Vue Weekly (Edmonton, Canada)
Fast Five (2011)
"Quietly radical and deeply inspiring . . . thanks to a fervid commitment by Willem Dafoe as Jesus, a swirling, cross-cultural score from Peter Gabriel and some thrilling interpretations of the Bible. The ending is a rare moment of transcendence on film. "
Your Highness (2011)
"It's Animal House Does The Holy Grail; the wit and antics of The Princess Bride are replaced with porn-imagery and swear words. Beyond such lazy writing, the movie can't really be bothered to spoof any elements of the fantasy genre. "
"Almost every scene's overscored, overtold or overdone to the point of the jokes getting runny. Hop seems to think filling out the formula and being super-duper eager-to-please is enough. Hobbling along, this bunny just ain't funny. "
Sucker Punch (2011)
"A spectacular flop of fancy, mind-blowingly empty. Muddles along as if Nintendo fused Cabaret and A Streetcar Named Desire for people who play Call of Duty. Snyder's carved out a pointless new subgenre--call it video-game camp. "
The Lincoln Lawyer (2011)
"A delicious but not too-smooth take on LA noir. Tight shots keep us close to the ratcheting action, and there are just the right bits of grit, and the right pace to the twists, to make The Lincoln Lawyer a steadily seat-gripping cinematic cruise. "
Red Riding Hood (2011)
"The whole Twilight lusting-to-lose-her-virginity-to-her-true-love story falls even flatter in a Grimm historical setting. Anachronistic, true-romance clichés sap the plot's strength, while the visuals get more and more predictable. "
"The kind of computer animation that lingers so exquisitely on the little things. The romance is sweetly underplayed and Coen-like moments of hyper-erudition and eccentric, grizzled characters make for a rollicking escapade. "
"Some snappy pacing and hints of pain throbbing beneath the cool sarcasm of teens push much of Beastly past its skin-deep pandering to a teen demographic. Still, this 21st-century fairy tale doesn't wilt, but it's not quite refreshed, either. "
The Adjustment Bureau (2011)
"A romantic thriller that manages a rather remarkable feat: sending us on a headlong pursuit of life's meaning, even as the banal everydayness of real life closes in on one side and the anything-goes magic of science fiction closes in on the other. "
Drive Angry (2011)
"Delivers...car- and revenge-porn. No surprise there, but nothing of much interest either. Especially coming after the carnage of so much pulpy fiction, backstories and explanations drag, while gestures towards emotion seem pointless. "
Hall Pass (2011)
"Has the smart, relaxed, real-life drive of the Farrellys' best comedies. (There are even two poop sight-gags that are shockingly funny.) Too bad the wives' storyline is so unfunny and uncomplicated. "
"Hitchcockian features work themselves out rather nicely, while the story plays deftly with the notion of the 'hero.' Action scenes blur together and spin out after a while, but the German supporting cast fills the movie with touches of everyday humanity. "
"A marketmentary trying to be canny but coming off canned. The one truth slipping out of this 105-minute ad is that, at this stratospheric level of social-networked stardom, the star and his entourage float along in a bubble of total self-delusion. "
Just Go with It (2011)
"Danny and co.'s elaborate ruse, and the movie's impersonation of a comedy, continues with bad fake accents (Cockney, German), more schtick and a dash of homophobia. But there's still room for sexism! "
The Roommate (2011)
"The blandest thriller unimaginable; it's like watching the vacuum of outer space on a screen for 93 minutes. The story and direction are so lobotomized, only some evil computer, using commercial-formulas and genre-algorithms, could have manufactured it. "
No Strings Attached (2011)
"It's mostly overstuffed with some funny/odd, but never throwaway, lines. And some amusing, nearly quirky, but never tired secondary characters. And, in a flick all about avoiding a serious relationship, a compelling acting-commitment from Portman. "
The Dilemma (2011)
"A Titanic wreck that makes you wonder if anyone was at the helm. The plot's lost in a Bermuda triangle of exhausted-formula, genre-muddle and hackneyed storytelling. Bromance, dark drama, slapstick, and rambling, wanna-be-funny speeches get mixed up. "
Yogi Bear (2010)
"Like a steady, throbbing ache that, after 75 minutes, you realize was your nerve endings' collective scream at your numbed-off brain to flee this awkward hybrid of animation and live-action. The humans are even more cartoonish than 'your a-ver-age bear.' "
"Quaintly enjoyable enough in its own way. Until it's slowly sunk by a certain divine Lion, bringing along all his earnestness and preciousness. It's a ride, all dressed up as a child-hero fantasy quest, that's meant to lead us to one red-light moral. "
Love and Other Drugs (2010)
"An overstated (dialogue-wise and visually-the movie's mostly close-ups) and underwhelming trip. And for a movie all about dickishness, its actual masking of Gyllenhaal's dick-twice with a cushion, as if out of a bad British sex farce-is limply dishonest. "
"This stagnating set-up for a finale wallows in self-seriousness. There's so much glumness and lethargy here, a new character--call him Excelsior Lugubrious--emerges from the mega-budget, moody mist, threatening to slay Death himself with Sleep. "
Fair Game (2010)
"Makes a remarkably taut, tense story out of recent events. In its thrilling exposure of the web of lies built around the Iraq invasion, it reminds us how much the rhetoric of the 'war on terror' invaded all of our homes, depending on us to be doormats. "
Due Date (2010)
"As an overall journey, the movie disappoints, but as a collection of scenes, it's funnier than most comedies. When Todd Phillips' picture slows down, its character-driven moments are usually a winning mixture of the absurd, insensitive and poignant. "
"Feeble farce about sordid blood-ties and odd-couple sex. The dialogue's neither sly nor wry. Nearly every brushstroke at humour splatters into cartoonishness. There's no real darkness to the comedy, just some dingy, superficial trappings of darkness. "
"Sinks under a kind of glum, watery mood. Neither particularly poignant nor thoughtful about loss or survivors' spiritual search for meaning, the script just bobs along. Always watchable but rarely memorable, the movie fades silently into the light. "
Jackass 3 (2010)
"A slap-dash bunch of halfass-ness that's Fear Factor meets Whack-A-Crotch. Its don't-give-a-shit indifference to the basics of suspense-building and story cohesion is amazing. A hit-and-run (to the bank), sucker-punch prank on viewers who've seen better. "
"Never convinces that this was a horse or owner who epitomized a time and so captivated an era. The against-all-odds clichés get slathered on, the races stumble, and the flick's further hobbled by all its pure emotions and heartstring-plucking. "
Life as We Know It (2010)
"As cheerily banal and smilingly forgettable as its slice-of-life comic-strip title. Should really be called Bringing Up Baby in Bourgeois-Land. This isn't a realistic, romantic, or comic family anyone should give a baby-poop about. "
You Again (2010)
"It's excruciating and incredibly unfunny to watch laboured scene after scene of monomaniacal non-women. They're like Barbie dolls made by Woody Allen: thin and materially successful on the outside but neurotic, stunted and pathetically obsessive inside. "
"The first animation masterpiece of the decade. At first, French ennui meets Highland cheer; every frame teems with delightful detail. By story's end, the illusion of new romance proves more spellbinding than the romance of old-time illusion. "
"A mystical mood piece, this Palme d'Or winner isn't as hypnotic as the Thai master's previous, Syndromes and a Century, but it has some absolutely stunning sequences. The vaporous mingling of the earthly and the supernatural settles over the film. "
"Like a Goosebumps adaptation for semi-adults. This creature's not scary or gory enough for anyone over 15 but takes a few stabs at notions of revenge, guilt and forgiveness. Then shrugs, folds up its wings and screeches back off into the darkness. "
Easy A (2010)
"Stone's immensely appealing. Delightfully teeters between comedy, satire and romance before falling a few letter-grades short of the top mark in this genre--set by Election--because it tries to grow up too quickly without quite knowing what to say. "
Going the Distance (2010)
"Feels too much like a shrugging shuffle around the bases. Scenes are overscored, there are more references to dicks than in a Judd Apatow boxset, and the story's too episodic, with little tension other than will-they-stay-together? "
Vampires Suck (2010)
"Tosses off some blunt-force one-liners, coasts on character impersonation, riffs off the originals' plot points, and pretends its cheap imitation of the Saga's mopey, slow scenes are parody. In other words, Vampires Suck bites. "
"Passes the way a pet lover hopes euthanasia goes for their beloved feline or canine-a blur of motion, moments drifting by in a numbing fog, then the blissful end, free of pain at last. A forgettable, clunky CGI tinkertoy. "
Ramona and Beezus (2010)
"This is an almost quaint throwback of a kids' movie that ends up enjoyably ragtag and cluttered, all of it contained by an emphasis on neighbourhood and maturity. Realistic, refreshing, and reassuring. "
Knight & Day (2010)
"Half-aware it's an action flick while trying to breezily amuse, and half-alert to its comic potential while roaring off on a chase or shoot-out, it staggers along. Knight and Day's potential vanishes in the haze of a mundane situation-comedy. "
"'The conventionality and predictability of every scene, the lame puns, the absence of comic rhythm, the fart jokes butt-ending the film--all was sly metafilmic parody of the sheer banality and crassness of so much present-day film comedy, yes?' (Silence.) "
Death at a Funeral (2010)
"Death comes to us all, though perhaps never so depressingly slowly as with a 90-minute clubbing over the head by a bad comedy. A deadly dull farce . . . a machete-choppy non-buildup of obvious schticks. "
Clash of the Titans (2010)
Repo Men (2010)
Diary of a Wimpy Kid (2010)
"Greg's not wimpy--he fears being a pussy. This apparently gives him licence to be a total dickhead. The film should be retitled Diary of a Sociopathic Kid . . . it offers a cynical, shrugging view of today's tweens. "
Green Zone (2010)
"Often reaches 'gripping' on the cinematic alert level and shows more political smarts than most films on Iraq, let alone action movies. Ultimately over-ambitious yet still one of the best battlefield films for avoiding war-glorification. "
"Numbs deepest in suggesting the war and its aftermath fanned flames burning within. It's clear what '20s and '30s Germany will spark the fuse to after Haneke's shown us, tick by tick, the little bombs within little lives and little lies, black and white. "
Alice in Wonderland (2010)
"Dulled down by a leaden epic formula, the plot becomes jerkily predictable on its Lord of the Rings route. Comedy and charming daffiness are sorely lacking--it's mostly ashen doom and gloom. 'Tediouser and tediouser!' cried Alice. "
Cop Out (2010)
"The victim swears the director is one Kevin Smith. Yet the high level of non-funniness here, registering 7.6 on a yawn-alyzer, suggests Mr. Smith is being impersonated by a talentless gun-for-hire trying to pass for someone who can make people "
Shutter Island (2010)