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May 2010
Believability Makes This Romance Just Wright

The biggest mistake someone could make after watching previews for Just Wright would be to decide that it's not for them. Or that it's tailored strictly for a minority audience. Many films with all African-American casts are, but this one is different. And better.

 
Action-Packed Robin Hood Runs Long

Despite its running time, it's hard to look away from the well-composed images and action spectacles, and from the compelling actors trying to make something interesting of characters that should have been better fleshed out.

 
Adorable Babies Offers Peek into Little Minds

With no narration, subtitles and little in the way of actual cultural subtext, Babies definitely isn't your ordinary documentary. In fact, French filmmaker Thomas Balmes is content to let the audience draw its own conclusions as he beautifully captures the first year of four very different babies' lives.

 
Iron Man 2 Suffices as a Serviceable Sequel

There are no real high points in Iron Man 2—no standout scenes that will have audiences talking as they leave the theater—but the overall product is sufficient to satisfy audiences in search of another dose of the Iron Man franchise. If it's not a sharper Iron, neither is it a duller one.

 
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.

April 2010
Furry Vengeance Shamelessly Attacks Good Taste

Consider yourself warned: Furry Vengeance is truly the worst movie I've screened this year. And trust me, I've already reviewed some doozies (Tooth Fairy, Cop Out and The Bounty Hunter, for starters).

 
Oh Baby, This Back-up Plan is Bad

Even if someone manages to suspend disbelief and buy into this lamely conceived plotline, there's nothing about The Back-up Plan that has any resonance in the real world. Not only is the dialogue unbelievable from the get-go, but the characters are just plain kooky.

 
The Losers Lacks Passion and a Point

Written by Peter Berg and James Vanderbilt and based on a series of comic books, The Losers wants to pay homage to its comic roots but never gives us a reason to care about its characters or to believe this story needed a big-screen adaptation.

 
Clichés Notwithstanding, The Perfect Game is Still a Hit

Based on a true story, The Perfect Game isn't exactly a revelation in the narrative department. But what eventually elevates it from your standard-issue baseball flick are its underlying themes and winning performances from the leads.

 
Death and Dark Comedy Collide in Death at a Funeral

Other than giving Luke Wilson an opportunity to star in something other than those annoying AT&T commercials, there was really no need to revisit the story of a family funeral gone seriously awry in Neil LaBute's remake of Death at a Funeral.

April 2010
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.

 
Even Comedy's Dynamic Duo Can't Save Date Night

Somehow in the midst of bad writing and a hackneyed case of missing identity that grows increasingly sillier as Date Night goes on, Steve Carell and Tina Fey still shine as two suburbanites trying to keep their marital spark alive with a little night-on-the-town spontaneity.

 
Letters to God Something to Write Home About

Letters to God might not be the most cinematic film viewers will see this year, but it's a faith-affirming story competently told. Viewers tired of having their beliefs assaulted whenever they watch a movie will take comfort in this production, which, for a change, affirms what they believe and demonstrates the power of their shared faith.

 
Moral Lessons Found Lacking in Well-Acted Runaways

If The Runaways is nothing we haven't seen before in terms of its story arc, it's also notable for strong performances from Kristen Stewart, Dakota Fanning and Michael Shannon. However, the debauchery and hedonism on display make the film difficult to watch.

 
The Last Song Has a Familiar Refrain

The Last Song, written for the screen by novelist Nicholas Sparks and starring Miley Cyrus, is treacly, preposterous and full of clichés. It's also moving and, for the most part, family-friendly, focusing on themes of human failure and forgiveness.

 
Futile Clash Leaves Titanic Sense of Disappointment

The ads for Clash of the Titans suggest epic entertainment, superb special effects and the catch phrase of the year so far—"Release the Kraken!"—but there's nothing epic about Titans other than the sense of disappointment it leaves in viewers.

March 2010
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.

 
Narcissism Rears Its Ugly Head in Greenberg

For a film that tries so hard to make a grand statement about the messiness of humanity and how "hurt people hurt people," there's something incredibly contrived and hollow about Greenberg, the latest from writer/director Noah Baumbach.

 
Mutiny Should be Declared on the Joyless Bounty Hunter

These days, getting the girl looks a little different with Gerard Butler on the scene. Officially kicking Mr. Sensitive to the curb, his character's idea of a fun night involves throwing his ex in the trunk and carting her off to jail for a cool 20k in The Bounty Hunter.

 
Diary of a Wimpy Kid Starts Strong but Weakens

Diary of a Wimpy Kid is fitfully funny, and at times is surprisingly fresh in its take on adolescence. But the film slips into standard comedy fare a bit too often, keeping it from being the breakout comedy it threatens to be early in its running time.

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