Merry Christmas, Christmas folk!

In observance of the holiday, there are just three movies opening today — all of them involving the deaths of — at minimum — thousands. Perfect family viewing for … well, someone. Shall we?

“The Darkest Hour”:  A handful of attractive young people wake up to discover mankind has been disappeared by aliens or black holes or solar flares or something in this generic-looking effects picture … which gets a lot more interesting when one learns that it’s directed by Chris Gorak, whose terrorism thriller “Right at Your Door” wasn’t nearly as gimmicky as it could have been. (Sadly, no press screenings.)

Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close“: I am not terribly fond of Stephen Daldry’s prior work — “Billy Elliot” and “The Hours” have huge structural issues, and “The Reader” was just abominable — but he does fairly well by Jonathan Safran Foer’s tale of post-9/11 catharsis.

“War Horse”: Steven Spielberg’s second feature in four days (!) is a big, sweeping, unapologetically manipulative adaptation of the smash stage play; as subtle as “Amistad”, this is what happens when one of the greatest intuitive filmmakers decides to make extra sure we get his point. Glenn did not see that as a negative.

There you go. These are the last movies opening in Toronto until the new year. And if none of them spins your crank the right way, Polanski’s “The Ghost Writer” is screening this afternoon at the Lightbox. Fancy.

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