Weekend Movie Preview: December 23, 2011

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It is about as packed at the movies this weekend as can be this Christmas. One stellar new film debuts today, We Bought a Zoo. War Horse and The Darkest Hour arrive on Christmas Day. Meanwhile, potential blockbuster flicks The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol and The Adventures of Tintin arrived on Wednesday. So… which one(s) should you see?

War Horse: Steven Spielberg heads into war’s trenches again for War Horse. Only, this film is quite different than his other war opuses. War Horse is about a young man and his horse and the challenges they go through to stay together. Albert (Jeremy Irvine) is put in charge of training a wild horse to plow his family’s land. World War I arrives and the horse is sent to the front lines with a soldier who promises to look after him. As soon as he’s old enough, Albert joins the military on a quest to defeat Germany, but also to find his beloved horse. Spielberg expertly directs this compelling film based on the play and it's just one of many must-sees this weekend. Check out our War Horse review for more.

We Bought a Zoo: Cameron Crowe returns to storytelling after directing the Pearl Jam doc Pearl Jam 20. Matt Damon stars as a father trying to put his family back together after the loss of his wife and his two kids’ mother. To get out of their house with too many painful memories, they relocate to a dream house with a surprise in the backyard… a zoo! As we explain in our We Bought a Zoo review, Crowe and Damon have both never been better and Scarlett Johansson charms in a smaller role.

The Darkest Hour: An alien invasion movie is nothing new to the silver screen. But what sets The Darkest Hour apart is its setting. A group of American friends are visiting Moscow when aliens invade. Not knowing the language is simply one spoke in the wheel of trouble they are now soundly in as they try to survive. These aliens feed on human energy and vaporize everything in their path. Emile Hirsch anchors the cast that shows that alien invaders can attack something other than Los Angeles, New York or Washington, D.C.

Released Wednesday:

Mission Impossible Ghost Protocol: Tom Cruise soars in the fourth installment of the Mission Impossible series. After being released on IMAX screens only December 16, Ghost Protocol landed on over 3,000 screens across the country. Not only is the film one of Tom Cruise’s best, it is one of the best of the year. Pumped with action, thrills and suspense that will make you shake in your seat, Ghost Protocol is the movie to see for action fans this weekend. Don't miss our Ghost Protocol review.

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo: David Fincher directs Daniel Craig and Rooney Mara in the American film adaptation of Stieg Larsson’s blockbuster book. The film is dark and delicious in its sinister overtones that explode onscreen. Fans of the books will adore Dragon Tattoo. Moviegoers of all walks of life will appreciate the film’s laser sharp storytelling, searing drama and a murder mystery for the ages. Don’t miss our Girl with the Dragon Tattoo review for more on this perfect picture. It too is one of the best of 2011.

The Adventures of Tintin: Steven Spielberg has not one, but two films opening this Christmas weekend. The second is The Adventures of Tintin and the motion capture animated film is a treat for the family. Lord of the Rings helmer Peter Jackson served as producer and he and Spielberg have collaborated on an adventure that feels like Raiders of the Lost Ark meets Master and Commander. As we state in our Adventures of Tintin review, Spielberg has done it again. Surprised? Hardly!

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Mission Impossible Ghost Protocol Quotes

Brandt: The rope isn't long enough!
Ethan: No (expletive)!
Brandt: You're not gonna make it!
Ethan: You're not helping.

IMF Secretary: An hour ago, a bomb blew up the Kremlin. The President has initiated 'Ghost Protocol' -- the entire IMF has been disavowed. Now I've been ordered to take you to Washington where they will hang the Kremlin bombing on you and your team - unless you were to escape after assaulting Brandt and me. But if anyone of your team is caught, they will be branded terrorists out to incite global nuclear war.
Ethan: So what happens now?
IMF Secretary: Your mission, should you choose to accept it...

Mission Impossible Ghost Protocol Review

Tom Cruise waited for the right script to return to the role of Ethan Hunt in the Mission Impossible franchise with Ghost Protocol. This...

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