Pick of the week: “A Very Murray Christmas” — Wes Anderson movies excepted, can Bill Murray just play Bill Murray from now on? While his last couple of movies (“Rock the Casbah,” “St. Vincent”) were underwhelming, Murray is his charming, funny self in this affectionate goof on old celebrity Christmas specials, playing himself snowbound in New York’s Carlyle Hotel and putting on an ad hoc holiday special with the help of Jenny Lewis, Jason Schwartzman, Maya Rudolph — and, oh yeah, Miley Cyrus and George Clooney. It’s a smooth, silly, after-the-kids-are-tucked-in-their-beds kind of holiday special.
“Dinosaur 13“ — My full review is here. The battle over “Sue,” a Tyrannosaur rex fossil found by some scrappy archaeologists in South Dakota in some legally murky territory, and how they battle to try and keep the skeleton from an array of government forces, becomes a very entertaining documentary that’s also kind of a boy-meets-dinosaur love story.
“About A Boy” — A fine and funny adaptation of Nick Hornby’s novel of a wealthy man-child (Hugh Grant) who accepts responsibility when he takes a single mother (Rachel Weisz) and her young son (a pre-hunky Nicholas Hoult) under his wing.
“Eyes Wide Shut” — Stanley Kubrick’s last film is a little out of step with modern relationship issues in many ways, but it still creates a haunting erotic mood in the tale of a doctor (Tom Cruise) sent out into a dark night of the soul after learning of his wife’s emotional infidelity.
“What Maisie Knew” — My full review is here. A young girl becomes a pawn in an increasingly bitter divorce between a musician (Julianne Moore) and her ex-husband (Steve Coogan) in this moving drama that tells the story mostly through the little girl’s eyes.