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What to watch in theaters and at home Thanksgiving 2021

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MEET THE MADRIGALS – Walt Disney Animation Studios’ “Encanto” introduces the Madrigals, a compelling and complicated extended family who live in a wondrous and charmed place in the mountains of Colombia. Opening in the U.S. on Nov. 24, 2021, “Encanto” features the voices of Stephanie Beatriz as the only ordinary child in the Madrigal family; María Cecilia Botero as Mirabel’s grandmother, Abuela Alma; Angie Cepeda and Wilmer Valderrama as Mirabel’s parents, Julieta and Agustín; Jessica Darrow and Diane Guererro as Mirabel’s sisters Luisa and Isabela; Carolina Gaitan and Mauro Castillo as Mirabel’s aunt and uncle, Pepa and Félix; and Adassa Candiani, Rhenzy Feliz and Ravi Cabot-Conyers as Mirabel’s cousins Dolores, Camilo and Antonio, respectively. © 2021 Disney. All Rights Reserved.

It's that time of year when film critics around the world find their mailboxes (both real and electronic) overflowing with pitches for films famous and undiscovered as we roll into Award Season. I've no shortage of viewing options. Time? Well, that's another thing entirely.

Films being released this week that I haven't had a chance to watch include "The Power of the Dog," "House of Gucci," "Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City." "The Power of the Dog" is one that I will be watching. Strong reviews and the presence of director Jane Campion and actors Benedict Cumberbatch, Kirsten Dunst and Jesse Plemons is more than enough to get my attention. I grew up on the Resident Evil video games and can't help but be curious whenever a new film comes out. I'm genuinely interested in what this reboot will look and feel like. As for the "House of Gucci." Well, I've been told all the elements are there for a great movie but they never come together. Still curious, but in this busy season it gets dropped down a rung.

Also, there is "Belfast," which I'm planning on watching this weekend. The film was written and directed by Kenneth Branagh and tells the story of 10 year old Jude as he tries to navigate his way through the uncertainty of 1960s Belfast.

I'm mixed on "Ghostbusters: Afterlife." I love Mckenna Grace, but the film doesn't quite stick the landing when it comes to the more sentimental aspects of the narrative. I also find the character Podcast to be incredibly annoying.

Here's what I did see that is new for this week.

The Beatles: Get Back

Director Peter Jackson ("Lord of the Rings") presents an 8-hour magical behind-the-scenes look at the recording of The Beatles "Let It Be" album. Culled from over 55 hours of video and 140 hours of audio, "The Beatles: Get Back" is a fly-on-the-wall documentary that offers a candid glimpse into the creative process of one of the world's most influential bands. I've only been able to watch the first of the three episodes, but what I saw was fascinating and engrossing.

Where to watch: Disney+

C’mon C’mon

Director/writer Mike Mills cut his teeth on a variety of music videos for the likes of Moby, Oko Ono, Air, Pulp and Depeche Mode's Martin Gore. However, it was 2010's "Beginners," his second feature film, that cemented my sense of loyalty to him as an artist. His latest film, "C'mon C'mon," is equally as as good (if not slightly better) and features Joaquin Phoenix in one of his best performances as he plays Johnny, a journalist, who is tasked with taking care of Jesse, his nephew, while his sister deals with the personal issues of her son's father. Jesse isn't an easy child and would test the patience of the most skilled behavior specialists. Johnny, who has no children, is quickly overwhelmed. It's going to take a lot of love to get through the coming weeks as Johnny and his team travel around the country talking to children about what they expect the world to be like when they are grown. "C'mon C'mon" is simply jaw-dropping good.

Where to watch: Theaters

Encanto

Disney's latest animated film takes place in the mountains of Colombia where a family blessed with magical abilities resides in a enchanted house on the hill. Each member of the Madrigal family has a special ability. Well, everyone except for Mirabel. Mirabel is still searching for her purpose. So, when cracks begin to literally form in her family's house she is quick to sound the alarm and quick to be dismissed by matriarch Alma. Will Mirabel succumb to self-doubt or rise above her fears and frustrations and save her family before all their magic is used up?

It's very good and highly recommended.

Where to watch: Theaters

Hawkeye

I haven't cared much for the bulk of the recent Marvel Cinematic Universe. I found "Black Widow" to be rushed, "The Falcon and the Winter Soldier" was a complete mess, "Loki" was fun but feels like it exists outside in some undefined space, "Shang-Chi" had its moments but needed a tighter edit and "Eternals" just left me feeling apathetic. Yes, "WandaVision" was start-to-finish great. So, I approached "Hawkeye" with trepidation.

I've only been shown the first two episodes. That's a shame because I would have binged the entire 6-hour experience if I had the option. I like the characters, actors, direction, tone and am impatiently awaiting what happens next. Will Clint (Jeremy Renner) make it home for Christmas or has Kate M. Bishop (Hailee Steinfeld) ruined the holiday by wearing a particular garment with a controversial history? I'll find out when you do.

Where to watch: Disney+

Julia

In retrospect it is a little strange that I, a child who had no interest in cooking, knew who Julia Child was. I watched a lot of news as a child. She also, apparently, sang a duet with Cookie Monster in 1974. That was before I was born. Anyway, Child was ubiquitous like Richard Simmons. "Julia" is a fantastic look at the famous cook's life and personality. We see her successes and the struggle behind those victories. The misogyny and breast cancer. The 12-year struggle to get "Mastering the Art of French Cooking" published. It's not just an enjoyable film; it is an important one.

Where to watch: Theaters

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