Rev Simon Carver reviews the best of the new releases for December
12A 96 mins
Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg reprise their ‘odd couple’ roles from The Other Guys in this comedy based around the idea of two dads competing for the attention of their children. One dad – Mark Wahlberg – is the cool biological father who breezes back into the children’s lives and undermines buttoned-up stepfather, Will Ferrell. It’s a one joke film, but that’s not as damning as it might sound. There’s plenty of slapstick humour – if you like that sort of thing – and there are also some funny verbal gags. It won’t live long in the memory, but it’s all harmless fun. It may not be the most obvious place to go for teaching on parenting, but it could raise some questions about what it means to be a father.
The Good Dinosaur
PG 101 mins
This latest Disney-Pixar feature answers the question ‘what would the world be like if the asteroid that is said to have wiped out the dinosaurs, had missed?’ This might not be a question that anyone is actually asking, but it has enabled the film-makers to create a world in which humans are subordinate in creation to humans. It’s the dinosaurs who speak and farm, while the humans grunt and eat berries. Apart from this rather imaginative idea, this is pretty much standard Disney fare. The runt of the dinosaur litter learns to deal with fear and takes an equal place in the family alongside his more obviously gifted brother and sister. The animation is wonderful – the scenery looking especially life-like. This is by no means the best Pixar film, but that’s a high bar to reach and The Good Dinosaur could give some life lessons to young children.
PG 115 mins
Directed by Alex Kendrick and produced by brother Stephen, War Room is a Christian film that tells the story of a older women sharing with a younger woman her experiences as a prayer warrior and how it might save the younger woman’s marriage. The film is note-worthy for having a predominantly African American cast, with White actors playing one or two of the minor roles. This contrasts with the way in which Hollywood often casts films. War Room garnered few plaudits from the critics when it was released in August in America, but it proved very successful at the box office. Perhaps releasing that this success was unlikely to be repeated in the UK, War Room has been released on DVD in this country and would make an excellent resource for a church Home Group as the basis for a discussion about prayer.