Heard on my radio show at http://marlar.podomatic.com and provided by film critic Marie Asner.  Her outlets include radio, print and Internet.  Read more of Marie Asner’s reviews at www.PhantomTollbooth.org.

DECEMBER 22, 2010…

True Grit—John Wayne starred in the classic adaptation of Charles Portis’ novel of the same name. In the category of  “why remake it?”, we have the new “True Grit” with Jeff Bridges in the role of the old lawman, Matt Damon as his sidekick, Hailee Steinfeld as the teenage girl who wants to avenge her father’s death, and Josh Brolin as the killer. OK, so far, so good. This film sticks closer to the novel with the story from the girl’s viewpoint. Too bad Strother Martin isn’t in it. The old horse trading scene was priceless. “True Grit” is rated PG 13 for violence. Rating of 3 for western fans. By the way, the Coen Brothers directed this film.

Little Fockers—Here is the third film in the “Focker” series. It’s about 10 years after the wedding and Ben Stiller and Teri Polo have two children. Father-in-law Robert De Niro decides Ben is the one to be the head of the household if he (De Niro) passes away. Can Ben be trusted? Enter De Niro and his spy techniques. On the other side, Ben’s Mom (Barbra Streisand) and father (Dustin Hoffman) continue their merry ways. Teri’s old boyfriend, Owen Wilson, is still in the picture. One must speak precisely when discussing the title of this film. “Little Fockers” is rated PG 13 for mature themes. Rating of 2 for fans of just about everyone in the film.

Gulliver’s Travels 3 D—Jack Black plays someone who is inadvertently given a travel article to write for a major magazine. He goes along with it, until his boat goes into a storm and he ends up being held captive by the small-statured people of Lilliput. Small in, as they could stand on Jack’s hand. Eventually, they are friends and Jack even helps when Lilliput and a neighboring country go to war. Also in the cast are Emily Blunt and Jason Segal. Jonathan Swift wrote the book, “Gulliver’s Travel’s” about 400 years ago and it is a satire on politics and war. A bit of that comes through here. “Gulliver’s Travel’s” is rated PG for comic violence. Rating of 2 for Jack Black fans.

Country Strong—Gwyneth Paltrow plays an almost washed-up country singer who is on the comeback trail and meets a young songwriter (Garret Hedlund). Paltrow’s husband, Tim McGraw, is her manager, but there is also a rising  new star (Leighton Meester) right behind her. Paltrow does her own singing here and has performed some songs in public. “Country Strong” is rated PG 13 for language and themed material. Rating of 2 for country music fans.

DECEMBER 31, 2010…

Blue Valentine (opening in select cities) has Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams in a romance.

Sinbad The 5th Voyage (opening in select cities) has Shahin Sean Solimon as director and starring as Sinbad. Also in the cast is Patrick Stewart.


The Greet Hornet with Seth Rogan and Enzo Cilenti as the dashing duo with a car to rival the Bat mobile.

Drive Angry 3 D stars Nicholas Cage and Amber Heard in, you guessed it, a car chase film.

The Comedy is just that, a comedy, with Vince Vaughn and Kevin James.

The Rite stars Anthony Hopkins as a priest learning how to do exorcism.

Monte Carlo is a romantic comedy with Selena Gomez and Leighton Meester.

Don’t Be Afraid Of The Dark is a horror film starring Katie Holmes and Guy Pearce.

Gnomeo and Juliet is a comedy animated family film with the voices of Emily Blunt and James McAvoy.

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