There's a strange mix of movies in this week's roundup: three big studio flicks and one movie from a couple of big names opening on a small scale, trying to cause a lot of trouble. The quick version: Annapolis is bad, but Big Momma's House 2 is much, much worse; Nanny McPhee is at the very least alright, while Bubble is weird and possibly fascinating. For details and links, read on.
- Annapolis: Man, James Franco is really having a tough month - first Tristan & Isolde opened to resounding disinterest, and now Annapolis is being roundly panned. Virtually every review compares the film unfavorably to An Officer and a Gentleman, and the criticism rarely stops there. The New York Times' Stephen Holden calls it "a trailer tricked out with protracted boxing sequences and an undernourished romantic subplot," and others are equally unkind, calling the movie things like "forgettable," "cobbled together," and "all clichés."
- Big Momma's House 2: In what I'm sure comes as a absolute shock to everyone who's had the pleasure of seeing a preview for Big Momma's House 2, it's not very funny. In fact, included on the New York Post's list of things that are "more amusing" than this movie are not only Fletch (you don't say), but also open heart surgery. Yeah. It's really, really bad.
- Nanny McPhee: Reviews for this one are mixed. Though most critics think it's solidly OK, a few - including our man Mick LaSalle - find it really rather wonderful. Pretty much everyone, whether they like the movie or not, praises Emma Thompson's calm in the title role, which they all describe as "the anti-Mary Poppins." (Is that a good thing? What the hell is wrong with Mary Poppins?)
- Bubble: It may not be opening wide, but Bubble is nevertheless a huge deal this week because of its multi-media release schedule. Is it worth sitting through, either in the theater, on TV, or on DVD? Well, there's some disagreement over that. Though a handful of critics find it ponderously dull (writing at CNN, Paul Clinton describes it as the equivalent of "a movie about the phone book"), many others - including Roger Ebert and our own Karina - think that it's oddly thrilling. The great thing is that, if you're sort of interested, there's no need to risk $10 to see how it is. Instead, just flip over the HDNet tonight and see what you think.