Jeff WallsA self-described movie geek, Jeff Walls majored in Film Studies at the University of Utah. He also studied at the Seattle Film Institute, where he worked on short films in every capacity from lighting and acting to writing and directing. For several years, Jeff ran seattlemoviecritic.com, and is now an official DVD-aholic. For more of Jeff’s writing, also see his full archive of reviews at Past the Popcorn, and his extensive archive of pre-PtP work at AllMoviePortal.com. He also blogs about movies for The Seattle Post-Intelligencer.





Men in Black III
They're Back...
...But They've Lost Their Sense of Humor

The mysterious guys with the sunglasses and the dark suits are back once more to protect humanity from knowing that we are not alone. Too bad Men in Black III does little to remind us of why we liked these guys in the first place.


Beastly
A Fitting Title
Is It Wrong To Call This Ugly?

The moral of the “Beast” tale is to not judge something by its appearance. Ironically, one of the least ugly things of the movie is the supposed “beast.” Didn’t anyone tell the makeup department that chicks dig scars and tattoos?


Rango
One Adaptable Hombre
Not Pixar, But Technically Stunning Anyway

This is the first animated feature to be produced by special effects company Industrial Light & Magic, aka The House that George Lucas Built, and the result is a stunningly animated, fast-paced thrill ride of a movie.


Season of the Witch
Let's Go Around
What Are We Doing Here?

All the while, Cage is spouting off cheesy heroic taglines when he’s not telling one of the least funny jokes I’ve ever heard. Usually a one-liner machine, co-star Ron Perlman contributes one or two, but there’s just nothing for him to work with.


Due Date
Automobiles, Automobiles, and Automobiles
Better Than Many Comedies But No Hangover

Those who have managed to avoid the promotional materials for this film will probably be much more satisfied with the results as they’ll experience the best lines fresh, but others will struggle again with that sense of déjà vu.


Takers
Two Thirds Intriguing
But Is That All There Is?

Trapped by a group of Russians who want their share (read: all) of the stolen money, the team of crooks must shoot its way out of a hotel room. The climactic shootout that follows is shot slow-motion with sad music playing over the top.


Knight and Day
Lazy Fun
Cruise is Back, Sort Of

Sometimes a “spoiler alert” warning at the beginning of the trailer would be helpful. In this case, it’s not that the trailer gives too much away. It’s simply that the trailer is just too much darn fun and the movie can’t quite live up to it.


The Karate Kid
A Strange Passivity
Yes, It's A Remake... But It Works, Sort Of

It could have been strange to see a grown man beat up on a bunch of kids. But Chan instead turns the boys’ aggressiveness on each other, and manages to fight them off without even throwing a punch.


Splice
Cheese, Anyone?
Got Some, But Not Enough

Some of the creature effects that show up in the second half of the film just add to the weight that brings the film down after a promising first half. It’s not really a serious scare-fest, but not over-the-top enough to enter so-bad-it’s-good territory.


The Back-up Plan
Did I Miss Something Spiritual?
You Tell Me... I'm All Ears

The movie goes for a couple of big laughs, but the result is more awkwardness than humor. A ritual birthing scene walks the tightrope between funny and disturbing and I can see audiences falling on either side of the fence.


Death at a Funeral
Funerals Can Be Funny, Too
But... Can Americans? I Guess So

I suppose the original Death at a Funeral is technically a foreign film in terms of Hollywood, but that foreign country was Great Britain and the movie was in English. Right now, the question is, was it worth remaking so soon?


Tooth Fairy
Lumps Of Coal Under the Pillow
The Rock in a Tutu is Really Not All That Funny

As delightful as some of the supporting characters are, however, they can’t save this movie from being one worth skipping. The message is sweet and important, but the packaging is stale and dull.


When in Rome
Save Your Coin
Who Gets the Real Beating Here?

The movie’s only character that you might actually want to get behind is Nick, but you want to push him in a different direction than he seems determined to go. He also can’t seem to go anywhere without running into trees and falling into open manholes.


Extract
Mike Judge's Inspiration
Director Dishes on Real-life Connections

I did have a neighbor who was a nightmare. She would basically make it so you had a choice of either listening to her forever, or being rude and interrupting her, or even worse, pulling away while her arms were rested on your window.


The Road
Has the Apocalypse Already Happened?
Direct and Cast Spill The Beans

It’s when the thief is confronted by the father and son characters central to the story that the movie’s message of hope comes full circle. While the father is content to leave the thief to die, the boy makes a stand.