New in theaters

The documentary 'War/Dance' follows life in a refugee camp in Northern Uganda, where more than half the population is made up of former child soldiers. And 'Fred Claus,' an insipid comedy starring Vince Vaughn, is no Christmas present.

New in theaters War/Dance (R)

Director: Andrea Nix. (105 min.)

For 20 years, Northern Uganda has been at war with the Lord's Resistance Army, which abducts children as young as 5 from their families and forces them to become soldiers or sex slaves. This documentary centers on a refugee camp in Patongo which houses over 60,000 people, more than half of whom are formerly abducted child soldiers. Improbably, the camp has qualified for the National Music Competition in Kampala and much of "War/Dance" is about how the children prepare for it. The filmmaking style is annoyingly slick, but the testimonies of these children are excruciatingly moving.

Recommended: Could you pass a US citizenship test?

Grade: B+ – Peter Rainer

Fred Claus (R)

Director: David Dobkin. With Vince Vaughn, Paul Giamatti. (116 min.)

Few things are more dispiriting than a holiday movie straining to become a perennial. Such is the case with "Fred Claus," an insipid Christmas comedy starring Vince Vaughn as the ne'er-do-well brother of Santa, played by Paul Giamatti. Vaughn does his motormouth comic routine here for the umpteenth time – it's time to give this shtick, along with his mouth, a rest. Giamatti's face is obscured by a fluffy white beard. He probably wishes he could hide away altogether. Grade: D+

– P.R.

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