New this Week: ‘Hugo,’ ‘The Muppets’ and ‘Super 8 (DVD)’

Hitting movie theaters this weekend:

Arthur Christmas - James McAvoy, Jim Broadbent, Bill Nighy
Hugo - Asa Butterfield, Chloë Grace Moretz, Christopher Lee
The Muppets - Amy Adams, Jason Segel, Chris Cooper

Movie of the Week

Hugo

The Stars: Asa Butterfield, Chloë Grace Moretz, Christopher Lee
The Plot: Set in 1930s Paris, an orphan who lives in the walls of a train station is wrapped up in a mystery involving his late father and an automaton.
The Buzz: Director Martin Scorsese is not known for his family films. Throughout his career Scorsese has stuck to churning out gritty/grisly street films, realistic & vibrant tales about the harshness of life, about the hard-nose battle of good versus evil, of right versus wrong (of moral relativity), and of psychoses versus neuroses. His films are fairly hardcore and as thus are very often hard-R. His latest offering in Hugo, looks to be an epic departure from his past films. Remember, Scorsese’s the guy who brought us Shutter IslandThe Departed, Gangs of New YorkCasinoGoodfellasRaging Bull, and Taxi Driver. Not the most family friendly list of films there, right? But it is quite a list — the guy knows what he’s doing, plain and simple.

I thought the trailer for Hugo looked great, and to date, the film is nearly batting 1.000 over at RottenTomatoes.  It’ll be interesting to see if Hugo represents a sea change in Scorsese’s auteurship from here on out, or if it’s just a one-and-done experiment for him. Time will tell, but my gut says he’ll return to gritty/grisly.

As a side: The Muppets, another well-reviewed family film in release this week, currently is batting 1.000 at RottenTomatoes.com.

Looks to be a refreshing week for Hollywood, and nicely timed for the Thanksgiving holiday.

Every Friday we’ll have new reviews of the latest films.
TSR’s complete Film Review Database

New Blu-ray and DVDs released this week:

12 Angry Men [Criterion] (BD/DVD) - Henry Fonda, Lee J. Cobb, Martin Balsam
Beauty and the Beast: Special Edition (BD/DVD) - Paige O’Hara, Robby Benson, Richard White
The Birth of a Nation: Special Edition (BD) - Lillian Gish, Mae Marsh, Henry B. Walthall
Carjacked (BD/DVD) - Stephen Dorff, Maria Bello, Joanna Cassidy
Conan the Barbarian (BD/DVD) - Jason Momoa, Ron Perlman, Rose McGowan
The Devil’s Double (BD/DVD) – Dominic Cooper, Ludivine Sagnier, Raad Rawi
Dragon Tattoo Trilogy: Extended Edition (BD/DVD) – Michael Nyqvist, Noomi Rapace, Ewa Fröling
Rushmore [Criterion] (BD) -  Jason Schwartzman, Bill Murray, Olivia Williams
Sarah’s Key (BD/DVD) – Kristin Scott Thomas, Mélusine Mayance, Niels Arestrup
Spy Kids 4 (BD/DVD) - Jessica Alba, Jeremy Piven, Joel McHale
Super 8 (BD/DVD) – Joel Courtney, Elle Fanning, Kyle Chandler
Three Amigos (BD) – Steve Martin, Chevy Chase, Martin Short
Way Down East (BD) - Lillian Gish, Richard Barthelmess, Lowell Sherman

Blu-ray/DVD of the Week

Super 8

The Stars: Joel Courtney, Elle Fanning, Kyle Chandler
The Plot: During the summer of 1979, a group of friends witness a train crash and investigate subsequent unexplained events in their small town.
The Buzz: The trailer for Super 8 sent shivers down my spine — good shivers — and I was real happy to find that the film itself delivered on the promises of its trailer. This beautifully crafted Spielbergian throwback just blew me away — and keeping in line with Super 8‘s mysterious marketing campaign, I don’t want to say too much about this film, apart from that it’s completely awesome. J.J.Abrams and company did an expert-level job at building an air of mystery around the whole production, and if you ask me, that added air of mystery really paid off.

If you’re from the 1980s, like me, and you enjoyed films like Close Encounters of the Third Kind, E.T., and The Goonies, I believe you’ll especially enjoy this film.

Ultimately though, I’d recommend Super 8 to anyone & everyone. It’s a cut above, for sure. Hollywood moviemaking magic at its best.

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