"Hugo" is a complex film that adds up to quite a bit less than the sum of its parts. It is visually fascinating, it has a great cast turning in solid performances, and it has some real things to say about an obscure but important historical figure. And yet, the end result feels disjointed and incomplete. When the title character is alone on screen, the movie feels like some kind of Spielbergian romp; when Ben Kingsley is on screen, it feels like a Dickens dramatization; when Sacha Baron Cohen is on screen, it feels like a bad comedy; only when Chloe Moretz is in the spotlight does the whole thing seem to work. On the other hand, the historical stuff about Georges Méliès (Ben Kingsley's character) is fascinating, and apparently mostly accurate.
"The Muppets" tries very hard to be a continuation of the late 70's TV show, and mostly succeeds. If that sounds good to you, you will enjoy the film; we certainly did. My favorite part of the movie is a sort of "Sword in the Stone" moment when Animal is re-united with his drumsticks.
"Arthur Christmas" is dumb, relentlessly heartwarming holiday thing. We knew that going in, and enjoyed it at face value. Bryony the Wrapping Elf is a hoot and a half, though.
"The Descendants" is a really good slice of life movie falsely billed as a comedy. It features some of the bleakest footage of Hawaii ever filmed; one gets the impression that Hawaii gets about as much sun as Oregon. Both of the main characters (George Clooney and Shailene Woodley) are excellent and charming, and make the film work.
"My Week is Marilyn" is a brilliantly presented dramatization of the surreal circus that surrounded Marilyn Monroe during the filming of "The Prince and the Showgirl" in 1956. Everything about the film is superlative, including the painfully tiresome dementia of the title character. I am, apparently, completely immune to the Marilyn Magic, and wonder why ANYONE bothered to put up with her.
Somewhere in there (Monday night) I found myself freezing to death in a 70 degree living room, suffering from debilitating pain in all of my joints. Disturbing, but mostly gone now...