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With Eclipse, Twi-Hards Have Met Their Perfect Match

From a purely technical perspective, Eclipse gives its devoted fanbase plenty to cheer about. Not only is the production value far more upscale, but the CGI has drastically improved, making it feel more like a blockbuster than a made-for-TV movie. As far as the storytelling goes, there's also far more at stake.

  • Christa Banister |
  • December 04, 2010 |
  • comments
Tom Cruise is King in the Royally Entertaining Knight and Day

With this summer's light-as-air but still thoroughly enjoyable popcorn flick Knight and Day, Tom Cruise should officially be back in the audience's good graces. After all, this is the Tom Cruise we all like—funny, charismatic and yes, slightly unhinged.

  • Christa Banister |
  • November 30, 2010 |
  • comments
Nothing Remotely Spellbinding About The Sorcerer's Apprentice

Even with Jerry Bruckheimer's name attached to the project, there's nothing remotely spellbinding about The Sorcerer's Apprentice. It's a classic case of a clunky, horribly clichéd story further destroyed by a series of outlandish stunts and less-than-superb CGI trickery.

  • Christa Banister |
  • November 30, 2010 |
  • comments
Goodness and Hope Found in The Search for Santa Paws

The message of giving and believing permeates almost every scene of Disney's The Search for Santa Paws. Hearts are changed, attitudes adjusted, disbelief transformed into faith—not just faith in Santa's existence, but in the reality of goodness and hope.

Journey Leads to Selfish Awakening in Eat Pray Love

That we are to be moved by the big-screen version of Elizabeth Gilbert's yearlong journey of self-discovery in Eat Pray Love is absurd. That the memoir on which it's based (and is reverent to) has become a phenomenon is downright disturbing.

Testosterone-Fueled Expendables is One Lame Throwback

Like watching Simon LeBon attempting to bust a move while singing "Hungry Like the Wolf" during a Duran Duran reunion tour, you can't stop wondering why 64-year-old Sylvester Stallone, who wrote, directed and stars in The Expendables, simply didn't quit while he was ahead.

  • Christa Banister |
  • November 23, 2010 |
  • comments
Technology Shackles the Heart of Disney's A Christmas Carol

In Disney's A Christmas Carol, all viewers are left with is a familiar story with little discernable heartbeat. It seems inventiveness was saved exclusively for the visuals, which are gloriously thrilling at moments and as impersonal as an action sequence from your average video game the next.

  • Christa Banister |
  • November 16, 2010 |
  • comments
Airbender Ends Hopes for Shyamalan Resurgence

Director M. Night Shyamalan could use a hit, but his latest film, The Last Airbender, based on a Nickelodeon cartoon, is likely to cement his reputation as a filmmaker who peaked early and then crashed and burned.

  • Christian Hamaker |
  • November 16, 2010 |
  • comments
Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore Should've Gone Straight to Video

Aside from Toy Story 3 and Despicable Me, kids have really gotten the short end of the cinematic stick this summer. And sadly, Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore, which is so bad it should've gone straight to video, doesn't exactly up the ante.

  • Christa Banister |
  • November 16, 2010 |
  • comments
Dad Steals the Show in Sister Story Ramona and Beezus

The latest adaptation from Walden Media of a beloved series of children's books is unobjectionable G-rated family entertainment. It's not very cinematic, nor is it memorably performed by its lead actresses, but a charming performance by John Corbett as the girls' father helps the film immensely.

  • Christian Hamaker |
  • November 09, 2010 |
  • comments
Storytelling Slacks in Scott Pilgrim vs. the World

Gamers will understand the structure and hodgepodge approach to storytelling in Scott Pilgrim vs. the World—or so I'm told—but the rest of us, who demand a smidgeon of narrative and stylistic consistency, will wonder what this film has wrought.

  • Christian Hamaker |
  • November 09, 2010 |
  • comments
Lazy Grown Ups Still Good for a Few Laughs

The new Adam Sandler comedy Grown Ups is the movie equivalent of a skit that airs between 12:30 and 1 a.m. on Saturday Night Live. A lot of it falls flat, but if you're in a forgiving mood, you might find yourself chuckling despite your better judgment.

  • Christian Hamaker |
  • November 09, 2010 |
  • comments
Charlie St. Cloud is More Creepy Than Weepy

The trouble with Charlie St. Cloud is that the screenplay tries to be so many things (part Field of Dreams, part The Sixth Sense, part The Notebook), that it doesn't do anything particularly well, including generating the necessary waterworks to win over its target demographic.

  • Christa Banister |
  • November 09, 2010 |
  • comments
Imagination Soars to Infinity and Beyond in Toy Story 3

With the release of Toy Story 3 almost 11 years after its predecessor, the franchise continues to soar to infinity and beyond, thanks to heartfelt storytelling, great celebrity voice talent and imaginative action sequences featuring Woody, Buzz and the rest of everyone's favorite toys.

  • Christa Banister |
  • November 02, 2010 |
  • comments
Sex and the City 2 Even More Embarrassing Than Its Predecessor

For a show that's always championed the cause of sisters doin' it for themselves, Sex and the City 2 manages to derail that mission (and anything resembling good taste along the way) in an excruciatingly long two hours and 26 minutes.

  • Christa Banister |
  • October 26, 2010 |
  • comments
Chilly Winter's Bone Gives Glimpse into Desperate Lives

Depicting the lives of the rural poor facing dire circumstances, Winter's Bone is not a pretty picture. Yet it is an artful film with a harrowing ending that delivers a punch to the gut that, unlike the effect of mainstream summer movies, lingers long after the closing credits.

  • Christian Hamaker |
  • October 26, 2010 |
  • comments
Please Give Offers Plenty to Think About

Anyone who has ever lived in a big city will have their heart touched and their funny bone tickled by this sober comedy, directed by Nicole Holofcener, who has become known not only for her thoughtful films, but also for her television directorial credits.

How to Train Your Dragon is a Fun, Feisty Ride

Considering its intricately crafted animation and heartwarming story, you'd think How to Train Your Dragon was Pixar's latest flick. But it is a DreamWorks project, and it's refreshing to see a movie that doesn't rely on a slew of pop culture references and lowbrow humor to entertain.

  • Christa Banister |
  • October 15, 2010 |
  • comments
Jonah Hex Adaptation Sputters and Stalls

This film has all the ingredients of a strong summer movie—it features a rising star (Josh Brolin) in the title role and Transformers It-Girl Megan Fox. Add John Malkovich to give it some serious-actor cred, and the on-screen energy should be combustible. But Jonah Hex is far from it.

  • Christian Hamaker |
  • October 12, 2010 |
  • comments
Graphic Leaves of Grass Not for the Faint of Heart

Despite boasting a sharp and consistent wit and laugh-out-loud moments, Leaves of Grass is not for the faint of heart. Ultimately, this is a graphic morality tale about the extreme lengths people will go to for money, the consequences of greed, and the fatal ends of trying to control situations within sinful pursuits that we never really could control to begin with.

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Example: "Gen 1:1" "John 3" "Moses" "trust"
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