On Heroes, Who’s Telling the Truth in ‘Truth & Consequences’

November 27, 2007

In the 10th episode of Heroes, we finally got to meet Victoria Pratt, one of the founders of The Company and the engineer behind the deadly virus that could wipe out 23% of the population.  In “Truth & Consequences,” Peter and Adam track down the now-retired Victoria, but they aren’t the only ones who learn more about the virus.  But who is telling the truth?

St. JoanAfter learning that Takezo is now going by the name of Adam Monroe, Hiro travels back to the 1970s where he learns that Adam tried to steal the deadly strain of the virus and that is why he was locked away for 30 years by order of Kaito.  Well that reason sounds more plausible for locking away Adam than the one they gave last week — fact that he never grows old.

If Kaito signed the order for Adam’s incarceration does that mean that he once ran The Company?  The flashback scene makes it look like Adam was a nobody.  Victoria says he couldn’t have gotten in there without help (my guess is that it was the Petrellis and/or Linderman who helped him).  But I thought Adam is the one that brought them all together. 

Adam is clearly not a member of the Legion of 12, or at least not one of the 12.  In The Company picture (probably taken during Adam’s incarceration), there are 12 people featured but Adam is not there.

From this flashback, Hiro learns that the virus is now kept at the Primatech Paper building in Odessa, Texas and heads there sans Ando to stop Adam from releasing it.  Personally, I liked it better when Hiro traveled with Ando.

Meanwhile, Peter and Adam visit Victoria Pratt (Joanna Cassidy).  Besides learning that she was once a bio-engineer for The Company before quitting after Adam’s first attempt to spread the virus, we don’t learn much about her. 

What was her power?  Why didn’t she use it on Peter and Adam instead of the shotgun?  Personally, I liked that she at least had a gun to protect her, but she wasn’t real smart about it.  C’mon, if The Company wanted to kill her, would they really just send someone who walked up her walk to chat?  But we did learn that there is a way to kill Adam – take off his head.  It sounds a lot like a vampire to me.  Do you think the same is true for Claire?

Why was The Company tampering with the virus to begin with?  What was it that the Petrellis did that made her dislike them so badly?  Can you really just quit The Company?  If she did quit, why was she in the picture that was obviously taken years later?

Regardless, Peter read her mind about the location of virus.  Why didn’t she guard her thoughts better?  I guess she let her guard down because she thought Peter was a time traveler.  But I would have thought that when he survived the shotgun blast, it would have given her a hint that he wasn’t a mere time traveler.

However, Peter still believes in Adam’s claim that he wants to destroy the virus even after he shot Victoria.  They then head for Odessa to “prevent the release of the virus” and for a showdown with Hiro.  It looks like Peter’s actually going to be responsible for its release.  Is he always going to be so detrimental to society?  For someone who seems to have good intentions, he always seems to be on the cusp of destroying the world.

And speaking of repeats from last season, Sylar is back in the US and has added another victim to his tally.  After convincing Maya that her brother hates her and that he’s better off without her, Sylar then kills Alejandro.  Here the clock ticking?  From next week’s previews, it won’t be long before Sylar has his powers back — this time with his own disciple.  When he gets his powers back will he keep Maya as his play toy (they did really bond over that we are both misunderstood murders thing) or we’ll he kill her for her power?

Is it me or is the bad guy side getting a little crowded?  We have the ever present Company and its secret plans.  We have Adam, who is trying to release the virus while enacting revenge on Hiro and is responsible for at least two deaths of the original Legion of 12.  And now Sylar is back and he’s got a minion to do his bidding.

At least we got one genuine do-good superhero out there now – albeit not necessarily a good one.  Monica’s plans weren’t completely thought out when she decided to don her St. Joan costume to retrieve Micah’s only tangible memory of his father – the Medal of Honor – stolen when his less than honorable cousin decided to see just how valuable Micah’s comics were.  She ends up getting caught by the thugs.  Guess she should have watched a little more of that iPod.

Meanwhile we learned that Claire’s blood not only healed Noah, but that combined with Mohinder’s blood worked as a cure for the virus that infected Niki.  By the way, which strain was that one?

Mohinder seemed to have grown a spine as he spouted Company propaganda and blamed Noah for the fact that Mohinder had to shoot him.  But now that Mohinder is faced with the moral dilemma of having to save Niki from the virus or Molly from Sylar, what will he do?

No word yet on just what The Company has planned for Noah, but whatever it is they have no intention of letting his family know he’s alive.  I loved that Mrs. Bennett had a gun out when Bob visited with the urn.  Too bad she didn’t use it. 

And the big show down between Claire and Elle was lame.  I mean her big move is to threaten to go public.  Please!  That was a waste of a scene.  I’d rather know just where are the Bennetts planning to go in their big move?  Or learn more about West’s parents/purpose.

Overall, not as impressive of an episode as I would have hoped just one week out from the chapter (and possible season) finale, but at least it moved the story forward.


Three Very Unusual, But Memorable Thanksgivings

November 20, 2007

Thanksgiving is usually one of those holidays that pass in a blur of turkey and football, but three – all during particularly different points in my life – stand out for me.

TurkeyI’ll start with the most recent first. 

Thanksgiving and Milk of Magnesia
We hadn’t been in our current house but a couple of years.  My sister was still married to a sailor and was halfway across the country with her family.  We hadn’t had children yet so it was just my mom, husband and I.  We decided to invite another couple whose extended family was all out of town.  We had only recently met this couple, but thought hey that’s what Thanksgiving is for – bringing people together.

So my mom arrives with this stray beagle that she had recently found.  The poor little thing was skin and bones and was recovering from a broken hip where it had obviously been hit by a car.  But Snoopy fit it with my mom’s other dog and my dogs with no trouble.

Dinner preparations were uneventful.  When the other couple arrived, we put the dogs in the garage.  I can’t remember why we just didn’t put them outside – it must’ve been too cold.

My husband keeps a pretty neat garage.  But remember we didn’t have kids and our dogs spend almost no time in the garage so it wasn’t an example of the world’s safest garage.

Needless to say, we sit down to a delightful meal.  But somewhere between dinner and dessert, I go to the garage for something and discover a can of gas treatment with teeth marks on it leaking in the dog bed Snoopy was in.

Alarmed, we immediately call an animal hospital that tells us that for $65 we can bring the dog in and they’ll tell us if he’s ingested any of it.  Then for even more money they will pump his stomach for us or give him  milk of magnesia.

Now it’s Thanksgiving, that’s an awful lot of money and we aren’t even sure that Snoopy has indeed drank this stuff.

So next we have this comical scene where we pry open each of four dogs’ mouths to see if we can smell gas treatment on their breath. 

We – yes, my husband, my mother and I each took a turn smelling the dog’s breath – decide that we can only faintly smell it on Snoopy’s breath, probably just where he got on his teeth from chewing on the container.

Still, we want to make sure that this dog my mom has been nursing back to health, stays healthy.  So we decided to give the dog some milk of magnesia ourselves.

So we take the dog outside on the deck.  One of us holds the dog, the other pries his mouth open and the third pours in the milk of magnesia which then makes the dog look like he’s foaming at the mouth.

Let me assure you that describing the process is a lot easier than actually doing it.  When I look up from our task, I see our house guests — this other couple — pressed against the window of our back door laughing their asses off.

The dog survived and that friendship has flourished.  Today, the couple’s little boy is now getting into trouble with our twins and I have a feeling we’ll have more interesting Thanksgiving stories to tell on their part.

Thanksgiving and the Fire Alarm
In my senior year of college, before my husband and I became a couple we ran around with a group of six including ourselves.  For Thanksgiving, of course, we all went home to our families. 

But four members of the group worked for a home improvement store (think the Work Bench from Reaper) that gave its employees a turkey for Thanksgiving.  So when we all returned from the holiday, they all had these turkeys in their freezers.  Very unusual for college apartments, I know.

So we decided to make the best of it by having our own Thanksgiving feasts.  In turn, each person that had a turkey hosted the dinner and the rest of brought the trimmings.

I should mention that this group of six included four men and two women.  The three men who had turkeys went first and the single female who had a turkey went last.

Knowing my lack of talent in the kitchen, I was assigned to bring dessert – pumpkin pie.

I was pleasantly surprised at how well these meals turned out.  They resulted in delicious food, great conversation, lots of drinking (we were in college after all) and a good time by all.

By the time we got to the fourth turkey, these meals fell into place like clockwork.  That is, until the female’s turn to cook the turkey.  She had forgotten to take out the innards and she’d left the legs tied.  Then the fire alarm went off.

And this wasn’t any ordinary fire alarm.  It was like the ones you see in sitcoms that no matter what you do, they continue to go off. 

Needless to say we never did get to eat turkey that night.  And none of the guys let that poor girl forget it.  It was never completely cooked, but we enjoyed the trimmings nevertheless.

And to this day, my husband and I laugh about those four post-Thanksgiving Turkey meals.

My First Attempt at Cooking Thanksgiving Dinner
It’s no secret that I am domestically challenged.  Many people have tried to teach me to cook and all have left running from the kitchen.  In junior high school, I was kicked out of home ec class and transferred to a keyboarding class because “it was a better fit.”  I have set the kitchen on fire more times than I can count and have even burned boiling water.  It’s true; I’m hopeless when it comes to cooking

However, there is one year that I attempted – and I proudly proclaim succeeded – in cooking a full Thanksgiving dinner on my own.

When I was in high school my mom was a single mom that worked very hard to provide for her family.  One year her brother and his family were coming up for Thanksgiving, but they couldn’t get there until Friday.  My mother had to work on that Friday.  My sister was still in middle school.  So the task of cooking Thanksgiving dinner fell on my shoulders.

I remember my mom going over the instructions with me the night before.  I remember calling her at work with questions.  But alas, I managed to cook the turkey and all the trimmings with no pending disaster.

When my uncle and his family arrive, the house was still standing.  Just before my mom arrived home, I proudly set the food out on the table.

Little did I know that while at work she had contracted a terrible bout of flu.  When she arrived home, she took one look at the beautiful table of food I had slaved on all day and ran to the bathroom to vomit!

We put her to bed and the rest of us enjoyed the meal.  But I’ll never forget that the first true meal that I succeed at cooking without burning anything down, my mom threw up at the sight of it.

To this day, I use this as an excuse for not cooking Thanksgiving.

I guess the moral of these stories is that no Thanksgiving is perfect.  Instead of striving for perfect, sit back and enjoy the food, friendship and fun!

Photo by Alan L. (License: Creative Commons Attribution)

Even ‘Cautionary Tales’ Couldn’t Help HRG in ‘Heroes’

November 20, 2007

The ninth episode of Heroes was packed full of action as it was revealed how the final two Isaac Mendez painting played out.  But even knowing their content couldn’t save Noah and Mohinder from reenacting their roles in the paintings in ‘Cautionary Tales.’

The exchangeWho knew that Mohinder was actually going to have the guts to shoot HRG?  Right up to the point where he fires the gun he’s still Mr. I Can’t Choose a Side.  Even when he’s partnered with the deadly, but electrifying Elle, Mohinder is trying to convince Bob not to harm Noah and to just take Claire’s blood.

But I guess desperation to heal one person outweighs the life of another in Mohinder’s eyes.  Noah should have shot him when he had the chance.

But the big question is why did The Company keep Noah alive (and whose ashes is Claire spreading next week)?  Was it Mohinder’s guilt?  Or does Bob have bigger plans for HRG?  Or is it simply to keep access to Claire easy?

And speaking of Claire, why oh why would she go straight home and then stay there.  After her dad gives his life to save her (or so she thinks), she returns home (where Bob was waiting for her once before) and waits.  Why wasn’t she on the road to a new hiding place?  She could always send West back to get her mom and Lyle.

And for that matter, why didn’t Bob and company come back after her.  Was that Mohinder’s influence?  Or did they simply get enough of Claire’s blood for the time being?

Speaking of West, he was actually likable this episode, even bonding with Noah over cars.  Please say they didn’t give West the power of flight just so they use the line about Claire picking a boyfriend like her father.

Still, West was essential to the rescue. However, I can’t believe that Noah was foolish enough to discuss his rescue plans in front of Elle.  That faux pas just doesn’t seem like Noah.  By the way, where was the Haitian during all this?  He disappears at the most inopportune moments.  His powers could have been useful to suppress Elle, although I liked the bucket of water myself.  It gave her a taste of her own medicine.

We learned that Elle is Bob’s daughter.  But the discussion made me believe that she is an adopted daughter, not biological, bringing up the question of who her real parents are.  Also, now that Elle knows daddy has used the Haitian on her to make her forget his experiments, will she be seeking a little restitution from daddy?

Meanwhile, Hiro was dealing with daddy issues of his own.  Unwilling to eulogize his father, he travels back in time to save his father, but instead learns what we already know — Adam killed his father.  While the time traveling moments between father and son were sweet and little Hiro was adorable, I would have rather spent the time learning what Kaito had waited all that time in New York to tell his son.  What’s Kaito’s power?  What are their family secrets?  Did Kaito know who Adam really was?

Will we finally see the bad ass future Hiro from Season 1 now that he has vengeance — I mean justice — on his mind?

We learned a little more about Adam when Matt got a cool new power — the power to persuade.  Obviously, he’s on a roll now with powers just advancing left and right.  Could we finally have a power where we seen the holder in a moral dilemma about how and when to use.  I mean first Matt uses the power to get Molly to eat her cereal — innocent enough.  Then he uses it to make his boss give him more time on the Kaito case.  And finally he uses it to withdraw secrets from Angela’s mind.  Has Matt crossed a line?  Angela did say he was his father.

When Matt questions Angela he learns that it was Adam that killed Kaito.  When asked why she says it’s because they (the League of 12) locked him up for 30 years — guess that was true.  When asked why they locked him up, she explains that he can never grow old.  Never grow old?  That’s why they locked up Adam?  Talk about lame excuse.  I would have bought he wanted to take over the world or that he was planning an apocalypse, but because he can never grow old!

I can only hope that the writers really aren’t this lame and it was some form of resistance on Angela’s part.  In other words, she was telling him the truth, but not all of the truth.

But Matt did find out what he was after — the identity of the woman from the League of 12 photo played by Joanna Cassidy.  We learned her last name, Pratt, a couple weeks ago when Nathan was in Bob’s office.  This week we learned her first name — Victoria. 

Why is she the key?  And why would Angela, the woman who would sacrifice her own son, protect this woman?

There was no Peter, Nathan, Niki, Micah, Monica or wonder twins this episode.

Overall I thought this was a pretty good episode.  I liked it better than last week.

Until next week, I’ll leave you to your theories.

Review: Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium is Simple Fun

November 19, 2007

I took the twins to see Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium this weekend, after all it’s the only G-rated movie out this season.  It was a nice simple family-friendly movie.

Mr. Magorium’s Wonderful EmporiumThe store itself is the real star.  The kind of toy store we all wished for as kids, the emporium is alive with magic that delights children of all ages.  I think my favorite thing in the store was the Big Book.  You just asked the book for what you wanted and if the store had it, it would appear.  If only I could have one of those books to organize my house, life would be so much easier.  The magical door was pretty cool too.  Turn the dial to select which room you wanted and it would be there when you opened the door.  What a cool way to expand your house when space is an issue? 

But if the store is alive then it has feelings too.  And we see those feelings come out when the store loses its owner.

The emporium is owned by the eccentric Mr. Magorium, delightfully portrayed by Dustin Hoffman.  A self-proclaimed toy impresario, magic aficionado and avid shoe wearer, Magorium, at the ripe old age of 243, has lived a full life.  And now that he has worn through his last pair of his favorite shoes, Magorium has decided it’s time for him to go. 

He wants to leave the emporium to Molly Mahoney (Natalie Portman).  Mahoney loves the emporium and has managed it for years embracing the magic that it holds.  But believing in magic is not Mahoney’s problem.  Mahoney lacks faith in herself.  Faith she needs to complete her first composition.  Once a child musical phenomenon, Mahoney hasn’t yet lived up to her potential.

But Magorium has plenty of faith in Mahoney to take over the store.  But first his must get the store’s paperwork in order so he hires Henry Weston (Jason Bateman), an accountant to settle his affairs.  As unconventional as they come, Mr. Magorium refers to Henry as mutant since his definition of accountant is a counting mutant.  Unbothered by this nickname, Henry is all business.  He has no time for pretend or anything else associated with the store except its paperwork.

And then there’s the hat collector.  Eric Applebaum (Zach Mills) is nine years old.  He has very few friends and spends all his spare time at the emporium.  But this kid is a believer, a true whiz with the toys and the only one who truly seems to “get” Mr. Magorium.

Now when Mahony and the emporium find out about Magorium’s plans, neither are willing to accept his decision gracefully.

I truly enjoyed the movie, but was not wowed by it.  And when the emporium goes gray, the twins lost interest quickly.   The story itself flows well at that point, but there just wasn’t much here to capture the little ones attention.

The story itself seems a little confused as to who it is really about — the enigmatic Magorium, the timid Mahoney, the non-believer Henry or the delightful Eric.  Personally, I was expecting more about Eric’s story since he seems to be Magorium’s true prodigy, even a younger version of Magorium himself. 

Overall, Mr. Magorium’s is a nice sweet simple tale.  Nothing spectacular, but a cute movie nonetheless.  If you go in with these expectations, you’ll be fine.

At the end one twin was applauding and was was ready to go so I’d say they gave it one thumb up and one thumb down.

What’s Your Favorite Pie for Thanksgiving

November 15, 2007

It’s seven days and counting to Turkey Day.  I can happily count down these days since I won’t be the one slaving over a hot stove preparing a feast for all.  In fact, due to my lack of culinary talents, I don’t even have to worry about preparing a dish or requested for help in the kitchen.  At most, I’m asked to contribute a dessert to the spread of food for the day.  I can, after all, bake.

PieSo while I dream of delicious, mouth-watering turkey on Thanksgiving, the meal always comes down to one course for me — Dessert.  And when I think about Thanksgiving Day dessert, my mind always jumps to pie — more specifically pumpkin pie.

I think my association between Thanksgiving and pumpkin pie is a recent one, mostly because my husband always asks for it this time of year.  But growing up, Thanksgiving meant a whole array of pies.

You see, while I am one of only two children, my extended family is quite large.  My dad is one of seven and Thanksgiving at Grandma’s meant that she would fix everyone’s favorite.  So if my favorite pie is peanut butter and she thought there was a chance I might stop by, then she’d make a peanut butter pie.  And so it was for every family member.  In fact, I’m not even sure that some had favorites or they just asked for a different pie so we could have a variety.  Either way, the end result was a whole array of pies to dine on after Thanksgiving dinner (and for days to come) at Grandma’s.

So in honor of my Grandma, I’m interested in knowing what is your favorite pie?  Or at the very least what is your favorite pie to have at Thanksgiving?Why is it your favorite and do you like it fixed a certain way?

My favorite is a freshly baked Peanut Butter Pie with chocolate and whip cream.  It can’t be a store bought, frozen one.  If it’s not fresh, I’d rather pass all together.
Be forewarned, however, that I am in no way volunteering to make everyone’s favorite.  But if I eat of piece of your favorite pie over the holiday, I’ll be happy to think of you.

Happy Eating!

Photo by James. (License: Creative Commons Attribution)

When Mommy Has a Sick Day

November 14, 2007

I’ve been under the weather for a couple days now.  Yesterday I spent most of the day in bed.  My husband, as always, sweetly took care of me, bringing me everything I needed — soup, water, even my computer to finish a couple deadline projects for work.  But unlike in the past, my husband had help caring for me this time.

My son would take time out his busy play schedule every couple of hours to pop into the bedroom just to tell me hi.  Ever the entertainer, he even serenaded me with his keyboard.  Not the best medicine for a severe headache, but the thought was sweet nonetheless.

My daughter was a little more concerned for my health.  First she brought me some toys, I guess in case I needed some entertainment while I was laid up.  Then she crawled up in the bed beside me.  She sat there and talked away to me for a little while.  Then she brushed the hair away from my forehead and looked at me asking, “Mommy alright?”  When I told her yes, Mommy was alright; she gave me a kiss and went on her way.

Well today I’m back up and on my feet.  Some might say its because of the meds I took and a full day of rest.  But I credit my quick turn around to my family for their tender loving care.  I couldn’t be luckier!

And yesterday was one of the best sick days I’ve every had.

Preview of 2007 Family-Friendly Holiday Season Movies

November 10, 2007

With the Writer’s Guild of America on strike and all our favorite television shows going dark, the place to be this holiday season for a little entertainment is the theater.   The holiday season on the big screen is fairing up pretty nicely as an option for family outings to include not only some holiday-themed movies, but some other fun family films.

Again, like this summer, I am surprised to only find one G-rated movie.  Even the chipmunks got a PG rating this year.  The list of family films this season includes only 1 1/2 animated films.  I counted Disney’s unique offering, Enchanted, as half since it’s half animation and half live action.

Without further delay, here’s a rundown by release date:

Bee Movie
Bee MovieIn this animated feature, Barry Benson (Jerry Seinfeld) decides he can’t be like his best friend Adam Flyman (Matthew Broderick) and settle for a typical life in the hive making honey.  But when he set out to discover the rest of the world, he had no idea what an adventure it would be.  Along the way, Barry makes a few new friends, including Mooseblood (Chris Rock), a mosquito headed to Alaska, and a human named Vanessa Bloome (Renee Zellweger).  But with adventure comes mishap and Barry and Vanessa find themselves racing against time to saved the flowers.  For a full review, click here.

Rated PG for mild suggestion humor and a brief depiction of humor.  View Trailer at www.beemovie.com.  Release Date:  Currently in theaters. 

Fred Claus
Fred ClausEvery family has its black sheep.  In the Claus family, it’s Fred (Vince Vaughn), Nicholas’s (Paul Giamatti) older brother.  When Fred’s shady dealings finally land him in jail, Santa steps in to bail his brother out, offering him a job in his toy workshop.  Can this sheep change the color of is wool?  Or will Fred’s antics jeopardize not only his relationship with Nicholas, but the whole Christmas holiday? Kathy Bates stars as Mother Clause and Rachel Weisz is Wanda.

Rated PG for mild language and some rude humor.  View Trailer at fredclaus.warnerbros.com.  Release Date:  Currently in theaters.

Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium
Mr. Magorium’s Wonderful EmporiumWhat throws a worse tantrum than a toddler who has lost his favorite toy?  A toy store that has lost its favorite owner.  Mr. Magoriums’ Wonderl Emporium is a delightfully magic place or at least it was until its 245-year-old owner Mr. Magorium (Dustin Hoffman) leaves the store to his timid manager Molly Mahoney (Natalie Portman).  Together with the help of the doubtful accountant Henry (Jason Bateman) and a nine-year-old (Zach Mills), Molly must find the magic to keep the store alive.  For a full review, click here.

Rated G.  View the trailer at www.magorium.com.  Release Date:  November 16

August Rush
August RushThis drama follows the young and musically talented August Rush (Freddie Highmore) on his search to find his parents — Louis Connelly (Jonathan Rhys Meyers), a Irish singer and guitarist, and Loyla Novacek (Keri Russell), a privileged cellist with an overprotective father (William Sadler).  Drawn together by their love of music, Louis and Loyla had shared one magical night together in New York 12 years ago, but due to an unfortunate turn of event the two were separated from each other and August.  Living on the street and under the protection of the Wizard (Robin Williams), August is determined to find his parents through his music.  Terrence Howard stars as social worker Richard Jeffries. 

Rated PG for thematic elements, mild violence and language.  View the trailer at augustrushmovie.warnerbros.com.  Release Date:  November 21.

Christmas in WonderlandChristmas in Wonderland
Patrick Swayze stars in the comedy as Wayne Saunders, a father who moves his three kids from to LA to Edmonton, where the kids think they’ll die of boredom.  But they are in for the adventure of a lifetime when they head to West Edmonton Mall for some Christmas shopping, but find a bag of counterfeit money instead.

Rated PG for rude humor.  View the trailer at christmasinwonderland.com.  Release date:  November 21

EnchantedWhat happens when a fairytale comes true — or in Enchanted‘s case, comes alive?  We find out when the evil Queen Narissa (Susan Sarandon) pushes an animated Princess Giselle (Amy Adams) down a well and she winds up in modern day New York in living color.  Will the gritty streets of New York change Giselle’s romantic look on life?  Will Giselle trade her storybook prince, Edward (James Marsden), for a real life romance with Robert (Patrick Dempsey), a handsome lawyer?

Rated PG for scary images and mild innuendo.  View the trailer at enchantedmovie.com.  Release date:  November 21

The Golden Compass
The Golden CompassBased on Philip Pullman’s “His Dark Materials” trilogy, this fantasy follows Lyra Belacqua (Dakota Blue Richards), a rebellious orphan, on her quest through a parallel word full of shape-shifting creatures and witches to find her best friend, Roger (Ben Walker), who has been kidnapped by the government for experiments.  But with the coming war, Lyra might be destined to save more than her friend — her world and all the parallel worlds connected to it.  Daniel Craig stars as her explorer uncle, Lord Asriel, and Nicole Kidman is his colleague, Mrs. Coulter.

Not Yet Rated.  View the trailer a www.goldencompassmovie.com.  Release date:  December 7

The Perfect Holiday
The Perfect HolidayNarrated by Queen Latifah, this sweet little tale is about Emily (Khail Bryant), the youngest of three children, whose only Christmas wish is for her single mom, Nancy (Gabrielle Union), to be happy.  So she asks Santa for the one thing she overhears her mom wish for — a nice normal man.  Benjamin (Morris Chestnut), an aspiring songwriter working as the mall Santa, is more than happy to fulfill this Christmas wish.

Rated PG for brief language and some suggestive humor.  View the trailer at www.theperfectholidaymovie.com.  Release date:  December 12

Alvin and the Chipmunks
Alvin & the ChipmunksA live action/CGI version of the 1980s cartoon about how songwriter David Seville (Jason Lee) turns three chipmunks — Alvin, Simon and Theodore — into pop stars while the trio turns David’s house and life upside down.  Fun fact: the Chipmunks were named after Liberty Records executives — Alvin Bennett, Simon Waronker, and Theodore Keep.

Rated PG for rude humor.  View the trailer at www.alvinandthechipmunksmovie.com.  Release date:  December 14

National Treasure:  Book of Secrets
National TreasureA highly anticipated sequel to the 2004 hit, Book of Secrets promises even more intrigue and action as Ben Gates (Nicholas Cage) sets out to defend his family name when a missing page from John Wilkes Booth’s diary reappears and implicates Ben’s great-great-great grandfather in the assassination of Abraham Lincoln.  Look for more mysteries and puzzles as Ben and his crew travel to Paris and London before returning to the states.  Jon Voight reprises his role as Ben’s father, Patrick.  Also returning is Diane Kruger as Abigail Chase, Ben’s love interest from the first movie.

Rated PG for some violence and action.  View the trailer at nationaltreasure.com.  Release date:  December 21

The Water Horse:  Legend of the Deep
Water HorseDiscover the magical beginning of one of Scotland’s most famous legends when a young boy discovers a very unique egg, one that takes him on an enchanted journey when it hatches into a water horse.  Walden Media, the company that brought you the Chronicles of Narnia, promises another fantastical tale.

Rated PG for action/peril, mild language and brief smoking.  View the trailer at thewaterhorse.com.  Release date:  December 25

Well I think I can find several good options to fill the lulls in my holiday shopping schedule.  Hope you find one or two you enjoy too.  See you in the concession lines!