Holiday downtown is perfect for catching up on movies

Quvenzhané Wallis is Hushpuppy in "Beasts of The Southern Wild."
December 9, 2012

There going to be a lot of downtime in the weeks ahead, which, for cinephiles, means you can catch up at home on the films missed in the hectic weeks and months leading up to year’s end. Listed below are a few that may have quickly slipped off your cinematic radar but are worth the time if you have a spare movie night alone or with others:

Paranorman: (Available now) Norman Babcock is a misunderstood young boy who just tries to get by with school and at home in his sleepy hometown of Blithe Hollow. Oh, and he can speak to the dead. When an ancient witch’s curse threatens his town, Only Norman possesses the power to set things right and save the town with the help of his misfit friends. For those who loved “Coraline,” this glorious stop-motion animated film is every bit as detailed, dark and demented. With hope, it will rise from the dead on DVD and streaming and become an enduring favorite for monster-movie fans and older children.

Beasts Of The Southern Wild: (Available now) An allegorical tale of a young girl struggling with poverty and a tumultuous family life on the Bayou by escaping into fantasy. While I think the praise heaped on this film is largely overblown, it’s a strong little tale that would make a perfectly fine evening on the small screen. It’s also been on many critic’s shortlist for Oscar contenders, so those looking to consume all the pictures on the nominee lists may way to give it a test drive.

The Qatsi Trilogy: (Dec. 11) Criterion puts its signature lavish treatment on this groundbreaking trilogy: “Koyaanisqatsi,” “Powaqqatsi” and “Naqoyqatsi.” New features include a new digital transfer for all three films, making-of and behind-the-scenes footage of all three, documentaries, panel discussions, and remastered scores from Phillip Glass.

Pitch Perfect: (Dec. 18) Perhaps the love for “Glee” in waning, but this school-set musical did not deserve the quick exit from the theater. The always-winning Anna Kendrick leads a cast singing their way through the cutthroat, competitive collegiate a cappella groups. Best lest you think this some fourth-rate “Bring it On” clone set to music, keep in mind that the script was penned by “30 Rock” scribe Kay Cannon, so not only does the film have pipes, but it has teeth, too.

Premium Rush: (Dec. 21) As solid a B-movie if there ever was one, “Rush” delivers exactly what it promises in a lean little package that is faster and more furious than a dozen of the big-budget chase films. Joseph Gordon Levitt plays an NYC bike courier who gets handed the wrong package to deliver and a crooked cop (played by a slimy MIchael Shannon) will stop at nothing to put the brakes on his delivery.

Killer Joe: (Dec. 21) In what is perhaps one of the most overlooked great performances of 2012 is Matthew McConaughey’s turn in this pitch-black thriller from director William Friedkin (The French Connection, The Exorcist).

The film also stars Emile Hirsch as a gambler on hard times and calls on his daddy (played by a hysterical Thomas Haden Church), to hire a notorious hit man (McConaughey) to help him out .

The flick is filled with great performances, but it is McConaughey who creates one of the most charming psychotics since Patrick Bateman in “American Psycho.”

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