Page 3 of 6
HAMLET 2 2 stars (R) Failed actor turned failing high school teacher Dana Marschz (Steve Coogan) faces the closing of the drama department unless his misguided, autobiographical musical sequel to Hamlet turns out to be a hit. Although the comedy offers an overt spoof of inspirational-teacher films like Dangerous Minds, it's more reminiscent of Christopher Guest's portraits of American losers like Waiting for Guffman, only Coogan's overplayed characterization makes the jokes resemble shooting fish in a barrel. The show's opening night, with the musical number "Rock Me Sexy Jesus" is a hoot, but not enough to redeem the rest of the film. -- Holman
HANCOCK 3 stars (PG-13) Will Smith plays hilariously against his slick megastar image as John Hancock, a superhero with Kryptonian powers who's nevertheless a drunken, surly jerk who causes more problems than he alleviates. The first hour or so of Hancock has a great deal of fun with its premise, which satirizes superheroes and misbehaving celebrities, and gives Hancock an amusing foil in Jason Bateman's idealistic publicist (now there's a contradiction in terms). The last section throws logic, humor and audience goodwill out the window, and no one catches the movie when it falls. -- Holman
HELLBOY II: THE GOLDEN ARMY 3 stars (PG-13) Wisecracking outcast demon Hellboy (Ron Perlman) and his ghostbusting pals try to stop a pissed-off prince (Luke Goss) of mystical beings from waging war on the human race. Pan's Labyrinth director Guillermo del Toro may be a visionary filmmaker, but isn't much of a juggler, and here he takes on more themes, subplots and running gags than he can handle. With Hellboy II, he'll have to settle for offering one of the most outlandishly stylish screen fantasies ever made. -- Holman
THE HOUSE BUNNY (PG-13) This Adam Sandler-produced comedy stars Anna Faris as an ex-Playboy bunny who becomes the house mother for an unpopular sorority in desperate need of new pledges.
HOW TO LOSE FRIENDS AND ALIENATE PEOPLE (R) Shaun of the Dead's Simon Pegg stars as Sidney Young, a British celebrity journalist thrown into the foreign world of high fashion when he's hired by an upscale New York magazine. Based on the memoir by Toby Young.
IGOR (PG) Igor (voiced by John Cusack), a hunchbacked, dime-a-dozen mad scientist's assistant, dreams of one day being a great mad scientist himself in this animated twist on monster movies.
THE INCREDIBLE HULK 3 stars (PG-13) In this snappy do-over sequel to Ang Lee's sluggish, overthought Hulk in 2003, fugitive scientist Bruce Banner (Edward Norton) seeks a cure for the anger-management condition that turns him into raging green giant. Transporter 2 director Louis Leterrier not only sets a fast pace and crafts plenty of CGI mayhem, he and the cast (including Liv Tyler, Tim Roth and William Hurt) find the soap-operatic heart of the story. All comic book movies should be at least this good. -- Holman
INDIANA JONES AND THE KINGDOM OF THE CRYSTAL SKULL 3 stars (PG-13) The latest Indy flick embraces the franchise's nostalgia for itself, but the sentimental streak seems justifiable given the 19-year interim between chapters. It isn't exactly a fresh film adventure -- an automotive chase through the jungle feels like an undisguised retread of Raiders of the Lost Ark's truck chase. But Crystal Skull comes across not as lazy, but laid-back, as though the filmmakers have too much confidence to panic about trying to top the earlier films, or compete with their younger selves. -- Holman
KIT KITTREDGE: AN AMERICAN GIRL 3 stars (G) This big-screen extension of the American Girl line of dolls and merchandise depicts a plucky would-be reporter (Little Miss Sunshine's Abigail Breslin) and the challenges she faces when her family tries to weather the Great Depression. Parents will appreciate the film's lack of vulgar humor and scary intensity, although it ventures into some unexpectedly grim (and unfortunately timely) themes of the toll of economic downturns on family life. -- Holman
KUNG FU PANDA 4 stars (PG) In fairy-tale, talking-animal China, a fat panda named Po (voiced by Jack Black) is improbably chosen to be the all-powerful "Dragon Warrior." The studio that gave us the Shrek movies downplays the pop references and body-function humor for a satisfying CGI action/comedy that features a splendid visual design and surprisingly exciting fight scenes, including a chopstick fight between Po and his diminutive teacher (voiced by Dustin Hoffman). -- Holman
LAKEVIEW TERRACE (PG-13) Samuel L. Jackson stars as a Los Angeles police officer determined to get rid of his new neighbors, a young interracial couple (Patrick Wilson and Kerry Washington).
In the latest 'Emory Looks at Hollywood' episode, Judith Evans Grubbs, Emory Professor of Roman…
"In the movies' worst scene..." should be "movie's"
--freelance copy editor, available for hire
I saw this headline before watching the movie yesterday, but this movie was way better…