Ice Age: Continental Drift (2012) PASS
Les Misérables (1998) PICK
The Odd Life of Timothy Green (2012) PASS
imed to coincide with the Christmas Day opening of the new musical version of Les Miz starring Hugh Jackman, Bille August’s Les Misérables is a worthwhile dramatic adaptation of Victor Hugo’s classic novel, with Liam Neeson as the hunted, haunted ex-convict Jean Valjean and Geoffrey Rush as the relentless Inspector Javert. In this condensed version, Hugo’s political rabble-rousing takes a back seat to the story’s moral and romantic tableaux.
Peter Vaughan plays the merciful bishop who unexpectedly backs up Valjean’s claim that the silver stolen from the bishop’s residence was, in fact, a gift, thereby setting Valjean on the path to redemption. Uma Thurman plays Fantine, the tragic factory worker who falls from grace, and Claire Danes plays her daughter, Cosette.
Two mediocre family films aren’t as recommendable.
Ice Age: Continental Drift is more like a Happy Meal than a movie: The basic product remains exactly the same from one sequel to the next, with only the toys changing (dinosaurs in the last one; pirates in this one). Only Scrat is still worth watching. Then there’s The Odd Life of Timothy Green, a truly odd, would-be uplifting parable about parenting that doesn’t know how creepy it is. Not because young Timothy, a magical plant person, just pops into the lives of an unhappily childless Jennifer Garner and Joel Edgerton, but because the couple and everyone else is no more recognizably human than Timothy.
Bonus Pick: The Ultimate Buster Keaton Collection is as awesome — and pricey — as it sounds: For nearly $250 on Amazon, you get a 14-disc Blu-ray set including every masterpiece (and quite a few lesser efforts).
Content Advisory: Ice Age: Continental Drift: Mild rude humor; animated violence/menace; scenes of peril, including parental separation. Kids and up. Les Misérables: Sexual references; violence; a suicide. Teens and up. Timothy Green: Bullying; mild suggestiveness; at least one curse word; traumatic family scenes.