"X-Men Origins: Wolverine" finally answers the burning question, left hanging after all three previous "Wolverine" movies, of the origins of Logan, whose knuckles conceal long and wicked blades. He is about 175 years old, he apparently stopped changing when he reached Hugh Jackman's age, and neither he, nor we, find out how he developed such an interesting mutation.
It's fundamental, cycle-of-life stuff that happens all day, every day, year-round, worldwide.
I like the way the personalities are allowed to upstage the plot in "Fighting," a routine, three-act fight story that creates uncommonly interesting characters.
"The Soloist" has all the elements of an uplifting drama, except for the uplift. The story is compelling, the actors are in place, but I was never sure what the filmmakers wanted me to feel about it. Based on a true story, it stars Jamie Foxx as Nathaniel Ayers, a homeless man who was once a musical prodigy, and Robert Downey Jr. as Steve Lopez, the Los Angeles Times columnist who writes a column about him, bonds with him, makes him famous, becomes discouraged by the man's mental illness and - what? Hears him play great music?
"17 Again" is one of those movies that requires you to suspend all disbelief and assume that someone who looks like Zac Efron could, in 20 years, turn into someone who looks like Matthew Perry.
"State of Play" is a smart, ingenious thriller set in the halls of Congress and the city room of a newspaper not unlike The Washington Post. It's also a political movie, its villain a shadowy corporation that contracts with the government for security duties and mercenaries in Iraq. The name is PointCorp. Think Blackwater. If an outfit like that would kill for hire, the plot wonders, would it also kill to protect its profits?
All Corked Up
The most charitable thing we can say about the otherwise insufferable "Observe and Report" is that it shows Seth Rogen has some range.
"Hannah Montana: The Movie" just shouldn't be analyzed from an adult perspective - which, frankly, is irrelevant.
It has become a genre all its own: the dysfunctional-family indie comedy, a staple of film festivals and art-house theaters alike.
It is a truth of 20-somethings that if you have a crappy summer job with other 20-somethings, the way to take your mind off work is daydreaming of sex with your workmates. You are trapped there together, eight or 10 hours a day for three months, right, so what else is there to make you dance to unheard melodies?
Noise, noise, noise. Crunched metal and shattered glass. More noise. Revving engines. Vin Diesel's giant head. Hot chicks in tight miniskirts. Even more noise. The end.
"Monsters vs. Aliens" is possibly the most commercial title of the year. How can you resist such a premise, especially if it's in 3-D animation?
"The Haunting in Connecticut" isn't based on just any old true story. No, it's based on "THE true story."
The newly minted "bromance" genre, with its now-familiar mix of the sweet, awkward and raunchy, has entered the cultural consciousness through comedies like "Superbad," ''Pineapple Express" and "Role Models."