Merry Christmas from the trailers. In this week's selection, there's a treat to delight every MPAA-approved palate, naughty or nice. For families with eyeballs that still function after the experiment in retinal tolerance known as The Hobbit, there's appropriate fare in Cirque du Soleil: Worlds Away. The film seems designed for double duty as babysitter and gentle balsam to the dreams of parents using cinemas mainly to sip away their hangovers from clandestine hip flasks.
The two giant, overwrapped Christmas gifts of the week are both aimed at adolescent brains. Boys will want to see Django Unchained, even if the trailer does nothing to belie the suspicion that encomia from preview screenings are anything but carefully orchestrated PR, while girls will want to weep loudly along to Anne Hathaway's dying-prostitute number in Les Misérables just as they did when they saw it in the trailer that was shown before every single movie released in the past six months. For the more hipsterish and sexually ambivalent teen, there's the fellow from the Joy Division movie and the girl form the vampire saga in the cigarette-smoking and cautiously-naked-getting movie version of Kerouac's On the Road.
Those seeking comfort in the meat and potatoes of familiarity can be reassured that Judd Apatow's death grip on American movie comedy remains unbroken. Thanks to a brilliantly effective trailer and a publicity campaign that successfully transformed Vanity Fair into its press release, This Is 40, seemingly an endless self-indulgence that includes every joke its creators ever thought of, is a film you already know you either love or loathe.
Finally, the Christmas movie everyone should see has a seasonally happy ending. It is also the tale of one of the most warped and shameful miscarriages of justice in recent history. Back in 1996, three kids were put away for life for the murder of three little boys in West Memphis, Tenn., mainly because one of the accused happened to dress like a Goth. Documentaries about the utter bollocks that was the prosecution case have been made pretty much since the trial, culminating in this one, West of Memphis, whose big reveal is that, finally, after 18 years, the boys were freed. Imagine if Tim Burton had been put away for the last 18 years simply for looking like a Goth … the thought of which is enough to make West of Memphis the movie of the holidays, at least according to this trailer.