Winter Movie Preview Sponsored by UltraStar Cinemas

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With 2012 rapidly approaching, many of this year’s films are behind us. However, there are some really great films left to check out and while some are already in the theaters, others will be out very soon. Take a look at some of the biggest titles this winter!

“The Muppets”

Nov. 23
Stars: Jason Segel, Amy Adams, Chris Cooper, Rashida Jones.
Rotten Tomatoes Ratings: 97% Fresh

“The Muppets” brings the iconic characters to a whole new generation of children, making it the perfect film for longtime fans and newcomers to enjoy together. The film introduces a brand new Muppet named Walter, the biggest Muppet fan in the world, and his brother Gary (a very happy Jason Segel). Gary and his girlfriend Mary (Amy Adams) take Walter with them to Los Angeles to tour the Muppet Studios, where Walter discovers a diabolical plot orchestrated by oilman Tex Richman (Chris Cooper), who plans on destroying the Muppet Theater to get to the hidden oil beneath. Walter, Gary, and Mary come up with a plan to raise $10 million to save the theater, putting together The Greatest Muppet Telethon Ever. In order to succeed though, the three must help Kermit the Frog reunite the Muppets, each having started a new life. Miss Piggy is living the highlife as the fashion editor at Vogue Paris, Gonzo owns a plumping company, Animal is at a celebrity anger management rehabilitation center, and Fozzie is performing with a terrible Muppets tribute band, The Moopets.

Written by Jason Segel and Nicholas Stoller, the film features a very long list of incredible cameos, such as Zach Galifianakis, Jack Black, Dave Grohl, Kristen Schaal, and Emily Blunt. “The Muppets” also features six brand new musical numbers supervised by Bret McKenzie, of “Flight of the Conchords” fame, and three familiar Muppet classics, such as “The Muppet Show Theme” and “The Rainbow Connection.”

“Arthur Christmas”

Nov. 23
Stars: James McAvoy, Hugh Laurie, Bill Nighy, Michael Palin.
Rotten Tomatoes Ratings: 92% Fresh

“Arthur Christmas” will be sure to delight children by finally answering the question of just how Santa Claus manages to deliver all those presents in one night. Santa just so happens to have a super secret, high-tech, underground headquarters in the North Pole that helps him get his deliveries done in a timely manner but sometimes, mistakes happen. With the job of Santa being passed down from father to son, “Arthur Christmas” introduces the Santa family, a comically dysfunctional group, with the youngest son Arthur (James McAvoy) in the middle of it all. Working in the Letters Department, Arthur loves responding to all the letters children write to his father, but when a package is left undelivered, Arthur soon finds himself embarking on an exciting journey to deliver the forgotten package to the child it belongs to.

“Hugo”    Photo Courtesy of edenpictures via flickr

Nov. 23
Dir: Martin Scorsese
Stars: Asa Butterfield, Chloë Grace Moretz, Christopher Lee, Ben Kingsley, Ray Winstone, Emily Mortimer, Jude Law
Rotten Tomatoes Ratings: 94% Fresh

Based on Brian Selzcick’s novel “The Invention of Hugo Cabret,” “Hugo” is set in the 1930s and tells the story of Hugo Cabret (Asa Butterfield), a young orphan boy who lives in the walls of a Paris train station. Hugo spends his days maintaining the station’s clocks and working on a broken automaton that is meant to write a secret message. Once meeting a precocious girl (Chloë Grace Moretz) and a surly old man (Ben Kingsley) who runs a toy shop, Hugo finds himself in the middle of an amazing adventure that will leave you breathless. Directed by Martin Scorsese and produced by Johnny Depp, “Hugo” is a film of incredible imagination and unbelievable 3-D effects. A love letter to early cinema, the unusual film is sure to be an Oscar contender and is finally a Scorsese film parents can take their children to.

“My Week with Marilyn” Photo courtesy of vectorportal via flickr

Nov. 23
Stars: Michelle Williams, Eddie Redmayne, Kenneth Branagh
Rotten Tomatoes Ratings: 83% Fresh

With so much anticipation and hype surrounding “My Week with Marilyn” it’s difficult to know whether the film will live up to the expectations. However, with the vivacious and excellent Michelle Williams playing Monroe, this film is a successful, heartbreaking look at the fragile girl beneath the starlet’s exterior. Based on Colin Clark’s books “The Prince, The Showgirl and Me” and “My Week with Marilyn,” the film depicts Clark’s (played by Eddie Redmayne) brief friendship with Monroe in the summer of 1956 while working as the third assisting director on “The Prince and the Showgirl,” starring Laurence Olivier (Kenneth Branagh) and Monroe. Even though Monroe is on honeymoon with her husband Arthur Miller (Dougray Scott), she develops a close relationship with Clark, finding herself able to relax and escape the pressures of filming while in his presence. The film hinges entirely on Williams’ performance and anyone doubting her ability to play Monroe will be pleasantly surprised when they see Monroe’s spirit captured so seamlessly and beautifully onscreen.

“A Dangerous Method” Photo Courtesy of GabboT via Flickr

Nov. 23
Dir: David Cronenberg
Stars: Michael Fassbender, Viggo Mortensen, Keira Knightley, Vincent Cassel
Rotten Tomatoes Ratings: 79% Fresh

The third collaboration between director David Cronenberg and actor Viggo Mortensen (the two previous films being “A History of Violence” and “Eastern Promises”), “A Dangerous Method” takes place on the eve of WWI and follows the friendship between the young psychiatrist Carl Jung (Michael Fassbender) and the man he looks up to, Sigmund Freud (Viggo Mortensen). Their relationship is soon sent into turmoil when the mentally unstable, but beautiful, Sabina Spielrein (Keira Knightley) comes between them.


Dec. 2
Dir: Steve McQueen
Stars: Michael Fassbender, Carey Mulligan
Rotten Tomatoes Ratings: 78% Fresh

“Shame” is not a movie one should take lightly as it is incredibly intense, depicting scenes of sexual degradation and self-loathing. Michael Fassbender is brilliant as Brandon, a man living and working in New York, and who is completely incapable of controlling his sexual addiction. He moves through life in a haze of meaningless encounters, dodging phone calls from his sister Sissy (Carey Mulligan), and battling with the self-loathing that is evident on his face at every beat. When Sissy shows up at his apartment unannounced and with nowhere else to go, Brandon’s life begins to rapidly spiral out of control, forcing him to face the reality of his situation.

“Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy” Photo courtesy of Magnus D via Flickr

Dec. 9
Dir: Tomas Alfredson
Stars: Gary Oldman, Colin Firth, Tom Hardy, John Hurt
Rotten Tomatoes Ratings: 97% Fresh

Directed by Tomas Alfredson (“Let the Right One In”) and adapted from John le Carré’s novel (which was also adapted in the 1979 miniseries of the same name), “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy” is set in the early 1970s during the Cold War. After a mission in Budapest, Hungary goes terribly wrong, Control (John Hurt), the head of British Intelligence, retires and reveals that the operation’s intent was to find a Russian mole, thought to be one of the four senior officials in the agency. George Smiley (Gary Oldman), having been earlier forced into retirement, is approached to look into a story he was told about a mole by a rogue agent, Ricky Tarr (Tom Hardy). Once Smiley takes on the job he begins to figure out who the mole is, all while piecing together just what actually happened in Budapest.

“New Years Eve” Photo Courtesy of david_shankbone via flickr

Dec. 9
Dir: Gary Marshall
Stars: Robert De Niro, Ashton Kutcher, Zac Efron, Katherine Heigl, Jessica Biel, Sofia Vergara, Sarah Jessica Parker, Lea Michele, etc.
Rotten Tomatoes Ratings:

After the success of 2010’s “Valentine’s Day,” director Gary Marshall is back with “New Year’s Eve.” Using the increasingly popular structure of several vignettes, the film takes place in New York, showing the lives of many people, some coupled and some single, all leading up to the New Year’s countdown.

“Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chip-Wrecked”

Photo courtesy of Michiganmoves via flickr

Dec. 16
Rating Pending
Stars: Jason Lee, Justin Long, Anna Faris, Matthew Gray Gubler, Jesse McCartney

The third “Alvin and the Chipmunks” film (following the 2007 film “Alvin and the Chipmunks” and the 2009 film “Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel”), finds the Chipmunks and the Chipettes having a blast on a cruise ship with the Chipmunks’ dad, Dave Seville (Jason Lee). While having fun running rampant, the furry chipmunks end up getting the ship wrecked on the Isles of Scilly, ultimately causing the group to get lost and separated from Dave. While roaming the island, the chipmunk trios find a new castaway that will make island life infinitely more interesting.

“Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows”Photo Courtesy of Grant Barrett

Dec. 16
Rating Pending
Dir: Guy Ritchie
Stars: Robert Downey Jr., Jude Law, Noomi Rapace.

Director Guy Ritchie is back with “Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows,” a sequel to the 2009 film “Sherlock Holmes.” Sherlock Holmes (Robert Downey Jr.) and John Watson (Jude Law), after teaming up with Holmes’ older brother Mycroft (Stephen Fry) and the intriguing Sim (Noomi Rapace), work together to outsmart Professor Moriarty (Jared Harris), Sherlock’s ultimate nemesis.

“The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”Photo courtesy of brava_67 via flickr

Dec. 21
Rating Pending
Dir: David Fincher
Stars: Daniel Craig, Rooney Mara, Stellan Skarsgard, Christopher Plummer, Robin Wright

“The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” follows the story of Mikael Blomkvist (Daniel Craig) as he is hired by Henrik Vanger (Christopher Plummer) to find the old man’s disappeared niece. Blomkvist finds help in the form of Lisbeth Salander (Rooney Mara), a young computer hacker who is in the middle of a perilous situation herself. Together, Blomkvist and Salander uncover a terrible Vanger family history, carefully buried beneath years of lies by the people who can’t have the truth be found.

Possibly one of the most anticipated films of the year, because this adaptation of Stieg Larsson’s novel follows so closely after Sweden’s incredibly well-done adaptation in 2009, “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” will have a lot of people studying it in detail, looking for faults. Most of those people will be watching to see if Rooney Mara (cast as Lisbeth Salander) will be able to pull off the role Noomi Rapace immortalized in the first film. However, if the edgy trailers and stellar cast are anything to go by, this film, directed by David Fincher (“Fight Club,” “Social Network,” and “Seven”), is going to succeed in every department.

“Mission: Impossible: – Ghost Protocol”Photo Courtesy of g_witzel_lucky via flickr

Dec. 21
Rating Pending
Stars: Tom Cruise, Jeremy Renner, Simon Pegg, Tom Wilkinson, Josh Holloway

The “Mission: Impossible” series is back with its fourth film, “Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol.” IMF Agent Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) is undercover in Moscow when a terrorist bombing destroys the Kremlin, causing the IMF to be implicated and shut down. Hunt and his team go rogue, operating outside of government support to find out who is responsible for the Moscow bombing in order to clear IMF’s name.

“We Bought a Zoo”Photo courtesy of Sizzle42 via Flickr

Dec. 23
Rating Pending
Dir: Cameron Crowe
tars: Matt Damon, Elle Fanning, Scarlett Johansson, Thomas Haden Church

Directed by Cameron Crowe (“Fast Times at Ridgemont High,” “Jerry Maguire,” and “Almost Famous”), “We Bought a Zoo” is a comedy drama that is based on the memoir by Benjamin Mee, about how the author and his family pulled their savings together to buy Dartmoor Zoological Park, a rundown zoo that already housed 200 exotic animals. In the film, Matt Damon plays Benjamin Mee, a father who moves his family to the countryside in Southern California, buying property that houses a struggling zoo with plans to renovate and re-open the zoo.

“In the Land of Blood and Honey”

Dec. 23
Dir/Wri: Angelina Jolie
Stars: Zana Marjanovic, Goran Kostic, Rade Serbedzija

The directorial debut of Angelina Jolie, “In the Land of Blood and Honey” takes place during the Bosnian War and was shot in two versions – one in English and the other in Serbo-Croation. Danijel (Goran Kostic), a soldier fighting for the Serbians, encounters Ajla (Zana Marjanovic), a Bosnian woman from his past who is captive in the camp he oversees. Their past connection is no longer reliable now that their motives have changed in the face of the war, forcing them to carefully relearn one another.

“War Horse”Photo courtesy of amandabhslater via flickr

Dec. 25
Dir: Steven Spielberg
Stars: Jeremy Irvine, Emily Watson, David Thewlis

Directed by Steven Spielberg, “War Horse” is war drama set in WWI, based on a children’s novel of the same name written by British author Michael Morpurgo. The film tells the story of Albert Narracott (Jeremy Irvine) and his beloved horse, Joey. Joey is sold to the cavalry and sent off to France, embarking on an incredible journey that ends up leaving the horse in No Man’s Land. Even though Albert is too young to enlist, he embarks on an epic journey of his own to find Joey and finally bring him home where he belongs.

Ultra Star Cinemas is headquartered in San Diego County and operates 141 screens at 14 sites throughout Southern California and Arizona. The company was formed in 1999 by John Ellison, Jr.and Alan Grossberg with the same goal in mind – be a pioneer in the industry and consistently stay onthe forefront of technology, while providing the best movie-going experience to every guest that walksthrough the doors.

UltraStar was the first exhibitor in the world to be equipped with D-BOX Motion Seats. D-BOX Technologies uses motion integrated within theater seats to capture some of the best action scenes in all types of movies. Feeling the action immerses the guest in the movie like never before.

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