Get breaking news alerts via email

Click here to manage your alerts
The Cricket
Sean P. Means
Sean is the movie critic and columnist for The Salt Lake Tribune. Follow him on Twitter @moviecricket.

» E-mail

» Subscribe (RSS)

This undated publicity image released by The Weinstein Company shows, from left, Jamie Foxx as Django and Christoph Waltz as Schultz in the film, "Django Unchained," directed by Quentin Tarantino. (AP Photo/The Weinstein Company, Andrew Cooper, SMPSP, File)
Christmas Day movie roundup: ‘Les Misérables’ and more

It’s a bit unfair to tell you about the movies that don’t open until Tuesday — but you may want plan ahead for Christmas afternoon, when you’ve opened all the presents and are in desperate need of something to do.

The Christmas Day opening most likely to have folks skipping the roast beast is "Les Misérables," the long-awaited movie adaptation of the beloved Broadway musical. It’s the story of Jean Valjean (Hugh Jackman), an ex-convict who has jumped parole and forged a new identity, but still has the law — in the form of the dogged Inspector Javert (Russell Crowe) — breathing down his neck. Valjean encounters the tragic Fantine (Anne Hathaway), and adopts her daughter Cosette as his own, and then watches the adult Cosette (Amanda Seyfried) fall for the idealistic Marius (Eddie Redmayne), one of the young rebels on the barricades during the Paris uprising of 1852. Alas, director Tom Hooper ("The King’s Speech") goes for the human drama, with close-ups tighter than the actors’ optometrists would go, and misses the grandeur of the piece.

Join the Discussion
Post a Comment

Somewhat better is "Django Unchained," director-writer Quentin Tarantino’s free-form homage to spaghetti Westerns and blaxploitation flicks. Jamie Foxx stars as Django, a freed slave who becomes deputy to a chatty bounty hunter (Christoph Waltz, who steals the show) as he tries to free his beloved wife (Kerry Washington) from a nasty Mississippi plantation owner (Leonardo DiCaprio). Tarantino employs his bag of tricks more judiciously than he did in "Inglorious Basterds." The results are just as audacious and violent, but more human.

Lastly, in every sense, is "Parental Guidance," a family comedy that is hijacked by Billy Crystal’s rampaging ego. Crystal and Bette Midler play an older couple who visit their grandkids, and bristle when their daughter (Marisa Tomei) shows them her modern parenting techniques. Crystal plays every scene like a Borscht Belt comic in mid-monologue, with creaky gags and an overbearing presence. Anyone who drags their family to this one deserves coal in their stocking next Christmas.

Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Top Reader Comments Read All Comments Post a Comment
Click here to read all comments   Click here to post a comment

About Reader Comments

Reader comments on sltrib.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Salt Lake Tribune. We will delete comments containing obscenities, personal attacks and inappropriate or offensive remarks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. If you see an objectionable comment, please alert us by clicking the arrow on the upper right side of the comment and selecting "Flag comment as inappropriate". If you've recently registered with Disqus or aren't seeing your comments immediately, you may need to verify your email address. To do so, visit disqus.com/account.
See more about comments here.
  • Search Obituaries
  • Place an Obituary

  • Search Cars
  • Search Homes
  • Search Jobs
  • Search Marketplace
  • Search Legal Notices

  • Other Services
  • Advertise With Us
  • Subscribe to the Newspaper
  • Access your e-Edition
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Contact a newsroom staff member
  • Access the Trib Archives
  • Privacy Policy
  • Missing your paper? Need to place your paper on vacation hold? For this and any other subscription related needs, click here or call 801.204.6100.