Round two, special for those of you whose family holiday traditions involve movie-going. To sum up: Rumor Has It... is awful, Wolf Creek is gruesome, Casanova is fluff, and The New World is murky. Details follow.
- Rumor Has It...: Rob Reiner directing a semi-sequel to The Graduate sounded so promising. It's too bad the movie is just not very good. Most critics are disappointed, not only by the movie itself but also by the decline of Reiner, who has gone from genius to guy who directs bad romances (he is, after all, to blame for The Story of Us) in a depressingly short time. If you want to read a review that's at least sympathetic, check out our friend Roger Ebert's take - he thought it was "watchable." Is that a good thing?
- Wolf Creek: Remember the various reactions we covered a while back involving Roger Ebert's review of Chaos? Well, as soon as I read the essay of a critic who had walked out of a Wolf Creek screening, I immediately went over to see what Ebert had to say - and yep, he was equally disgusted. Though internet-based horror junkies are predictably wild about the movie, mainstream critics, for the most part, are repelled by its sadism and pointless violence.
- The New World: So, critical reactions to a Terrence Malick movie are split! Who could have guessed? Though the guy only puts out a movie every eight years are so, no one is ever sure what to make of them - and reactions to The New World are no exception. Either Colin Farrell is "stiff and uncomfortable" or he's "very good." The film is either "an incandescent brume of wonder, dread and awe" or "As an epic...monumentally slight." You get the idea. While it's impossible to summarize the incredibly broad range of opinions on the film, it's probably safe to say that if you're looking for a)a hot Colin Farrell romance, or b)a history lesson, you should go elsewhere.
- Casanova: It's never a good sign when a review's first non-Gay Cowboy-related line describes a movie as "utterly trivial." And, sadly for Lasse Hallström and the rest of the crew behind Casanova, that reviewer isn't alone in his sentiments. With the lonely exception of A. O. Scott of the New York Times, no one is very impressed by the movie, unless it's by a supporting figure (like Jeremy Irons, say, or the magnificent Oliver Platt).