Dud—Haven—Not sure what Orlando Bloom was thinking when he made this Cayman Island fiasco film. It might have been smarter to have released this in mid-August rather than during the time many people are planning spring vacations.
Delight—Confetti—Hilarious English mockumentary of mock weddings that fall into civil mockery that has been held back, mockingly, from the US for some mock reason.
Dud / Delight—Women in Film—Bandidas finally showcased the female versions of Zorro only to weaken them with unfavorable female stereotypes, while House of Sand, on the other hand, proved that strong women can, indeed prevail in the most desperate of survival circumstances. The latter will be long cherished while the former will move quickly to DVD.
Delight / Dud—Animated Films—Recognizing that Cars and Monster House were quite simply two of the best animated films ever made, perhaps it could have stopped there for this year. Alas, Open Season opened with similar problems as Over the Hedge—it has no target audience because it's too violent for children and too boring for adults. Teens? Forget it. If you want to see Ashton Kutcher, go see The Guardian, it's a much better film. Oh, and in case you were wondering, there are still TWO (2) more animated films to come this year, Flushed Away and Happy Feet.
Dud—Movie Critics and a Certain Johnny Knoxville Film—I apologize to my fellow critics for this criticism of their criticism, but how on earth are they giving Jackass: Number Two a better review than All the King's Men? Their big complaint of the latter is that the accents of the characters were all wrong. Their praise of the former is that it's not as horrifying as the original. The entire concept makes no sense. You downgrade a film that actually required talent because you find some of the accents off, but upgrade a film that required no talent, unless searching for snakes in a pool of plastic balls is a talent, because it wasn't as bad as the first one? I guess the lesson for filmmakers is that to get a good review you should have your actors speaking in the perfect dialects of complete idiots.
Delight—My Country, My Country—Take the time to track down this film. There has not been a film released since post-invasion of Iraq that actually follows the Iraqi people and discovers their hopes and dreams for their country. It also points out more idiocy by the current powers in charge such as marking all voters in the election with a visible purple ink spot to prevent duplicate voting while making them easier targets for those upset with the voting process and the hiring at enormous expense of Australian security forces to make the election look like it's not being run by the US military as if Australians in street clothes toting Russian AK-47s would make the Iraqi people feel better. This is one truly great documentary.
Delight—Kevin Costner—Say what you will about the guy, but he still knows how to make a great drama without getting into the same kinds of trouble as his Australian peer, Mr. Mel Gibson.
Dud—Critics of the Fall Movie Slate—I was just reading in a prominent, weekly, entertainment magazine that there is only a single major movie franchise film being released this fall, and that is Casino Royale—a remake of an old James Bond film with a very new Daniel Craig as 007. They said, "The Santa Clause 3 doesn't count." I don't know many people who think this is a bad thing for two reasons: (1) It's pretty easy to get sick of sequels and (2) it gets people out to see new films that could be THE next franchises. Who knew that Pirates of the Caribbean was going to be so good? So, really, nobody has any idea which films will resonate best with audiences this fall and spawn a new franchise. Meanwhile, if the movie industry is pinning its hope on Casino Royale, good luck. While the preview looks great, and the movie will probably do well, only one studio will benefit, not the entire industry. So, they better be pinning their hopes on The Prestige, Bobby, Stranger than Fiction, Happy Feet, Borat, Dream Girls, The Pursuit of Happyness, and my pick of December, Charlotte's Web!