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George reviews 'Zoo,' War Horse,' 'Loud/Close'

December 23, 2011 12:00:00 AM PST
Hollywood always gives us lots of movies for the holidays. Here are three films that are perfect gifts for this time of year.

Matt Damon's latest film is an emotionally fulfilling and very caring family drama called "We Bought a Zoo."

Damon plays a recent widower who buys a small wildlife park, inheriting its employees, including the attractive head zookeeper, played by Scarlett Johansson.

He buys the park to move his kids to a new environment as they all move on from the loss of a loved one.

Director and co-writer Cameron Crowe weaves together a beautiful story about family and its extended members.

It may make you tear up, but a lot of the tears will be those of joy.

Damon is great as a dad unsure of his new responsibilities, both personally and professionally, with a supporting cast that helps tell a very warm, compelling story in a film I think is just terrific.

Also very compelling and very well done is director Steven Spielberg's "War Horse." It tells the story of a horse named "Joey" and his journeys during World War I.

A boy named Albert who trained the horse watches as his horse is sold for battle so his father can pay the bills.

"War Horse" has many stories to tell as the film plays out during the war.

Newcomer Jeremy Irvine is a real discovery as Joey's true caregiver, and it's probably impossible to watch this movie and not fall in love with this horse.

It's heartbreaking, heart-wrenching and it's healing, too. Spielberg knows how to make a great movie, and "War Horse" is another example of that.

Another fantastic film is "Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close." It has a September 11th theme, but the film's adventure is mesmerizing to see play out.

His father was lost in 9-11, and a boy is convinced a key he finds in his father's closet is the key to unlocking some information about his father's life. So he sets out on an adventure to solve the mystery.

Newcomer Thomas Horn makes his film debut here and is just outstanding as the film's lead, with impressive performances from both Tom Hanks and Sandra Bullock in supporting roles.

This film, from director Stephen Daldry, is one of my favorite movies of the year. I saw it two weeks ago and it's still with me.

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