movie Should You See With Your Family This Thanksgiving?
Had enough family time yet? Perhaps you should suggest seeing a movie. But everyone knows how hard it can be to please the entire group, so as a matter of public service, we’ve compiled a roundup of which movies are in theaters now and which type of family should go see them.
Disney’s latest animated feature stars Kristen Bell as a princess who must free the kingdom she calls home from an eternal winter.
“Frozen is one of the few recent films to capture that classic Disney spirit.” — Bilge Ebiri, Vulture
“Full of clever songs, genuine laughs and thrills, plenty of heart and just a touch of romance, [Frozen] definitely holds its own with the likes of The Little Mermaid and Beauty and the Beast.” — Cathy Jakicic, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
“This may be yet another variation on the usual coming-of-age/sisterhood themes so familiar in Disney movies, but who does those better?” — Lawrence Toppman, Charlotte Observer
What Family Should Go See It: Your family. It’s no mistake that Frozen is coming out during the Thanksgiving holiday; this is a great film for the whole family.
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire
The second installment in the Hunger Games series, Katniss and Peeta are back for more dystopian action.
“Across the board, the new film boasts a noticeably spiffier, more confident feel than the first, even as the overriding impression is one of methodical responsibility to the source material.” — Todd McCarthy, The Hollywood Reporter
“Given the strength of this installment, I’d say the box-office odds continue to be, in that Hunger Games catchphrase, ‘ever in its favor.'” — Bob Mondello, NPR
“In Catching Fire, the film quadrilogy’s second installment, a new director breathes new life into the franchise.” — Robert Kessler, Celebuzz (sorry, I had to)
What Family Should Go See It: The family who’s read the books. This is a sequel and no one wants to spend the whole movie explaining to grandma why that nice boy with the name like bread loves the girl who’s so mean to him.
A retelling of the Nativity story, starring an all-black cast. It is based on the play by Langston Hughes and features traditional Christmas carols sung gospel-style.
“The corny, greeting-card feel of the second half weakens what begins as a creatively rendered take on a holiday film.” — Linda Barnard, Toronto Star
“Almost every beat of Langston’s tale, with its absent father figures and heated gun-pointing melodrama, rings false-hardly a fitting contemporary complement to the Greatest Story Ever Told.” — Keith Uhlich, Time Out New York
“There’s a wealth of talent, most of it poorly used, in this disappointingly misconceived holiday offering.” — David Noh, Film Journal International
What Family Should Go See It: This film’s music is being praised, while its dramatic elements are mostly being panned. If you’ve got a lot of religious relatives who love Christmas carols, this may be a good option for them.
Judi Dench is once again getting Oscar talk for her performance as a woman who was forced by the Catholic Church to give a child up for adoption in the 1950s.
“At its core, this clever, wrenching, profound story underscores the tenacity of faith in the face of unfathomable cruelty.” — Ann Hornaday, Washington Post
“Dench is a delight, playing dowdy instead of her standard regal, and Coogan is appropriately droll and disillusioned. Together they manage to make a sad story feel somehow bright.” — Tom Long, Detroit News
“At last, a holiday film for intelligent life.” — Jane Sumner, Austin American-Statesman
What Family Should Go See It: The family who’s looking for something smart, funny and touching.
Thor: The Dark World
A sequel to 2011’s Thor, Chris Hemsworth returns as the Nordic god/action hero.
“True, this sequel gets better as it goes along, but that’s a very steep climb just to arrive at not bad.” — Mark LaSalle, San Francisco Chronicle
“A much better film than its 2011 predecessor, embracing its fantasy roots with exciting, entertaining results.” — Felix Vasquez, Jr., Cinema Crazed
“Better than average, the second in the “Thor” franchise isn’t as interesting as other Marvel tales.” — Linda Cook, Quad City Times
What Family Should Go See It: Do you have a lot of nephews?
The Christmas Candle
The first movie from Rick Santorum’s production company, this movie’s about candles and angels and miracles or whatever. Susan Boyle is in it.
“This odd Dickens-meets-Sunday-school movie is as artless as the setup is muddled.” — Joe Neumaier, New York Daily News
“The kind of vaguely distasteful Yuletide concoction that viewers normally find playing on cable channels that they don’t even realize that they have.” — Peter Sobczynski, RogerEbert.com
“Although at times it seems to be building emotional momentum, by the end it falls flat — tripped by its conflicting ambitions, overload of metaphoric events, and lack of powerful catharsis.” — Louis Black, Austin Chronicle
What Family Should Go See It: The family with a grandma who won’t quit talking about “that wonderful Britain’s Got Talent lady.”
A remake of a well-regarded South Korean film, this version directed by Spike Lee has been getting less-than-stellar reviews.
“The violence … is gruesome – oodles of CG blood and brain matter – but out of scale. It’s shock for shock’s sake. It doesn’t track.” — David Edelstein, Vulture
“For anyone who has seen the original Oldboy, Spike Lee’s american remake will come across as a watered-down photocopy in nearly every way (save strong performances).” — Ben Kendrick, ScreenRant
“Brings to mind Samuel Johnson’s famous 18th-century witticism, likening a woman preaching to a dog walking on its hind legs: “It is not done well; but you are surprised to find it done at all.” — David Hiltbrand, Philadelphia Inquirer
What Family Should Go See It: The family from Flowers in the Attic.
Best Man Holiday
“Though not so warm and fuzzy as some fans may expect, The Best Man Holiday is a more than fitting return that improves upon the original in unexpected ways.” — Kevin C. Johnson, St. Louis Post-Dispatch
“Undeniably entertaining follow up to 1999 trendsetter.” — James Verniere, Boston Herald
“Even if some of the crudeness and the drama feel forced, it’s hard to hate.” — Nicolas Rapold, New York Times
What Family Should Go See It: The family who likes a good, cathartic cry.
Journey to the South Pacific
This IMAX documentary explores the aquatic life of West Papua. There are no reviews.
What Family Should Go See It: The family who likes nature documentaries and Cate Blanchett (it’s narrated by Cate Blanchett).