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The Lovely Bones

The Lovely Bones stars Mark Wahlberg and Rachel Weisz as the parents of the lovely Saoirse Ronan, unfortunately murdered by neighbor Stanley Tucci. The victim watches her family deal from an "in-between" place in Peter Jackson's adaptation of the best selling novel. Our sister adored the book, and we suspect a lot of what you bring in will affect  your reaction. We didn't hate it but neither were we moved. Susan Sarandon does a great turn as a hard drinkin' and smokin' grandma who steps in when the parental units start to crack. A dateflick, believe it or not, aimed at the ladies.

mary and max

Despite most excellent clay figure animation and the vocal talents of Oscar recipient Philip Seymour Hoffman and Toni Collette, Eric Bana and Barry Humphries (not as his Dame Edna persona) we cannot recommend Mary and Max a very bleak, maddeningly depressive romantic comedy that spans two decades of a pen pal relationship between an 8 years old Australian girl (of a workaholic father and alcoholic mother) and a New Yorker at least 2 decades or so older who suffers from a mental disability called Asperger's Syndrome. We often deride the film student mentality, which applauds films which make you wish you were dead halfway through the viewing process . . . well, they'll keel over in delight at this film which is not recommended for reg'lar folk like you and I.

the men who stare at goats

The Men Who Stare At Goats, stars Ewan McGregor as a down-on-his-luck reporter who uncovers the existence of a secret military unit -- a "New Army." Special Forces Psychic Warrior Lyn Cassady (George Clooney) makes a goat fall over. Then he breaks up a cloud. Those are the only jokes in the entire film, both of which you can see for free in the  television commercial or trailer. The film is a dud with a capital "D".

The Merry Gentleman

The Merry Gentleman stars first time director, actor Michael Keaton. Without Keaton this film, about a lonely woman and a suicidal tailor slash Whitman, could have been a graduate film school project. It's terrible.

Me and Orson Welles

Me and Orson Welles with Claire Danes, recreates the story of a kid in the Mercury Theater -- well written and acted, it's a great film for the art house circuit. A very basic knowledge of who Welles was wouldn't hurt your viewing enjoyment, though.

mysteries of pittsburgh

The Mysteries of Pittsburgh stars Mena Suvari, Sienna Miller, Peter Sarsgaard, Jon Foster and Nick Nolte. Yet another college kid who discovers the Meaning of Life one long, hot summer . . . 'tis a god awful motion picture. Forgotten almost as fast as we saw it.

My One and Only

My One and Only stars Renee Zellweger as a single mom (she dumps cheating hubby Kevin Bacon) who sets out cross country in 1953 America, seeking out a new sugar hubby. Not tacky but terribly ordinary. Based on the childhood of a Hollywood star, readers of a certain age should get a kick when they figure it out. ($6.00)

night museum battle smithsonian

We were  hit with a mild bit o' wretched stomach as Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian began to screen. What we saw of stars Ben Stiller's return to his franchise was very silly fun. Robin Williams reprises his role as Teddy Roosevelt and Amy Adams joins up as Amelia Earhart. Stiller and Co. have to save the world from three notorious bad guys and any child under twelve or adult with an inner child under twelve will have a fine time.


Nine adapts the Broadway musical that adapted Fellini's 8½. Daniel Day-Lewis, Marion Cotillard, Penelope Cruz, Nicole Kidman, Judi Dench, Kate Hudson, Stacy "Fergie" Ferguson and Sophia Loren star. From Chicago director Rob Marshall. zzz. Cranky's movie review



observe and report

Observe and Report stars Seth Rogen as a foul mouthed mall cop with big dreams of making the police force by catching the "Forest Ridge Mall streaker". SNL's Anna Faris parades around as the mall sex symbol and Ray Liotta is the PD detective determined to keep Rogen off the force. Every other word out of every mouth on the screen rhymes with "duck" and doesn't begin with the letter "s". In other words, the obscenity to joke ratio is about ten thousand to one. In summary, this is one big stinking pile.


For those who think reviewing is a glamorous career, we offer Offshore, an across the board no-name production; a would-be tongue in cheek comic look at a trio of customer service reps imported from India to, essentially, put a whole mess o' Americans out of a job. Meandering script. One note acting. So painful to sit through you'll want your money back within ten minutes.

The Other Man

The Other Man stars Liam Neeson as a man who discovers that his wife of 20+ years (Laura Linney) has had an affair with a mystery man in Milan (Antonio Banderas). This ineptly directed film tries to make a big mystery of events leading to the discovery but we'll spill one: Linney's character dies, off screen, within the first ten minutes of screen time (not story time). Trying to make a viewer (meaning yours Cranky) figure out her disappearance is a major distraction for at least half an hour. After that, and as the film dragged on, we just didn't care. Knowing should make the rest of the film, one man against another, more tolerable for viewers.

passing strange

Passing Strange, director Spike Lee's film of a Broadway musical, has great music. Said music overshadows its story of a church raised LA kid who finds personal and professional success as a musician in Berlin. Just the kind of thing to be seen during a PBS pledge week (which it will be since PBS has purchased broadcast rights.) That's no diss. We enjoyed the film despite the occasional f-bombs. ($6.50).

Post Grad

Post Grad stars Alexis Bledel. The film is as cute as its star but . . . every time this story of a college grad seeking work does something truly unique or interesting, it immediately falls back into a textbook "how to write a screenplay" mode.

sherloc holmes

Sherlock Holmes stars Robert Downey Jr. and  Jude Law. Terrific production design aside, whatever it is it isn't Sherlock Holmes.

What it is is terrible. It'll make a fortune, but it's terrible.

a single man

A Single Man stars Colin Firth. A College professor finds himself single when the love of his life of 16 years drops dead. Luckily, there's a single, hot to trot femme living next door, ready to to drink and laugh and just stay home and have fun -- everything he likes to do. Unluckily, he's gay. A Single Man is a very dry film, fine for the art house and for those seeking serious movies in which the main character just happens to be of a non-flamboyant, alternate lifestyle.


Shorts, from Spy Kids honcho Robert Rodriguez is a great film in which to let loose the kidlets, if they're around age ten or so. It's ending is too confusing to believe or follow, but we're too old and too childless to properly evaluate the film. (families)

st. trinian's

A British import, St. Trinian's  bands together the women of the public school of the film's title (though a Brit public school is the equivalent of an American "private" school) to steal a valuable Vermeer painting from the National Gallery. Doing so will raise the necessary cash to save their school. Once you get through the thick as a brick accents it won't take long to figure out that the film is bloody awful.


Thirst, like all number one in Korea flicks that we see, has some gratuitous hardcore sex scenes dropped into a story about a priest who becomes a vampire because of a bad blood transfusion. Quench elsewhere.

Time Traveler's Wife

The Time Traveler's Wife may be the first, hands down "worst of the year" legit film seen to date. Eric Bana and Rachel McAdams generate no chemistry -- the script just won't let 'em as his character bounces back and forth through time and she endures long periods of her husband's absences while traveling. zzzzzzz.

transformers revenge fallen

Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen is so dependent on its predecessor that it should have been named Transformers pt.2. It is incomprehensible to any newbie. Two hours of explosions, give or take, in a two and a half hour film bored us silly . . .which is why we brought a 16 year old with us to review the film. He spent his time afterwards calling friends to tell them about the film -- he loooved it and thought his uncle was out of (my) mind for not loving it -- instead of writing. We didn't hate everything. While Shia Lebeouf is the name star, Megan Fox looks much better in a pair of tight jeans. John Turturro, Josh Duhamel and parental units Kevin Dunn and Julie White return with the whole mess of pro actors voicing the 'bots. You may grab your choice of wallpapers and posters from the film (papers from the first film, too) but that's about it.

ugly truth

The Ugly Truth stars the very yummy Kathryn Heigl (as a TV morning show producer) and the equally yummy [we guess] Gerard Butler (as sexist pig talent) in what is billed as a battle of the sexes (!). That, of course, means they'll fall for each other, hard. If only there were chemistry between the stars . . . which there isn't. If only there were some light and fluffiness to the script, which there isn't. Avoid this terrible flick.

underworld rise of the lycans

Underworld: Rise of the Lycans wasn't screened until the Friday morning of release. That usually means the studio has no need of critical support for a film. We took the hint. Besides, we got dissed and missed Underworld 2. This is a prequel to the original and would have been seen... if.   Fans have a choice of freebie wallpaper downloads

whatever works

Whatever Works, from writer director Woody Allen, ultimately, doesn't. Larry David is in the hot seat as the older guy who finds a mutual attraction with a Southern belle (Evan Rachel Wood) he knows is way too young for him. Yeah, it's creepy but it's Woody Allen funny -- even if the jokes are running ragged with age. Things pick up with the arrival of  parental units (Ed Begley Jr and Patricia Clarkson) but for those adults who'd rather wait, that's a good choice. Rent.


Whiteout stars Kate Beckinsale in a tale of murder way, waaay down under -- not Australia but Antarctica.

In the fifteen years we've been writing as Cranky, this is the worst major studio release we have ever seen. It may give comic book movies their bad name back. The thing is based on a graphic novel we've never heard of  -- and we love these things) -- and, at least, held our attention enough to think there was going to be a big payoff. There isn't.

World's Greatest Dad

World's Greatest Dad stars Robin Williams as the single father of the most annoying kid to be seen onscreen in years. Only after the kidlet passes from the scene, does the writer wannabe daddy find true fame . . . by writing his son's (fictional) personal journal. The description might make you shudder but the film is actually quite good. ($6.00).


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