Kisses and Caroms

It begins where a lot of guys might like their evenings to end, with a menage. Zack (Drew Wick) wakes up in bed between two beautiful naked women, and pretends to go back to sleep. Jennifer (Nikki Stanzione) wakes up next to Zack, slips out of bed, and sneaks out of the house. Zack opens one eye and then attempts to do the same, but it doesn't work. Tara (Nicole Rayburn) sits up stark naked and unashamed to call out after him. She'll be in later to pick up her check.

Cheaper by the Dozen 2

Cheaper by the Dozen returns with a number 2 after it’s name, instead of a more honest Spaceballs inspired moniker like “The Search for More Money”. The script is, as you might expect, a manipulative piece of crap designed specifically to hit all the usual touchy-feely, emotional notes that’ll appeal to big, blubbery saps. Count me as one of the big and blubbery, because though everything I’ve just said is true, Cheaper by the Dozen 2 got to me too.

Rumor Has It...

Jennifer Aniston has never seemed as if she belongs in movies... It's as if she ought to be working in the catering department and instead accidentally wandered in front of the camera on her way to deliver Kevin Costner's doughnuts. Never has that been more true than in Rumor Has It…, a movie in which she's supposed to be the star but winds up getting upstaged by everyone from Mark Ruffalo to Richard Jenkins.

The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe

What The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe really is, is a spectacular adaptation of a fairly nice fantasy tale. It doesn't just live up to its source material, it surpasses it by finding nuances in the story that C.S. Lewis didn't. That's not to say there's been anything added. Director Andrew Adamson follows a path that for the most part, sticks almost slavishly to the details of the book. But in between those details he finds emotional depth and resonance that isn't obviously there in the short, rather simplistic children's novel written by Lewis.

Munich

This is not a movie about the 1972 slayings of Israeli Olympic athletes by Arab terrorists in Munich, Germany. Spielberg’s exploring something bigger. Those murders serve only as a catalyst for what follows, as a group of Mossad agents are sent to track down and assassinate the Black September members responsible. In doing so, they nearly become terrorists themselves.

King Kong (2005)

Directed and co-written by Peter Jackson, Kong uses a combination of models, sets, computer animation, and Andy Serkis in a motion-capture unitard to return to theaters the giant ape made famous back in 1933. Since his debut in the first Kong, the simian’s story has been retold ad nauseam, both in official sequels and not-so-official ones like Mighty Joe Young. None of them have approached the greatness of this, perhaps not even the original.

The New World

Malick tells his long, overextended story through layer after layer of jump cutting. He never lets his scenes play out to any kind of a conclusion. Characters stare blankly off into space, Malick jumps to a shot of some random piece of scenery, then jumps to that same character on an entirely different day staring blankly at something else. There's not much dialogue either. Most of the movie's sound is spent on swelling, unidentifiable music.

King Kong - Peter Jackson's Production Diaries

Dubbed "production diaries" each video shows off something different. One day it might be an interview with Jack Black, the next a feature on set design, the next a prank video in which Peter Jackson talks about plans for a really horrible sounding version of Son of Kong. Hopefully, you've all figured out by now it was a just a joke.

Cinderella Man

Of course the boxing genre has been done to death on film. We don't really need another boxing movie. The only thing that really sets Cinderella Man apart from the dozens of other movies like it out there is abject poverty. The film works best as a snapshot of life in the Great Depression, a time when even the wealthiest guy might tomorrow wake up to find himself living in a cardboard box on the street.

The Ice Harvest

The Ice Harvest has everything going for it. Harold Ramis is the right director for this sort of thing, his wry wit and biting sense of humor ideally suited for the dark, crime comedy this is supposed to be. It's got the right cast too. John Cusack and Billy Bob Thornton teamed up for a Trapped in Paradise-esque, Christmas caper? Should be genius. It isn't. Here's the thing: it just isn't very funny. Instead, Ice Harvest is a morose, unhappy, sometimes depressing flick. It's not a dark comedy so much as it’s a miserable one.

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

Having seen Harry Potter on screen before, his fourth outing at Hogwarts becomes less about exploring him as a character and more an exploration of how much can we throw at him. Apparently quite a lot. This time around Harry fights dragons, angry shrubs, and a school dance. For him, it's that last item that's the worst.

Brokeback Mountain

The film has its flaws, but maybe it deserves attention simply for approaching such a potentially explosive topic with determined openness. Ang Lee isn’t trying to avoid controversy, or pander to a heterosexual (possibly violently homophobic) audience by burying his characters sexuality under layers of innuendo. He’s stayed true to his material, and should be commended for it. Still, it’s a tough time in the United States to release a gay cowboy movie.

The Weather Man

Sometimes people throw things at David. A taco, a soda pop. We don't know why they do it and neither does he, but it's just a symptom of how badly his life has gone wrong. His father (Michael Caine), whose approval he desperately craves, watches his sad sack son with quiet disappointment. David's own family has already fallen to pieces. He's divorced, his daughter is dangerously unhappy and overweight, his fifteen-year-old son has just gotten out of rehab. Don't worry, it was only pot.

Walk the Line

He came up with his sound because he couldn't play any better than that (they'd play faster if they could); he came up with his look because he didn't have anything else to wear. That was Johnny Cash: too humble to take credit, but too talented to be ignored Cash burst onto the scene in 1955 playing alongside greats like Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Roy Orbison with a style all his own.

Chicken Little

It’s not that Chicken Little is a bad movie, it’s just blithely mediocre. For a struggling, has-been giant like Disney, well that’s not good enough to pull them back from the brink. They needed something special here, not a moderately well animated movie with a script only marginally better than the travesty of Lilo & Stitch.

The Big Lebowski (Collector's Edition)

I really like The Big Lebowski, but at first I didn’t. It’s the kind of movie that grows on you, the kind of movie that I think plays better in your head than it actually does on the screen. It probably helps that it’s so quotable. A couple of days after I saw it I found myself wandering around muttering “The Dude abides” whenever something bad would happen.

The Legend of Zorro

Legend of Zorro is a PG movie, and as a result there’s a lot of swordplay in which no one is ever killed. It’s a shame too, since the fight choreography is sometimes stunning, and the flash of Zorro’s sword as brilliant and electrifying as ever. But no one is ever stabbed, no one is ever cut, and the movie goes out of its way to find new methods of bonking people on the head. Note to Zorro: Your sword has a pointy tip. Use it.

Prime

Thurman does her best to pick up the slack left by Prime’ disinterested script, but she’s left running in place. Worst is the pivotal miscasting of the movie’s lead. Brian Greenberg is not a talent, he’s a big waste of space. So is the movie by the way, and it’s not worth sticking with it as it drags on and on, forgetting to laugh and struggling to find an inoffensive way to finish. It’s a go nowhere do nothing movie. Go somewhere, do something better than spending time with Prime.

Zathura

Favreau has gone out of his way to avoid using CGI for most of his effects, and the result is absolutely eye-popping. The sets and characters have a gorgeous kind of realistic weight that you just can’t get with CGI, a deep authenticity to them that’s warm and exciting. It’s a beautiful film, a return to movie-making craftsmanship that’s gone by the wayside in a wave of cubicle nerds carelessly rendering spaceships on their Apple computers.

Doom

If you’re interested in seeing it, what you need to keep in mind about Doom is that it’s not a real movie. It’s a videogame, but one where you have to sit and watch instead of participating. The experience of seeing it is a lot like sitting next to your buddy, looking over his shoulder while he plays an old first person shooter on his computer.

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