Weekend Movie Guide: Catching Up On The Christmas Day Movies

Already Open Everywhere: The Wolf of Wall Street, 47 Ronin, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, Grudge Match, Justin Bieber’s Believe

FilmDrunk Suggests: Vince already wrote that Justin Bieber’s Believe is the greatest documentary ever produced, so give that a whirl.

The Wolf of Wall Street

Rotten Tomatoes Scores: 77% critics, 81% audience

Gratuitous Review Quotes:

It’s hard not to feel there is a better revisit of Scorsese’s crime gem already in theaters, David O. Russell’s American Hustle. – Lisa Kennedy, Denver Post

Scorsese has pulled off something tricky with Wolf: He’s given us a thrilling cautionary tale about a guy who never for a second seems the slightest bit sorry for what he’s done. If anything, he just had the bad luck to get caught. – Chris Nashawaty, Entertainment Weekly

Armchair Analysis: What I’m most interested to see about this film is how many people start to suddenly worship Jordan Belfort’s success and list him as an inspirational business icon. The guy’s story is certainly fascinating – especially the part where he has barely paid anyone back and should probably be thrown in prison again – and I can’t help but think that we’re in for another Boiler Room (also inspired by Belfort’s scams) period in which everyone runs around shouting, “REEZY’S THE COLOR, NUGGAH!”

47 Ronin

Rotten Tomatoes Scores: 13% critics, 64% audience

Gratuitous Review Quotes:

Solemn as a funeral march, humorless as your junior high principal, as Japanese as a grocery-store California roll, Keanu Reeves’s let’s-mope-about-and-kill-ourselves samurai drama has exactly three things going for it. – Alan Scherstuhl, Village Voice

The basics of the story remain unchanged, but it’s the wanna-be-blockbuster additions that rankle, be it the incoherent direction of first-time feature director Carl Rinsch or the copious CGI beasties who look like rejected Lord of the Rings villains. – Keith Uhlich, Time Out New York

Armchair Analysis: I don’t think it has anything to do with the critical or audience reception for 47 Ronin, but Keanu Reeves’s appearance on The Colbert Report was something for the Awkward Hall of Fame.

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

Rotten Tomatoes Scores: 47% critics, 77% audience

Gratuitous Review Quotes:

Stiller’s sensibility creates a movie that’s smarter than you think it will be. Kind of like Walter Mitty himself. – Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times

Sometimes you see failed films and think, well, they tried for this or that but couldn’t pull it off. After seeing Ben Stiller’s version of the venerable James Thurber story, I don’t know what the film was trying for. – Joe Morgenstern, Wall Street Journal

Armchair Analysis: I’ve been told this movie is good, so I will probably see it. I am sorry if that was too controversial of a take for you.

Grudge Match

Rotten Tomatoes Scores: 20% audience, 67% critics

Gratuitous Review Quotes:

This one probably never could have been a contender. – Laremy Legel, Film.com

The jokes are clumsy, the dramatic scenes stale and lifeless; like the climactic bout, the movie itself is a freak show, a fantasy matchup between two icons with nothing better to do than spend down their legacies. – J.R. Jones, Chicago Reader

Armchair Analysis: There’s a joke in the commercial, when Alan Arkin and Kevin Hart are exchanging playful jabs. Arkin calls him Webster and Hart responds with, “What was Jesus like?” I hope they’re delivered differently in the film, because otherwise someone wrote those jokes and was given actual currency for them. Amazing.

Justin Bieber’s Believe

Rotten Tomatoes Scores: 56% critics, 60% audience

Gratuitous Review Quotes:

My daughter wants you to know that the movie is great and that you shouldn’t listen to a hater like me. I envy her belief. – David Edelstein, Vulture

A documentary that supposedly chronicles the 2012-2013 tour but stays so relentlessly on message, it offers no insights and few anecdotes about the real Justin Bieber. – Stephanie Merry, Washington Post

Armchair Analysis: We should monitor the theaters this “documentary” plays in and any time someone truly seems to believe the bullsh*t being conveyed on screen, they should be led out the exit into the back of a truck that will then be driven off a cliff. Sure, we’ll lose a lot of trucks, but we’ll be better for it.