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Wednesday, November 25,2009

Reviews in short

by Cole Smithey
The Twilight Saga: New Moon. Kristen Stewart's Bella Swan "needs to get some protein in her," but the 109-year-old vampire object of her moody affections (Robert Pattinson's Edward Cullen) doesn't want her "to come with him" — to the vampire world that is. It's this kind of not-so-subtle innuendo that vaguely maps out an interminable and poorly edited film that's further damned by its strictly 20th-century use of CGI effects. Bella doesn't so much sulk about her absent boyfriend as substitute a degenerate of a different "monster" stripe in the guise of Jacob Black (Taylor Lautner), a werewolf dude with ripped abs. With the unwavering tempo of a dirge, director Chris Weitz ("The Golden Compass") drags out every soft soap plot point as if digging his own abysmal filmic grave with a teaspoon. Rated PG-13. 130 mins. (D-)

Fantastic Mr. Fox. In this adaptation of Roald Dahl's 1970 children's book “Fantastic Mr. Fox,” director Wes Anderson creates a magical stop-animation world inhabited by a fox family, various other woodland creatures and a group of nasty human farmers who don't take kindly to having their livestock and cider stolen. George Clooney applies his signature leathery voice to Mr. Fox, a snappily dressed family guy whose animal nature sits at direct odds to his family's safety in their peaceful foxhole. Meryl Streep voices Mr. Fox's even-keeled wife, and Jason Schwartzman speaks for Ash, the couple's bratty son who tries to compete with his cousin Kristofferson (Eric Anderson). The nearby industrial farm is too much of a temptation for Mr. Fox, whose burglary plan brings down more human wrath than he is prepared to handle. Anderson's lavish attention to visual detail supports the dry wit on display in a highly original film geared to appeal equally to adults and children. Rated PG. 88 mins. (B )

2012.
You can tell by the audience's inevitable disdainful laughter with you in the theater that, on a narrative level, "2012" is a flop. Essentially, the story describes a shift in the Earth's crust that comes sooner than White House-connected scientist Adrian Helmsley (Chewetel Ejiofor) predicted. Divorced author/part time limo-driver Jackson Curtis (John Cusack) borrows his son and daughter from his ex-wife Kate (Amanda Peet) to take them on a vacation in Yellowstone National Park. Once camped, Jackson meets Charlie Frost (Woody Harrelson), an apocalypse-predicting whacko living in a mobile home. Mother Nature's proverbial poo hits the fan, as volcanoes erupt, earthquakes shake, California slips into the ocean and lots of people die without a drop of blood shown on-screen. Think of "2012" as global-apocalypse-lite; you get all of the disaster without any of the gore. Sure, the Blu-ray DVD will look great on your home theater as ambient background for your next house party, but that's about it. Rated PG-13. 158 mins. (C-)

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