'The Twilight Saga: New Moon'
Rated PG-13 for some violence and action. 130 minutes. One and a half stars out of four.
As every Stephenie Meyer fan knows, this is the one where studly vampire Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson) dumps human girlfriend Bella Swan (Kristen Stewart) for her own safety, and she turns to old chum Jacob Black (Taylor Lautner) for solace, unaware that he's a werewolf, and therefore Edward's sworn enemy.
Fans will turn out in blockbuster legions, but here are a few of the many things wrong with director Chris Weitz's adaptation: It's really two half moons, or two halves of a movie that don't quite fit. Mopey teenager Bella has all the luster of, well, a mopey teenager.
The real rivalry is whether werewolves or vampires can behave with greater preposterousness and pretension.
Finally, "New Moon” is boring, eternally so. The soap-opera melodrama of Stewart, Pattinson and Lautner's performances provides some unintentional laughs.
Yet Stewart is on screen almost all the time, and her Bella is just a drag to be around. With her flat speech and listless presence, it's unfathomable how two different sets of monsters could fixate so completely on her.
Rated PG for mild sci-fi action and some suggestive humor. 91 minutes. One and a half stars out of four.
This sci-fi family tale offers passable computer imagery but is an aborted liftoff when it comes to the lame story of a human astronaut among little green aliens who, for some uninspired reason, are living the serene "Ozzie and Harriet” life of 1950s America.
Video-game veteran Jorge Blanco shifts to the big screen with an adventure as bland as the sitcommy decade that fostered it.
Likewise, voice stars Dwayne Johnson, Jessica Biel and Justin Long seem to take their cue from the Ward Cleaver school of parental droning. Even vocal gymnast John Cleese sounds neutered as a partly mad alien scientist, while only Gary Oldman adds some bark as an alien general.
Johnson provides vocals for the astronaut hero, who is befriended by a few young aliens while the rest of their planet wants to hunt him down as a monster.
Though set on another world, the jokes are as derivative as they come, the filmmakers endlessly mining human pop culture in a vain search for laughs.
'The Blind Side'
PG-13 for one scene involving brief violence, drug and sexual references. 128 minutes. Two and a half stars out of four.
This redemption-minded sports flick serves its inspiration straight-up with no twist.
Writer-director John Lee Hancock wisely lets the true story of Michael Oher — the African-American teen who found a home and, eventually, football stardom, after being adopted by a wealthy Memphis family — speak for itself.
That direct focus delivers a feel-good crowd-pleaser, but it also drains the film of the kind of subtle nuances that might have separated it from other Hollywood Hallmark-like efforts, including Hancock's own "The Rookie.”
The movie dutifully chronicles the transformation of Oher (newcomer Quinton Aaron) from blank slate to a fully formed young man, emphasizing the involvement of Leigh Ann Tuohy (Sandra Bullock). Bullock brings her trademark spunkiness to the mother hen role, delivering an iron-willed woman who looks past appearances to do the right thing.