- This Week
11.24.09 - 8:31 pm |
Film listings are edited by Cheryl Eddy. Reviewers are Kimberly Chun, Michelle Devereaux, Max Goldberg, Dennis Harvey, Johnny Ray Huston, Louis Peitzman, Lynn Rapoport, Ben Richardson, Matt Sussman, and Laura Swanbeck. The film intern is Fernando F. Croce. For rep house showtimes, see Rep Clock. For first-run showtimes, see Movie Guide.
Christmas with Walt Disney Specially made for the Presidio's recently opened Walt Disney Family Museum, this nearly hour-long compilation of vintage Yuletide-themed moments from throughout the studio's history (up to Walt's 1966 death) is more interesting than you might expect. The engine is eldest daughter Diane Disney Miller's narrating reminiscences, often accompanied by excerpts from an apparently voluminous library of high-quality home movies. Otherwise, the clips are drawn from a mix of short and full-length animations, live-action features (like 1960's Swiss Family Robinson), TV shows Wonderful World of Disney and Mickey Mouse Club, plus public events like Disneyland's annual Christmas Parade and Disney's orchestration of the 1960 Winter Olympics' pageantry. If anything, this documentary is a little too rushed - it certainly could have idled a little longer with some of the less familiar cartoon material. But especially for those who who grew up with Disney product only in its post-founder era, it will be striking to realize what a large figure Walt himself once cut in American culture, not just as a brand but as an on-screen personality. The film screens Nov 27-Jan 2; for additional information, visit http://disney.go.com/disneyatoz/familymuseum/index.html. (:59) Walt Disney Family Museum. (Harvey)
*Fantastic Mr. Fox "See 21st Century Fox." (1:27) Four Star, Marina.
Ninja Assassin Let's face it: it'd be nigh impossible to live up to a title as awesome as Ninja Assassin - and this second flick from V for Vendetta (2005) director James McTeigue doesn't quite do it. Anyone who's seen a martial arts movie will find the tale of hero Raizo overly familiar: a student (played by the single-named Rain) breaks violently with his teacher; revenge on both sides ensues. That the art form in question is contemporary ninja-ing adds a certain amount of interest, though after a killer ninja vs. yakuza opening scene (by far the film's best), and a flashback or two of ninja vs. political targets, the rest of the flick is concerned mostly with either ninja vs. ninja or ninja vs. military guys. (As ninjas come "from the shadows," most of these battles are presented in action-masking darkness.) There's also an American forensic researcher (Noemie Harris) who starts poking around the ninja underground, a subplot that further saps the fun out of a movie that already takes itself way too seriously. (1:33) (Eddy)
Oh My God? See "Pray Tell." (1:38) Lumiere.
Old Dogs John Travolta and Robin Williams play lifelong friends, business partners, and happily child-free bachelors whose lives change when the latter is forced to care for the 7-year-old twins (Conner Rayburn, Ella Bleu Travolta) he didn't know he'd sired. You know what this will be like going in, and that's what you get: a predictable mix of the broadly comedic and maudlin, with a screenplay that feels half-baked by committee, and direction (by Walt Becker, who's also responsible for 2007's Wild Hogs) that tries to compensate via frantic over-editing of setpieces that end before they've gotten started.