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Christian Themes Deliver Devil 

A good horror movie is hard to find. A good horror movie full of Christian themes and spiritual teachings that validate the reality of God is virtually non-existent—and yet this is precisely what audiences get with Devil, conceived and written by M. Night Shyamalan.

Despicable Me Doesn't Distinguish Itself From Better Alternatives

Despicable Me bears some resemblance to Pixar's The Incredibles and has some of the irreverence of the Shrek series, but feels more like a missed opportunity than a home run.

  • Christian Hamaker |
  • December 14, 2010 |
  • comments
Good Lessons Learned in Nanny McPhee Returns

Nanny McPhee Returns is a pure delight from beginning to end. It's packed with uplifting wit, nice plot twists, and a thought-provoking storyline that's bound to bring out the best in both adults and kids. It wouldn't be an overstatement to say it borders on inspiring.

Ferrell's Just Coasting in an Uninspired Other Guys

For anyone who loves Will Ferrell's brand of absurd man-child humor, you get more of that in The Other Guys—but only in fits and starts. If his early films felt consistently inspired, this one follows the trend of feeling more like a work-for-hire. Ferrell's just coasting here, as is the whole movie.

Not Stimulating, The A-Team Still Gets a "B"

No, The A-Team is not a mentally stimulating movie, nor is it particularly creative, artistic, or complicated. Sure, the characters are one-dimensional, the story's been done, and the plot twists are predictable. But who cares? It's fun.

Creepy Comedy, Heartfelt Emotion Don't Fully Mix in Cyrus

Cyrus is a peculiar mixed bag. To say it's a complete failure would be unfairly reductive, though it doesn't fully succeed either. There's something very interesting going on here that can't be denied, yet neither can the sense that it fails to form into a complete whole.

Not Quite Dreamy, Inception Gets an 'A' for Effort

Inception, the new film from director Christopher Nolan (The Dark Knight, Memento) is complex, and its story about exploiting the dreams of others has rewards for those who can follow its story across multiple levels. But ultimately, it doesn't quite coalesce.

  • Christian Hamaker |
  • December 07, 2010 |
  • comments
It's a Wonderful Life in the Final Shrek

Shrek Forever After is a fun riff on It's a Wonderful Life. The film moves along at a nice clip, without straining for the rapid-fire pop-culture jokes that make so many Dreamworks animated films insubstantial.

  • Christian Hamaker |
  • December 07, 2010 |
  • comments
No Depth of Action-Flick Flavor in Salt

The standard Angelina Jolie summer action flick is a generic retread of better work from waning genres, and Salt is no different. This Manchurian Candidate meets The Fugitive isn't so much a throwback to a Cold War thriller as it is a relic.

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
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