Alvin and the Chipmunks Feature

The One Movie to See This Weekend and a Couple Others, Too, December 18, 2015

Friday, December 18, 2015 Rob Samuelson

There is little question what you will see this weekend, but there are a couple options besides the cinematic earthquake that's about to go off. You know, in case you want to go see something before or after in a way to keep the “high on movies” feeling going. One of the two counter-programming options indeed looks worthwhile. The other, I'm sorry if you have to appease any small children. Let's see what's going to create lines around the block.



Star Wars: The Force Awakens
Director: J.J. Abrams
Writers: Lawrence Kasdan, J.J. Abrams, Michael Arndt
Starring: Harrison Ford, Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Adam Driver, Oscar Isaac, Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill



Here it is. It's the big kahuna, the movie that will disappoint Disney if it doesn't become the the highest-grossing film of all time. That would seem like a lot of pressure, but it's such an event that those expectations are far from silly.

The return of the big three from the original Star Wars trilogy, Harrison Ford's Han Solo, Carrie Fisher's Leia (now a general), and Mark Hamill's Jedi master Luke Skywalker, is probably what has most people excited. However, J.J. Abrams and company have made no bones about the fact that the new trio of Rey (Daisy Ridley), Finn (John Boyega), and Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac) are both the present and future of these movies. The old heroes are there as a link, offering guidance and whatnot. But this is especially Rey's show, as she is the new protagonist. That's the right way to go.

Sisters
Director: Jason Moore
Writer: Paula Pell
Starring: Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, Maya Rudolph, Ike Barinholtz



Tina Fey and Amy Poehler deserve better treatment than to be offered as the sacrificial lambs to the god of Star Wars. Everything about the trailer shows this to be a funny, maybe even heartwarming, movie about these two sisters who want to send off their childhood home in style with a gigantic party. These are two of the best comedic performers of the modern day, and they play off each other perfectly. It's especially nice to see Fey play the looser cannon of the two, flipping the dynamic from their last big-screen pairing, Baby Mama.

Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Road Chip
Director: Walt Becker
Writers: Randi Mayem Singer, Adam Sztykiel
Starring: Matthew Gray Gubler, Justin Long, Jesse McCartney, Jason Lee



Nothing to see here. Move along.


Unless this breaks convention in revolutionary ways, it will likely be another dire piece of annoyance for parents. The voices, the hacky jokes, on-the-nose pop culture references, everything looks to be there in spades. I get the feeling this is the studio's way of saying they're sick of this property, even if it makes okay money, and they are putting it up against Star Wars to rid themselves of it for at least a little while.  

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