Weekend Movie Preview: December 28, 2012

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There may be only one new film opening this weekend, Matt Damon's Promised Land, but since seven new films arrived in the last week, to paraphrase what one TV network used to say, "It's mostly new to you!" Movie Fanatic takes a look at all of the films that burst onto audiences' radar in the last week that are at the heart of our last Weekend Movie Preview of 2012.

Promised Land: Matt Damon and John Krasinski co-wrote this timely film about natural gas drilling in the U.S. and the ongoing debate that has galvanized rural areas across the land. As we explore further in our Promised Land review, Krasinski and Damon have penned a powerful piece of film that was made that much better by the expert hand of director Gus Van Sant.

Released in the last week:

Django Unchained: Quentin Tarantino storms back into theaters with a guns-blazing movie with a touch of social consciousness, well not that much social consciousness. The story of a freed slave (Jamie Foxx) and the bounty hunter (Christoph Waltz) who bought and freed him is a classic within the Tarantino filmography. For more on the film, check out the Movie Fanatic Django Unchained review.

Les Miserables: One of the, if not the, most popular musicals of all time gets the big screen jump it so sorely deserves. Anne Hathaway will break your heart and Hugh Jackman leaves his action hero persona behind and shows the world the movie musical force of nature that he is. The Les Miserables review is proud to report that fans of the iconic stage production will be thrilled.

The Guilt Trip: Barbra Streisand and Seth Rogen hit the road and although they may hilariously bicker, there is a huge heart at the soul of this film. Our The Guilt Trip review also states that going in one would think that the film would put you in the mood to put some distance between you and mom, but in fact it is the opposite. You'll leave the theater and want to call her ASAP.

Jack Reacher: Tom Cruise hopes for another franchise and the verdict is out whether Jack Reacher is it. The film based on the wildly popular books took a chance in the casting of Cruise, as he looks nothing like the titular hero. The film itself has solid action, but misses a few notes and has a supporting cast that is not even remotely fully developed. Check out our Jack Reacher review for more.

The Impossible: Ewan McGregor and Naomi Watts portray real life parents of three kids who arrive for their dream vacation on the very beach where the 2004 Thailand tsunami would hit hours after they land. It is a harrowing true story that is expertly crafted and delivered in such a manner that it does not exploit the horror. Instead, as stated in our The Impossible review, the film is a love letter to the human spirit and the bond of family.

Parental Guidance: Billy Crystal got this project going and his fingerprints are all over it. He stars with Bette Midler as a pair of grandparents to a trio of kids they hardly know. Seems their daughter (Marisa Tomei) doesn't think they have an ounce of responsibility. When she and her husband have to go away for a weekend and are left with no other options, they call in the grandparents and hilarity ensues. Well, mostly... as revealed in our Parental Guidance review.

This Is 40: Judd Apatow crafts a sequel to Knocked Up, but instead of focusing on the current affairs of Katherine Heigl and Seth Rogen, he instead focuses his camera on the "happily" married couple from that film played by Paul Rudd and Apatow's real-life wife Leslie Mann. The This Is 40 review finds lots to like about Apatow's latest endeavor, not the least of which is the performance of his daughter, Maude Apatow.

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