New films this week:
— “Australia” (rated PG-13), a pre-World War II epic Down Under, starring Hugh Jackman and Nicole Kidman.
— “A Christmas Tale” (not rated), a French fable about a dysfunctional family. Catherine Deneuve stars.
— “Four Christmases” (rated PG-13), a romantic/holiday comedy teaming Vince Vaughn and Reese Witherspoon.
— “Let the Right One In” (rated R), a Swedish horror movie about the relationship between a bullied boy and a vampire.
— “Transporter 3” (rated PG-13), the return of the revenge-minded chauffeur character played by Jason Statham.
Vaughn and Witherspoon have zero chemistry, though the sour-note “Four Christmases” has other, major problems, including a nasty tone.
And “Australia” actually has too much story for its own good. The two-plus-hour movie tries to look at the Australian cattle industry, the country’s involvement in World War II and the treatment of Aboriginal children.
The third “Transporter” is every bit as silly and preposterous as its predecessors were, though it’s pretty action-filled and will appeal to fans of its star, Statham.
“A Christmas Tale’s” characters aren’t the most likable bunch of people. But the cast is terrific, especially Deneuve and Mathieu Amalric (“Quantum of Solace”), and it feels like a sprawling novel.
But the week’s best film is the creepy Swedish import. It does get gruesome at times, and is definitely not for kids or for those who are weak of heart, though.
Which, if any, of these movies fit into your holiday and weekend viewing?