Wednesday movie roundup – Nov. 26

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    With today’s batch of Thanksgiving releases, the Holiday Movie Season is officially underway! Get ready for Oscar bait, family-friendly shenanigans, and three-hour movies starring Kate Winslet.

    First up this week: “Four Christmases,” a lowest-common-denominator comedy about a couple who have to visit all four of their divorced parents for the holidays. Vince Vaughn and Reese Witherspoon star; strangely enough, the interaction between these two total opposites is one of the movie’s stronger points (which isn’t saying much). My review is at Film.com. (You might have thought you saw it here in its entirety earlier, but your mind was playing tricks on you. I swear.)

    Then you got your “Transporter 3,” an action film with almost no action, and a total disappointment compared to the dumbly entertaining first “Transporter” film.

    “The Boy in the Striped Pajamas,” in limited release, is a valiant effort to tell an almost untellable story, in which a young German boy befriends a concentration camp prisoner without realizing what’s actually going on in the camp (which he thinks is a “farm”). Hilarity, um, ensues.

    Finally, in limited release before it expands next week, is “Milk,” Gus Van Sant’s biopic of the San Francisco politician who crusaded for gay rights in the 1970s and was assassinated for his trouble. It’s a great return to form for Van Sant: accessible, entertaining, and engaging without sacrificing intelligence or style. And Sean Penn is amazing in the lead — he actually smiles and laughs and is likable.

    Happy Thanksgiving to one and all! I’ll be back Friday, bloated and groggy, more so than usual.

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