Critical Consensus: A Sad "Happily"; A Messy "Cleaner"; Inspiring "Writers"; and Powerful "Men"

This week at the movies, we've got a postmodern fairy tale ("Happily N'Ever After," with voicework from Sigourney Weaver and Sarah Michelle Gellar), a wacky conspiracy caper ("Code Name: The Cleaner," starring Cedric the Entertainer and Lucy Liu), a committed teacher ("Freedom Writers," starring Hilary Swank), and a chilling dystopia ("Children of Men," starring Clive Owen and Michael Caine). What do the critics have to say?

Once upon a time, in the land of make-believe (better known as Hollywood), there was a brand new formula for making dazzling kiddie movies. It was called CG, and children all over the world rejoiced when such fare as "Toy Story" and "Shrek" hit the theaters. But then an evil curse plagued the land, as a string of mediocre stories threatened to make CG stale. The latest: "Happily N'Ever After," a postmodern "Cinderella" spoof. Critics say this is a pretty charm-free affair, with less-than-dazzling images and a bland storyline. At six percent on the Tomatometer, this is a pretty grim fairy tale. And among CG features, only "Doogal," at five percent, is lower-rated.


"Sure, magic will do the dishes, but can it make my movie funny?"

Cedric the Entertainer is a funny guy, and as a supporting player he's stolen scenes in everything from "Lemony Snicket" to "Be Cool." Sadly, he's yet to have a starring vehicle that has utilized his comedic talents to the fullest, and it appears "Code Name: The Cleaner" is no exception. In this action/comedy, Cedric plays a janitor who stumbles into the middle of a government conspiracy, from which he tries to extricate himself with the help of Lucy Liu. The critics say the weak script does none of the actors any favors, playing up absurd thriller elements to leaden effect. At a big fat zero percent on the Tomatometer, this one's in dire need of a "Clean-" up.


"Yes, I've always enjoyed the sophisticated yet robust taste of Xtreme Fruit Skittles."

Liberal and conservative education experts both have it wrong. What our inner city schools need is neither greater funding nor vouchers. In order to save the impoverished students of America, we need an unconventional, no-nonsense teacher to instruct students in ballroom dance, football, or poetry, preferably in the guise of Antonio Banderas, The Rock, or Michelle Pfeiffer. In "Freedom Writers," Hilary Swank plays a fresh-faced teacher who gets her students in touch with their creative writing side, and -- wonder of wonders -- it's getting reasonably good reviews. The critics say the film may be clichéd, but it's earnest and features strong performances. At 64 percent on the Tomatometer, this may be one to "Write" home about.


"Remember, Bagels for Complacency Day is next week."

Director Alfonso Cuaron may have made his best movie yet with "Children of Men," continuing a hot streak that began with "Y Tu Mama Tambien" and "Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban." This time, Cuaron has envisioned a world where women have become infertile and every country has become a dystopia or slipped into a fascist state. At 92 percent on the Tomatometer, critics are praising not only the film's technical aspects (including seamless CG work, fluid camerawork, and complex battle scenes), but also the emotional story and performances.


"Any fool knows a dog needs a home and shelter from pigs on the wing."

Also opening this week in limited release is "Thr3e," a psychological serial killer flick with a spiritual twist, which is currently at 17 percent.

Alex Vo contributed to this article.

Recent CG Animated Films:
----------------------------------
77% -- Happy Feet (2006)
76% -- Flushed Away (2006)
41% -- Everyone's Hero (2006)
76% -- Cars (2006)
64% -- The Ant Bully (2006)

Recent Hilary Swank Movies:
--------------------------------------
36% -- The Black Dahlia (2006)
92% -- Million Dollar Baby (2004)
100% -- 11:14 (2003)
42% -- The Core (2003)
92% -- Insomnia (2002)

Recent Cedric the Entertainer Movies:
---------------------------------------------
81% -- Charlotte's Web (2006)
14% -- Honeymooners (2005)
55% -- Madagascar (2005)
29% -- Be Cool (2005)
9% -- Man of the House (2005)

Recent Clive Owen Movies:
---------------------------------
88% -- Inside Man (2006)
21% -- Derailed (2005)
77% -- Sin City (2005)
68% -- Closer (2004)
29% -- King Arthur (2004)

Comments

synergyred

Nancy Elizabeth

Note to self: must see Children of Men and Freedom Writers.

Jan 4 - 07:53 PM

alsanali

Alsan Ali

I wonder if they'll make a Fou4, 5ive and Si6 as well.

Jan 4 - 08:39 PM

rejectnation

Neil Miller

Children of Men was absolutely fantastic! Alfonso Cuaron's best film, by far!

Jan 4 - 10:40 PM

lrm8

john smith

chlidren of men was a good, but not great movie, i thought.

the cleaner is at 4 percent! are you kidding? what idiot gave it a good review?

plus, although i do like the tomatometer, it is a little flawed. if everybody thinks its a "good" movie, it gets a very high rating, and if people think its "great" it has the same rating, because its based on the number of good reviews.

also, you forgot about the already made movie, se7en

Jan 5 - 06:17 AM

Unbreakable Samurai

Unbreakable Samurai

Hell yea I can hardly wait to go see Children of Men. Nothing else that just came out really intrests me, so I think I'll go see The Good Shepherd too.

Jan 5 - 01:05 PM

nogard64

Nogard64 64

[b]GO SEE CHILDREN OF MEN!!![/b]
this movie was everything V for Vagina wasn't!

This movie made V look like a Cartoon special. Everything about Children worked! the acting, the action, the story! Just an overall very visceral experince.

The only question I left the theatre asking was, WhyTF Clive Owen wasnt James Bond!!!

Jan 5 - 04:43 PM

criddic

Bryan Keith

Owen wasn't James Bond because Daniel Craig won the part, which is justified by his performance in Casino Royale.

Jan 7 - 05:37 PM

Mavtactic

Steven Allen

HELLLLL YEAAHHH!!!

Jan 7 - 06:26 PM

nogard64

Nogard64 64

NO WAY!!! where did you find that out????

OMG you are a real movie buff! full of insider knowledge!

You should be hired as a contributer for RT!

Your analysis is so in depth its unfathomable!

Jan 7 - 09:59 PM

Thre31189

Matt Baer

I just saw Children of Men no doubt an awesome movie but it didn't make V for Vendetta look like a Cartoon Special. In fact they aren't even about the same thing sure government is fucked up in both movies but its like that in real life? i don't think it is fair to compare V for Vendetta and Children of Men because it isnt the same type of movie.

Jan 6 - 01:14 PM

haelohm

Sean Collen

[b]well[/b]
Children of Men is simply AMAZING!!

Jan 6 - 09:23 PM

South_park300

First Last

Children of Men is seriously one of the best movies ever made. i don't care if i'm hyping it too much, it's true.
you can't really compare it to V for Vendetta(another fantastic movie). V is based off a comic book. totally different

Jan 7 - 02:01 PM

criddic

Bryan Keith

Owen wasn't James Bond because Daniel Craig won the part, which is justified by his performance in Casino Royale.

Jan 7 - 05:37 PM

Mavtactic

Steven Allen

HELLLLL YEAAHHH!!!

Jan 7 - 06:26 PM

nogard64

Nogard64 64

NO WAY!!! where did you find that out????

OMG you are a real movie buff! full of insider knowledge!

You should be hired as a contributer for RT!

Your analysis is so in depth its unfathomable!

Jan 7 - 09:59 PM

Mavtactic

Steven Allen

HELLLLL YEAAHHH!!!

Jan 7 - 06:26 PM

mojodaddy

joe fish

I saw Children of Men too. Definitely one of my all-time faves. Really made you think. Owen was awesome in it. I'd still like to go see freedom writers.

Jan 7 - 07:18 PM

nogard64

Nogard64 64

NO WAY!!! where did you find that out????

OMG you are a real movie buff! full of insider knowledge!

You should be hired as a contributer for RT!

Your analysis is so in depth its unfathomable!

Jan 7 - 09:59 PM

alsanali

Alsan Ali

If Clive Owen keeps on making movies like Children of Men, I'm sure as hell glad he's NOT James Bond. And while I thought V for Vendetta was excellent too, I can't help but wonder how it'd have turned out if Alfonso Cuaron were at the helm.

Jan 8 - 12:09 AM

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