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November 24, 2011
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The 99-percenters don't need to start an Occupy North Pole movement over "Arthur Christmas," the animated comedy that shows how Santa Claus manages to deliver all those presents in a modern global market. This pleasant holiday treat from Aardman, the British animation outfit behind "Chicken Run" and "Wallace and Gromit in the Curse of the Were-Rabbit," has the old-fashioned spirit of Christmas at heart.

"The Muppets" is a generally charming exercise in nostalgia. The musical comedy whimsically and often cleverly revisits the characters, their shtick and the TV show and movies that made them most famous. British TV director James Bobin, a veteran of the wonderfully dry musical comedy series "Flight of the Conchords," and world's biggest Muppet fan Jason Segel have concocted a wistful walk down memory lane that's about, well, a walk down memory lane for The Muppets. Times have changed. Character after character says in the film: "You're relics." But they're getting The Muppets back together for one last show, a telethon to save their tatty old theater and their old movie studio from a rapacious Texas oilman named Tex Richman, played without the requisite glee by Oscar winner Chris Cooper - "Maniacal laugh, maniacal laugh, maniacal laugh."

"Happy Feet Two" begins as not so much a movie but a music video with a troupe of thousands singing and hoofing. The medley is pure pop, with songs made hits by Justin Timberlake, Michael and Janet Jackson, and LL Cool J. Lending their singing and voice talents to the mix are Alecia Moore, a.k.a. the singer Pink, and rapper/activist/White House guest Common. It's toe-tapping stuff - with an emphasis on tapping. Choreographer-dancer extraordinaire Savion Glover returns to bring da noise and da funk to the animated film's penguins. Still, initially, it's hard to tell whether director/co-writer George Miller's film is going to go beyond being a clever showcase for catchy tunes and arresting computer-generated images. Though with downy emperor chicks voiced oh-so-sweetly, the answer is nearly "Who cares?" But care we do. And while this sequel's story of interconnectedness allows it to be a bit rangy at times, Miller and his team hit a nicely philosophical stride, posing quandaries that kids will grasp and adults will appreciate: What's my place in the community? What's the tribe's place in the larger scheme of things? Are we just food for predators or scavengers? And what about the environment?

The decision to split "Breaking Dawn," Stephenie Meyer's last book in the "Twilight" series, into two parts has created a pair of films as different as Edward and Jacob. The first half, "The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 1" is packed with as many emotional and contemplative moments as the brooding vampire, while the second half will have the kind of action that makes a werewolf howl. The division would have been OK if director Bill Condon hadn't stretched scenes to the point of tedium and cranked up the volume of the soundtrack to annoying levels.

Showtimes: 6:45 and 9:30 p.m. today through Thursday at Skyline Cinema in Dillon

We will never know what it's like to live forever, but we can get a taste of what eternity feels like with "Immortals." The last time something this big and bloated moved this slowly was during the Ice Age. It's surprising the movie is so bad. It comes from Mark Canton and Gianni Nunnari, producers of the spirited "300," and was directed by the visionary Tarsem Singh. The difference is that both "300," based on the work of Frank Miller, and Singh's past movies, such as the magnificent "The Fall," had strong stories. This script has all the depth of a manhole cover. Theseus (Henry Cavill) must rally the troops to stop the evil King Hyperion (Mickey Rourke) from wiping out most of Greece (not unlike that country's current financial woes) with help from a handful of gods: Zeus (Luke Evans), Athena (Isabel Lucas) and Poseidon (Kellan Lutz).

Showtimes: 1, 4:30 and 8 p.m. today through Thursday at Skyline Cinema in Dillon

In Clint Eastwood's sturdy drama "J. Edgar," American Machiavellianism meets American humanism and old-fashioned moviemaking unites with a postmodern sensibility. Leonardo DiCaprio will likely get an Oscar nomination for his portrayal of J. Edgar Hoover, the law-enforcement titan whose name remains synonymous nearly 40 years after his death with the governmental agency he did so much to elevate as well as taint: the Federal Bureau of Investigation. It's a studied, disciplined performance and DiCaprio is nearly unrecognizable beneath the wrinkles and folds of the still powerful, if paranoid and vindictive, septuagenarian. "J. Edgar" covers a great deal of terrain - historical but also emotional - from the Leonardo DiCaprio as the title character and Armie Hammer in "J. Edgar." (Warner Bros. Pictures) young Hoover's role in the Department of Justice's Bureau of Investigations' crackdown on radicals in 1919 to his continuing ironclad control of the FBI in the early 70s.

Showtimes: 4, 6:45, 9:30 today; 4 and 9:30 p.m. Saturday; 4, 6:45, 9:30 Sunday through Thursday at Skyline Cinema in Dillon

Among the famous people who make cameo appearances in the new Adam Sandler comedy "Jack and Jill": Johnny Depp, John McEnroe, David Spade, Shaquille O'Neal, Drew Carrey, Christie Brinkley, Michael Irvin, Regis Philbin, Dana Carvey and even Jared Fogle, the guy from the Subway sandwich commercials. Total number of laughs all this amassed star power generates: One. "Jack and Jill" contains long stretches of squirm-inducing tedium in which Sandler riffs and ad-libs far longer than he should, as if he thought that wearing a dress would immediately turn anything he did into comedy gold. Why didn't anyone on the set (or even the editing room) tell him how irritating he was?

Showtimes: 1:15 p.m. today through Thursday at Skyline Cinema in Dillon

A comedy about working-class stiffs who stick it to the Wall Street type who stole their savings? Talk about ripped from today's headlines. Talk about being in sync with the national mood. Talk about Eddie Murphy, funny again after all these years. "Tower Heist" is a winning "Robin Hood and his Merry Doormen" comedy about getting even. A cast of comedy specialists deliver their comic specialties to perfection, delivering double-takes and one liners so well that you don't notice how clunky the actual caper in this caper comedy is.

Showtimes: 1:30 and 4:15 p.m. today through Thursday at Skyline Cinema in Dillon

Although "Puss in Boots" is about a cat, it's more a lark than a purrfect spinoff of the "Shrek" franchise. If that pun made you wince, get ready for more from this breezily entertaining flick, featuring the voices of Antonio Banderas, Salma Hayek and Zach Galifianakis. Banderas reprises his role as the ginger-hued kitty. Since Puss' debut in "Shrek 2," he's had dulcet, accented charms and a way of melting all with his sad kitten eyes. Puss arrives solo from the franchise of Far Far Away for this saga of woe and possible redemption. While the ogre series helped update the conversation about fairy tales for a new booster- seat generation and their chaperons, "Puss in Boots" is decidedly lighter fare.


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The Summit Daily Updated Nov 24, 2011 07:24PM Published Nov 24, 2011 07:24PM Copyright 2011 The Summit Daily. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.