Clash of the Titans

Clash of the Titans
A remake of the 1981 cult classic of the same name, Clash of the Titans follows demi-god Perseus (Sam Worthington) as he seeks revenge against the gods after the death of his family. His quest will see him embark on a grand adventure where he must battle many fantastic and horrifying creatures in order to rescue Princess Andromeda (Alexa Davalos) and the doomed city of Argos from the wrath of the gods. That's the story in a nutshell. Many characters from the original film have been jettisoned altogether and plot elements have been shifted around.

The original Clash of the Titans is an example of a movie you liked as a child, but when revisited as an adult it's just not as good as you remembered. Indeed, it's quite hokey and boring, and the special effects – as dated as they were even when it came out – are really the biggest reason why it's still talked about. But for many people of a certain age, myself included, the original Clash was often one's first exposure to Greek mythology, and at least in this reviewer's case it helped trigger a lifelong interest in the subject. That said, the acting in the film was pretty bad, with Harry Hamlin as a rather drab and passive Perseus who just has things happen to him. While Worthington's Perseus may not have a terribly complicated or original arc, at least he actually drives the narrative forward, makes his own decisions, and has objectives he wants to achieve rather than simply reacting to the actions of others.

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Hancock

Hancock
In the screwed-up summer diversion Hancock, Will Smith plays a disheveled, hard-drinking, Los Angeles-based superhero referred to on the street by cute kids and peaceful oldies alike as an a--hole. The designation is a punch line in itself, uttered throughout the movie with a glee that challenges profanity conventions in a mainstream publication, since one of the feats Smith sets for himself in his latest attempt at Fourth of July box office superheroism is to apply his kryptonite-resistant personal likability to a character who is, at first glance, a real schmuck. After some sort of accident, the reluctant crimestopper doesn't know who he is or why he's in L.A. (hence the generic name John Hancock); he just knows he possesses otherworldly talents for flying and hurling automobiles, among other attributes useful for surviving in the City of Angels. And at first close encounter, he's an alcohol-soaked curmudgeon with a bum's wardrobe and a really bad attitude. Even those he saves wish he would go be a hero somewhere else.

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Diminished Capacity

Diminished Capacity
The talented actor Terry Kinney turns feature-film director to guide a regiment of equally appealing performers — Alan Alda, Matthew Broderick, Virginia Madsen, Lois Smith, Dylan Baker, Bobby Cannavale — through their respectable if pedestrian paces in the comedy-drama hybrid “Diminished Capacity.” Adapted by Sherwood Kiraly from his novel of the same title, the sleepy proceedings turn on two relatives — a Chicago newspaper editor, Cooper (Mr. Broderick), and his Missourian Uncle Rollie (Mr. Alda) — whose lives have been upended by their failing and flickering minds.

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The Silent House

The Silent House
Third act plot twists are a funny thing. They can either completely alter everything you’ve just watched in a manner that’s both satisfying and thought-provoking or, alternatively, systematically destroy the entire experience. Anyone who’s watched an M. Night Shyamalan can testify to the effectiveness of this gimmick, for better or worse. Some directors know precisely how to use it, while others simply employ the device because they think that’s what modern-day movie-goers expect from their post-”Sixth Sense” horror/thrillers. I’m not opposed to such tactics when it fits the style of the movie, but when the twist comes out of absolutely nowhere in a film that doesn’t necessarily require this sort of last-minute revelation, it immediately pulls me out of the movie.

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Aquamarine

Aquamarine
It's not a stretch to say that I am not a member of Aquamarine's target demographic. It's a good bet that about 90% of the film's viewers will be girls between the ages of 8 and 14. I'm sure the movie works better for them than it did for me. Still, all things considered, I have to admit that sitting through Aquamarine was not the most unpleasant recent cinematic experience I have had. The plot - a cliché-riddled, modern day amalgamation of two fairy tales ("The Little Mermaid" and "Cinderella") - won't win points for originality, but the screenplay includes some snappy dialogue, smart observations, and an uplifting message about the importance of friendship. And, although there are a fair number of stock characters, including the bitchy bitch and the studly stud, the protagonists are likable and nicely rounded. The problem faced by 20th Century Fox is selling the movie.

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Alice and Martin

Alice and Martin
When it comes to movies about dysfunctional family relationships and emotionally damaged individuals, few active filmmakers do a better job than veteran French director André Techiné (whose films, especially Wild Reeds, have been modest art-house successes in this country). As in his 1993 masterpiece, Ma Saison Preferee, Techiné uses the canvas of his latest picture, Alice and Martin, to explore the delicate and uncertain balance of the relationships between lovers, siblings, and parents and children in an unstable family environment. The film is also about the price of obsessive love and the way in which secrets and their associated guilt have the capacity to poison everything they touch.

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Santa Clause

Santa Clause
This is what happens when someone takes what might have been a moderately-entertaining television Christmas special and tries to adapt it for the big screen. The Santa Clause isn't an unmitigated disaster, but it's also a whole lot less impressive than it could be. The release date -- six weeks in advance of the actual holiday -- should be reason enough for skepticism. Was this perhaps an attempt to beat John Hughes' Miracle on 34th Street to the theaters?

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Ablaze

Ablaze
Far from of delivering three-alarm fire action, this smoke-filled disaster movie barely smolders. When fire captain Jack Thomas (John Bradley) isn't hunting for arsonists with police detective Al Denning (Ice T), he's shepherding his crew through assorted emergencies. Jack is on the outs with his brother, fire inspector Andrew

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Rat Race

Rat Race
Donald Sinclair, the eccentric owner of The Venetian Resort Hotel Casino in Las Vegas, devises a new game to entertain the high rollers who visit his hotel. Six special tokens are placed in the casino's slot machines, and the winners of them are gathered together and told that two million dollars in cash is hidden in a duffel bag in a train station locker in Silver City, New Mexico. They are told they must compete in a no-holds-barred race to get there first and claim the money. Each winner is given a key that will open the locker and they are sent on their way. What they do not know is that Sinclair's wealthy patrons are placing bets on who will win the race.

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Lucky Numbers

Lucky Numbers
Russ Richards (John Travolta), the weatherman for a Harrisburg, Pennsylvania television station, is revered as a local celebrity by his viewers, and fame affords him such perks as a reserved parking spot and his own booth at Denny's, where an omelet bears his name. His eternally optimistic demeanor conceals the fact his snowmobile dealership is on the verge of bankruptcy due to an unusually warm winter.

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Vampires: Los Muertos

Vampires: Los Muertos
In Mexico, a freelance vampire slayer, Derek Bliss (Jon Bon Jovi), is hired by an unknown client provided he build a team of slayers. Father Adam Guiteau from the first film is shown to have been killed in this one. This team ends up including the vampiress Zoe, who is fighting her affliction with medication, Father Rodrigo, a helper who pretends to be a priest, and Sancho, a brave fourteen year old boy who aids Derek in killing some vampires at the beginning of the movie, in finding a large nest of "suckers" and their powerful leader, a vampire princess named Una (Arly Jover). She is seeking a legendary black crucifix: the Berziers Cross, the same crucifix used unsuccessfully in the first movie to perform a ritual which will enable vampires to walk in sunlight and be invulnerable.

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The Ransom of Red Chief

The Ransom of Red Chief
This story tells of a boy held for ransom by two money hungry criminals, Bill Driscoll and Sam Howard. The two men are fugitives who have escaped to the Deep South searching for an easy way to get their hands on $2,000 they need in order to launch a land fraud scheme in Illinois. They set their sights on the quiet town of Summit, Alabama because of the philoprogenitiveness — love for one's own children — that they believe is common in rural communities.

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¡Tintorera! aka Tintorera: Killer Shark

¡Tintorera! aka Tintorera: Killer Shark

Two shark hunters flirt with an attractive British lady while hunting down a large tiger shark terrorizing the Mexican East coast.

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Lifted

Lifted
Henry Matthews is an exceptionally talented young RB singer whose happy family life is disrupted when his father, a marine, is re-deployed to Afghanistan. Despite all the obstacles including losing the family home and being forced to move in with his grandfather who hates his music, Henry is inspired to enter a teen singing competition in the hopes of winning and escaping a world that is falling apart.

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Life as a House

Life as a House
When a man is diagnosed with terminal cancer, he takes custody of his misanthropic teenage son, for whom quality time means getting high, engaging in small-time prostitution, and avoiding his father.

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